Alumni challenge in full swing

Austin Lane, Senior Sports Reporter

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The Wildcat Alumni Challenge is a fundraising event hosted by CWU Athletics once a year. The event gives former CWU athletes a chance to donate money that goes towards the different sporting teams at CWU. This year is the sixth annual Wildcat Alumni Challenge, and it is currently operating. The fundraiser will end on Dec. 3. 

A minimum donation of $25 is required, which goes to the Wildcat Club. Any dollar amount after the initial $25 goes towards the sport of the former athletes’ choice. 

At the end of the event, the sport with the most funds raised will receive an additional $2,500 from Andrew Mork of Mork Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services Inc., a 2011 CWU graduate. The sport that has the highest amount of unique donors will also receive an additional $2,500 from Dave Coffman, a former CWU Football player and wrestler. Finally, the sport that has the highest percentage of alumni that participates will receive a $5,000 bonus, courtesy of an anonymous donor. 

The Wildcat Club makes contributions to help with scholarships and the student-athlete experience, according to Associate Athletic Director for Development Troy Nealey. Nealey believes that increased tuition costs over the years is a big reason former athletes should consider donating.

“It’s vital. I can’t overstate that word,” Nealey said. “To get a high level of student-athletes to recruit and to be here, we need funds … Everything is just so much different than it was back in those days … I can’t overstate how vital it is for our donors to give back to our programs.”

According to the brochure from the 2019 Wildcat Alumni Challenge, last year the Wildcat Club helped raise $250,000 for student-athlete scholarships and $250,000 for athletics facility upgrades. The CWU Athletics department’s goal for this year is to have at least 1,000 unique donors.

According to wildcatsports.com, last year, CWU Volleyball had the top percentage of alumni, breaking women’s soccer’s streak of winning the category in the first four years of the competition. The CWU Baseball team had the highest number of unique donors. The CWU Football team had the highest total dollar amount. Overall, there was a 23% increase in money raised between 2017 and 2018 and in 2018 the event raised over $55,000. Over the past five events the alumni have donated over $190,000 in total.

For this year’s event, women’s soccer leads the challenge scoreboard, which can be found on CWU’s Athletics page. Results of this year’s event aren’t shown in monetary value but rather percentages ranging from zero to 20%. 

Women’s soccer currently sits at 2.9289% with baseball right behind them at 2.9248% and track and cross country are currently in third place at 2.7675%.

“My expectation is that it’s up to each sport and how much they want to invest into making this successful,” Nealey said. “It’s great that we’re all athletes and we all get competitive. There’s other sports that really want to compete and really want to win this year.”

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