Teen writers and student athletes from sixteen different NYC schools—and one home-schooled student—wrote award-winning essays on the topic, “What role does sportsmanship play in youth sports?” in the contest presented by New York Sports Connection, the hub for youth sports in NYC.

(New York) The “future of sports is in good hands,” based on the winning essays, says Olympic silver medal fencer Tim Morehouse, a judge of the 2016 Sportsmanship Essay Contest presented by New York Sports Connection. Morehouse and fellow judges Craig Carton, the WFAN Radio sports-talk host, and Kym Hampton, a former WNBA NY Liberty basketball player, chose four winners and eight finalists in four grade categories in the second-annual contest. The sportsmanship essays were judged anonymously for their originality, emotional appeal, use of the theme, and writing skills appropriate for the author’s grade.

Winners and finalists hail from sixteen different schools (plus one home school) in the City. Winning authors earn prizes valued at $500 in cash and Modell’s Sporting Goods gift certificates, while finalists receive cash and gift certificates totaling $100. The contest is presented by New York Sports Connection (NYSC), the online clearinghouse for youth sports programs and information in NYC, with the support of Modell’s, the contest sponsor.

The essay contest, for NYC residents age 12 through 18, called for young authors to create a 400- to 500-word essay around the theme, “What role does sportsmanship play in youth sports?” It attracted teen writers from across the City, with winners and finalists at schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “New York Sports Connection is thrilled that the essay contest has become an integral part of the youth sports calendar in NYC,” says NYSC founder Aaron Finkel, himself the father of two teenaged athletes.

“To read so many columns of first-person experiences from young people recognizing the importance and benefits of being a good sport was inspiring,” says Carton, co-host of the Boomer and Carton In The Morning show with Boomer Esiason on WFAN Radio. “The lessons these kids have learned on the court, the field, the track and, in some cases, the woods, has taught all of them the value of sportsmanship and great leadership. In addition, great leadership from coaches and parents alike will serve them for a very long time.If this is a small piece of what today’s kids are growing up to become, then the world will be in a very good place with these future leaders setting the pace for the next generation.”

Hampton was equally impressed with the quality of the submissions. “As a former professional basketball player, it was an honor to have the opportunity to read what these student athletes had to say about sportsmanship. Not only were the stories great, clearly each student understands the importance of sportsmanship on and off the playing field/court.”

“I was extremely impressed with the maturity expressed by the athletes in their essays,” Morehouse adds. “Their dedication to the very essence and purity of Sportsmanship will not only make them better people, but also undoubtedly makes youth sports better. I very much enjoyed being a part of this contest and feel confident that the future of sports is in good hands.”

The winning essays, finalists and honorable mentions are published on the New York Sports Connection website. Winners and finalists in the contest’s four grade categories are:

6th & 7th Grade

Winner: Brazen Van Horn, 6th grader – home schooled (Brooklyn)

Finalists: Joseph Boniello, 6th grader at St. Luke School (Queens) and Aidan Dolinsky, 7th grader at Hunter College High School (Manhattan)

Honorable Mention: Sophie Divilek, 7th grader at Riverdale Country School (Bronx) and Jamie Gall, 7th grader at Trevor Day

8th & 9th Grade

Winner: Baird Johnson, 8th grader at Robert Wagner Middle School (Manhattan)

Finalists: Thomas Knoff Jr., 9th grader at Xavier High School (Manhattan) and Anna Lanzman, 9th grader at Stuyvesant High School (Manhattan)

Honorable Mention: Jeremy Weine, 8th grader at MS 447 (Brooklyn) and Kathleen Staunton, 9th grader at the Marymount School of New York (Manhattan)

10th Grade

Winner: Billy Lehrman, 10th grader at Horace Mann (Bronx)

Finalists: Melina Asteriadis, 10th grader at Bronx HS of Science (Bronx) and Kelly Luo, 10th grader at Stuyvesant HS (Manhattan)

Honorable Mention: Kenneth van der Lande, 10th grader at The Beacon School (Manhattan), Vanessa Miranda, 10th grader at the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (Bronx), and Oscar Garcia, 10th grader at the Business of Sports School (Manhattan)

11th & 12th Grade

Winner: Emily Hirtle, 12th grader at Stuyvesant HS (Manhattan)

Finalists: Danielle Black, 11th grader at The Dalton School (Manhattan) and Adryan Barlia, 12th grader at The Beacon School (Manhattan)

Honorable Mention: Ava DeMayo, 11th grader at Frank McCourt HS (Manhattan)

About NewYorkSportsConnection.com
Founded by a Manhattan father of two young athletes, NewYorkSportsConnection.com is the most comprehensive interactive resource for families and youth sports organizations in New York City. Users can search for information on sports leagues, teams, classes and activities, ask questions of others in the community, and read pertinent content on the local sports community. The site’s Weekly Sports Alert email keeps members up-to-date on upcoming deadlines for tryouts, sign-up/registration periods, clinics, camps and other sports-related events.


Public Relations consultant Kathleen Hanover has been attracting media coverage with high-impact press releases and public relations campaigns for nearly 27 years. Her public relations work has earned coverage in local, regional, national and international newspapers, magazines, on television, radio, and online, including placements in top-tier publications including Popular Science, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Times, Associated Press, and many, many more.

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