Austin reaping the benefits of hosting state tournament game
The Minnesota State High School Football Tournament is giving Austin a chance to show what it has as a host site.
Grand Meadow and Mountain Lake Area will play in the Minnesota Class Nine Man Tournament quarterfinals in Art Hass Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday and the game is sure to draw fans from both communities. GM is just 22 miles from Austin and Mountain Lake is 120 miles from Austin.
“Last week was really fun with the Grand Meadow/Houston game and their communities really came out and supported them,” Austin High School Activities Director Lisa Quednow said. “With Grand Meadow and Mountain Lake, we look forward to a great turnout in a great facility. It’s an opportunity to showcase Austin and all of the great things that are going on here to all of the other communities in the state.”
As a host site, Austin is given the responsibility of welcoming teams and fans and making sure the game goes as planned. Quednow said everyone has stepped up so far.
“The snow has put a little wrinkle in it, but the facilities and building and grounds staff have done everything they can to ensure the facility will be ready to go for Friday,” she said.
With Mountain Lake fans making the long trek, some of them may decide to stay in Austin overnight and check out the town on Saturday. Nancy Schnable, director of Discover Austin, is hoping that is the case.
“It’s always great to welcome visitors to our community, especially for a new event,” Schnable said. “Hopefully some of them will stay overnight and see what Austin has to offer.”
This will be the second straight week the Superlarks will be playing in Art Hass Stadium. GM beat Houston 35-0 in the Section 1A title game last week in Austin and head coach Gary Sloan is glad to be playing in town again.
“We have experience playing there and we’ll be able to dress at home before we leave for the game,” Sloan said. “Anytime you can keep things as normal as possible, I think that always helps.”
Art Hass Stadium became eligible as a state tournament host site when it added turf in 2015.
This year, Austin will also host the Big Nine Dance Meet, the Big Nine Gymnastics Meet and it will have a chance to host a Section 1AAA girls basketball or boys basketball semifinal contest as that round will no longer be held in Rochester.