Erika McGuire Wins NCAA D-III Sportsmanship Award

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TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Erika McGuire (Indianapolis/ Warren Central) has been honored as the 2012 NCAA Division III Sportsmanship Award Winner for her notable displays of sporting behavior last fall.

McGuireIUMcGuire was honored for creating a pregame Zumba routine for her volleyball teammates at Rose-Hulman, in order to relieve stress caused by the day and prepare the team for the upcoming match.  Throughout the season, McGuire began inviting the opposition to join Rose-Hulman in the pregame Zumba routine.

The majority of Rose-Hulman's opponents accepted McGuire's offer and joined the Fightin' Engineers in their pregame routine.  This extended to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.  Prior to the championship match, with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, the entire Bluffton University team joined the entire Rose-Hulman team for this pregame workout.   

Rose-Hulman finished 24-9 on the volleyball court in the fall of 2011, including the program's first HCAC title and first NCAA Division III Tournament trip.  McGuire, a biomedical engineering major, also carries a 3.91 grade point average in the classroom.

She gained a passion and enthusiasm for Zumba in the summer of 2011, working as an intern for Crossroads Missions in New Orleans. While there, McGuire worked to "help restore the city that I love not just through building infrastructure, but through healing hearts while working at kids' day camps, church camps, and homeless shelters each week."  

Her first experience ever with Zumba was in New Orleans in the spring of 2010 with a then-intern at Crossroads named Julie. In 2011, she worked daily alongside Julie, a now full-time employee of Crossroads and part-time Zumba instructor for the poorer neighborhoods in New Orleans.  Julie increased McGuire's interest in Zumba because of how she used it as an outreach to the rougher communities in the city. Though it seems to just be an hour exercise, she teaches classes that become more like families. At the end of each session, the women share their struggles and triumphs and Julie prays for each of them.

"The growth that I saw in the women and their perseverance through their struggles encouraged me every day. As an outsider, a foreigner to the city, I was welcomed into their classes and into their family," McGuire wrote in her NCAA sportsmanship essay.

Her essay also showcased the impact of the Zumba routines not only to the teams playing in each match but also as a period of reflection for McGuire.

"I greatly enjoyed being able to share it this year with my own volleyball team, and even more with other teams. I hope that the positive environment that my team and I were able to create added to the positive attitudes and sportsmanship of each match. To me, it makes the event seem less stressful. The struggles of the women I first learned Zumba with are magnitudes greater than the struggles that we face on game day. To other girls, it is a way to relax and to shake out their nerves, but for me it is a time to reflect, because at the end of the day, it is just volleyball," wrote McGuire.

The NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct selected the winners.  Other national winners included Blake McJunkin, Southern Methodist football (Division I); Jessica Slagle, Bowling Green State women's basketball (Division I); the Georgian Court women's soccer team (Division II); and John Sgromolo, Flagler baseball (Division II).

McGuire will receive her award from a member of the NCAA national office staff prior to a Rose-Hulman's volleyball home match later this season.