ORGANIZATION AWARDS $30,000 TO SIX AREA STUDENTS FOR EXEMPLIFYING CLASS AND CHARACTER ON THE PLAYING FIELD
ST. LOUIS – June 22, 2020 – Jordyn Grimes, Brandon O’Dell, Dalton Bingman, Naomi Ferguson, Margie Lodes, and Mark Moore are the recipients of the 2020 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded by the St. Louis Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the Sports Commission Associates – and recognize high school seniors from the region who embody outstanding sportsmanship. The six students were selected by the Associates’ scholarship committee, which reviewed nominations from throughout the St. Louis area.
Grimes received the top scholarship award of $15,000 in recognition of the selflessness, respect, compassion and sportsmanship she consistently displayed during her basketball and track and field career at Fort Zumwalt North. She will attend Webster University. O’Dell received a scholarship award of $7,000. He attended Northwest High School (Cedar Hill) and is enrolled at Quincy University.
Bingman, Ferguson, Lodes, and Moore each received scholarship awards of $2,000. Bingman graduated from Saint Louis Priory School and will continue his education at Washington University in St. Louis. Ferguson attended MICDS and will continue her education at Brown University. Lodes graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy and will attend California State University – Monterey Bay. Moore attended Hillsboro High School and will continue his studies at Webster University.
Bios highlighting all six scholarship recipients and the reasons for their selection appear later in this news release. Their photos are available at sportsmanship.org/scholarship.
“It’s especially meaningful to award the Sportsmanship Scholarship this year,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission. “Knowing our six recipients had their senior year upended by the pandemic, we hope this recognition at least brings a bright moment to them and their families.”
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 $142,500 to 42 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 Sportsmanship Scholarship unique.
In addition to choosing the recipients of the scholarship, the Sports Commission Associates raise funds to maintain the program. The group organizes an annual trivia night benefiting the scholarship. This year’s trivia night, taking place in August, will be held virtually. More information will be released soon. Information on the 2021 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.
2020 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship Recipients:
Jordyn Grimes is the recipient of the top Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship award from the Sports Commission Associates in 2020. The Fort Zumwalt North basketball standout and track and field captain will receive $15,000 to continue her studies at Webster University. As a winner of her school’s own sportsmanship award, Jordyn has developed a stellar reputation of putting others before herself and embodying what leadership looks like on and off the court. Jordyn’s assistant basketball coach described the act of sportsmanship that ultimately won her the top award. “The greatest example (of sportsmanship) that comes to mind happened at the end of the 2019-2020 basketball season. Returning as district champions from last season, our team was facing off against their rivals in the opening round of the district tournament. As the game progressed, it was clear that the other team was going to walk away with the victory, essentially ending Jordyn’s (and other seniors’) career. With 10 seconds left in the game, the opposing coach asked our head coach if we would let one of his star players surpass the 1,000-point goal for her high school career. Most if not all of the players opposed, but then I heard a leader step up and silence the naysayers. It was Jordyn, expressing that we as a team should allow our cross-town rival to in fact finish her high school career by breaking that record. As a coach, I was flabbergasted at the maturity and sportsmanship from Jordyn. It is one thing to show good sportsmanship, but it’s an even bigger credit to show compassion at a time when she was facing such disappointment.”
Jordyn has also compiled an outstanding body of work when it comes to congratulating opponents, respecting officials and uplifting her teammates whenever needed. Her head basketball coach gave the following description. “Jordyn is unique in so many ways. Intelligence, integrity, selflessness, kindness, caring and hardworking, are all traits that describe this young lady. She is the most complete student-athlete I have ever had the pleasure to coach and teach.” This is quite a compliment from a person who has taught and coached thousands of young people.
Sportsmanship also means positively affecting someone’s life off the field or court as well. Jordyn helped organize an effort for her teammates to wear orange ribbons for an opposing player who had cancer. Jordyn’s character has made a significant impact on those inside and outside her school community. She is a worthy recipient of the Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship and a shining example of the transformative power within every young person.
The junior varsity soccer coach at Northwest High School said the following about Brandon O’Dell: “We were preparing for a junior varsity game against Sullivan High School. Before the game, their coach approached me and told me about one of their players being a special needs student. Immediately after speaking with the boys (about him playing), Brandon speaks up and says, ‘We have to get him a goal.’ We played the first half and were up 1-0. I went into my halftime talk and asked the boys if they still wanted to do it, since the game was so close. Brandon said, ‘We do it, if we can’t beat them without this then we don’t deserve to win.’” Brandon and his teammate allowed the special needs player to score in real time and in dramatic fashion.
