Three years after announcing the winning bid, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) is excited to partner with the Rockford Wildcats as host of the 2018 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Girls Basketball Sixth Grade National Championships from June 24-29 at the UW Health Sports Factory (UWHSF). This marks the first time ever that AAU Basketball Nationals (any age group or gender) have been hosted in the state of Illinois.
“In terms of geographical draw and duration, this basketball event will be the first of its kind at the UW Health Sports Factory,” said Jason Schwebke, AAU Nationals Rockford and Rockford Wildcats tournament director. “We have teams traveling across the country to be here. With the success of this event, I’m confident AAU will consider hosting future tournaments here in Rockford.”
Opening ceremonies are open to the public beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24. The festivities will feature 2-ball, 3-point and free-throw contests, and will include an opportunity for two lucky fans to win $10,000. Admission to opening ceremonies is $5 per person.
The longest-running sports tourism event booked thus far at UWHSF, AAU Nationals Rockford will draw 60 teams from around the country to stay and play for a week in the Rockford region. The Championship field will also feature four local teams from Rockford and South Beloit, including three from the host club Rockford Wildcats.
“The process to host 2018 AAU Girls Basketball Nationals began to take shape nearly five years ago,” said Nick Povalitis, RACVB’s director of sports development. “After meeting with AAU officials in 2013, the conversation shifted pretty quickly toward seeking local support of a bid. We knew we needed a really experienced tournament organizer to lead operations, and the Rockford Wildcats stepped up from day one of the bid process as that primary host club. We really appreciate that commitment and are certain it will show through as a fantastic experience for all players, coaches and families in attendance.”
AAU Girls Basketball Championship play tips off at 10:20 a.m. Monday, June 25, and will run through Friday, June 29. Championship week passes cost $40 for adults and $30 for children, and day passes can be purchased onsite for $12 (adult) and $10 (children). Children 4 and under will receive free admission.
For more information on the week-long Championships, visit AAUNationalsRockford.com.
About AAU: One of the largest non-profit, volunteer, multi-sport event organizations in the world, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. The AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 35 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport.
About Rockford Wildcats: For over 15 years, Wildcats Basketball has provided an opportunity for 2nd-12th grade athletes in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northeast Iowa to develop their game through intense training and the opportunity to compete in the sport at a competitive team level. The program offers training opportunities and travel basketball for over 1,500 athletes throughout the year for both boys and girls. In addition, the club also promotes teamwork, sportsmanship and teaches positive life skills, all in an effort to prepare the athlete for high school basketball, college basketball and beyond. For more information about the club, call 815-601-CATS or visitwww.rockfordbasketball.org