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Inside the Division II Fall Festival

Roberta Page coordinates the event and knows that it’s about more than just crowning champions

Roberta Page, a former Slippery Rock University student-athlete now NCAA director of Division II championships, is passionate about her job. And she requires the same level of commitment from her employees, especially when it pertains to one of her group’s largest responsibilities – the Division II Championships Festivals.

This year, the fall festival will be held on the first week of December in Louisville, Kentucky. Athletes from men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey and women’s volleyball will all compete for national championships.

"If you don’t leave the festival fired up, thinking 'I've got the best job in the world,' then you're in the wrong profession,” Page said.

A Division II priority since May 2004, the festival brings student-athletes from multiple sports to one city. Student-athletes compete in a week’s worth of events and each sport names a national champion before the closing ceremony.

“The festival is the Olympics of Division II,” Page explained. “That is really what we mirrored the festival after – that Olympic feel. Instead of just doing one national championship that week, we're going to crown six different champions on one day, which is pretty phenomenal."

Brynn Seidenstricker, an NCAA postgraduate intern, former Shippensburg University student-athlete and 2010 fall Festival attendee, echoes Page’s sentiments.

“The atmosphere is unlike any other,” she said. “The opening and closing ceremonies bring together all the teams and individuals – competing in different sports – to kick off the week and celebrate their accomplishments.”

While championship competition is the reason student-athletes travel to the event, their experience is comprised of much more than what happens on the field or court.  Page places special emphasis on volunteering and service learning, committing large chunks of time to Division II’s adopted causes, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Team IMPACT.

“Our student-athletes have really embraced the community engagement component within Division II,” Page said. “We get them out in the community through children's hospitals, the local Boys and Girls Club and veteran’s organizations. They get to go out, give back and interact a lot with the community. I’ll be honest with you – they inspire me.

 “When the student-athletes go into a children's hospital and they're talking to a kid that’s never going to have the chance to make it to a national championship, you can tell that’s where they want to spend their time.”   

Division II Festivals are scheduled through 2024 and, Page hopes, well beyond.

“Festival is exciting and obviously I love it,” Page said. “I hope the membership will continue to embrace the festival or something similar for years to come.”