Valley receives $1,000 grant for sportsmanship

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The AHSAA gave even more recognition to a couple of high schools in Chambers County on Friday during the eighth annual Star Sportsmanship breakfast. 

On Friday, the AHSAA recognized athletic programs that showed exemplary sportsmanship last season. 82 high schools in Alabama were recognized for having zero ejections as well as no sportsmanship fines. These ejections and fines are across all sports. 

Valley High School and Lanett High School were both recognized as programs that were able to accomplish this feat last season.

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 That’s impressive considering some of the high pressure stakes that each program competed in last season. 

With Valley’s basketball team winning the state championship and Lanett having its girls basketball team in the semifinals, each program was able to show the ability to win while having class. 

Valley’s athletic director, Adam Hunter, believes that this honor shows a lot about Valley’s program from the administration down to the students. 

“It’s a hats off to our students and our student athletes and to our coaches who preached it every day,” Hunter said. “To have 14 teams or 14 sports and to not have a single ejection all year, to be a 5A program that’s pretty good. It’s just a testament to their work ethic, to our coaches’ work ethic of pushing, you know, good sportsmanship and all that goes along with playing a good game.” 

Hunter also gave credit to Principal Montray Thompson for pushing sportsmanship within the athletic program. 

“He’s right there with us on the front line,” Hunter said. “He’s preaching it as well as we’re preaching it.”

Eight programs were also chosen to receive the AHSADCA Sportsmanship Grants. 

These grants were given to exemplary programs that achieved the sportsmanship goal. One school from each of the eight districts received the $1,000 grant. 

The grant will go back into athletics at Valley High School. Hunter said that they are looking for a way to use the grant so that it will benefit athletes in every sport. 

“We’ll try to find something that’ll benefit athletics and not just a single team,” Hunter said. “It’ll go to something that’ll improve all of our athletes. It may be something in the weight room. You know, something like that that all of our athletes can use.” 

Valley High School received the grant for District four. 

Some of the other schools in District Four that were eligible for the grant were Loachapoka, Lanett, Dadeville, B.B. Comer, Coosa Central and Holtville. 

Of the 82 programs that were recognized on Friday, 18 of those programs also won state championships last season. 

The AHSAA highlighted several schools that were able to win on the field while accomplishing the sportsmanship goal in a press release sent out by the Director of Communications Ron Ingram. 

Valley was highlighted for accomplishing the sportsmanship goal while their basketball program won the 5A state title. 

“Just hats off to the kids and the coaching staff and the community and their family,” Head Coach Marshon Harper said. 

Showing great sportsmanship is something that Valley’s entire program takes pride in. Hunter takes pride in each team showing class on the field because they are representing the school and the community of Valley. 

“How you carry yourself on and off the field is very important not only in a game situation, but to your fans, to your administration, to your teachers, to your school system and your community,” Hunter said. “We want to represent the Valley in the right way, and we tell our kids when you put that Valley gear on you’re not only representing yourself and your team, you’re representing the community.” 

Hunter believes that sportsmanship shows the type of character that a player has, and he believes that sportsmanship can be shown in several different ways.

 Sportsmanship is not only shown when a player helps another player, Hunter believes that it is also shown whenever an athlete is put into a “negative situation.”