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Prior Lake Winter Clinic - Photos by Vince Muehe / FastSports


Sides differ on status of Jen Banford, UMD softball coach

Minnesota Duluth softball coach Jen Banford informed her team this weekend the university will not bring her back to coach following the 2015 season.

UMD officials say differently.

Banford, who is also the women's hockey program's director of operations, received a letter from the university on Dec. 11 stating, "Your appointment as Director of Hockey Operations/Head Softball Coach … will end on June 14, 2015."

The letter was signed by UMD athletic director Josh Berlo. Banford received the letter the same time assistant women's hockey coaches Laura Schuler and Gina Kingsbury were informed their contracts would not be renewed after the 2014-15 season. Earlier that week, women's hockey head coach Shannon Miller was informed her contract would not be renewed after the 2014-15 season.

When the university announced this would be Miller and her staff's final season in December, Berlo told the News Tribune that Banford was being retained as softball coach. On Sunday, the university said it's still working to keep Banford in Duluth.

Bob Nygaard, assistant athletic director of communications at UMD, said the university is in the process of restructuring Banford's contract after the director of hockey operations position was eliminated. The university wants to leave the status of that job up to the next head coach. Nygaard said the university wants Banford to remain as softball coach and there were plans prior to Sunday to discuss a new contract with her this week.

Banford told ESPNW on Sunday that she has not spoken to Berlo since she received the Dec. 11 letter, but multiple administrators at UMD confirmed to her last week she would not return as coach after the 2015 season.

"I was told I was no longer going to be the softball coach," Banford said in the article. "To me, it's obvious why he's saying he's in the process of writing a renewal, but if he wanted to give me a renewal, he would have given me that on Dec. 11."

Berlo, who did not return calls from the News Tribune, told ESPNW, "She was only notified relative to the position of women's hockey" and that the university is working to keep Banford as softball coach.

Banford confirmed via text message just after midnight on Sunday that she was told the university would not retain her as coach following the spring season. She later texted that she wanted to speak to her attorney Sunday morning prior to speaking further on the matter, but has not returned subsequent calls from the News Tribune.

Banford has 138 wins and 84 losses with the Bulldogs going into her 10th season at UMD. She was the 2013 NSIC Softball Coach of the Year after sharing the conference regular-season title with Minnesota State-Mankato in 2013. She has guided the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division II tournament four times (2007, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Source: Duluth News Tribune

ESPN Coverage of the Story


WAAC and PAAC Are At The Root of Youth and High School Sports Problems

At its best, athletic competition is about playing hard, striving to do your best and having fun -- all while bringing out the best in each other.

That's the beauty of sports to me. And for years, that meant focusing on youth and high school sports, where the influences of ego and greed have historically been minimized.

Sadly, that's no longer the case. Today, ego and greed are increasingly driving the bus at the youth and high school levels.

We can do better.

Our overarching challenge as people who care about sports and the young people involved in them is to confront and overcome the win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities that are resulting in a variety of insidious abuses in our little leagues and high schools.

In a nation with very little in the way of actual public policy in the sports realm, what we're left with is sports policy being set by executives at the highest level of sports -- pro and big-time college (Big Sport) -- which then trickles down to the high school and youth levels. And what trickles down is rarely in the best interests of the stakeholders involved.

Increasingly, educational, physical, emotional and character development goals for high school and youth sports programs are being brushed aside by Big Sport's win-at-all-costs and profit-at-all-costs ethos.

The professionalization and commercialization of youth sports organizations, our "little leagues," is especially appalling. Adults -- parents and coaches -- are treating youth sports -- especially club and travel teams -- like the big-time pro and college versions of our games. Kids quickly learn from the adults in their lives that winning is priority one, whether that ethic is verbalized or not.

Spontaneous play, where kids form teams, make up the rules and design their own plays, etc., has been replaced by adult-controlled youth sports, in which "grown-ups" create the leagues, teams, rules, and design and call the plays -- often for their own entertainment and ego gratification.

It's not uncommon for youth football teams, made up of 10- and 11-year-olds, to have six or more coaches, including offensive and defensive coordinators. Young people become nothing more than performers in a youth sports entertainment spectacle, under the authoritarian oversight of the head coach.

Moreover, with the growth of club sports organizations and personal sports trainers, generating revenue too often takes precedence over "What's best for the kids?"

We can do better.

