U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - June 28, 2011 - Air Force senior Daniel Trapani was announced today as the fifth recipient of the Mountain West Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award. Established in 2005-06 and re-named in honor of the late UNLV faculty athletics representative, the award is presented to a student-athlete in a NCAA-sponsored sport who has distinguished him or herself through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athlete also must demonstrate good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting and be in good academic standing.
Trapani competed as a member of the Falcons' fencing team all four years at the Academy, closing out a stellar career with a second All-America distinction this past season. Throughout his career, he routinely portrayed the ideals of sportsmanship and competitive respect while leading by example. Trapani's commitment to his teammates was never more evident than during a discussion he had with his coach regarding a team award following the 2010-11 season.
Following an impressive senior campaign, Trapani was awarded team most valuable player honors for the second time in his career. After qualifying for the 2011 NCAA Championships with a second-place finish in epee at the NCAA West Regional Championships, he turned in an eighth-place individual performance to earn All-America honors at nationals. Trapani led a group of five highly-qualified performers throughout the season, and according to head coach Abdel Salem, was clearly the best choice for team MVP honors. However, Trapani declined the award, asking that it be given to fellow senior teammate Nick Stockdale instead. Stockdale, who did not qualify for the NCAA Championships, had forfeited his spring vacation to remain at the Academy and help train those individuals who had qualified. Trapani felt it was important for his teammates to know the character and value of a teammate who would make sacrifices for the betterment of the team.
Trapani, a native of Kingwood, Texas, graduated from the Air Force Academy in May with an undergraduate degree in foreign area studies and a minor in Russian. He is the second Air Force student-athlete to earn the MW Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award, joining former teammate Peter French, who was honored following the 2007-08 season. Other previous honorees include TCU's Erin Lorenzen (rifle), Wyoming's Kevin Bretting (men's diving) and Utah's Katie Battazzo (women's soccer).
Trapani competed at the NCAA championships all four years while at the Academy (2007-11). His career accomplishments include:
· All-American in 2009, finished fifth, and in 2011, finished eighth, at the NCAA Championships
· Helped the Falcons to a pair of second place finishes in epee at the NCAA West Region Championships
· Completed his career with a 177-58 career record
· Team MVP in 2009
· Went undefeated at the 2010 Duke Invitational while leading Air Force to the team title
· Turned down an opportunity to compete in the World Class Athlete program, which allows Olympic sports athletes to train full time during their Air Force assignment for a spot on an Olympic team
· Earned four varsity letters
· Majored in foreign area studies with a minor in Russian and would like to become an intelligence officer in the Air Force
· Earned the Athletic Leadership Award at Air Force, one of the top six awards at the Academy
In April, 2007, the MW Joint Council voted to re-name the award in honor of Hal Rothman, a noted historian, author and longtime UNLV professor who served as the institution's faculty athletics representative on the MW Joint Council from 2001-06. Rothman lost a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, on February 24, 2007.