INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) — Luis Fernandez, a student-athlete at Indio (California) Shadow Hills High School, has been selected as the 2018 Section 7 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
Fernandez is an elite distance runner who is deaf. He hopes to one day use his disability to inspire younger runners with the same dreams he had growing up. There are currently three deaf athletes on the Shadow Hills High School track team who would not have come out for the team without encouragement from Fernandez.
Fernandez finished the 2017 cross country season with the third-fastest 5K time (15:50) in Shadow Hills High School history. He was the No. 2 runner on the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)-Southern Section Championship-qualifying boys team that finished two places away from qualifying to the CIF State Championships.
While growing up, Fernandez pursued baseball, soccer and football, but eventually his distance running talents won out. But that doesn’t mean that he felt at ease right away.
Fernandez’ hearing is at a level where he can somewhat hear someone’s raised voice if the person is close to him. Making eye contact so that he can read the speaker’s lips helps tremendously. Although he can hear the roar of a crowd, it’s difficult for Fernandez to make sense of any of it.
Over the past two seasons as a member of the cross country and track teams, Fernandez has maintained a 3.5 grade-point average. He was given the “No Guts, No Glory Award” for cross country, which is given to the athlete who was not the team MVP, but who typically was the next best on the team who displayed the most will to win, the best work ethic and the biggest heart.
About the Award
The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 7 are California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.
While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.