Cowles family is softball donor

As expected, the Gophers women’s athletic department announced Wednesday that Sage and John Cowles were responsible for a $1 million donation for a new softball facility.
The donation, which matches a $1 million appropriation from the state Legislature, is the second-largest single gift ever received by the department.
“We are excited about this because we think gender equity — in athletics as elsewhere in life — is important to both men and women,” the Cowles said in a press release.
The Bierman Softball Complex, as it is currently known, is expected to undergo a name change, possibly in honor of the Cowles, and renovations should be completed in time for the 1998-1999 season.
The project includes seating for 1,000, with a two-story building behind home plate that will include training rooms, locker rooms, a substantial press box and team meeting facilities.
“This extraordinary gift comes from two extraordinary people whose commitment to fairness is exemplary,” women’s athletics director Chris Voelz said. “We are thrilled to be the beneficiaries, for generations to come, of Sage and John’s value-driven generosity.”
The Cowles family used to own the Star Tribune, and has long been known for its support of women’s softball. The family is among the largest backers of the Women’s Professional Fastpitch softball league.
— Michael Dougherty
Softball players honored
Gophers softball players Shannon Beeler and Steph Midthun were named first-team All-Mideast Region on Wednesday, while Laura Peters and Amber Hegland were named to the second team.
Cross country signs three
Three Minnesota natives announced they will compete for the Gophers cross country team in the fall.
Erik Quam (Alexandria) placed second at the State Class AA cross country meet in fall 1997. Scott Utne (Mounds View) placed 24th at the same meet, while Andy Kummer (White Bear Lake) placed 10th at the State Class AA Cross Country Championship.
Tennis players honored
The Gophers men’s tennis team announced end of the year award winners Wednesday. Those honored included:
ù Unsung Player of the Year — Martin Kristoffersen.
ù Team Spirit: Ed Marques.
ù Jerry Noyce-Nike Most Improved: Martin Michalowski.
ù Louis Ratner Memorial Award: Tom Chicoine.
ù Len Bailey Grit and Determination Award: Jon Svensson.
— Michael Rand

— Michael Rand