To celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I decided to share some of the narratives of the women who make up the National Sports Center community.
In the first photo, Chief Marketing Officer Sara Soli is pictured at the Eau Claire Half-Marathon. Sara has participated in the race three times with her sister-in-law and niece.
The second photo shows Sara at the Victory Links Golf Course Driving Range, where she likes to go with her daughters to share her love for the game of golf.
“Sports have been a part of my life since I was a kid. It was a great way to make friends, learn leadership skills and to have fun while being active. As a mother of two girls, it is important to me to stay active and share with them the benefits of sports and healthy lifestyles. I feel privileged to work in an organization that assists girls in participating in sports, competing and developing lifelong skills.” – Sara Soli, Chief Marketing Officer
“Biking with the girls in Houston, TX, in 98 degree heat, and we killed it! Never missed a date, rain or shine!” – Barb Grunow, Field Sports Registrar – Hotel Coordinator
Sports and Recreation Coordinator Logan Halvorson played Lacrosse at Central Michigan University.
“Lacrosse has given me so many opportunities throughout the years to grow. It is amazing to be able to now give back to the sport through creating new lacrosse programs here at the NSC. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for sports. Playing at the collegiate level is something that I will always remember, and I hope that more girls take the opportunity to explore their options to do so as well. It is a grind, it is hard, but it is so incredibly rewarding.” – Logan Halvorson, Sports and Recreation Coordinator
Hospitality Manager Kati Moen and her daughter Lily pose for a photo while participating in Fifteen’s 5k, a race that benefits the PrairieCare Child & Family Fund.
Assistant Sports and Recreation Director Jen Een played basketball at UW-Lacrosse. Jen’s colleagues know that March Madness is a very serious time of the year for her, and tease her (lightheartedly) about her dedication and love for the game.
“I love working in sports because they gave so much to me over the years, and now I have the opportunity to give back.” – Jen Een, Assistant Sports and Recreation Director
The first photo shows Sports and Recreation Coordinator Karah Lodge playing for North Metro in the 2012 USA CUP soccer tournament against Ecuador.
The second photo was taken seven years later in 2019. Today, Karah works closely with USA CUP referees and posed for this photo at the tournament’s opening ceremony last year.
“Playing sports growing up provided the opportunity to learn about myself as an individual and a teammate. Leadership, cooperation, and physical and mental discipline are all tools I started to develop in youth sports. I’m excited to have the opportunity to use these skills to help young girls today through my job at the NSC and coaching.” – Karah Lodge, Sports and Recreation Coordinator
Sports and Recreation Coordinator Kelly Distad worked for the Minnesota Lynx/Timberwolves before joining the NSC community.
“Women helping women become champions both on and off the court is extremely important to me.” – Kelly Distad, Sports and Recreation Coordinator
Graphic Designer Brooke Fisher played soccer most of her life. In the first photo, she poses with her team after winning a state championship. She was 11. The picture was taken in the Welcome Center of the NSC. “It’s funny to see it 13 years later, especially now that I’m working in that same place,” Brooke said.
Brooke and her high school soccer teammates are pictured during her junior year after winning third place at state for South St. Paul at the Metrodome. This was one of the most memorable moments of Brooke’s soccer career.
“Cheers to the women who inspired me. Cheers to the women who gave me passion and pushed me to be a woman fighting for women. Cheers to us.” – Brooke Fisher, Graphic Designer
So there you have it. I’ve just introduced you to a few of the women who put on and create some of the biggest sporting events in Minnesota.
Next time you’re at the National Sports Center, make sure to say hi to any of them.