Specialization is another disturbing trend in the movement to professionalize our young athletes. Athletes are specializing in a single sport at younger and younger ages. Many 10- to 12-year-old soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball players are pressured by parents and coaches to play competitively in one sport year-round in an effort to maximize their athletic development. This despite quantitative and qualitative research that has shown that early specialization in one sport is rarely beneficial, and, in fact, is often detrimental to an athlete's overall development.

In addition, research also reveals that kids that specialize in one sport at an early age burnout sooner and suffer more from overuse injuries. Nevertheless, parents are increasingly shipping their kids to specialized sports trainers for training regimens similar to what major college and pro athletes go through.

As the perceived rewards become greater (athletic scholarships, professional sports contracts, Olympic team berths, etc.), parents are pouring more and more time -- and money -- into youth sports. Many families (most often middle and upper-middle class suburbanites -- lower income urban families are usually shut out of the youth sports arms race) will have spent tens of thousands of dollars on club teams, personal training, travel leagues, etc., by the time their child is a senior in high school, all in the hopes of landing a major college athletic scholarship -- an occurrence that is much more rare than most parents and their children realize.

Another disturbing trend at the high school level is the increasing infiltration of corporations on high school campuses. These schools, in search of revenue to support dwindling sports budgets -- or simply to keep up with the Joneses -- have turned to corporate sponsors to fill the bill. Stadiums, gyms, locker rooms and other facilities are now plastered with corporate brands, often "junk food" companies eager to exploit an easily susceptible target audience. All of this while the country is in the middle of a childhood obesity epidemic.

Where has this "win-at-all-costs" (WAAC) and "profit-at-all-costs" (PAAC) model of youth and high school sports led us? Studies have shown that one-third of all kids in sports drop out each year, and 80 percent drop out of sports completely between the ages 12 and 16.

The bottom line is, during the midst of a physical inactivity and obesity crisis, we're using a WAAC and PAAC-based sports model for our young people that's failing to build a lifetime love of sport and physical fitness.

We must do better.

Source: Huffington Post


The Rising Costs of Youth Sports, in Money and Emotion

John Amaechi first picked up a basketball when he was 17, after suffering through years of playing rugby in England. He soon left for Ohio to finish high school. Six years later, he started at center for the Cleveland Cavaliers and went on to have a solid N.B.A. career.

Mike Trombley, a quarterback and a pitcher in high school, went to Duke University without an athletic scholarship. He made the baseball team and was drafted in his junior year by the Minnesota Twins, pitching for 11 seasons.

And Travis Dorsch never would have thought to play football had he not scored a goal in soccer from midfield as a boy in Montana. A friend suggested he consider becoming a kicker. He got a scholarship to Purdue University, where he earned All-American honors and went on to kick for the Cincinnati Bengals.

These men represent the dreams of many children — and more often their parents. They excelled in the three sports many children play, used that ability to play in college (and often pay for it) and then had lucrative professional careers. But these three athletes, now in their 30s and 40s and from different backgrounds, agree on one thing: The way youth sports are played today bears no resemblance to their childhoods, and the money, time and energy that parents spend is probably misplaced.

After years of playing rugby, John Amaechi first picked up a basketball when he was 17. He went on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Credit Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times

Mr. Dorsch, who is now an assistant professor at Utah State University, where his research involves parents' engagement in their children's sports, said that spending on sports has grown so high — up to 10.5 percent of gross income in his research — that it is hurting family harmony.

"A family bringing in $50,000 a year could be spending $5,500," he said. "Without being judgy, I'm fine with families spending that kind of money. What's wrong is when that investment brings out some sort of negative parent behavior. Or if the kid says mom and dad are spending $10,000 on me a year, what are they expecting in return? Is it a college scholarship? The chances are slim to none of a kid getting a scholarship."

With travel teams and indoor versions of outdoor sports now in full swing, some former top athletes and even the coaches who feed parents' obsessions are encouraging caution. The willingness to spend heavily — in money, time, emotion and a childhood — needs to be looked at more carefully, they say.

The financial cost is easy to see. This weekend, 135 young quarterbacks from 36 states will fly to Los Angeles for a two-day camp with Steve Clarkson, a sought-after quarterback coach. Parents of these children, from third through 12th grade, will pay about $800 each, not including airfare, hotel and other expenses.

Mr. Clarkson, who had a limited professional career, opened his Dreammaker Academy in 1986 and has since coached top N.F.L. quarterbacks, like Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also worked with the youngest quarterback known to receive a scholarship offer to a big-time football program, David Sills, who committed to the University of Southern California at 13, though he ultimately enrolled at West Virginia University this year.

