BRISTOL, Tenn. – At the conclusion of the spring season, Conference Carolinas announced their Messick Sportsmanship Awards, and two King University teams were recognized. The King women's tennis team and the Tornado softball team both earned Messick Sportsmanship Awards.
The Tornado women's tennis team played through a coaching change, and were short-handed the majority of the season. This marks the second Messick Sportsmanship Award the women's tennis team has won, and the first since 2013-14.
The King softball team wins their second Messick Sportsmanship Award, and first since 2014-15. This season, the Tornado finished fourth in the regular season standings, but won the Conference Carolinas Tournament for the second time, earning their second NCAA Tournament berth. They became the first Tornado team to win an NCAA Tournament game, winning twice to advance to the regional final where their season came to an end against top-ranked University of North Georgia. The Tornado also set the school record with 36 wins in a season.
The sportsmanship awards are presented annually to the member institution judged to have exhibited the highest degree of sportsmanship and respect among its players, coaches, and fans during their regular playing season. The winning institution is recognized for its overall commitment to providing a quality playing environment for home and visiting fans, players, and staff members.
Conference Carolinas athletics directors implemented the process by which the Conference Carolinas Messick Sportsmanship Awards are determined. A student-athlete and coach from each school vote separately upon the sportsmanship of all conference competitors. Each institution then submits those votes to the conference office, where averages are calculated to decide the winner for each conference-sponsored sport. The rankings of each school's conference-sponsored sports are then used to determine the institution which has displayed the best sportsmanship across all sports throughout the year, and that institution is named the winner of the Messick Sportsmanship Award.
The individual team sportsmanship awards are now in their eighth year, reflecting Conference Carolinas' commitment to exhibiting and recognizing sportsmanship throughout the conference. As an NCAA Division II member, Conference Carolinas prides itself on creating a positive game environment through sportsmanship to ensure a positive experience for student-athletes and fans alike.