June 4, 2012
Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League has selected one male and one female as its Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2011-2012 academic year as American University cross country standout John Pope and College of the Holy Cross track and field athlete Katelyn Hartnett were chosen in a vote by the League's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, it was announced on Monday.
The Patriot League Sportsmanship Awards are in their seventh year after being created to honor student-athletes that uphold the principles on which the League was founded - fairness, equality and excellence in academics and athletics. The awards are open to all Patriot League student-athletes and each of the eight Patriot League institutions is eligible to nominate a male and female for the award.
Pope has finished his sophomore year at American University and won the Sportsmanship Award for his grace under pressure and respect towards both his teammates and opponents during the heat of competition and after the event. He encourages his teammates to emulate his work ethic and accomplishments. Pope did not hang his head and demonstrated great sportsmanship in his defeat at the Patriot League Cross Country Championship by congratulating and encouraging his teammates to do their best as they competed.
Pope becomes the first Eagle and first men's cross country student-athlete to win the Patriot League Male Sportsmanship Award.
Hartnett, a senior at Holy Cross, has always been well-respected by her teammates and opponents. Hartnett was a top contender to win the 800-meter race at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championship, but she was tripped from behind during the first lap. She fell to the back of the pack and managed to have enough strength to get up and keep racing until she could catch the rest of the field. During the final sprint, she was able to pass an athlete on the last lap to obtain third place. After the race, with all of her injuries, she gathered herself to congratulate the other athletes.
Hartnett never blamed anyone for the unfortunate tripping and never took anything away from the victor's enjoyment of the win. Hartnett's head coach, Egetta Alfonso, stated: "I know that she was deeply disappointed. Team means everything to her and she wanted to bring home some wins for them. I could see that she was choked up after the race. But she never showed that to her opponents."
Hartnett becomes the first Holy Cross student-athlete to win the Female Sportsmanship Award, and the second in the sport of women's track and field.
Pope and Hartnett will now be forwarded on to the NCAA to be considered for the national sportsmanship honor.