CIF State Winter & Spring Spirit of Sport Honorees

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Lauren McDonnell (Menlo-Atherton High School), Thomas Moorehead (Mesa Verde High School), Payton Fuller (West Valley High School), and Samantha Matlock (Mariposa County High School) were named the recipients of the prestigious CIF Spirit of Sport Award for 2019 Winter and Spring respectively. The four statewide winners, 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 on April 12, in Burlingame.

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 1,606-member high schools throughout the state.

“These recipients have exemplified the Spirit of Sport and reflect the positive elements of Pursuing Victory with Honor, reinforcing the value of education-based athletics,” said CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake.

Additionally, the CIF selected a boy and girl winner for each CIF section, in each of the 10 sections for each season of sport, from all submitted applications to receive $500. A list of all winter and spring 2019 section recipients follows.

Lauren McDonnell co-founded the girls wrestling team at Menlo-Atherton of Atherton in her freshman year and has served as the team captain for the past three years. She is also a member of the debate team, is a volunteer tutor at her school and has served as the chapter president for Buildon Global Literacy Development non-profit. Additionally, she co-founded the Menlo-Atherton Wrestling Education Corporation non-profit which provides scholarships to wrestlers in need.

“Helping my teammates navigate their hardships has been the biggest challenge and inspiration of my life,” says McDonnell. “We’ve succeeded and grown in so many ways despite the obstacles we’ve faced together. Without realizing it, they pushed me past my confining ideology and by doing so forever expanded my perspective. Because of their incredible resilience and example, my point of view and attitudes have completely changed – I discovered that compassion is better than stoicism, that patience is not inefficient but creates impact, that listening is the foundation of effective change.”

Thomas Moorehead is a member of the basketball and baseball teams at Mesa Verde of Citrus Heights and also a member of AVID, Key Club and the California Scholarship Federation. Additionally, he has volunteered more than 140 hours in his community.

“Years of hard work have not only developed me as an athlete but as a person as well,” states Moorehead. “I’m very grateful for who I’ve become and how sportsmanship through basketball has developed me. It’s a necessity to develop yourself as a person, before development as a player.”

Payton Fuller is a two-sport athlete at West Valley High School of Cottonwood participating in Track and Swim. He is actively involved in school leadership currently serving as ASB Treasurer and is also involved in several clubs and associations. Additionally, Fuller contributes to his community and has led fundraising efforts for several charitable causes.

“Sportsmanship to me is intentionally behaving in a way that encourages all athletes on a field of play to have their best day ever,” states Fuller. “I try to live this. Every day can be better than the last. Sportsmanship requires effort. Sportsmanship drives personal accountability and excellence on and off the field.”

Samantha Matlock is a four-year varsity softball and volleyball player at Mariposa County High School in Mariposa, as well as an established musician. She is also an ASB Officer, an MCHS representative to the Juvenile Justice Commission and is involved in many other activities and clubs on campus. Additionally, she volunteers her time with her local Parks and Rec., Rotary Interact and serves as an assistant volleyball coach.

“For me, the ‘spirit of sport’ is the culmination of every lesson, every coach, and every friendship I have made on the field that has given me the confidence, respect and drive to be successful in the next stage of life,” states Matlock.

2019 CIF Winter Spirit of Sport SECTION Winners

Central Section
Lilian Svetich – Basketball, San Luis Obispo High School

Central Coast Section
D’Von Lang – Basketball, Valley Christian High School (San Jose)
Rachel Bakke – Basketball, Saratoga High School

Los Angeles City Section
Mariah Williams – Basketball, Animo Watts High School

North Coast Section
Dylan Joyce – Basketball, Marin Catholic
Patricia McCleery – Traditional Competitive Cheer, Lower Lake High School

Sac-Joaquin Section
Juliana Taylor – Basketball, Center High School
Noah Mirelez – Wrestling, Patterson High School

San Diego Section
Jacob Jovien – Basketball, Francis Parker
Kaylee Stiffler – Basketball, Cathedral Catholic

San Francisco Section
Jessica Mari Castaneda – Basketball, ICA Cristo Rey Academy

Southern Section
Allison Reed – Basketball, Crean Lutheran High School
Seth Hoskins – Basketball, Whittier Christian High School

2019 CIF Spring Spirit of Sport SECTION Winners

Central Section
Blair Abril – Swim & Dive, Bakersfield Christian High School
Kaylee Melendez – Softball, Mission Oak High School

Central Coast Section
Michael Leahy – Baseball, Saint Francis High School
Grace Tramack – Swimming, Henry M. Gunn High School

Los Angeles City Section
Djamal Lylecyrus – Boys Volleyball, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

North Coast Section
Trey Turner – Baseball, Pittsburg High School
Margo Donahue – Track & Field, Piedmont High School

Northern Section
Bailey Dakota Jones – Track & Field, West Valley High School

Oakland Section
Darious Howard – Baseball, Oakland High School
Millie Caroline Garrett – Track & Field, Oakland Technical High School

Sac-Joaquin Section
Gabriel Whitecotton – Baseball, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy
Alayssia Townsell – Track & Field, Ronald E. McNair High School

San Diego Section
Adam Nussbaum – Volleyball, Francis Parker School
Gillian Folk – Swim, Academy of Our Lady of Peace

San Francisco Section
Connor James Pino – Baseball, Mission High School
Leanna Lam – Track & Field, Raul Wallenberg High School

Southern Section
Chase Pinkerton – Boys Volleyball, Mira Costa High School
Angela Gagnon – Track & Field, Oxford Academy

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