The St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – a group of area young professionals who volunteer to assist the organization’s efforts created a Sportsmanship Scholarship, intended to be awarded annually to a graduating high school senior from the St. Louis area who has consistently demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship in athletic competition.  The $2,500 scholarship is presented to a deserving individual who exemplifies the values of sportsmanship: honesty, integrity, selflessness, kindness and class.  Proceeds from a fundraiser produced by the Associates earlier this year provided funding for the inaugural scholarship.  A recent generous gift by Tony Thompson, president and CEO of KWAME Building Group, ensures that the Associates’ Sportsmanship Scholarship will continue to be awarded in future years.  The Associates congratulate Trent Ross, recipient of the inaugural Sportsmanship Scholarship.

Trent Ross of Troy, Ill., is the recipient of the inaugural St. Louis Sports Commission Associates’ Sportsmanship Scholarship.  A freshman at Western Illinois University, Ross was an outstanding student-athlete during his four years at Triad High School.  He captained the varsity track and field and cross country teams, and also played on the junior varsity soccer team.  Perhaps the most remarkable attribute of this young man is the attitude he has toward opponents.  At the end of every race, Ross thanks and congratulates each of his fellow competitors no matter where he finishes.  It takes tremendous character to congratulate someone who just beat you.  Moreover, it requires a humble spirit to encourage those who finish after you without being condescending.  Races can also be exhausting.  Ross helps those runners off the ground and allows them to lean on him until they catch their breath.  His commitment to sportsmanship does not end on the track.  Ross uses social media to keep in contact with his fellow competitors.  They encourage and congratulate each other via e-mail and Facebook.  Triad cross country coach Andy Brendel said, “In my seven years of coaching high school sports, I have yet to see an athlete display such a high level of sportsmanship.”  Brian Weiss, the school’s track and field coach, said Ross “displays a unique combination of exceptional natural talent, superior motivation, character beyond reproach, and a dynamic spirit, all of which elevate him, in my mind, into the top one percent of athletes and students that I have had the opportunity of teaching and coaching.”  To all that, Ross replies that while he’s honored to be nominated by his coaches, he doesn’t think he did anything special.  “To me, doing what I do for other competitors at races is just how I was raised and that is not anything out of the ordinary,” he says.