National, Sports, St. Cloud State, St. Cloud State, Top Stories — May 7, 2020 at 7:38 pm

St. Cloud State recognized for community service efforts


Five teams rank nationally for community service along with athletic rankings

For the third consecutive year, the St. Cloud State University athletics department was recognized as one of the top in the nation in terms of community service. The Huskies recorded a high finish in the NCAA Division II Teamworks  HelperHelper competition. They Huskies ranked No. 28 in the country for their community service during the 2019-2020 year.

St. Cloud State additionally saw five teams rank in the top-10 in individual sports rankings. These sports included Huskies softball, men’s hockey, wrestling, and both men’s and women’s swim and dive teams.

Steve Costanzo, Huskies wrestling head coach comments on the pride his team carries in these accolades.

“Huskies wrestling is proud to hear that they have received a number #1 ranking in the NCAA HelperHelper team competition,” said Costanzo.  “Our program takes pride in the overall development of our student-wrestlers, not just on the mat, but off.  One of the top pillars in our program is community involvement. I appreciate all of the efforts this past year by our student-wrestlers.”

The NCAA TeamWorks  and HelperHelper created the community competition in 2014-2015 to recognize student-athletes for their contributions in their communities. The winning schools are narrowed down by the number of service hours completed, along with the participation from the student athletes. This has been a successful program, but it was cut short in the 2019-2020 academic year due to COVID-19.

Along with the wrestling team, softball head coach Paula U’Ren is pleased with the efforts of her team

“Recognized as the #1 softball team in NCAA DII Helper-Helper and the #2 overall NCAA women’s program is a statement to the type of excellent student-athletes we have in our Huskies Softball program,” commented U’Ren. “Community service comes naturally to our SCSU student-athletes. As a whole, all our athletic teams do an outstanding job of giving back to our communities and it is a part of our culture. It provides leadership opportunities, role-model experiences, and impacts the next generation of youth in sports.”

St. Cloud State Athletics volunteers and works with major organizations such as the St. Cloud Miracle League, Special Olympics Polar Plunge, Make-A-Wish, and Toys for Tots. On a smaller scale, they also work along side youth sports teams and at senior living facilities within the area. In total at the Division II level, teams logged 36,174 hours participating in about 1000 service opportunities in the shortened school year. This articulates the dedication and care the St. Cloud State Athletics Department has for their community.

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