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Monticello Youth Football awarded for sportsmanship

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The Monticello Youth Football Association is bringing up some bright young stars.

So bright in fact, that the 4th and 5th grade teams have received the Youth 1st Team Award for their leadership and sportsmanship on the field.

The team specifically portrayed outstanding sportsmanship while competing at the 2019 King of the Gridiron Youth Football Tournament hosted by the Big Lake Youth Football Association.

42 teams played in the tournament and 18 teams were selected for Youth 1st Awards.

The award recognizes teams that exhibit positive behavior from everyone associated with the team including; players, coaches, parents, fans, and spectators.

These Monticello teams represented their city and the people that fill it in a real class act kind of way and the Youth 1st Association rewarded them for that.

On the Monticello Youth Football website, the front page reads, “Having fun while learning, and being treated with dignity is each child’s right and each adult’s responsibility. Coaches and parents shall stress sportsmanship, team spirit, and developing skills more than winning. In addition to learning the fundamentals, the child, parents and coaches should learn and remember how to lose graciously. Coaches and parents shall employ appropriate language when dealing with impressionable youth. Coaches or parents will not tolerate profanity.”

This is something the Magic teams live by.

Mark Arjes, the founder and director of Youth 1st took notice.

“The Monticello teams were selected for positive conduct and good sportsmanship,” he said. “They received perfect scores from the referees as well.”

The Minnesota Youth Athletic Services teamed up with Youth 1st, Federated Insurance, Jostens, Pearson, Cashwise, Bennerotte & Associates, Jaguar Communications, The Retrofit Companies, U.S. Bank, Owatonna Motor Company, Profinium, and Concordia University-St. Paul to select the Monticello Magic 4th grade team and Monticello Outlaws 5th grade team.

Youth 1st looks for three things when considering a team for the award.

“1. Remember it’s all about the kids,” Arjes said. “2. I will keep my competitive energy in check. 3. I will always treat officials and opponents with respect.”

The Monticello teams checked all three boxes when being considered for this stellar award recognizing their above and beyond sportsmanship.

5th grade Coach, Tony Gardner couldn’t be more proud.

“This group of kids is very talented and they made it easy for each of our coaching staff members to coach them,” Gardner said. “Sportsmanship is a huge part of sports and we couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

He also thanked the parents for their efforts in raising the athletes.

“Obviously though, it’s a direct reflection of their parents and the values they have instilled in their kids,” Gardner said. “We were lucky to coach them.”

4th grade coach, Mike Mich agreed.

“When I heard about it, the first thing I thought about was the parents, families, and fans at the game and how loud it was at the KOG tournament,” Mich said. “It was an award for the fans as much as it was for the kids.”

The Youth 1st Team Awards will be presented to the Monticello teams at a pre-game recognition ceremony before the start of the Golden Bears vs Southwest Minnesota State game on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Reach Jessie Meyen at

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