Thursday, April 26, 2018

MCAC and USA High School Clay Target League Form Partnership

MINNESOTA  –  The Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) has teamed up with the League to offer a  new sanctioned varsity sport - Clay Target - to begin in Fall 2018.

Trap shooting is the shooting sport of choice for the MCAC’s Clay Target offering, in which a team of 5 take turns shooting at clay targets traveling at over 40mph. Students will compete ‘virtually’ by shooting at their local shooting range and uploading their scores to the League for tracking.

Clay Target is fully Title IX compliant with both male and female athletes competing on the same team. Additionally it’s an ‘adaptive’ sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part.

The League is assisting the MCAC to craft the Clay Target Sports Code to help form the program, and will provide leadership, administration, and interactive support. A 6-week fall season will start in late-August and conclude with the MCAC Clay Target Championship in mid-October.

As a part of their status as a varsity sport within the Conference, participating Minnesota College Athletic Conference colleges will require student athletes to complete a minimum number of enrollment credits and meet GPA standards to participate on a team.

“With the success of the USAHSCTL, we have always envisioned the League growing to provide shooting sport programs for colleges,” said League Vice-President John Nelson. “Our partnership with the MCAC is just the first of an exciting new path of post-secondary education and activity opportunities for graduating high school student athletes that have enjoyed the Clay Target League for so many years.”

MCAC Executive Director Peter Watkins notes that Clay Target offers a chance to engage a new population for the athletic departments of colleges. “It allows schools to expand their ‘brand’ and school pride to a whole new population in and around their communities.” Watkins said. “Clay Target student athletes and their families are connecting with the school, buying sweatshirts, coming onto campus more often, and learning about the education options at the colleges, much like we see in other sport populations.”

The USA High School Clay Target League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the independent provider of shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades 6 through 12. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order. Nationwide, nearly 22,000 student athletes representing over 800 school-approved teams participate in the League.

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is comprised of over 20 public, two-year Community and Technical Colleges across the state of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, and is committed to providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NDSU Football Team to Be Recognized at Target Field Saturday

FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota State University's national championship football team will be recognized prior to this Saturday afternoon's baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The NDSU players will be introduced before the game and will be represented in a pre-game home run derby and highlight video in the stadium.  NDSU quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Game time is 1:10 p.m. and gates open two hours early.  The first 20,000 fans receive a Twins cap.  For ticket information, visit

Fans can also mark their calendars for NDSU Night at Target Field on Thursday, Aug. 16, when the Twins host the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m.  Custom yellow and green NDSU Twins caps will be available for fans with a valid NDSU ticket package with a portion of proceeds supporting the NDSU Alumni Association.

Target Field will be the site of North Dakota State's 2019 football season opener. The Bison will take on Butler University in a non-conference game scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31, which is the Labor Day weekend that year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MN Lynx Complete 2018 Training Camp Roster

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today finalized the team’s 2018 training camp roster by signing 2018 draft selections Jill Barta and Carlie Wagner as well as signing forwards G’mrice (Juh-MARE-us) Davis and Camille Zimmerman and center Vionise (vee-uh-NEECE) Pierre-Louis. Minnesota’s roster now stands at 18 players.
Barta became the sixth player in program history to be named the West Coast Conference player of the year after averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals in her final season at Gonzaga. In her three-season stint, the Fairfield, Montana native amassed 1,620 career points, 449 rebounds and 130 steals. She hold a school records with seven 30-point games and rebounds in a single game (22, Nov. 23 vs. Belmont).
At the University of Minnesota, Wagner averaged 18.7 points, on 43.2% shooting, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in her senior season. She collected 2,215 career points in 129 career games for the Gophers. The New Richland, Minnesota native finished her Gopher career ranked third on the all-time career scoring list and second in three-pointers made (307), three-pointers attempted (880), field goal attempts (2,109) and games in double figures (114).
Davis, a 6-2 forward from Fordham University, finished her final season second in the country with 10.2 defensive rebounds per contest, third with 13.4 rebounds per game and 27 double-doubles, and fourth with 429 total boards. The Philadelphia native became the second player in school history to record over 1,000 career points and rebounds, finishing with 1,497 career points and 1,199 rebounds, ranked fourth and second, respectively.
A Lake Worth, Florida native, Pierre-Louis averaged a team-high 15.9 points, on 61.1 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in her senior campaign with the University of Oklahoma. She finished her career with the Sooners ranked third all-time with 221 blocks and a 56.2 field goal percentage and added averages of 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Zimmerman, a 6-1 forward from Mesa, Arizona, completed her career at Columbia University ranked fourth in Ivy League history in career points (1,973) while averaging 19.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in her senior season. She was the first player in program history to earn multiple All-Ivy First Team honors (2017 and 2018).  
The Minnesota Lynx will announce the team’s training camp plans at a later date.
The Lynx will tip off the team’s 20th season in the WNBA with their home opener – including the 2017 Championship banner and ring ceremony – on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m. at Target Center. Full-season memberships, which include tickets to all 17 home games, priority playoff seating and the ability to purchase tickets to the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game, are still available by visiting or by calling 612-673-8400.
Seimone Augustus
Louisiana State '06
Jill Barta
Gonzaga ‘18
Rebekkah Brunson
Georgetown '04
G’mrice Davis
Fordham '18
Temi Fagbenle*
USC '17
Sylvia Fowles
Louisiana State '08
Alexis Jones
Baylor '17
Lynetta Kizer
Maryland '12
Endy Miyem*
Maya Moore*
Connecticut '11
Vionise Pierre-Louis
Oklahoma '18
Breanna Richardson
Mississippi State '17
Danielle Robinson
Oklahoma '11
Carlie Wagner
Minnesota '18
Lindsay Whalen
Minnesota '04
Tanisha Wright
Penn State '05
Cecilia Zandalasini*
Camille Zimmerman
Columbia '18
*Fagbenle, Miyem, Moore and Zandalasini will be late arrivals to camp due to overseas team commitments

Monday, April 9, 2018

UND Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018

GRAND FORKS, N.D. –University of North Dakota Director of Athletics Bill Chaves and UND Letterwinners Association President Todd Schaefer announced today the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Dean Blais (head hockey coach, 1994-2004; assistant hockey coach 1980-89), Dawn [Dakken] Jacobson (golf, 1995-98), Becky [Leppard] Erickson (cross country/track & field, 1997-2001) and Phillip Moore (football, 1995-98) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1999-2000 national championship men’s hockey team will be inducted in the team category.

Additionally, highly-decorated prep coach Greg LaDouceur will receive the Tom Clifford Award, while longtime UND benefactors Dave and Diane Bender will be recognized with the Honorary Letterwinner Award.

The 44th annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a dinner and induction ceremony on Friday, Sept. 21. The Class of 2018 will be recognized the following day during halftime of UND’s Homecoming/Hall of Fame football game against Idaho State, which is also the 53rd annual Potato Bowl USA game.

“I am honored as President of the UND Letterwinners Association to announce the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees,” said Schaefer, a former UND golf letterwinner and a 2000 Hall of Fame inductee. “The Hall of Fame honorees have earned the highest athletic honor at the University of North Dakota. On behalf of the UND Letterwinners Association, we congratulate the inductees on their amazing athletic careers and accomplishments.”

This year's four inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND's Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 255, while the 2000 men’s hockey team is the 39th team to be recognized.

UND Hall of Fame Class of 2018:
Dean Blais | Hockey | 1980-89, 1994-2004: Served as head coach from 1994-95 to 2003-04 and led UND to national championships in 1996-97 and 1999-2000 … Amassed a record of 262-115-33 (.679), ranking second in program history in wins and winning percentage … Guided UND to MacNaughton Cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champion in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2004 … Also won WCHA playoff titles in 1997 and 2000 … Two-time recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as the national coach of the year (1997, 2001) … Three-time WCHA Coach of the Year … Coached eight Hobey Baker Award finalists and 17 All-Americans … Served as an assistant coach from 1980-81 to 1980-89 and helped lead UND to NCAA titles in 1982 and 1987 … Later served as associate head coach of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (2004-06), general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force (2007-09) and head coach of the University of Nebraska Omaha (2009-2017) … Also guided the United States to a gold medal as head coach at the 2010 World Junior Championships.