What sets Brandon’s leadership apart is that these situations often happen when the game is out of hand or does not count toward the game’s final score. Brandon gave the opposing player the respect of being a true equal on the field. The Northwest varsity soccer coach also spoke highly of Brandon. “Brandon has great compassion for those with special needs. I have seen Brandon work with special needs players at the Special Needs Soccer Association (SPENSA). Brandon works hard to make sure the players he is working with are having a good time. Brandon loves the game, but he understands there are bigger things than just soccer.”
Dalton Bingman is the type of athlete whose heart is bigger than his game. He wants to win. He wants his team to succeed. He also wants to do both the right way. His football coach said, “What his competitors realized is that he would go out and hit you as hard as possible, and then pick you up right after. In other instances, the opponent would get a good play on Dalton, and he would offer his congratulations on a job well done, and then Dalton would go back and do better next time.” Naturally, Dalton is motivated by his own success, but he’s even more inspired when others do well.
Priory’s wrestling coach was also impressed with Dalton and his positive attitude toward opponents. “His junior year he was going to be wrestling for the State Championship but still took the time to watch guys that were his opponents throughout the season. When he was warming up for the championship match, I saw him walk over to a guy from Moberly that he had several tough matches against that season and congratulate him on placing third. Dalton is more concerned about good people and will go out of his way to help them.”
Dalton sees the good in others and wants them to see it in themselves.
Athletes use a variety of approaches when recovering from injury. Naomi Ferguson focused on helping others as a means of helping herself heal. Here is how she described her situation in her scholarship application essay: “During the last minute of my district game against Villa Duchesne my sophomore year, I collided with the goalie and suffered my second ACL tear within three years of my first one. Because I still wanted to be there for my teammates in every way possible off the field, I decided to become team manager for the remainder of my high school career, and I could not have made a better decision. As team manager, I shot film at games, kept stats, set up drills, participated in practices if they were down numbers, and supported my teammates in every way I could.” Naomi could not play due to injury, but she refused to abandon her teammates and the game she loves. Her words show a passion and dedication for something bigger than herself.
Her experiences also helped her develop compassion for others in similar circumstances. The head soccer coach at MICDS described one instance. “During her sophomore year in a game against a fierce rival, a player on the opposing team suffered a serious knee injury. As the opposing player was being helped off the field, Naomi went out of her way to console her and wish her the best. After the game, she once again sought out the opposing player and shared her experience and successful recovery.”
Naomi’s kindness and empathy show the kind of young person she is and how much she cares for others.
Margie Lodes wants more than to set personal best times during cross country runs. She wants everyone to achieve their very best. Her coach recalled, “In a meet with a challenging field of runners, Margie finished in a much slower than normal time. She explained that she had stopped during the race to assist a runner from a competing team down on the course. Margie, quite naturally, had stopped to help the girl, which of course slowed her time. She has a natural habit of conversing with others during competition to keep things friendly. It was always in her, no matter the weather, nor fatigue, to chat with competing teams’ runners and encourage or congratulate those who either were running with her or those who finished around her.”
Sportsmanship not only has tangible effect on the recipient, but an intangible one on those who witness the act. One of Margie’s teammates said, “Supporting your teammates is somewhat easy. The true indication of a person’s character is how they treat their competition. Margie is one of the very few people I have met who is as excited that her competitors got a personal best, or won the race, as she is when she herself does. During one of the first races of her cross country senior season, Margie fell and hurt her knee. The race was packed and the course was tight, so a lot of girls fell. One girl in particular fell hard, right by Margie. Margie stayed with the girl until she was sure she would not be trampled, then continued running, shouting to parents for help for the fallen girl. Margie still managed to run a wonderful time, but no doubt it would have been better had she not stopped to help. Her selflessness is astounding.”
Actions speak for themselves, and Margie Lodes’ actions speak volumes about her personality and positive character.
Mark Moore is a four-sport athlete who has matured in age and character over the years. The Hillsboro Intermediate principal is especially impressed with his personal growth. “I have known Mark for the past ten years, as a student in the Hillsboro R-3 School District and have found him to be a very intelligent, caring and dedicated young man with amazing leadership potential. More than any other player I have seen, Mark has made it his mission to grow these last four years as a model in his character on the field or court.”
Mark’s soccer coach provided even more evidence of his turn toward sportsmanship and positive character traits. “Perhaps the best way to describe Mark’s sportsmanship is in his interactions with opponents. For example, Mark’s freshman year of soccer, his team was on the verge of winning a district championship against a conference rival—a team Hillsboro had already played several times that season. As time ran out in the match, the Hillsboro sideline rushed the pitch to celebrate—all but one player anyway. Away from the celebration, there’s Mark. He had gone to the opponent’s side of the field to console their best player. That moment defines Mark as a competitor.”
Mark cares more about people than trophies. He proves relationships are more valuable than championships.