Saturday Augustana College and University of Sioux Falls are shedding sweat, tears—and eventually blood—in a battle for the Mayor's Cup.
On the steps of City Hall Monday, Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether along with Augustana College and the University of Sioux Falls announced the Mayor's Cup all sport challenge between the city's Division II colleges.
The Mayor's Cup was sparked from USF Director of Athletics Kevin Hessen, who said Bill Miller, Augustana College Director of Athletics, also had in mind.
"USF and Augie were right on the same page of getting this started," Hessen said at Monday's press conference.
The challenge includes all sports along with academics and community service. A total of 19 points are up for grabs to extend the rivalry throughout the year. Each year a single point is awarded to whichever school wins an athletic event sponsored by University of Sioux Falls and Augustana College.
USF Athletic Director Kevin Hessen said the points are portioned so each sport is counted equally. Hessen said Saturday's game is worth one point, but portioned points are awarded for competitions involving sports that play multiple times throughout the year. Hessen used double-headers for softball and baseball as an example. A half-point is awarded for each game.
Points are also awarded for the highest student-athlete grade point average, and the schools will be competing for two points during two community service projects during the course of the year. Hessen said this year the schools are hosting simultaneous blood drives and a point is awarded to the school receiving the most donations.
The Mayor's Cup is not the only challenge of its kind. University of Iowa and Iowa State University, Arizona and Arizona State and Clemson and South Carolina have similar challenges. However, Hessen said this challenge is unique because it involves two schools in one community.
While the event is primarily sports driven, at Monday's press conference Mayor Huether stressed the importance of the USF-Augie rivalry—one for which the mayor says they have been chomping at the bit.
"We want to tell you about a new competition, that I'm incredibly excited about, that will bring a whole new level of excitement to the City of Sioux Falls," Huether said. "It will bring out the best in education, it will bring out the best in stewardship, it will bring out the best in teamwork, and, yes, the best in competition."
Throughout the press conference the mayor and the two colleges stressed the importance of community over competition. Augustana College Director of Athletics Bill Gross was not able to attend Monday's press conference, but Associate Athletic Director Jeff Holm read a statement from Gross:
"The true value of the Mayor's Cup extends well beyond the athletic competition between these two institutions. The true value of the Mayor's Cup is informing and promoting the community of Sioux Falls and how great it is to have these two schools in this town."
The Vikings' and Cougars' football teams meet up for the first time since 1986. And in the first bout the teams are strapping on more than pads to their shoulders. Augustana Football Head Coach Mike Aldrich said it is now a competition for the community.
"This Mayor's Cup is a pretty good thing, because it's so inclusive not just for both schools in all sports but also for the community itself," Aldrich said. "It helps to foster a foundation in this community for these two schools and I think it's a good friendly rivalry from that aspect."
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