by Kevin Buczek
WILSON, N.C.-The Barton College men's and women's tennis teams coached by Tom Schrecengost won the Conference Carolinas Messick Award for demonstrating the best overall sportsmanship throughout the league in its respective sports for the 2012-13 academic year announced in early June.
"Winning the Messick Award for both men's tennis and women's tennis are proud achievements for us," said Gary W. Hall, Barton College Director of Athletics. "Head coach Tom Schrecengost encourages and expects positive sportsmanship from members of these teams. As the head coach he also sets the tone by extending sportsmanship to other coaches and their teams, and thereby serves as a great role model for our Bulldogs."
The sport-specific sportsmanship awards are determined using a voting process implemented by the league's Athletics Directors, which calls for a coach and student-athlete representative from each member institution to vote together and evaluate the sportsmanship exhibited by each conference opponents' players, coaches and fans during the regular season. After votes have been submitted, the conference office averages the results and the institution with the highest average for each conference sport is awarded the respective Sportsmanship Award.
"It is an honor because every coach in the conference gets together with a student-athlete or two and votes on those awards," commented Coach Schrecengost. "The fact that both of my teams won the award this year makes me feel particularly good because they are looking at Barton tennis as a class act, and one of the things that is very important is that we do everything first rate at Barton. The way tennis is set up individually with every court playing at the same time, if one person messes up and acts inappropriately in what is considered a gentleman's sport, then that is going to affect how their team is viewed as an entire operation. When you have both of your teams being the recipient of this award, it indicates to me that our teams understand how we are supposed to act in a fair manner and that they are doing things the right way. It is definitely something to be proud of at Barton."
Barton men's and women's tennis became the third and fourth teams in three years to earn sport-specific sportsmanship awards by Conference Carolinas at the College since the league started honoring individual teams in 2010-11, joining the Bulldogs baseball and men's track and field squads from that first year.