In addition to camps around the country and his work with professional quarterbacks, Mr. Clarkson also offers private coaching starting at $400 an hour. Parents pay it and their children attend, even though Mr. Clarkson acknowledges that expectations can sometimes be out of whack.

"What I hope parents understand is that there are some three million high school players and by the time they scale that down to the quarterback position there are a couple of hundred thousand starters," he said. "Then you get to Division I and II, and there are 360 quarterbacks. When you get to the N.F.L. there are 64. When you think about the odds, that's not very good odds."

Even so, he said, football can provide children with opportunities they might not have had otherwise. Mr. Trombley agreed, saying he looked at baseball and football as sports that might get him into a better college than he would otherwise.

"There is no question that baseball got me into Duke University," he said. "I think I lucked out making it a profession. It just kind of happened by accident. It wasn't all or nothing. We stress that with our kids: it's wonderful to play a sport, but it could go away."

Yet today, Mr. Trombley, 47, a financial adviser in his hometown, Wilbraham, Mass., laments that the highest level of youth sports may be out of reach for many children. He said the farthest he ever traveled for a game was a couple of towns over, but recently his family drove hours to a weekend-long high school tournament in New Jersey.

"Some people are not in the financial situation to pay for their kid to do it," he said. "I think sometimes kids aren't playing multiple sports anymore because it's just too expensive."

Financial costs are easy to quantify. There are also the injuries and the psychological scars.

Mr. Amaechi, who was a reluctant athlete until he was introduced to basketball, said he thought parents were misguided when they justified spending so much time and money on sports to teach their children life lessons.

"Sport teaches what we want it to teach," he said. "If you want it to teach about teamwork you can teach that through sports. If you want it to teach about social justice it can. It just takes an awful lot of effort."

Mr. Amaechi cited a study of 4,000 British children conducted by Britain's Child Protection in Sport Unit that found that 75 percent of the respondents reported various types of psychological harm, like feeling diminished or undermined by coaches and teammates. This was compared with 2 to 5 percent who reported sexual abuse.

Of course, plenty of adults have fond memories of playing sports. But Bob Bigelow, who was a first-round N.B.A. draft pick in 1975 and is the author of "Just Let the Kids Play," said many of those memories probably came from playing with friends in unstructured, playground games. The first time he was on an organized basketball team was his freshman year in high school.

"I live up here in ice hockey central," he said of Winchester, Mass. "One of the hockey coaches up here told me there is no more cynical or delusional an adult than the parent of a 16-year-old kid who is pretty good but is not going to get a scholarship. The parents have spent all this money and they still have to pay for college."

Mr. Bigelow, who played for the Boston Celtics and the Clippers when the team was in San Diego, reserves his greatest ire for the coaches and administrators who run the leagues and are often the parents who have the greatest stake in their children's athletic futures.

"The biggest challenge of youth sports in this country is so many of the adults who propagate the culture have no background in child development or physical education," he said. "Their background is they played high school sports somewhere and they watch ESPN. Those are the two worst qualifications, ever."

More qualified coaches would seem to be the answer. But despite all the money and time parents spend on sports, coaches in many communities are held to a lower standard than educators.

"Coaches are allowed to be emotionally illiterate," Mr. Amaechi said. "I've watched as a coach stood screaming inches from the face of a girl and the parents were in the stands and instead of being incensed they continued screaming at her when she came to them.

"All you need to do to see what sport gets wrong is flip that scenario indoors and make that coach a French teacher," he continued. "Your French teacher is inches away from your child's face and screaming because she can't conjugate a verb? Parents would stand by and allow that? No, they'd be incensed."

Mark Hyman, an assistant professor at George Washington University who has written books on youth sports, said that parents whose goal is to give their children the best chance in life or to get them a scholarship to college were not looking at the statistics.

"Parents think these investments are justified; they think it will lead to a full ride to college," he said. "That's highly misinformed. The percentage of high school kids who go on to play in college is extremely small. In most sports it's under 5 percent. And the number for kids getting school aid is even smaller — it's 3 percent."

His advice? "What I tell parents is if you want to get a scholarship for your kids, you're better off investing in a biology tutor than a quarterback coach," he said. "There's much more school dollars for academics."

Source: New York Times


Tiny Oakfield Wisconsin Cultivates Softball Dynasty

It's not a simple coincidence when a school with an enrollment slightly over 100 students wins four state titles in six years.

Those types of things don't just happen in the world of sports.

