Navajo Prep's sports teams had successful 2010-11 seasons and the Fighting Eagles won a national award for their good sportsmanship during last season.

The National Federation of State High School Associations awarded Navajo Prep an award of excellence for an exemplary display of sportsmanship. The Eagles were given the award after having no negative incident reports throughout all three sports seasons.

"The award is based on sportsmanship and reports from officials about how kids acted during games," said Navajo Prep Athletic Director Mike Tillman. "It is a reflection of our students, coaches, teachers and parents. Last year, two-thirds of the schools in New Mexico received negative incident reports."

Tillman said Navajo Prep's coaches and students are all aware of the importance of good sportsmanship and respecting officials even when the team disagrees with the officials.

"I always tell the kids they are representing Navajo Prep and there are expectations from the public about how we represent the school," said Navajo Prep cross country and track coach Stephanie McDonald. "The kids are aware of their expectations. We have coaches meetings and talk to the kids about that. The kids read the handbooks and the dress code in enforced, which I think makes a difference."

McDonald said perhaps the most important key in sportsmanship is to always be grateful and to always congratulate your opponent after games, regardless of the outcome.


John Livingston: