Multiple Teams · Sportsmanship Nominees Recognized

The Athletic Department is pleased to again recognize Sportsmanship nominees for the 2019-20 school year. Each year for the last 15 years, the Covenant Athletic programs each select an opposing player that has demonstrated sportsmanship, strong character, and playing the game in the right way during competition this year.  Normally, these nominees, their families, coach, and athletic director are invited to a banquet to honor these amazing athletes for the way that they compete and conduct themselves.

Due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the banquet to honor this year’s nominees had to be cancelled.  Each nominee will still receive their Sportsmanship award and goodie bag, as well as be recognized on the Covenant athletic website and social media.  Due to the cancellation of the Spring sports seasons, no Sportsmanship nominee were selected for the Spring sports programs.

Austin Hatch, a former basketball player at the University of Michigan, was to be keynote speaker for the 2019-20 Sportsmanship Banquet.  Hatch has a remarkable story of overcoming incredible odds with some of the tragedy he has endured in his life.  Hatch, now a motivational speaker, speaks to youth about overcoming obstacles, grit, and to give people hope.  Hatch prepared this brief video for this year’s Sportsmanship Award winners.

The following athletes were selected for the 2019-20 school year:

  • Michael Mark, Senior at Cardinal Ritter HS — Cross Country
  • Becky Williams, Sophomore at University HS — Girls Golf
  • Emily Lanie, Senior at Cardinal Ritter HS — Girls Soccer
  • Kathleen Najera, Senior at Monrovia HS — Girls Volleyball
  • Sam Sallee, Junior at Tri-West HS — Boys Soccer
  • Antonio Robinson, Junior at C.A. Tindley AS — Football
  • Charlie Tran, Junior at Decatur Central HS — Boys Tennis
  • Elena Closser, Senior at Cardinal Ritter HS — Girls Basketball
  • Alex Ogden, Senior at Shortridge HS — Boys Basketball


Michael Mark — Cross Country

  • Year in School: Senior
  • School: Cardinal Ritter HS
  • Parents: Colleen & Bob Mark
  • Coach: Rick Ford
  • Athletic Director: Jim Martin
  • Extracurricular Activities: Cross Country, Swimming, Track. National Honor Society and National Spanish Society. Volunteer with Joseph Maley Foundation to teach disabled children how to swim.
  • Favorite Class: Math
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Traveling to Culver with the Cross Country team and spending the night in a cabin with the boys.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports:I have learned perseverance, hard work, and that what you get out of life is what you put into it, just like in sports.
  • Future Aspirations: Study Engineering at Purdue University. Boiler Up!
  • Why the Warriors XC Team Nominated Michael: “Cardinal Ritter has always been a team that has been a friendly rival for a good while now. We want to do well against them, but we also like chatting it up before and after races. Michael Mark was particularly encouraging after our City race — after finishing a hard run, he was there to encourage all of our team. It says a lot about someone who has just given their all in competition who immediately turns around and wants to support others who are doing the same. Thank you Michael for being a great picture of sportsmanship and keeping up a great tradition of the friendly competition between Ritter and Covenant.” CCHS XC Coach Tyler Wildman

   Becky Williams — Girls Golf

  • Year in School: Sophomore
  • School: University HS
  • Parents: Bruce Williams & Ronda Hamaker Williams
  • Coach: Taylor Newell
  • Athletic Director: John Walls
  • Extracurricular Activities: Golf, Track and Field, Model United Nations, orchestra
  • Favorite Class: Math & Science
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Playing in the State Finals freshman year
  • Lessons Learned from Sports: Patience, hard work, and time management
  • Future Aspirations: Hopefully advancing to regionals as a team next year
  • Why the Lady Warriors Golf Team Nominated Becky: “Becky was very kind and showed a lot of support for her competitors. She encouraged the people around her and cheered them on. She was genuinely happy when her competitor was doing well. Becky is an amazing player, but throughout the entire round she managed to not draw attention to her skill, but rather she was focussed on having a good time and creating a memory with her fellow players. Becky was kind, encouraging, and pushed her competitors to be better and that’s why she exudes great sportsmanship.” CCHS Senior Anna Cooper

