/notables/2017/04/next-stagg-bowl-host-has-lot-to-live-up-to

Next Stagg Bowl host has a lot to live up to

It's not just the history that has been created here that Division III will miss. It's also the dedication to and institutional knowledge of Division III by the City of Salem staff and hundreds of volunteers that have made the Stagg Bowl a success.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com 

 

At approximately 4 p.m. the night before Stagg Bowl XXXIX, Salem Stadium looked like this.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com
Closer to midnight, it looked like this.
Photo by Shonna Brown 
And yet, by midday on game day, Salem Stadium looked like this, thanks to the City of Salem staff and volunteers.
D3sports.com photo

By Pat Coleman
D3sports.com

At 6:36 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 19, 2009, my mobile phone rang. In the depths of my attempts to sleep the night before the Stagg Bowl, I shook the cobwebs from my brain, saw the number on the screen, cleared my throat to attempt to sound professional, and answered the phone with one word.

“Delayed?”

“Delayed, yes, sir,” said the voice on the other end.

That voice belonged to Carey Harveycutter, then the director of civic facilities for the city of Salem, Va. We’d talked extensively the day before about the weather report for what was bearing down on Stagg Bowl XXXIX, and although I’d had my doubts about weather reports in general, this was dead on. And even though 18 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours, Harveycutter and his dedicated group of city employees and even larger group of volunteers, that Stagg Bowl was played just a few hours after its scheduled start time.

That’s just one of many stories that can be told about the devotion of the City of Salem to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, to Division III football, to NCAA Division III student-athletes across a range of sports, and, in fact, to the National Collegiate Athletic Association itself.

And that is why the news that Salem will not host the Stagg Bowl or the Division III men’s basketball championships for the next four years, the events that made “the road to Salem” and “getting to Salem” the watchwords for more than a generation in NCAA Division III, is such a surprise.

That, in fact, is the dedication level that our next hosts must match in Texas and Ohio, as well as the men's basketball hosts in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Salem team, led by Harveycutter and John Saunders, and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference staff led by commissioner Brad Bankston and assistant commissioner J.J. Nekoloff, has flawlessly pulled off nearly 50 championships in football and men’s basketball alone, dozens more in other Division III sports and a bunch of Division II championships as well. This past fall, the NCAA threw men’s and women’s soccer championships at Salem with about two months' notice, trusting the experts to pull off two Division III championships after the NCAA moved a number of events out of the state of North Carolina.

And to say they “pulled off” those championships, like dozens of others, minimizes the actual work that is done each time a Walnut and Bronze trophy makes its way to Salem. Each championship has a banquet, and Salem has raised the bar for these events multiple times in the past decade.

The Salem-ODAC hosting contingent has elevated the experience in the stadium as well as outside of it. The locker rooms were upgraded, turf was installed, stadium signage has been improved, a stadium video board was introduced (and then upgraded as well). Parking lot tailgating was elevated to an art form, then transitioned into a parking lot pregame concert party. And they made similar upgrades to the Salem Civic Center for basketball hosting as well.

The Gagliardi Trophy presentation was presented at a small luncheon in Salem up until 2010, when it became a prime-time, live-streamed event with four finalists. And that involved the Salem Civic Center staff turning the arena over quickly between an afternoon luncheon and an evening awards ceremony. And the official Stagg Bowl team banquet, once a luncheon with a couple of speakers and a pep band, has become a true showcase for the teams and fans, with camera crews at the previous round of games to collect video that is used in a highlight package at the banquet, along with player and coach interviews.

That is the model that other championships have followed, such as women’s basketball. And the entirety of Division III has followed the Salem model in another area, too. The Division III championships’ relationship with Special Olympics spread from Salem to Indianapolis and now is part of the NCAA and Division III culture.

Carey Harveycutter helped make Division III championships what they are today, even championships Salem has never hosted.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com 

Even the officiating has changed under this group’s leadership. Previously, the Stagg Bowl was assigned like a bowl game, and Division III officials had no part in the game, as it was assigned to local crews that had varying levels of respect for the game and its importance. That is no longer the standard, and the top Division III crews from playoff evaluations have Salem as their destination as well.

This, of course, has all had at its heart one man who brought the idea of bidding for Division III’s biggest football game to his little town in Southwest Virginia. And it’s a heady legacy that echoes far beyond the Roanoke Valley.

And he’s done things for the NCAA as well, far beyond the requirements of a host city manager, serving as the NCAA’s liaison to championship events outside of the city, even outside the region.

“I don’t do things based on my legacy,” Harveycutter told me recently. “I do things for the City of Salem.”

The facility may be better. The weather might be better the third weekend of December. But the new host can’t simply manufacture a deep-seated love for Division III or replace decades’ worth of institutional knowledge.

Salem raised the bar so far that nobody involved with the game can even tell us where the bar used to be.

If future hosts can do the same, more power to them. But we all know who created the blueprint.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Westfield State at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Moravian at Juniata
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12:00 PM
Endicott at Salve Regina
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12:00 PM
St. Vincent at Thomas More
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12:00 PM
Hobart at Union
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1:00 PM
Colby at Hamilton
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1:00 PM
William Paterson at Christopher Newport
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1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Ithaca
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1:00 PM
Kenyon at Allegheny
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1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Mount Ida
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1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bates
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Amherst
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1:00 PM
Bowdoin at Trinity (Conn.)
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1:00 PM
Husson at Gallaudet
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1:00 PM
Wabash at Oberlin
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1:00 PM
Buffalo State at Utica
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1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Muskingum
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Albright at Stevenson
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Alma at Albion
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1:00 PM
Shenandoah at Guilford
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1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Massachusetts Maritime
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1:00 PM
Wooster at Hiram
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1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Hampden-Sydney
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1:00 PM
Alfred State at Anna Maria
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1:00 PM
Bridgewater at Emory and Henry
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1:00 PM
Wilkes at FDU-Florham
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1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Misericordia
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1:00 PM
Rochester at St. Lawrence
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1:00 PM
RPI at Alfred
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1:00 PM
Nichols at Curry
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1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Salisbury
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1:00 PM
Ferrum at Brevard
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1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Apprentice
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1:00 PM
Ursinus at Susquehanna
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1:00 PM
Cortland at Morrisville State
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1:00 PM
Hope at Trine
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1:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-River Falls
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1:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sewanee
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Dickinson at Franklin and Marshall
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1:30 PM
Tufts at Williams
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
MIT at Coast Guard
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1:30 PM
Maine Maritime at Norwich
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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1:30 PM
Franklin at Rose-Hulman
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1:30 PM
John Carroll at Capital
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1:30 PM
Bluffton at Manchester
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1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Anderson
2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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2:00 PM
Greensboro at LaGrange
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2:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Worcester State
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2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
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2:00 PM
Western New England at Becker
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2:00 PM
Methodist at Maryville (Tenn.)
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2:00 PM
Adrian at Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:00 PM
Olivet at Benedictine
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2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Austin
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Buena Vista
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2:00 PM
Lakeland at Wisconsin Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Rockford at Aurora
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2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Concordia-Chicago
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2:00 PM
Carleton at St. Olaf
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Grinnell at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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2:00 PM
Lawrence at St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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2:30 PM
Merchant Marine at WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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2:30 PM
Hanover at Earlham
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2:30 PM
Beloit at Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Bridgewater State
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4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
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4:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
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4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Willamette
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4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
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4:00 PM
Redlands at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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