Paying it forward
Bullpen Tournaments had hundreds of T-shirts, softball bats, hats and mitts from all kinds of events they’ve sponsored at Grand Park and wanted to make sure they went to children who needed them. So, the managing group of the diamonds at Grand Park called the Hamilton County Sports Authority. Coordinator Rachel Henton knew exactly what to do.
Henton suggested Geared for Heath, an initiative of the Indiana Sports Corp., which distributes donated sports equipment and sports clothing to underserved youth.
“This was a great way to provide cool shirts and sports equipment to needy children in our community and a great way for one of Hamilton County’s sports powerhouses to give back,” said Henton, who delivered everything to Geared for Health last month.
Expanding sports scene
Hamilton County is a community filled with top-notch venues, and is becoming a premier destination for sporting events. The numerous facilities provide the ability to host a wide range of events.
The Indiana United States Fastpitch Association Northern National Tournament was held in late July in Fishers and Noblesville, Indiana. Seeded teams played pool play games and a double elimination tournament on fields at Olio Fields and Noblesville Girls Softball Complex.
Dillon Park in Noblesville hosted Deaf Disc Golf Nationals in late July. The sanctioned singles tournament was a five-day event, and participants ranged from amateur youth to professional players.
Lacrosse takes over Grand Park
Grand Park was a hot spot for lacrosse in July when nearly 50 teams from 16 states arrived for the eighth annual US Lacrosse National Championships and 30 teams for the inaugural NXTsports tournament, The Grail.
It’s the first time the popular US Lacrosse National Championship was played in the Midwest.
“This has been a highly successful and highly sought event since we debuted it in 2009,” Kim Rogers, director of events at US Lacrosse, said in a news release. “Many of the best players at the upper high school and college levels have come through our national championships.”
US Lacrosse worked with Hamilton County Sports Authority to host the girls event July 21-23 and the boys tournament July 22-24. Hamilton County Tourism sponsored a social media photo contest awarding prizes from local businesses.
NXTsports signed a three-year contract with Grand Park with the goal of growing this into an annual event. While the July 9-10 tournament was only boys U9, next will the tournament will add a girls U9 tournament at the same time.
“NXT had a tremendous experience running the inaugural Grail lacrosse tournament at Grand Park in Westfield. The staff from Hamilton County and Grand Park exceeded our expectations with their assistance, and the venue is second to none in the nation. We look forward to being back next year” said Drew Haig, tournament coordinator.
Events center opens at Grand Park
Grand Park just keeps getting grander. The 377,000-square-foot Grand Park Events Center opened July 22. It’s the second indoor facility at the Westfield sports complex. The event center includes three, full-size, professional soccer fields that will be used for both recreational and competitive play, locker rooms, meeting rooms, Jonathan Byrd’s restaurant, a lounge, box seats with views of the fields and office space.
“The potential for the space is unlimited,” said William Knox, director of Hamilton County Sports Authority. “We’re excited to begin exploring the possibilities of hosting a wide variety of events, and this gives teams a great facility for year-round play.”
Because of the size of the facility, Grand Park will evaluate options to host nonsports events, too.
Next up for Grand Park includes an on-site workout room and retail space.
More than 1.5 million sports visitors participate in or attend events at Grand Park Sports Campus annually. The 400-acre sports campus includes 26 baseball and softball diamonds, 31 multipurpose fields for soccer, football and lacrosse, more than 10 miles of pedestrian/bicycle trails. For more information, visit GrandPark.org.