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Awards put spotlight on sportsmanship

Monday, April 4, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

There wasn’t an award given for the league’s most valuable player, or a trophy given to the leading scorer. The only awards at this banquet were about sportsmanship.

The Columbia Youth Basketball Association hosted its annual Matt Twenter Sportsmanship Awards Banquet on Sunday at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Teams from all of the league’s age levels, ranging from fourth to ninth grade, were recognized.

In its 10th year, the banquet honors former player Matt Twenter who died in 1995 at age 12.

Awards are given to teams who display the best attitude. After each game, referees give points based on the attitudes of its players, coaches and fans. Each player on the top team receives a medal, while the remaining teams receive certificates.

An additional medal is given to the parents of Matt Twenter. CYBA founder Dean Berry presented a medal to Sandra and Steve Twenter to begin this year’s gathering.

Steve Twenter said he was surprised when the CYBA first announced the awards would be in honor of his son, but felt it was in the spirit of Matt.

“We think its real fitting,” he said. “Matt was a good sportsman, and he loved playing all sports.”

The banquet also featured speeches by Missouri basketball players Brian Daily and Thomas Gardner. Daily spoke on the importance of having faith in oneself and Gardner told of his experiences learning the game.

The CYBA began in 1992 with 50 fourth-grade players. Now the league features 800 to 1000 competitors. CYBA president Wendell Coonce said the league stresses having fun. At the fourth grade level, scores are not even kept.

“It’s more fun to win than lose, but you don’t need to win to have fun,” Coonce said.

— Mason Mocabee

COLUMBIA COLLEGE SOFTBALL: The Cougars split a pair of games at the McKendree College Tournament on Sunday in New Baden, Ill.

The Cougars (24-13) won their first game against St. Francis 4-1 and lost 2-0 to St. Xavier in their second.

Senior Kerri Gapka improved to 9-5, striking out five St. Francis batters, walking one and allowing six hits.

Senior pitcher Monica Mueller (12-8) suffered the loss against St. Xavier.

YOUTH SOCCER: The Columbia Tornadoes won the Capital Soccerfest Tournament over the weekend in Jefferson City.

They went 4-0 in the two-day tournament and defeated the Columbia Bears 2-1 for the title.

The Tornadoes, ranked fourth in the state in the Under-11 Competitive Boys’ Division, are 55-8-6 in the past two years and have won nine out of 16 tournaments.


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