Dawn [Dakken] Jacobson | Golf | 1995-98: Two-time North Central Conference individual champion, winning outright in 1997-98 and tying for the title in 1995-96 … Led North Dakota to the NCC team championship in 1997-98 after a runner-up finish one year earlier … Helped the program to a third-place conference showing in 1995-96 after it returned from an eight-year hiatus … Earned All-NCC honors in each of her three years … Qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1995-06 … Led UND to a team berth in the 1997-98 NCAA Tournament.

Becky [Leppard] Erickson | Cross Country, Track & Field | 1997-2001: Earned nine All-America honors, the most of any individual in the history of UND women’s track & field … Graduated with six school records to her name … A 12-time North Central Conference champion in the middle-distance and distance events … Set the NCC outdoor record in the 1,500-meters … Four-time national runner-up in the 1,500-meters and mile run and the 2000 national runner-up in cross country … Led UND to a runner-up team finish at the 2000 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship … The 1998 North Central Region Cross Country Athlete of the Year … A finalist for NCAA Division II Athlete of the Year in 1998 … Two-time recipient of UND’s Grace Rhonemus Female Athlete of the Year Award … Named NCAA Woman of the Year for the state of North Dakota as a senior … NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient in 2001.
Phillip Moore | Football | 1995-98: NCAA Division II All-America running back as a junior and senior and was an honorable mention as a sophomore … Two-time finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in NCAA DII football … Graduated as UND’s all-time leader in rushing yards (5,697), rushing attempts (1,101), rushing touchdowns (51), total touchdowns (53) and all-purpose yards (5,857, since broken) … Also set NCC records for career rushing yards (4,892, later broken), career rushing attempts (88), single-season rushing attempts (294) and single-season rushing yards (later broken) … Owns the top two single-season rushing performances in UND history: 1,771 yards in 1997 and 1,722 in 1998 … Broke UND’s single-game rushing record three times over his final two years, including a high of 282 yards against Augustana on Nov. 7, 1998 (since broken) … Helped UND win an NCC title as a freshman in 1998 and played on two NCAA Division II Playoffs qualifiers (1995, 1998).

1999-2000 Men’s Hockey Team: The Dean Blais-coached team won the program’s seventh national championship and its second in a span of four years … Finished 31-8-5 overall and added a WCHA playoff title … Junior F Jeff Panzer was a Hobey Baker finalist and first-team All-American after tying for second nationally with 65 points … Junior G Karl Goehring joined Panzer on the All-America First Team … Senior F Lee Goren led the nation with 34 goals and was a second-team All-American … Goren was the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tourney team by Goehring, junior D Mike Commodore and junior F Bryan Lundbohm … Twenty-one players went on to play professionally, including five who reached the NHL: Commodore, Goren, Ryan Bayda, Brad DeFauw and Travis Roche.

Thomas J. Clifford Award
The Clifford Award, established to honor former UND President Thomas J. Clifford, recognizes the UND alumni who serve as athletics coaches at the high school or collegiate level and have been notably successful in their sport.
Greg LaDouceur: A 1989 graduate of UND and earned his master’s degree in 1999 … Has spent the last 28 years as a high school tennis coach, currently serving at Red River High School in Grand Forks … Has won 16 boys state championships and five girls state titles … A seven-time North Dakota Tennis Coach of the Year … The 2012 National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) Tennis Coach of the Year … Inducted into the North Dakota High School Coaches Association (NDHSCA) Hall of Fame in 2016.

Honorary Letterwinner Award
The Letterwinners Association Honorary Award is given upon official action by the club's Executive Committee to persons who, in the opinion of the committee, have contributed significantly to the furtherance of UND Athletics.
Dave & Diane Bender: Longtime contributors of UND Athletics, both are retired from the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (now Ally Financial) … Dave is a 1974 graduate of UND … Established the Pay It Forward program, in which the first year of North Dakota Champions Club membership is sponsored for every graduating student-athlete … Co-established the Brown/Bender Basketball Fund in 1991 to assist the men’s basketball program … Also co-funded the Betty Englestad Sioux Center weight room when the facility opened in 2004 … Began annual contributions to UND Athletics in 1977 by joining the North Dakota Champions Club (formerly the Fighting Sioux Club and the Big Green Club).

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proudly sponsored by the UND Letterwinners Association, will be held on Sept. 21 in the Alerus Center ballroom. For ticket information, please contact Val Sussex at 701.777.2611 or at