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California track coach needs lesson in sportsmanship
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sportsmanship is an issue we're always talking about in the world of high school sports and perhaps no single moment encapsulated the debate better than one at a California track meet April 29.

Sports Illustrated has the story of how Robin Laird, a pole vaulter from a traditional power, South Pasadena, hit the winning mark to give her team the league championship. Except one thing. The coach of the second-place team, Monrovia High, noticed Laird was wearing a string friendship bracelet on her wrist, which violates the National Federation of State High School Associations "no jewelry rule."

The coach pointed it out to the official, and the vaulter was disqualified. Monrovia won the meet.

"[I had] a sinking feeling for her. I didn't want to have to do it. But it's a real rule -- it's in the book -- not something I made up," the noble coach said.

OK, so what we've got is a situation in which an athlete breaks a rule that in no way aided her feat. And we have a coach who is such a stickler for the rules that he's willing to jeopardize his integrity in the name of a win.

I suppose you could argue that South Pasadena didn't win fair and square. But I think you'd have an even tougher case to say Monrovia did.

Is anyone out there on the coach's side? Has anyone ever seen anything like this in Utah?

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Prep blog

Tribune prep writer Bill Oram welcomes comments at blogs.sltrib.com/prepsports and on Twitter @tribpreps.

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