Oakfield High School has an enrollment of 116 students, yet it's claimed four state softball titles since 2009 -- by far the most in the state in that time period. Stevens Point and Luxemburg-Casco both have two since then.

The Oaks have five state softball titles in all -- four in Division 4 and one in Division 3 -- and 11 state tournament appearances, all since 1995. So, just how does a community this small maintain such a level of excellence? Is there something in the water? Maybe some magic in those distinctive pinstriped pants?

A much simpler reason presents itself and is one that's pretty obvious when it comes to small-town sports. As Oakfield girls grow up, they watch the success the softball team has and envision themselves doing the same thing when they're older. They start young, learn the proper fundamentals and work hard.

Success breeds success, a saying that's evident in the Oakfield softball program.

"We have really strong youth programs," Oakfield senior McKaela Ryan said. "We start from a very young age and all of our youth programs are basically successful and we just carry it on into high school. Everyone works hard for it and I think everyone knows that the high school team is good, so we look forward to getting to fill those roles."

Ryan was the ace pitcher for last year's WIAA Division 4 state title squad, earning the win in the Oaks' 7-3 victory over Cochrane-Fountain City in the championship game.

Senior teammate Madelyn Ryan, a distant cousin of McKaela's and the centerfielder for last year's team, points out that there's a sense of pride involved. The reputation of Oakfield softball precedes the program every year and no one wants to be the one who fails to back it up.

"Pride I think is a big one," Madelyn Ryan said. "You want to keep that name going. Especially this year as seniors, we haven't lost conference in I don't know how many years and we already said we're not going to be the first team to lose a game in conference."

However, going from grade-school girl in the stands to varsity athlete on the field doesn't come easily just because Oakfield is in your address. The fundamentals of softball are drilled into players at an early age. Finding fundamentally sound softball teams is not as easy as it sounds. Executing the basics -- a throw from third to first, a sacrifice bunt -- can be the difference between a winning and losing program.

The Oaks may not be flashy, but they do all the little things to perfection.

"We start our kids out with the proper fundamentals right at the beginning and every year we put on a clinic for our rec coaches and that allows them to see what we're doing and what we'd like worked on and they've been pretty receptive to that," Oakfield softball coach Mike Urban said. "The one thing that we are strong in is fundamentals. I feel that's very important."

"I think that's a big thing too is softball -- people don't think it's a hard sport, but because you know the fundamentals everything else comes easier," Madelyn Ryan added. "Fundamentals, the drills, we just know them by now."

With the amount of success the Oaks have experienced over the past two decades, and specifically the last six years, they are almost expected to win or at least qualify for state every season. That's a lot of pressure for a bunch of high school kids, but it's a situation they relish.

"Because it is a tradition to go and win state, it's sort of expected of us now," McKaela Ryan said. "There's a lot of pressure and I guess it's easier said than done, but it's a really great experience."

In the end, there's really nothing special about Oakfield or why it's so successful on the softball diamond. Like any great program, it has kids that grew up watching the sport, found inspiration and did whatever it took to put themselves in position to make their dreams happen. Small town or large, that's a winning combination.

"We're pretty much like everybody else," Urban said. "We've got good kids, our kids work very hard at it. They spend time with it. When the kids get down to Madison and Goodman Diamond (for state) and they see how much fun and what's that like -- the atmosphere down there, you can talk to the next class coming into the high school as freshmen or whatever, they want to get there. When they see how hard these kids work and what it takes, they too will want to do what it takes to get to state."

Source: Fond du Lac Reporter


Wessel honored for 30 years of officiating

Osakis' Dan Wessel has been an official for wrestling, baseball, softball and football for more than three decades and the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) recently recognized him for the countless hours he has put in.

Dan Wessel

Wessel received a plaque for 30 years of officiating in an effort by the MSHSL to recognize longtime officials during a time when finding them is becoming more difficult. Wessel said the message from the league is that there is a shortage of officials across Minnesota in a lot of sports and they are searching for ways to get people involved.

Wessel has never got burned out from the sometimes four nights a week he is on the road to referee a game or match.

"I like giving back to the sport," Wessel said. "I like the spirit of competition ... just being around the coaches and the players. It kind of gives you a good feeling; kind of keeps you young."

Not even a scare for his life on May 22, 2103 could slow him down. Wessel went into cardiac arrest while umpiring a playoff softball game that day. The quick response by three fans in the stands who were trained in CPR saved his life when they rushed onto the field and revived him through CPR before an ambulance got there.

Wessel said he is feeling good health-wise but is stepping away from officiating wrestling matches because of the more physical nature of covering that sport.

