The softball field at Open Space Park in Sioux Center has been named best in the nation in its class by the Sports Turf Managers Association.

The diamond was picked as Softball Field of the Year at the K-12 schools and parks level across the United States. It is the second field in Iowa to ever receive national honors in its class. The first was Jack Trice Stadium, football home of the Iowa State University Cyclones.

The STMA calls the Field of the Year awards “the industry’s highest honors,” selected out of members who manage baseball, football, soccer, softball and other sporting playing surfaces worldwide at the professional, collegiate, schools and parks and recreation levels.

“This award is very humbling and extremely exciting at the same time,” said Sioux Center parks director Lee Van Meeteren. “To be recognized by our peers as having the type of field that deserves this award is an honor that I don’t take lightly.”

A panel of 12 judges scored entries based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program.

“Our efforts are not only to provide a safe, quality playing surface for our athletes and coaches, but also to manage it in an environmentally-responsible way,” Van Meeteren said. “This is an award for Dordt University and Sioux Center schools as well as the city of Sioux Center. Being part of joint use efforts for this community provides us the ability to have this level of facilities.”

The national honor comes months after the diamond was named Iowa’s 2019 Field of the Year.

Wrestling rankings

The website has come out with its preseason rankings for the 2019-20 high school season.

The site has West Sioux ranked fifth as a tournament team in Class 1A. The Falcons are the only N’West Iowa team to make the rankings in any class.

West Sioux sophomore Brayden Graff is ranked second at 113 pounds, West Sioux sophomore Drayven Kraft is 10th at 120, Falcon senior and three-time defending state champion Adam Allard is first at 126, Sibley-Ocheyedan senior Trey Schuck is third at 132, West Sioux sophomore Cullen Koedam is sixth at 132, West Sioux senior Dillon Lynott is fourth at 145, Western Christian junior Tristan Mulder is third at 170 and West Sioux sophomore Carson Lynott is third at 182.

In Class 2A, MOC-Floyd Valley senior Johnny Hua is ranked sixth at 120, Okoboji/Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn senior Blake Abrahamson is eighth at 126, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock senior Bryce Vande Weerd is ninth at 182, Sioux Center senior Chayce Hooyer is fourth at 195, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock junior Dylan Winkel is sixth at 195, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock senior Jarret Meyer is fourth at 220 and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley senior Chris Van Der Brink is ninth at 285.

Thank you all

Thank you to all my family, friends, co-workers and especially to our readers for the outpouring of congratulations after I received the Iowa High School Athletic Association Media Award.

I also appreciate the IHSAA for honoring me.

It is very humbling to know so many people appreciate what you do. Thanks to all the coaches, athletes and parents who have let me share in so many moments over the years.

And if you don’t mind, I’m going to stick around for a while and see how many more memorable moments I can record for you.