Bozeman Team Handball
Editor's note: Somewhat late to the features section - but oh, so worth it. Dawn Allinger Lewis, thank you for everything you do for the US Team Handball youth program.
2012 Program Overview
It was an amazing season - great opportunities and memories! Bozeman Team Handball (BTH) nearly doubled in 2012. Eighteen boys and 12 girls attended training three times each week at Bozeman High School. The program, composed of area high school students, began in late January and ran through mid-April. Between camp, program, competition and travel fees, and passports, dedicated participants shelled out approximately $900 to be involved. "Friends of Bozeman Team Handball" provided valuable scrimmage opportunities prior to each competition, the last which drew a significant spectator following. We will be losing the majority of our boys and girls due to graduation. The good news is, our young players were primarily freshman. Thus, focus must turn to recruiting, with much of next season being spent rebuilding the team. The program continues to gain exposure throughout the community as a result of numerous television highlights, area and high school newspaper articles and radio interviews. In all, the program is on the verge of exploding.
Two staff members celebrated their third season with the team, while newcomer Scott Mayer was a welcome addition. We were fortunate to have Denver Team Handball Goalie Taqi Almubarak and MSU Swedish Exchange Student Josefin Larsson assisted periodically as well.
The 2012 City of Champions Handball Tournament took place March 2-4 in Edmonton, Alberta. Twenty-six participants played hard and gained valuable experience throughout the junior club competition. Despite not winning a match, both teams had fun and returned home with a better understanding of the game, eager to practice and prepare for their next challenge.
The team traveled to Edmonton a second time to compete in the Harry Ainlay Handball Cup April 12-14. The high school tournament comprised of eight boys and five girls' area teams. BTH boy’s team went 2-3 on the weekend, finishing 6th in a very talented field. Goalie Josh Deeney was honored as an All-Star by tournament officials. Due to a plethora of team travel conflicts, BTH girls combined forces with St. Thomas Aquinas CHS. Together we brought home a bronze medal with a 3-3 record. It was a real accomplishment as many of the players from St. Thomas were new to the sport. In addition, their program had not won a game in the 5 previous years.
We were extremely proud of our team's tenacity and support for one another, as well as their drastic improvement. We feel fortunate Alberta Team Handball Federation has allowed us to participate in their events. Providing quality matches with players of the same age and ability has proved to be something special.
We planned to attend the Falcon Cup as well, but the competition was cancelled due to venue constraints. A girl's camp/competition was to be held that same weekend in conjunction with Anca's team and Denver Team Handball.
A number of players were interested in competing at nationals. Unfortunately, we were unable to confirm combined teams until two weeks prior. At that point, we had not practiced for nearly three weeks and the cost of flying was restrictive.
Best Offense: Marley Burns & Emily Olsen
Best Defense: Steve Drake & Alex Klette
Coach’s Award: Ethan Higgins & Cheyenne Carlson
Most Improved: Mark Hayward & Abigail Barmore
Sportsmanship: Matt Braaksma & Embla Hagensen
It is with both sadness and excitement that I share news of a Lewis Clan move. My husband Mark recently accepted a position with the National Collegiate Athletic Association in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fortunately, we have a good group of coaches committed to sustaining the program - Coach Lyndsey Warila and Coach Scott Mayer. So, the game will go on!
We have been fortunate to develop some great relationships within Canada. Discussions have begun regarding a rotating tournament whereby training sessions and/or matches may be played in Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alberta and Bozeman, Montana during the 2013 season. We hope to make the series an annual one, but would like to add some domestic tournaments to the schedule.
Efforts have been made to incorporate handball into local physical education classes. If that happens, we believe the sport would really take off. To date, the program has been growing at a rate consistent with what the staff can handle.
The local YMCA has received a grant to help fund a handball program for 5-8th grade students next winter. We have asked all athletes remaining in the area to assist with administration and/or coaching the program.
In addition, we have encouraged our players to continue participating in other ways. For instance, a few of our athletes are attending school or obtaining jobs in areas, like Boston University, where they have the option of continuing to play. For others, we have asked that they start their own club.
Montana APHERD organizers have asked that we give a presentation at this year's convention. Hopefully something will come of that educational opportunity as well!?!?
For more information and photos, follow us on Facebook at USA Team Handball Futures Program – Bozeman (created year one).
Dawn Allinger Lewis
USA Team Handball
Bozeman Futures Program Director & Head Coach
Facebook: USA Team Handball Futures Program - Bozeman
USATH is a 501-c-3 organization and is officially recognized by the USOC, PATHF & IHF as the U.S. National Governing Body