Erie Sports Commission Announces Annual Event Award Winners

Thursday Feb 21st, 2019

Erie, PA: The Erie Sports Commission presented seven awards when it hosted its fifth annual Event Recognition and Awards Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel.

Award Winners 2019The ESC introduced a new “Dedication to Erie” category, which was created to honor events that have been multiple ESC award winners and individuals who have demonstrated a profound impact on sports tourism in the Erie region. The first two awards in this category were presented to the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational, which was accepted by Doug and Tina Pershun, and former ESC executive director, Ron Sertz. After presentation, the award was named after Sertz, and will be called the Ron Sertz Dedication to Erie award in future presentations.

Rod Didion accepted the 2018 Impact Award on behalf of the VNEA PA State 8-Ball Tournament, which generated an estimated $1.3 million in economic impact in 2018, and will be held for the 37th year in March 2019.

Ray Kraus and Carlo Fachetti were named the 2018 Volunteers of the Year for their work on the Battle of Lake Erie Softball Tournament, hosted by the Erie Frost. The June tournament sold out to more than 60 teams last year.

The 2018 New Event of the Year Award was presented to Brad Davis, Mercyhurst University athletic director, for the 2018 Ice Breaker Tournament, presented by LECOM. The two-day men’s ice hockey tournament featured four Division I powerhouses in October: the University of Notre Dame, Providence College, Miami University and host Mercyhurst.

Casey Wells presented the 2018 Event Series of the Year Award to Champion Cheer Central, which hosted four events in Erie in 2018. The events, which saw continuous growth year-over-year, generated a combined estimated economic impact of $1.3 million.

Lake Erie Cyclefest was named the 2018 Locally Managed Event of the Year for its growth and added rides in its second year. The award was accepted by Tammy Roche of the YMCA of Greater Erie and Tom New of WQLN. The YMCA of Greater Erie, WQLN and EmergyCare are equal beneficiaries of the annual event.  

John Persinger, CEO of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, presented the National Event of the Year to Lisa Goddard-McGuirk, Gannon University athletic director, for the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championships, which were held at Gannon University for the first time in April 2018.

More than 125 event rights holders, venue directors, elected officials, community leaders and their guests attended the event, which is held annually to honor and recognize the outstanding efforts of the people who had an impact on sports tourism in the region.

For more information and past winners, visit

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