"I'm just retiring from wrestling because of health reasons, but going to continue with baseball, softball and football," Wessel said. "[My health] has been really good. I struggled all summer with the decision on whether or not to officiate wrestling. Talking to the doctor, he said, ‘Dan, if you pull one of those wires on that defibrillator, we start all over again.' With being up and down on the matt, I just didn't think I should do that anymore."

As for those other sports, Wessel has no plans on slowing down after 30-plus years on the job.

"As long as my health is good, I plan on doing a full schedule," he said.

Source: Osakis Review


Pushy sports parents often end up as the losers

Youth sports long have been seen as a ticket to a college scholarship, and as college costs go ever higher, many parents are putting more pressure on their children to snag some of that cash.

"It's become a win-at-all-costs culture," said Jason Sacks, executive director of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded at Stanford University.

As the stakes grow, parents push harder, sending their kids to sports camps and buying them the newest gear -- expenses that up the ante and make the parents even more focused on their youngsters' success.

In the end, it's the children who are the ones losing, according to Sacks. Seventy percent of children drop out of sports by age 13, and a big reason is that their parents are putting too much pressure on them.

"Parents are putting in all this money and time," he said, "and they think that if they put it all in, they'll see a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a college scholarship."

There's a balance between encouraging a child's athletic interests and stressing him or her out by becoming a second coach. Some coaching associations are encouraging parents to take a gentler role in the hope that children will be happier and healthier team players.

In a July study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, researchers interviewed children who played organized soccer and found that having fun was the primary reason for their participation. Other top reasons included learning and improving, developing team friendships and participating in team rituals.

Winning ended up way down the list. Out of 81 determinants that make playing sports enjoyable, the children rated winning 48th, said Amanda Visek, lead author of the study and associate professor of sports psychology at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

"While surprising, this is positive," she said. "Sports by definition includes competition, and the outcome of a competition results in winning and losing. But the findings from our study highlight that the fun experience is not determined by the end result of a game but rather by the process of physically engaging in the game."

Parents still can be highly involved with a child's team without pressuring or pushing, said Wendy Grolnick, co-author of "Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Dealing With Competition While Raising a Successful Child" and a professor of psychology at Clark University in Massachusetts. In fact, it's when they find balance that their children are most likely to enjoy sports and to persist at them.

"Being involved is great, but it is important to do so in a way that is not pressuring," Grolnick said. "I like to say that parents should be just behind the child, matching their level of interest to that of the child."

Those interests should not be marred by whether your child won or lost a game, said Alan Goldberg, a Massachusetts-based sports psychology consultant and author of "This Is Your Brain on Sports." Instead, parents should give consistent support regardless of the outcome of the game, he said, because the actual outcome isn't important to the child.

Be of good cheer

"Most parents lose sight of that," he said. "You want to go to your kid's games, to enjoy the experience, to cheer for them and for every one of their teammates and to be a good role model."

Many parents push their children too much, thinking they are doing the right thing when, in fact, they are causing damage, Goldberg said. They're creating performance problems that can be avoided if they simply stay quiet and calm and happily cheer on their little athlete from the sidelines, he explained.

It's especially important to show the right level of support after the game if your child loses or doesn't do as well as he or she envisioned, said Bruce Brown, co-founder of Proac tive Coaching, a company based in Washington state that coaches other coaches.

Brown, who has coached football, baseball, volleyball and basketball, always asked his players what their best and worst memories were so he could continue what he was doing right and fix what he was doing wrong. Consistently, he found that their worst memories had nothing to do with him; it happened during the car ride home after practice or a game, when their parents would grill them about their performance.

"What they really need is time and space," Brown said. "The more competitive the kid, the more time and space they need."

Parents also should be alert to signs of emotional strain such as headaches, stomachaches and fatigue that might be indications that it's time to re-evaluate whether the sport is too stressful, Grolnick said. This would be a good time to sit down with a child to see if he or she wants to cut back or switch to a different team or league.

After all, it's supposed to be fun.

Source: Star Tribune


Athletes who compete in three sports still have a chance to thrive

Not too long ago, it was commonplace for prep athletes to compete in three sports.

Today, it is still common in small schools, but its starting to fade away in bigger schools. Somewhere along the line, it was determined that athletes need to focus on one sport and one sport only if they wanted a chance at playing in college, especially if they wanted to earn a scholarship.

Despite that notion, there is still plenty of room for 3-sport athletes in high school sports.

