The Mountain West Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award has been in existence six years, and three times it has been given to an Air Force fencer.
This year, the winner was Dalton Boatright. Against Penn State, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation, Boatright’s opponent forced Boatright’s blade close to the floor with the score 4-4, an indicator light went off signifying a point, and the match should have been over. The referee thought the Penn State fencer’s blade had missed Boatright so he ordered the match to continue. But before the action continued, Boatright told the referee the blade did touch him, and the referee gave the Penn State fencer the winning point.
“This is another outstanding accomplishment for our program here at the Academy,” Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh said in Air Force’s announcement. “Dalton is a great example of the kind of leadership and character we have in our programs. Abdel Salem coaches his team with class and honor and is helping develop more than just great fencing skills at the Academy.”
Former Air Force fencers Daniel Trapani and Peter French were previous recipients of the award.