Ice Bears, fans win Sportsmanship Award

Ice Bears, fans win Sportsmanship Award

Olympia Simons, Briana Anundsen and Faye Brunke, from right, were members of the De Pere Ice Bears Co-op ice hockey team, which won the state tournament.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, in cooperation with Rural Mutual Insurance, has chosen the recipients of the team Sportsmanship Awards for the 2023 winter State Tournaments.

The winners of the prestigious sportsmanship recognition are Hartford Union in gymnastics, Baldwin-Woodville in team wrestling, Fall River in boys basketball, Albany in girls basketball and the De Pere Co-op in girls hockey. Boys hockey did not have a recipient.

The De Pere Co-op consisting of 11 schools, including De Pere, Ashwaubenon, Bay Port, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Notre Dame, Pulaski, Seymour and West De Pere, won the award in girls hockey after winning the State Tournament in the program’s first-ever appearance. The top-seeded Ice Bears defeated Superior/Northwestern 3-0 in the championship game after downing the Middleton Co-op 4-1 in the State semifinals. As the lead program in the configuration of the co-op, De Pere claims its second sportsmanship recognition, also receiving the recognition for boys soccer in 1999. The Middleton Co-op received honorable mention.

Pulaski had three players on the team: Olympia Simons, Briana Anundsen and Faye Brunke.

The WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school and community in each of the State team tournaments that exhibits exemplary sportsmanship. The award recipients are determined by the sportsmanship displayed by athletes, coaches, cheer and support groups, mascots, bands and spectators. Additional consideration is given for the effort of school administrators and chaperones to ensure support for their teams are positive and that the highest ideals of sportsmanship are showcased. Award winners receive a trophy and banner in recognition of the honor. Schools receiving honorable mention are acknowledged with a certificate of recognition.

The selection process includes contributions and evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, police and security personnel, crowd control and ushers, WIAA staff members, area hotels and restaurants. Rural Mutual Insurance has been a sponsor of this award since 1965, and their partnership contributes to the promotion of sportsmanship in education-based athletics as a valued corporate partner of the WIAA.

The WIAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit organization. The membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 518 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership.