Princeton High School received the 2014 Sportsmanship Award from the NCHSAA at its annual meeting at the Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus.
The honor was presented as a cooperative venture among the NCHSAA, the North Carolina Coaches Association and the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association.
In an era when the “win at all costs” philosophy has seeped down from the professional to the collegiate and sometimes to the high school level, Princeton prides itself on the fact that its athletic program is centered around “integrity, honor, class, dignity, sportsmanship, team and love of family.”
“Like any competitive school we desire to win but winning in itself is not enough,” Princeton athletic director Marty Gurganus said. “We want to win with integrity and if we happen not to win we want to be gracious in defeat.
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“Our slogan is ‘Princeton Pride – A Way of Life.’ Princeton Pride is not just a slogan but those words represent who we are. It is the way we feel and the principles we live by.”
It’s those same principles that the entire coaching staff at Princeton has bought into and thus has emphasized to its student athletes and further extended to its fans.
The school instructs its cheerleaders to remain positive by cheering for their teams and never against the other team. Princeton’s cross-country runners are taught that if an opponent is hurt and needs some assistance, then caring for them is more important than crossing the finish line.
Princeton was one of 128 NCHSAA member schools that were ejection-free for the 2012-13 athletic season. Ejections include unsportsmanlike acts such as fighting, taunting, profanity, obscene gestures or disrespectfully addressing or contacting officials.
Gurganus added, “Sportsmanship is about honoring each other and our opponent, along with the officials who help bring order to each event.”
In addition to a trophy and a banner for the school to display, Princeton also receives a $1,000 cash award.