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Mountain West Conference announces Sportsmanship Award

Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014

USU track and field athlete Chari Hawkins

Utah State University's Chari Hawkins in action. (photo from the Mountain West website)

Utah State University’s Chari Hawkins is the eighth recipient of the Mountain West Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award. The Mountain West Conference announced the award July 16.

Established in 2005-06 and re-named in honor of the late UNLV faculty athletics representative, the award is presented to a student-athlete in a MW-sponsored sport who has distinguished him or herself through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athlete also must demonstrate good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting and be in good academic standing.

Hawkins, a junior during the 2013-14 campaign, has competed as a member of the Aggies’ track and field team for three years. At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 13, Hawkins was competing in the 800 Meters segment of the women’s Heptathlon when she saw Georgia’s Kendall Williams trip and fall in the middle of the race. Hawkins slowed down to offer assistance and encouragement to her fellow competitor, clapping her hands and helping Williams up off the track. Williams recovered and finished the race, eventually winning the national championship in the Heptathlon. Hawkins, who went on to finish 13th in the 800 Meters with a personal-best time of 2:24.13, ended up with a ninth-place finish in the Heptathlon to earn second-team All-American honors. Had Hawkins not slowed down to help Williams, she may have finished with a better time in the 800 Meters, which could have led to a higher overall result in the Heptathlon. Her concern for a fellow competitor’s well-being possibly cost Hawkins a first-team All-American accolade, as she ended the event just one spot and six points shy of the top eight finishers.

A family consumer science education major from Rexburg, Idaho, Hawkins is the first Utah State student-athlete to earn the MW Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award.

In April 2007, the MW Joint Council voted to re-name the award in honor of Hal Rothman, a noted historian, author and longtime UNLV professor who served as the institution’s faculty athletics representative on the MW Joint Council from 2001-06.  Rothman lost a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, on Feb. 24, 2007.

In addition to Hawkins’ honor, the MW awards committee also voted to issue a public commendation to Boise State softball coach Erin Thorpe and her team for their support of an opposing student-athlete prior to a road contest earlier this spring. During an April 13 pregame ceremony honoring Nevada softball player and two-time cancer survivor Jayme King, each member of the Bronco squad made a donation to the Wolf Pack’s fundraising campaign to help offset King’s medical expenses.

Contact: Kim Melcher, assistant commissioner for communication, Mountain West Conference, (719) 488-4050

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