Emily Lanie — Girls Soccer

  • Year in School: Senior
  • School: Cardinal Ritter HS
  • Parent: Elisabeth Lanie
  • Coach: Terrel Jackson
  • Athletic Director: Jim Martin
  • Extracurricular Activities: Soccer, golf, bowling, JOY club, Girl Scouts, Youth group leader, IJCL secretary, Service Learning mentor, love riding my bike and being outside.
  • Favorite Class: U.S. Government
  • Favorite Sports Memory: My favorite sport memory was freshman year. I remember we were playing Park Tutor. It was a chilly rainy day which was my favorite kind of weather. I remember one of my teammates got a red card, so I knew that I had to really push and work harder. Toward the end of the game, finally I scored and it was my first ever high school goal. I was so happy and my coach was so proud. At the end of the game I got my first game ball and I was so happy. At that moment, I realized how much soccer meant to me.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports:I have learned that bruised knees and sprained ankles are like lives obstacles. I have learned that perseverance and a positive outlook can carry you through anything. I have learned that nothing is promise, it takes hard work and teamwork. I have learned that life isn’t about winning or losing. I have learned that everyone makes mistakes and it’s how we respond to these mistakes that show our true character. Lastly I have learn that life is not about individuality but rather how you can grow as a team!
  • Future Aspirations: Join the AmeriCorps NCCC program in the southern region of the United States after graduation. Then Study either nursing or early education at Marquette University.
  • Why the Lady Warriors Soccer Team Nominated Emily: “Emily consistently played the game hard, not matter the situation.” CCHS Soccer Coach Lindston Lindberg

Kathleen Najera — Girls Volleyball

  • Year in School: Senior
  • School: Monrovia HS
  • Parents: Leo & Heaven Najera
  • Coach: Laura Rahn
  • Athletic Director: Todd Evers
  • Extracurricular Activities: Volleyball, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, National Honor Society
  • Favorite Class: Psychology
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Winning the Greenwood Tournament my senior year with the best team I could ask for.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports:Hard work pays off!” – Coach Rahn
  • Future Aspirations: To become a successful dental hygienist
  • Why the Lady Warriors Volleyball Team Nominated Kathleen: “Kathleen was a great competitor in all of our matches. She was consistently talking and encouraging her teammates, even if she made a mistake. Her skill level stood out to us, she plays at a high level, but her leadership skills stood out to us as well. She showed great sportsmanship with her teammates, her coaches, her opponents and with the referees and was a consistently positive presence. Our team and coaching staff were impressed with her overall presence and we think that she is very deserving of this honor. Congrats Kathleen!”  CCHS Assistant Coach Brandi Schafer

Sam Sallee — Boys Soccer

  • Year in School: Junior
  • School: Tri-West HS
  • Parents: Ryan & Heather Sallee
  • Coach: Dan Applebaum
  • Athletic Director: Brock Touloukian
  • Extracurricular Activities: National Honors Society, Club and HS Soccer, Weight Lifting
  • Favorite Class: History
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Beating Danville 4-2 Sophomore year. Scoring two of the 4 goals
  • Lessons Learned from Sports: Hard work pays off, Humility is important, No one player is above the team.
  • Future Aspirations: Play College Soccer at an undecided school, Hope to get my pilots license
  • Why the Warriors Soccer Team Nominated Sam: “Sam Sallee demonstrated excellent athleticism in our game against Tri-West this year.  Sam scored a hat-trick (three goals) in a superb fashion and worked hard the entire game.  While some may be prideful for such a dominating performance, Sam demonstrated humility and good sportsmanship throughout the contest and shook everyone’s hand at the end of the match.  Sam also led his team in season points with 31 goals and 9 assists.  Congratulations, Sam!”  CCHS Coach David Pfeifer

