09/16/08 — Three area schools ejection free

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Three area schools ejection free

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 16, 2008 12:57 PM

CALYPSO -- New North Duplin athletics director Ricky Edwards smiles each time he walks into the gym and sees the banner recognizing North Duplin as the state's sportsmanship winner in 2007.

He hasn't been disappointed since.

North Duplin, along with fellow Region 2 members Eastern Wayne and North Lenoir, were recognized Monday as ejection-free schools for the 2007-08 academic calendar year by the N.C. High School Athletic Association. Just 125 of the state's 375 member schools received the honor.

"We have very good kids," said Edwards. "I think our coaches do a good job of stressing sportsmanship and that carries on to our students. We've just been fortunate to not have any ejections."

The Rebels won the Class 1-A Carolina Conference sportsmanship award for 2007-08.

Eastern Wayne is no stranger to sportsmanship recognition.

"We have held that distinction for several years running," said Warriors athletics director Robert Peele. "Eastern Wayne, as all high schools in North Carolina, tries to emphasize sportsmanship and learning to handle situations in athletics in a positive manner.

"We believe that those lessons learned in athletics carry over to other areas of education as well as life in general. (We) thank our coaches, our student-athletes, their parents, our fans, the staff and administration for their support in helping us achieve ejection-free status."

Two years ago, the NCHSAA set an all-time record with 202 ejection-free schools among its eight regions. This year's total represents a dramatic decline after several years in which the trend had steadily climbed.

The NCHSAA records ejections for unsportsmanlike acts such as fighting, taunting, profanity, obscene gestures or disrespectfully addressing or contacting officials.

"We are certainly pleased to recognize these schools for their positive programming," said Mark Dreibelbis, assistant executive director of the NCHSAA and director of the Student Services Division. "It is part of our continuing commitment to provide opportunities and recognize schools which are promoting the kind of behavior we want to see as part of a wholesome athletic environment.

"We are concerned about the fact, however, that there was a substantial drop in the number of schools earning this recognition."

It was the lowest total of ejection-free schools since 2001-2002 when the NCHSAA honored 114 athletics programs statewide for their sportsmanship efforts.

Athletics officials from North Duplin, Eastern Wayne and North Lenoir will be recognized at the NCHSAA's upcoming regional meetings within the next couple of weeks.