The NAIA has announced the second year of the NAIA National Championship Host Excellence Awards. Seven honors were awarded to championship site hosts that have gone above and beyond in their execution of their event during the 2017-18 school year. These hosts provided the student-athletes with a championship experience that they will remember for a lifetime.

The hallmark to the NAIA National Championship events is the opening student-athlete experience. The event is expected to create a memorable experience for the student-athletes as well as being a showcase for the host city.

“Our hosts deserve every bit of recognition for all of the work that they put into making our NAIA Championships better each year,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “The 2017-18 season is no exception with another outstanding group of hosts that did an excellent job of creating experiences for our student-athletes that will last a lifetime.”

For the first time in NAIA wrestling championship history, Catch Des Moines put together a student-athlete experience event. The 2018 Wrestling National Championship participants were invited to the Iowa Hall of Pride the day prior to the start of the championships.

“We are honored to receive the 2018 Best NAIA Student-Athlete Experience Event award – our team strived to create the best student-athlete experience possible during the 2018 Wrestling Championships,” said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of Catch Des Moines. “Events included athlete check-in and special reception at the Iowa Hall of Pride. This featured nearly 50 exhibits that exemplify the five Core Values of the NAIA; integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. We included a meet and-greet with Olympic Gold medalist and legendary Coach Dan Gable that seemed to be a highlight for many NAIA student-athletes.”

In addition, Grand View University was awarded Best New NAIA Championship Host for the 2018 Men’s Volleyball Invitational.

“We are thrilled to hear Grand View University received this award,” said Katie Fencl, CSEE Vice President of Conventions, Sports & Services at Catch Des Moines. “The dedication of the Grand View program and staff is beyond measure – they worked tirelessly to host a top-notch event that was evident in every detail throughout the invitational.”

Other Championship Host Awards

Best NAIA Championship Host – Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho), Baseball

NAIA Championship Legacy Award – Glenn Walinski, Tyson Event Center

Best NAIA Championship Venue – Sanford Sports Complex, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Best NAIA Champions of Character Event – DI Men’s Basketball “Teaming up for Character” program

Best NAIA Championship Hotel – Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort