More than 1,000 student-athletes will compete for six national championships at the 2012 DII Festival on May 15-19 in Louisville, Ky.

Persimmon Ridge 101
When student-athletes tee it up for the DII Women’s Golf Championships, they will have the rare opportunity to share someone else’s life. Lawren Just had five children with her husband Elmore, but it’s not far-fetched to call Persimmon Ridge Golf Course the eighth member of the family.
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Team approach boosts festival
Troy Killian knows all about being a motivated team member, he knows what it’s like to be a DII student-athlete, and he knows the Louisville sports scene in and out. Add it up and the director of event operations of the Louisville Sports Commission becomes an almost indispensable ingredient in the staging of the DII Festival.
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Wiegandt's double duty
Scott Wiegandt knew his school scored a hit when it hosted the 2010 DII Festival. But he didn’t he didn’t realize that Bellarmine’s hit was actually a long home run. So when the opportunity came to bid on the 2012 spring festival, the decision was an easy one: Go for it.
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Practice makes perfect
The DII Festival returns to Louisville on May 15-19 for golf, women’s lacrosse, softball and tennis national championships. Once again, Amy Reis will play the lead role in bringing it all together — and then letting go.
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Championship Central

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- When they’re not playing sports, student-athletes simply need a little playtime.

With that in mind, the NCAA has created two student-athlete lounges during the Division II National Championships Festival -- in the Galt House Hotel and the Marriott -- complete with pool tables, video games, ping pong tables and a massive flat-screen TV at every turn. The rooms, decorated with blue and green spotlights and plush couches, offer a needed respite during a week when national championships are at stake.

Early Tuesday afternoon, the melodramatic rhythms of the R.E.M. classic “Losing My Religion” blared from one of the 60-inch televisions in the Marriott’s lounge. But the band’s guitarist, Peter Buck, wasn’t driving the song forward. That task had been assumed by Kaylyn Bristol and Sophia Simmons, both juniors on the BYU-Hawaii tennis team, who were happily clicking the buttons on their faux-guitar video-game controllers.

“It’s nice to have this to come to for a little entertainment,” Bristol said.

Both women sat on the floor, enjoying the embrace of silver, crescent-shaped beanbag chairs. They’d already endured a 7 a.m. practice and were making the most of their opportunity to relax. They giggled and tapped their feet in rhythm as they tried to play the song in unison, and said they plan to return to the lounge regularly throughout the week.

“I’m usually not a video-game person,” Simmons said. “But we’ve got all day.”

The noise from the alternative rock song drowned out the music emanating from another television in the middle of the room. Their teammate, freshman Marietta Tuionetoa, was trying to keep pace with the beat of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” She waved her arms and pumped her feet furiously as the Xbox Kinect motion capture device tracked her every move. After gyrating for half-an-hour, her forehead was glimmering with sweat.

“I wanted to get a workout in without having to go to the gym,” she said, breathing heavily. “This did the job.”

At the Galt House an hour earlier, senior Dane Ostilly and sophomore Daniele Piludu were at war -- on the ping-pong table. The teammates on the Concordia men’s tennis team battled for nearly an hour. Though Piludu had never picked up a ping-pong paddle, his tennis skills were on full display as he routinely bested his more experienced teammate. As other Concordia players slept in rooms above, the two said they needed to blow off some steam. Their friendly, but competitive, relationship was evident when their coach, Neil Tarangioli, called to check up on them.

“I’m in the lounge playing -- no, beating -- Dane in ping pong,” Piludu said when he picked up the phone. Both men laughed, then went back to war.

Thirty feet across the room, four Armstrong Atlantic men’s tennis players occupied two pool tables. After good shots, they were quick to playfully gloat or toss a barb at a teammate. As they laughed through several games of pool, the pressures they’ll face this week trying to remain undefeated and earn a national championship weren’t evident.

“We don’t have lunch for an hour, so we just wanted to relax until then,” junior Dan Regan said. “We like to shoot a bit of pool [back at school], so this is great.”