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On May 18, approximately 190 teams will descend on the University of Illinois campus for the 11th annual Mid-America Challenge. The USJN event has been sold out the past six years, and the field has consistently grown stronger.
While the NCAA has generally ruled that colleges cannot host summer events, the Mid-America Challenge is “grandfathered” in Champaign thanks to a long-term contract.
“Talent level is always good at this event,” said All Star Girls Report analyst Bret McCormick. “They will have their share of top-flight older kids, and there will be a lot of mid-major prospects. One thing to watch for is the good younger players who will get a lot of attention. You always see a few sixth and seventh graders really emerge in this event.”
When it comes to the team action, McCormick expects to see a balanced field.
“There are a lot of good teams this year, and there are a lot of teams that could win the tournament. We’re starting to see more and more parity around the country,” he said.
The event will have teams from eight different states, including a strong dose of Chicago area clubs such as the Mac Irvin Lady Fire, the Illinois Midwest Elite, the Illinois Dream Team and the Illinois Lady Lightning. Another team to watch will be the Indiana Family.