Youth 1st of Owatonna has wrapped up its fourth year of working with the Owatonna Parks and Recreation youth football program. Nine teams from Owatonna and Medford were honored for their sportsmanship and will get a chance to be recognized during an upcoming Minnesota State University-Mankato football game.

Mark Arjes of Youth 1st says, "The Conduct 1st environment focuses on sportsmanship, reducing conflict and increasing retention of participants and officials by remembering it's about the kids, to keep competitive energies in check and always respecting opponents and officials."

Each week teams, their coaches and fans were graded by officials on how they observed the Youth 1st conduct expectations. The teams that received special designation include Medford Gold, Wenger, Medford White and Arby's among the 3rd/4th grade. Team awards for the 5th/6th grade teams went to Niles Wiese, Truth Hardware, Medford Golf, Fischer Sports and Sportsman's Grille.

Participants from those teams get a ticket to attend the Mavericks' game against Winona State on Saturday October 28 in Mankato. Arjes says, "We will recognize the teams at a brief pregame ceremony on the field. After the game, OHS grad and Winona State senior kicker, Carter McCauley, will be available to address the teams and sign autographs.

Arjes would like to thanks partners in the team awards program including Owatonna Parks and Recreation, Steele County, Owatonna football and coach Jeff Williams, Jostens, Federated Mutual Insurance, Pearson, Bennerotte & Associates, Owatonna Motor Company, Cashwise Foods, Spare Time Entertainment, Plaza Morena, Jaguar Communications and the MSU-Mankato Mavericks. Arjes adds, "Remember, it is not how many games we win, but how many kids we win that counts."