FOUR AREA STUDENTS ARE RECOGNIZED FOR EXEMPLIFYING CLASS AND CHARACTER ON THE PLAYING FIELD
ST. LOUIS – June 17, 2015 – Marissa Voelker, Fatima Sehic, Quentin Phillips and Lauren Disper are the recipients of the 2015 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 four students were selected from 105 nominations – a record number submitted in the scholarship’s seven-year history.
Voelker, a 2015 graduate of Parkway North and incoming freshman at the University of Missouri, received the top award of $5,000 to apply to her higher education expenses. Her selfless approach was punctuated by her actions at a high school diving meet this year. The senior achieved a personal best score and second place finish at the meet. But in recalculating the results, Voelker realized she mistakenly had been awarded too many points, so she sought out an official to correct the error and then found the rightful competitor to personally give her the second place medal.
Sehic received the runner-up scholarship prize of $2,000. She graduated from Hancock Place High School and is enrolled at Mizzou. Phillips and Disper each received honorable mention scholarships of $1,000. A graduate of Cardinal Ritter College Prep, Phillips is attending Louisiana State University. Disper graduated from Marquette High School and will continue her education at the University of Arkansas. Bios highlighting all four scholarship recipients and the reasons for their selection appear later in this news release. Their photos are available at http://sportsmanship.org/stl-programs/sportsmanship-scholarship/.
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 $45,000 to 20 college-bound students. The scholarship program supports the mission of the Sports Commission’s affiliated St. Louis Sports Foundation, which promotes 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. 22 at Temple Israel in Creve Coeur. To register a team or obtain more information, call 314-345-5101. Information on the 2016 Sportsmanship Scholarship will be available in January.
In 2013, the Sportsmanship Scholarship was named in honor of the late Carl Fricks, whose daughter, Holly Yoakum, chaired the Associates group. Holly is a passionate champion for the scholarship, and her father embodied the virtues the award seeks to recognize.
2015 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship Recipients:
The Sports Commission Associates awarded Marissa Voelker their top Sportsmanship Scholarship honor for 2015. The Parkway North graduate and multi-sport varsity athlete in swimming, diving and softball will receive $5,000 to begin her collegiate education. Marissa’s efforts as a first team all-district softball player helped lead Parkway North to a district championship in 2015. However, it was Marissa’s actions as a diver that earned her this year’s top award. During a diving meet earlier in the season, Marissa placed second with a personal best score. Marissa was simultaneously confused and elated. On one hand, she had posted her best performance ever. On the other, she thought there was a competitor who may have done better than she did. When the awards ceremony ended, Marissa looked at her score sheet and noticed an error in the calculation. She had not placed second after all, but she was the only one who knew. Marissa found the athlete who had rightfully placed second, explained the situation to the young lady and her coach, and then promptly handed over the medal. Marissa’s act of sportsmanship not only negated a lifetime-best performance, but it took away valuable team points. Instead of disappointment, Marissa’s coach, Natalie Vonarx, expressed great pride in what her diver had done. “Marissa’s ability to see something that was wrong with her dive sheet and take action on her own illustrates her integrity and selflessness.” Marissa will continue her education at the University of Missouri.
Fatima Sehic competed in varsity softball and basketball at Hancock Place High School and served as the basketball team’s captain her senior year. Opponents are not enemies and Fatima made that point clear each time she stepped onto the field or court. She gained a reputation for being the athlete who would welcome the opposing team and thank officials postgame. During a lengthy rain delay in a softball game against rival Bayless High, Fatima took it upon herself to visit the opposing bench and break the ice. Hancock Place softball coach Nicole Herman said, “Within minutes, the entire benches of both teams were in the outfield laughing, dancing, telling stories, etc. For 15 minutes, they were no longer rivals. There was no hatred or competition. Thanks to Fatima, they were just 25 softball players.” On another occasion – this time on the basketball court – Fatima discovered there were athletes on the opposing team who did not have any water. Having brought extra water bottles from home for the game, she shared them with her opponents in hopes that “it would ease the game for them.” It is this type of positive attitude and concern for others that made Fatima a 2015 Sportsmanship Scholarship honoree. She will continue her education at the University of Missouri.
Quentin Phillips was a four-year varsity baseball player and senior team captain at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School. Quentin’s selection as a 2015 Sportsmanship Scholarship honoree comes on the strength of an incident retold by his AAU summer league coach, former Cardinal Curt Ford. During a game in the fall of 2013, Quentin was at third base after hitting a triple. In the next at-bat, he saw an opportunity to reach home plate. A close play at the plate resulted in a collision that injured the catcher. Quentin immediately helped the player to his feet and gave him water as first aid help arrived. He apologized to the young man and his parents before leaving the park. Quentin’s passion for the game of baseball is only eclipsed by his compassion for others. Quentin will continue his education at Louisiana State University.
Lauren Disper was a varsity softball player at Marquette High School. She led an effort her sophomore year to raise money for a former teammate who had been diagnosed with cancer. Lauren’s coach, Lizy Indelicato, called Lauren’s actions the most selfless thing she has seen in her four years of coaching and eight years of playing. Indelicato said, “Even though Lauren had not spoken with her since she left the team, she took time to visit her (at the hospital) and play games to help pass the time (during radiation and chemo treatments).” When a helmet decal was created in the young lady’s honor, Lauren purchased enough for her teammates to wear and encouraged their sale to other St. Louis area teams. During Lauren’s senior year, when a young lady from Eureka tragically passed away in a car accident, Lauren orchestrated a moment of silence at home plate with Eureka’s seniors that included a presentation of Eureka’s colors in a unique bouquet of purple and white flowers. As a softball player, Lauren is a frequent traveler, but it is her care for others that will take her the furthest and the reason why she is a 2015 Sportsmanship Scholarship honoree. Lauren will continue her education at the University of Arkansas.
For more information, contact:
The St. Louis Sports Commission