San Marino National Little League softball players Sophia Bilvado and Charis Chung were presented with the Courtney A. Miller Spirit Award at the 4th of July celebration in Lacy Park.
Bilvado was a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
“In addition to being nominated by her own coach, was even nominated by an opposing coach, which tells you everything you need to know about Sophia’s character and sportsmanship,” San Marino National Little League President Jay Fuerst said. “Sophia’s smile and personality are contagious and she makes everyone around her better with her bright and cheerful spirit in addition to her skill and athleticism.”
Redding suited up for the Florida Gators.
“Her coach says of Amanda, ‘no matter what, she always shows up to practices and games ready to go,’” Fuerst said. “She is always pumping up her teammates on and off the field and especially when no one is watching. I love her can-do attitude and how she is willing to play any position or sit out to let others have a chance to play.’”
The award is presented in memory of Courtney, a former SMNLL softball player herself, who passed away in 2006 at age 19 following a three-year battle with cancer.
The Courtney Miller Foundation and the Miller Family present the award annually to the softball player or players who best exemplifies Courtney’s indomitable spirit. The recipients are selected based on the following criteria: team spirit, enthusiasm, sportsmanship and fair play, team contribution, dedication, inspiration and the ability to overcome challenges to participate in SMNLL softball. The award was first presented in 2006.
Courtney played in San Marino National Little League for 5 years, beginning in the Pitching Machine division, and then moved on to Minors Softball. Courtney was selected to the Minors All-Star team – which later became the very first San Marino Softball District champion to qualify and compete at the Regional level, launching the SMNLL’s softball program to the level of success it has enjoyed ever since. Many of the girls on that winning team went on to play as Junior All-Stars and in 2001 competed on the first team from San Marino to participate in the National Little League World Series.
Courtney was a gifted athlete, a spirited and positive softball player, an enthusiastic competitor, hard worker, good friend and teammate, and embodied all of what it means to participate in SMNLL softball. She continued that spirit and competitiveness in later endeavors, in high school at Pasadena Poly and at the University of California, Berkeley. Courtney inspired many in her brave fight against cancer.