The Middleton girls basketball team, coached by Jeff Kind, earned the WIAA sportsmanship award for girls basketball, the WIAA announced.
WIAA announced its winter team tournament sportsmanship awards.
De Pere edged Middleton 49-47 in overtime in the semifinals at the WIAA Division 1 state girls basketball tournament in March at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
The award winners were determined by the conduct and sportsmanship displayed by athletes, coaches, cheer and support groups, mascots, bands and spectators at the state tournament. Additional consideration is given for the effort of school administrators and chaperones to insure support for their teams are positive and that the highest ideals of sportsmanship are upheld.
Earlier this year following a regular season loss to Madison East, a Middleton player in a now-removed Instagram post accused East players of “intentionally trying to hurt two of our players and then laughing about it.” She closed the comment with the hashtag “#youregonnaworkforusanyways.”
When notified via email that the selection of Middleton was drawing negative Twitter comments from student-athletes at other Big Eight Conference schools, WIAA Director of Communications Todd Clark wrote back: "(It's) Encouraging that teachable moments can have an impact on the lives of young people."
Clayton and Howards Grove received honorable-mention recognition for girls basketball.
Middleton earned its second sportsmanship award this year and its sixth overall.
Middleton also was recognized for its sportsmanship at the WIAA state boys volleyball tournament last fall. The Cardinals also have been recognized in boys volleyball in 2009, boys tennis in 2007 and 2009 and girls tennis in 2013.
Lodi received honorable mention in wrestling.
Barneveld, Lake Mills, Waunakee and Darlington were among the schools receiving honorable mention in boys basketball.
The other winners of the sportsmanship recognition were the Hayward Co-op in girls hockey, Eau Claire Memorial in boys hockey, River Falls in gymnastics, Slinger in wrestling and Prescott in boys basketball.
Hayward received the award for the first time in girls hockey and in any sport.
Eau Claire Memorial repeated in boys hockey and received the honor for the fourth time in that sport and 10th overall. Hudson received honorable mention for the boys hockey award.
River Falls received the award in gymnastics for the third time and eighth overall. Brookfield East/Central, Antigo, Chippewa Falls, Manitowoc and Stevens Point received honorable mention in gymnastics.
Slinger received the honor in wrestling for the first time and second overall. Lodi, Holmen, Hudson, Lomira, Menomonee Falls, Random Lake and Spring Valley/Elmwood received honorable mention in wrestling.
Prescott won the boys basketball award for the first time and second overall. Barneveld, Lake Mills, Waunakee, Darlington Marshfield Columbus Catholic and Manitowoc Roncalli each received honorable mention for the award.
Award winners receive a plaque and banner in recognition of the honor. Schools receiving honorable mention are acknowledged with a certificate of recognition. The selection process includes contributions and evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, police and security personnel, crowd control and ushers, WIAA staff members, area hotels and restaurants.