Winter/Spring Spirit of Sport Winners

Student athletes from San Diego, Los Angeles, El Dorado and Santa Cruz counties were named earlier this week by the CIF as honorees of the prestigious CIF Spirit of Sport Award for the 2018 Winter and Spring quarters respectively.

The four newest statewide winners — Ben Krongard from Francis Parker of San Diego, Natalie MacEwan from El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, Nicholas Kull from El Dorado of Placerville and Sachi Land of Aptos — along with the two Fall recipients, will receive an award, a patch, a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the year-end CIF Federated Council dinner later this week in San Jose.

The CIF Spirit of Sport Award recognizes student-athletes who have demonstrated the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor, are active in school and community service and exhibit leadership qualities. The principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor are the operating principles of the CIF and have been adopted by the 1,587-member high schools throughout the state.

Krongard is a three-sport athlete at Francis Parker participating in football, soccer and baseball, and served as team captain of the soccer team this past year. He is also very involved in his school serving as yearbook Editor in Chief and as a member of the Chinese Honors Society. Additionally, Krongard has volunteered over 100 community service hours and has been a member of the Teen Volunteers in Action all four years.

“The spirit of sport then, is pushing through adversity, bouncing back from embarrassment, and taking on the challenges that in our everyday life we ignore or are too scared to confront. Additionally, it is remaining humble and determined to work hard when you succeed,” says Krongard. “The spirit of sport has made me the person I am today, both on and off the field. There are truly no experiences that challenge and each of us like playing a team sport!”

MacEwan is a three-sport athlete at El Camino Real as a member of the volleyball, water polo and swimming teams. Additionally, she volunteers her time as one of the leaders for the National Youth Leadership Training Program, Venturing Boy Scouts of America and a host of other activities.

“Sports have become my most meaningful commitment because of the competition that comes from being on a sports team, the comradery between teammates, the opportunity to inspire and mentor others, the satisfaction of a victory or achieving your personal best, and because of becoming life ready through sport,” states MacEwan.

Kull is another three-sport athlete at El Dorado, participating for the Cougars in volleyball, basketball and soccer. In the classroom he serves as a peer tutor in Algebra. Additionally, he has served his community as an Eagle Scout and volunteering at Snowline Hospice and for the Boys and Girls Club.

“Sportsmanship is learning how to channel the passion for winning while maintaining respect and love for the game and one’s competitors,” states Kull. “The love of the game is what motivates each athlete to excel in their sport. It is the foundation of all the experiences that fuel the fire within each athlete.”

Land is a member of the track and field and soccer teams at Aptos. Additionally, she is a Red Cross Club member at her school having served in various leadership positions during her four years and also currently serves as the secretary for the Environmental Club. Land also works as a student athletic-trainer in the school Sports Medicine Program.

“In high school, sports have been monumentally important in shaping my goals and future,” stated Land. “They helped me grow mentally and physically and have introduced me to some of my best friends and mentors.”


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