Antonio Robinson — Football

  • Year in School: Junior
  • School: Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School
  • Parent: Tiffany Robinson
  • Coach: Melvin Grahm
  • Athletic Director: Marcel Bonds
  • Extracurricular Activities: Football , Basketball, Baseball, Track, National Honors Society
  • Favorite Class: Math
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Scoring five touchdowns in a game Freshman year
  • Lessons Learned from Sports: “One lesson I learned is to stay humble and stay hungry and success will come your way.”
  • Future Aspirations: Attend college and study engineering and anatomy while playing college football
  • Why the Warriors Football Team Nominated Antonio: “Antonio was a great competitor on the field and was respectful in between plays and off the field. I respected his game and who he was as a person. I respected the way he supported us, even after losing, going to our sectional game vs Lutheran.”  CCHS Offensive Coordinator Evan Cottle

Charlie Tran — Boys Tennis

  • Year in School: Junior
  • School: Decatur Central HS
  • Parents: Michael Lam & Lieu Tran
  • Coach: Zachary Holzer
  • Athletic Director: Justin Dixon
  • Extracurricular Activities: Tennis, reading, casual basketball
  • Favorite Class: Math
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Getting slammed by a tennis ball from someone on a different court.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports:There’s always someone better than you.
  • Future Aspirations: Study Computer Engineering in college
  • Why the Warriors Tennis Team Nominated Charlie: “Charlie Tran from Decatur plays tennis as a gentleman with tenacity. Our number 1 singles had a delightful time playing against Charlie at the beginning of the season and then, after getting rained out, at the end of the season. Charlie fought hard, but with grace.” Coach Sean Bird

Elena Closser — Girls Basketball

  • Year in School: Senior
  • School: Cardinal Ritter HS
  • Parents: Andy & Cindy Closser
  • Coach: Tom Downard
  • Athletic Director: Jim Martin
  • Extracurricular Activities: NHS, Riley Dance Marathon Executive Member, Campus Minister, Service Learning Coordinator, Big Sis Lil Sis Member, Student Ambassador, Eucharistic Minister at St.Christopher, Varsity Girls Golf and Basketball, Varsity Boys Golf Manager, and active volunteer at Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home.
  • Favorite Class: English
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Winning the 3A sectional championship this past season.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports: “I’ve learned the value of teamwork, leadership and hard work. Playing basketball opened my eyes to having a passion for something much greater than anything I’d ever done before. I had drive to work hard and not only win for myself but for my team. As well, playing golf taught me patience and the ability to really enjoy the game and the people around me. The lessons I’ve learned from playing basketball and golf will stick with my for the rest of my life, sports truly were a blessing in my life.”
  • Future Aspirations: Major in Social Work and Minor in Psychology at Valparaiso University
  • Why the Lady Warriors Basketball Team Nominated Elena: “Elena Closser is the kind of competitor you hate to go against, but respect her game.  For the last three seasons, we have watched Elena work harder than anyone else on the floor.  She has a will to win and can be very intimidating on defense (don’t let her stature fool you).  The biggest thing our girls noticed about Elena was how she was able to balance her competitive edge with kindness.  She picked up several of our girls off the floor, and was very humble after every game.  Elena has been the spark plug for the Cardinal Ritter girls basketball program for years.  I am sure she will be greatly missed next season.” CCHS Coach Amanda Brown

Alex Ogden — Boys Basketball

  • Year in School: Senior
  • School: Shortridge HS
  • Parents: Karin & Dale Ogden
  • Coach: Jeff Strange
  • Athletic Director: Craig Huljak
  • Extracurricular Activities: Member of Shortridge National Honor Society and National English Honor Society. Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Soccer
  • Favorite Class: Geography
  • Favorite Sports Memory: Winning PAAC South championship with my 2018-2019 basketball team.
  • Lessons Learned from Sports: “The most important lesson I have taken from sports is how to handle defeat. I have learned to take loss in stride and use it to improve rather than to let it tear me down.”
  • Future Aspirations: Study Exploratory Studies at either Indiana University or Purdue University
  • Why the Warriors Basketball Team Nominated Alex: “Alex was a high energy guy for his team. Our players recognized his effort & attitude throughout our game. He provided vocal encouragement & leadership for his teammates. He was also quick to pick guys up off the floor no matter what team they played for. Our guys recognized Alex as a player of high character & sportsmanship that they have competed against, not just this past year, but throughout his time at Shortridge. Every year we have competed against his team, he has consistently shown the character quality traits we recognize with this award.”  CCHS Boys Basketball Coach Scott Flatt