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Sportsmanship banner unveiled at Inter-Lakes

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Inter-Lakes High School principal Patti Kennelly and I-L athletic director Jeff Cloos hold the school’s brand new sportsmanship banner during a ceremony in Concord earlier this month. Courtesy Photo - Digital Video Magic. (click for larger version)
October 15, 2012
MEREDITH – There's a new banner hanging in the Inter-Lakes High School gymnasium. And unlike individual team titles, this one has the fingerprints of the entire athletic department.

I-L unveiled its banner on Monday for being named the Sportsmanship Award winner for Division III during the 2011-2012 school year. The award is given out to the school that is voted to have the best sportsmanship by coaches in each sport.

"It's a reward for the hard work of everyone involved with the program," said I-L athletic director Jeff Cloos, now in his second year with the school. "It's a community award, really. Players, coaches, parents and fans are all rated throughout the year."

Coaches in every sport are given a form to rate every opponent they face throughout the year, assigning whether the team had positive, neutral or negative sportsmanship. Point totals are tallied each season, with schools in each sport being ranked and then combined with the rest of the programs to come up with a composite seasonal ranking.

"They're being rated on every game," explained Cloos. "And fan conduct is part of it. We tell kids this before every season, how every game they need to remember about sportsmanship. I think it's a good thing to know you're being evaluated and to know that they will be evaluating other teams as well."

The Lakers had the benefit of some strong finishes in the sportsmanship rankings during the school year. They got off to a good start in the fall when volleyball finished fourth in D-III (out of over 20 schools) and girls' soccer took third. The football team was second, while also receiving a sportsmanship award from the football officials' association. The winter season saw the boys' basketball team take third place while the Nordic ski team finished in second. I-L led Division III entering the spring season, and the softball team made sure the Lakers would finish strong when they were voted to have the best sportsmanship in D-III.

"I think the kids are excited and they've been very positive about this," Cloos said. "They're buying into the concept. We can't win this if everyone isn't buying it."

The voting system was implemented just three years ago, as D-III developed a pilot program in deciding which school would be awarded a banner. That pilot program has since been adopted by the rest of the divisions, with four schools (one in each division) being given the honor each year. Campbell High School of Litchfield won the D-III honor for the 2010-2011 school year, and Kearsarge Regional High School of Sutton was the runner-up behind Inter-Lakes this past year.

The honor was particular satisfying since the I-L administration has several members who are also active in the NHIAA. Principal Patti Kennelly is highly involved with the organization and was a council member, while former Superintendent Phil McCormack has been a sportsmanship committee member.

"I think it's certainly nice to build on and hopefully the recognition will continue our sportsmanship efforts for the future," explained Cloos.

Cloos and Kennelly traveled to Concord last month to accept the banner on the school's behalf, with a public assembly on Monday allowing for all in the community to see the award.

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