ST. LOUIS – May 30, 2018 – Catherine Arnold, Imanté Griffin, Madelyn Hubbs, Connor Kingsland and Mary LaBelle are the recipients of the 2018 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarships.  The scholarships are awarded by the St. Louis Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the Sports Commission Associates – and recognize graduating high school seniors from the region who embody outstanding sportsmanship.  The five students were selected from 80 applications.

Arnold received the top scholarship award of $10,000 in recognition of the exceptional class and selflessness she displayed as a member of the soccer and volleyball teams at Francis Howell North High School.  She will attend the University of Kansas.  Griffin and Hubbs each received scholarship awards of $2,500.  Griffin is a student at Cardinal Ritter College Prep and is headed to Mid-America Nazarene University.  Hubbs is graduating from Pattonville High School and is enrolled at Maryville University.  Scholarship awards of $1,250 were presented to Kingsland and LaBelle.  Kingsland attends Lindbergh High School and is continuing his education at Western State Colorado University.  LaBelle is graduating from St. Joseph’s Academy and will attend Kansas State University.

$10,000 Award
Catherine Arnold            Francis Howell North High School           University of Kansas

$2,500 Awards
Imanté Griffin                 Cardinal Ritter College Prep                      Mid-America Nazarene University
Madelyn Hubbs              Pattonville High School                              Maryville University

$1,250 Awards
Connor Kingsland           Lindbergh High School                              Western State Colorado University
Mary LaBelle                   St. Joseph’s Academy                                Kansas State University

Bios highlighting all five scholarship recipients and the reasons for their selection appear later in this news release.  Their photos are available at 

The Sports Commission Associates created the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009 to recognize and reward local high school seniors for their integrity, civility, selflessness and compassion in athletic competition.  The Associates have since awarded $92,500 to 31 college-bound students.  The scholarship program supports the mission of the Sports Commission’s affiliated St. Louis Sports Foundation, which celebrates and elevates sportsmanship in the community.  Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field – athletic performance does not factor in the selection – making the scholarship unique.

In addition to choosing the recipients of the Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship, the Sports Commission Associates raise the funds to maintain the program.  The group hosts an annual Trivia Night benefitting the scholarship.  This year’s Trivia Night takes place on Saturday, Aug. 18 at St. Louis University High School.  To register a team or obtain more information, call 314-345-5101. Information on the 2019 Sportsmanship Scholarship will be available next January.

The Sportsmanship Scholarship is named in honor of the late Carl Fricks, who embodied the virtues of sportsmanship.  Through this gesture, the Associates recognized the selfless efforts of Carl’s daughter, Holly Yoakum, who chaired the group and was a champion for the scholarship initiative.  Holly passed away unexpectedly in 2017, leaving so many friends and colleagues heartbroken.  The Sports Commission and the Associates are dedicated to honoring Holly’s memory and legacy by growing the Sportsmanship Scholarship and carrying out her passion for doing good in the community.

Catherine Arnold received the top Sportsmanship Scholarship award from the Sports Commission Associates in 2018.  The Francis Howell North soccer and volleyball captain will use her $10,000 award to continue her studies at the University of Kansas.  Catherine’s selflessness and class were on full display during a soccer game against rival Fort Zumwalt South.  A body check from her opponent caused more damage to the Zumwalt South player than it did to Catherine.  A clear scoring opportunity presented itself because of the injury to her opponent.  However, Catherine could not leave an injured player down.  She stopped her dribble, passing up a chance to score, and went to aid the Zumwalt South player who suffered a significant facial injury.  Catherine said of the moment, “Without question, her nose was broken, and at that moment, I was no longer a soccer player, I was a human being.  I suppose I could have kicked the goal, which would have given our team the lead, but that felt callous and simply wrong.  I have never questioned the day I helped an injured human being, not just an opposing player, and I am proud of that moment.”  In addition to that impactful moment, Catherine also put together an outstanding résumé of sportsmanship throughout her high school career.  Kent Stover, Francis Howell North’s volleyball coach said of Catherine, “She exemplifies the ideal of selflessness both on and off the court by treating team members, other students, staff members and all others with consideration and civility no matter their relationship to her.”

Imanté Griffin is an excellent football and baseball player, but an even better role model.  Brandon Gregory, Cardinal Ritter’s head football coach, said of his senior captain, “In all my dealings with Imanté, he has shown himself to be a young man of integrity, intelligence, and talent.  He has displayed the leadership and work ethic that every coach hopes for from his top players.” Imanté’s track record of sacrifice and selflessness on the field is one to be both admired and modeled.  An opposing player was suffering from muscle cramps and had forgotten his receiving gloves.  Not only did Imanté give his opponent a bottle of Gatorade, he gave him his extra pair of gloves, too.  Before another game, an opposing receiver, who also happened to be a rival’s best player, needed a ride to the game.  Instead of leaving his opponent stranded, Imanté gave him a ride to the game.  The young man scored the game-winning touchdown for the rival school.  Imanté sometimes endured criticism from teammates for his selfless behavior but Coach Gregory put things in perspective. “These [disagreements] did not stop Imanté from pulling his teammates back together.  Imanté has a little brother watching him. Therefore, it is essential for him to set an example for spectators and younger players.”  Imanté will continue his education at Mid-America Nazarene University.

Pattonville High School’s senior swimming and water polo captain overcomes a tremendous challenge with humility and strength each time she gets in the pool.  Madelyn was born without her left arm, but this has not stopped her from giving her best in and out of the pool.  A meet during her junior year presented the greatest challenge of her athletic career.  Madelyn swam the butterfly in the 200-meter medley relay for her team.  She saw the official raise his hand before her leg of the relay began, usually the signal for a disqualification.  Unsure if the ruling affected her, Madelyn kept swimming and posted a personal best time, giving her team what would have been a third place finish.  But her initial instincts proved to be correct.  Madelyn had been disqualified because she could not touch both hands to the wall on her relay turn.  Anna Braswell, Pattonville’s swim coach, explained, “Due to the fact that I didn’t have the proper exemption to the rule paperwork filed with the state director for swimming, she was disqualified from her race.  Madelyn handled this situation respectfully and maturely and politely asked the official and myself how to file paperwork correctly so this wouldn’t happen again.”  Given the circumstances, Madelyn showed remarkable composure.  Added Coach Braswell, “Madelyn is a humble athlete who continuously displays sportsmanship.  She is an excellent advocate and leader for all students and especially students with disabilities.”  Madelyn will continue her education at Maryville University.

Lindbergh High senior Connor Kingsland was gearing up for the state cross country meet when he made eye contact with Jared Neikirk, a runner from Cape Central whom he had competed against before.  Connor went on to describe the unusual, yet extraordinary interaction between him and his fellow competitor.  “About half way through [the race], he passed me, fast…like it was nothing for him.  With 100 meters left in the race, I was trying to give it that last kick when I saw a guy just standing in the middle of the course, almost stumbling, hardly able to move his legs.  Without thinking, I ran up to him and grabbed him.  I realized then it was Jared. I said quietly to him, ‘Let’s finish this race together.’  When I grabbed him, both he and I got enough strength to finish the state cross country meet.”  Connor’s cross country coach, James Petersen, talked about the impact of his grand gesture.  “This was a very proud moment for his parents and me as a coach, having an athlete who is considerate and supportive of others all throughout the season and even in the heat of the highest level of competition.”  Connor will continue his education at Western State Colorado University.

For Mary LaBelle, sportsmanship means “acknowledging the other team’s success and talent, respecting the referees and the game, and keeping my attitude classy.”  With this perspective in mind, Mary amassed an impressive body of work during her athletic career at St. Joseph’s Academy where she was the captain of the varsity basketball team. Her reputation is one of helping up a fallen opponent, not being obnoxious during team celebrations, and not arguing with referees over questionable calls. Mary’s positive attitude extends beyond the court and to all aspects of the game.

St. Joseph’s head basketball coach Julie Matheny said, “I can recall a game at Villa Duchesne, when the game was over, Mary was the player picking up all the cups from under the bench, put the chairs back on the rack and just making sure our visitors area was clean and presentable. The AD from Villa was astounded by Mary’s attention to detail and doing the right thing. She was the captain that led by example not by words. She is the player that chases the balls down for the ref, even if they made a bad call.” Mary will continue her education at Kansas State University.