Just this past fall, Blooming Prairie seniors Madison Worke and Taylor Hagen signed to play college basketball while earning scholarships. Worke, who played volleyball, basketball and softball at BP, signed with Division II Winona State University, and Hagen, who played volleyball, basketball and competed in track and field at BP, signed with Division I Northern Iowa University.

Worke and Hagen aren't alone either. Lyle-Pacelli's Jordan Hart, who plays football, basketball and baseball with the Athletics, earned a scholarship to play baseball at Minnesota State-Mankato, Southland grad Alan May, who played football, basketball and baseball for the Rebels, was the No. 2 wide recover at Winona State this past fall and Hayfield grad Dani Wagner, who played volleyball, basketball and softball for the Vikings, is on the Minnesota Gopher softball team.

The fact of the matter is, if you're a good athlete, colleges are probably going to find you and playing more than one sport probably isn't going to hurt you. A lot of colleges do most of their recruiting at AAU games and camps in the summer anyways, so students might as well take advantage of their time in high school where they can compete in multiple sports. Competing in different sports makes athletes more versatile and well rounded, and it also gives them a chance to compete year-round for their school.

If Worke never played softball, she never would've been part of a state championship team in 2013 and if May had never played baseball, he would've missed out on two state tournament appearances in that sport with the Rebels.

There's also the camaraderie that athletes get from competing together year round. They grow closer and build stronger friendships that may last a lifetime.

Obviously there are some cases where an athlete may not want to compete in different sports, because they don't care for them or they fear injury. But if you're a high school kid who loves more than one sport, but wants to compete at the college level, you should never be afraid to compete in all of the sports that you love.

If an athlete is good enough, chances are they'll be found by a college that is willing to give them a chance.

Source: Austin Daily Herald


Rochester awarded 2016 ASA Softball Northern National

A few weeks ago Rochester was awarded a 2016 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Northern National Fastpitch tournament for 10B, 12A and 18A age groups.

The 2016 Northern National is set to take place Aug. 4-7 and should draw 40 to 60 teams from across the Midwest.

Rochester has hosted an ASA Fastpitch Northern National in each of the past six years and has developed a great relationship with ASA. We are not only fortunate to have this event back in 2016 but look to make the event better every year.

Rochester has received national attention from ASA, having been the recipient of the James Farrell award which is given to cities who have run the highest-quality ASA tournaments. We were awarded the James Farrell once again for our work on the 2014 Northern National this past summer.

Recently, I was in Reno for my first experience at the ASA annual convention. At the convention, all the national and territory tournaments are awarded. As you can imagine, bringing these tournaments to your city becomes extremely competitive. The economic impact of bringing these teams to your city is something that becomes extremely attractive.

As with a lot of the groups we work with, building relationships and maintaining those relationships is important with ASA in particular. Having the support of the people within your territory and more importantly within your state, is something that becomes important when you need support to win a bid. Being able to experience this for myself was a learning process to say the least.

Depending on the year, several cities in your area could be bidding on the same tournament. Having these relationships and generating support becomes a large part of the process. This may even mean working to create a win/win scenario for multiple cities or lending support to another city for another tournament in hopes they lend you support in return.

Either way, it can become extremely challenging to work through the obstacles that present themselves from year to year to make sure Rochester positions themselves to receive a national tournament.

We have been fortunate to have great support from our city, which helps us go above and beyond in hosting quality tournaments. With a tournament this size it takes a large group of quality people to create a great experience from scorekeepers to field maintenance staff.

As we move forward, we will continue to strengthen our relationship with ASA and work to continue to bring ASA tournaments to Rochester in the future.

Source: Rochester Post Bulletin


St Cloud State Univ to host Kelly Laas Memorial Invite

The Kelly Laas Memorial Invite NSIC/MIAA Crossover  will be held Thursday, February 19 through Sunday February 22, 2015 in the Husky Dome on the campus of St. Cloud State University.

 Teams Participating are Concordia-St. Paul, Emporia State, Central Missouri, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State Mankato, Missouri Western, Augustana College, UN-Kearney, Wayne State College, Fort Hays State.

Admission Prices

Pre-purchase your tickets now online at

Adult: 4-Day Pass Purchased only Online at $30.00 (Savings $10)
Adult: Single Day Pass Online or at the Gate $10.00
K-12 4-Day Pass Purchased only Online at $10.00 (Savings $10)
K-12 Single Day Pass Online or at the Gate $5.00
SCSU Students FREE with Valid ID
5 and Under Free

Special Team Pricing is Available!

General Information and Game Schedule