Carl fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship

As part of our effort to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community, the Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship. The scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition. Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field. Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making this scholarship truly unique.


Launched in 2009 by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the group raises funds for the program and selects its own recipients. Over the past fourteen years, $220,000 in academic scholarships have been awarded to 66 college-bound students.

2024 Recipients Announced!

Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition.

You can view the bios of past recipients to see the type of attributes and actions the scholarship committee seeks to recognize. For questions, please contact Solomon Alexander at 314-345-5130 or salexander@stlsports.org.

Congratulations to the five 2024 recipients! Read their stories of sportsmanship and character.

We are thrilled to present our top $10,000 scholarship to Cardinal Ritter Senior Cameron Clayborn, who is heading to Morehouse College in Atlanta. Through his high school athletic career in football and track and field, Cameron has established a pattern of playing hard, but keeping perspective and sportsmanship at the forefront.  Here are a few of the examples called out in Cameron’s application:

  • Right before a track event, a runner from another team was struggling with leg cramps. Cameron went over and offered to help him stretch his legs, first by explaining to the young man how best to do it, and then showing him.  His coach Earnest Cheatham observed this and said, “It made me proud to see him use what he had learned to help someone else compete.”
  • Cameron has often led stretch and warm up activities for not just his teammates, but opponents too.
  • During a meet, Cameron was standing near the sand pit for the long jump to support one of his teammates when he noticed the sand pit needed to be raked.  Without being asked, he picked up the rake and did the job so it was ready for the next competitor.
  •  At the Regional Finals, the track meet ran 2 hours over time pushing some events to darkness, on a field with no lights.  Although Cameron was finished with all his events, he rallied spectators to re-position their cars and shine their headlights so other competitors could compete fairly and safely, and officials could properly mark throws.

There are seemingly countless examples of Cameron’s high character, respect, and sportsmanship.  Summing up Cameron’s body of work, Coach Cheatham said, “Cameron truly understands that it is not always about the win, it is about having fun, learning from each event, and helping others along the way.” We salute Cameron for his sense of fair play, leadership, and the manner in which he carries himself in competition, and we’re pleased to present him with the Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship’s top award. 

Sahana is set to graduate from John Burroughs and will attend Johns Hopkins University. A standout on the tennis court, Sahana prioritizes sportsmanship above all. Her coach Lindsay Carlile described Sahana’s sportsmanship this way: “Whether it is acknowledgment of her opponent’s good shots or even adjusting her style of play out of respect for a less experienced opponent, Sahana continues to play with class and ensures those on the court with her are better for it.”  Need more examples?  At the state tournament, USTA officials marveled at her poise and grace when an opponent refused to shake hands after losing a close match to Sahana.  One official remarked that Sahana “wins the right way”.  Sahana makes a habit of always giving close line calls to her opponent.  Her selflessness even extends to another sport as she was asked to play lacrosse because the team was without a goalie.  Even though she had never played, she tried out and became the team’s starting goalie – which came at the expense of Sahana being able to compete in spring tennis tournaments that would have helped her qualify for a national tournament.  She gave up that opportunity to play a sport she had never played before because the team needed a goalie.

Delaney will graduate from Saint Dominic High School and attend the University of Arkansas. A soccer player at Saint Dominic, Laney had numerous examples of sportsmanship that are deserving of this recognition, but one story stands out.  Before one game, the opposing team’s coach asked if one of their players who has Down Syndrome could play.  The coach explained in their previous game, the other team did not want the girl to play, but Laney’s coach quickly said of course she can play.  Laney then asked her coach to allow the opposing player to play in addition to the regular 11 players, so the girl with Down Syndrome wouldn’t have to compete for playing time.  As the game went on, every time the girl with Down Syndrome got the ball, one of her teammates would take it from her in an effort to score.  At halftime, Laney’s team decided to take matters into their own hands.  At the start of the second half, the ball was kicked to the girl with Down Syndrome and Laney ran next to her, as a defending player would, while she dribbled toward the goal, shot, and scored.  The girl celebrated the moment with a series of cartwheels and even high-fived Laney and some of her teammates. 

More than making a memorable moment for the girl, the act of kindness had an unintended impact.  After the game, the referee approached Laney’s team and said he was thinking of quitting as a soccer official, but teams that play and act as theirs did were the reason he still enjoyed his job. Laney said, “That game was when I realized that sports were more than just a game.  Sportsmanship isn’t just saying “good game” afterwards but playing with respect for your opponents and the game.  The game is only an hour, but if you play it correctly, the impact you can have on others can last a lifetime.”

Sonora is set to graduate from Webster Groves High School and will attend Missouri State University. Sonora is a thrower on the track and field team at Webster Groves, and according to her coach, has been a kind and patient leader since her freshman year.  Always looking to improve her discus throws, she put in hard work and enjoyed finding an edge by acquiring specially designed shoes or higher-end discuses that might improve her throws.  She loved sharing her equipment with teammates so they could improve as well.  But that generosity and selflessness didn’t end with her teammates – Sonora offered her competitor to use her specially-designed disc at a district meet even though that could mean eliminating an edge she might have otherwise had.  Sonora said, “If I were to have moved on to sectionals, I would have wanted to compete against athletes who were throwing at their best.  I would rather risk my advantage being lost than to beat someone who wasn’t given an equal opportunity.” 

Gabriel will graduate from Priory and is making his college decision this week. As a captain on the Priory hockey team, Gabe exhibits all the attributes we look for in a sportsmanship scholarship winner.  He plays the right way every day, and is always gracious with opponents and officials, making sure to not only shake hands with the other team after a game but the referees as well.  He was never told to shake hands with the officials – he just made it a point to do after every game.  In the state championship game, Priory played and won against Lafayette.  When the final horn sounded, before celebrating with his teammates, Gabe first rushed to an opposing player, whom he knew from a previous team he played on, and consoled him because it was that player’s last high school game. Gabe’s coach, Brennan Devers said, “Although I was his coach, I learned a lot from Gabe.  His character, kindness, and selflessness are admirable and I aspire to be like him.”