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St. Joseph High School graduating senior Margie Lodes ran in Queeny Park on July 6.
St. Joseph High School graduating senior Margie Lodes ran in Queeny Park on July 6.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

Sportsmanship instinctive for some high school athletes

St. Joseph’s Academy runner, Priory wrestler praised for actions

During one of the first races of the cross country season — on a tight, packed course — a runner fell hard, right by Margie Lodes, who stayed with the girl until she was sure the fallen runner would not be trampled. Lodes, a senior then at St. Joseph’s Academy, shouted to parents to get help for the injured girl.

Lodes still managed to run a good time, but no doubt it would have been better had she not stopped to help.

In recognition of her selflessness, Lodes is one of six recipients of the 2020 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship, along with another Catholic high school graduate, Dalton Bingman of Saint Louis Priory High School.

‘Not I, But We’

Lodes never hesitated in helping the other runner: “It’s instinctive. I saw somebody down, and if I was in their place I’d want to be helped too.”

Before she could even think about it, Lodes said, she stopped and asked, “Are you OK? Do you need help? I’ll go get somebody.”

The school motto “Not I, But We,” she said, inspired her since the first day. “We need to help not only teammates, but others on the course, making sure it’s a good environment for everyone,” Lodes said. “I owe a lot of that to St. Joe. It helped me with my faith life. It’s good to have a school that helps you in your faith life and helps you want to be a good person.”

Lodes, a parishioner of Holy Infant in Ballwin, was a leader of the Pax Christi club at school, which focuses on social justice issues through the lens of faith. She enjoyed helping educate people and taking action on issues such as homelessness and hunger. She also was part of the Earth Angels, an environmental club.

Lodes said her older teammates served as her role models her freshman year. “I just really connected with them, wonderful, nice people who made me feel welcome.” She added that she’s being recognized for following in their footsteps.

Though 90-degree days can be tough, she enjoyed cross country, the recent graduate said. She cited shared experiences such as a long, miserable, rainy meet that turned out fun because of her teammates. Lodes also ran track at St. Joseph’s.

She’ll attend California State University — Monterey Bay and will study marine sciences. Unfortunately, her first semester classes will be online due to COVID-19 coronavirus. The pandemic also cut short her senior year and track season at St. Joseph’s. Lodes is working at Tyson Research Center in a summer internship, doing much of it online but is headed outdoors to Shaw Nature Reserve to collect data and do analysis.

The internship developed from a program she joined the summer before her freshman year of high school, Shaw Institute for Field Training, which led to another program at Tyson Research Center.

Lodes’ coach, Julie Bergfeld, said that Lodes “has a natural habit of conversing with others during competition to keep things friendly. It was always in her, no matter the weather, nor fatigue, to chat with competing teams’ runners and encourage or congratulate those who either were running with her or those who finished around her.”

The St. Louis Sportsmanship Foundation, sponsor of the scholarships, stated in its material on the winners that “actions speak for themselves, and Margie Lodes’ actions speak volumes about her personality and positive character.”

A good example

Priory’s Bingman, a two-time state wrestling champion and second-team all-state linebacker at the school, said he wanted to set a good example for underclassmen with his sportsmanship. He appreciates good sports who encourage instead of taunt opponents.

His football coach, Jacob Parent, set a good example by not embarrassing opponents by running up scores, Bingman said. In wrestling, Bingman avoided embarrassing his opponent even when he overmatched them. “It comes down to putting yourself in the other guy’s shoes, thinking about how other people would feel not just how I would look,” he said.

He looks up to his parents, who helped him form good habits, playing to the best of his abilities and being a good sport.

Parent said that what Bingman’s competitors realized is that “he would go out and hit you as hard as possible, and then pick you up right after. In other instances, the opponent would get a good play on Dalton, and he would offer his congratulations on a job well done, and then Dalton would go back and do better next time.”

Priory’s wrestling coach, Christopher Jennings, was impressed with Dalton and his positive attitude toward opponents. “When he was warming up for the championship match, I saw him walk over to a guy from Moberly that he had several tough matches against that season and congratulate him on placing third. Dalton is more concerned about good people and will go out of his way to help them.”

Bingman will continue his education at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in biology.

>> Good sports

Six athletes — Jordyn Grimes of Fort Zumwalt High School, Brandon O’Dell of Northwest High School in Cedar Hill, Dalton Bingman of Saint Louis Priory, Naomi Ferguson of MICDS, Margie Lodes of St. Joseph’s Academy and Mark Moore of Hillsboro High School — are the recipients of the 2020 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded by the St. Louis Sports Commission’s young professionals group, the Sports Commission Associates, and recognize high school seniors from the region who embody outstanding sportsmanship.

The Sports Commission Associates created the scholarship in 2009 to recognize and reward local high school seniors for their integrity, civility, selflessness and compassion in athletic competition. The scholarship program supports the mission of the Sports Commission’s affiliated St. Louis Sports Foundation, which celebrates and elevates sportsmanship in the community. Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field — athletic performance does not factor in the selection.

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