LOUISVILLE, Ky. — NFCA members have once again banded together in the fight against cancer, raising nearly $342,000 this year in support of the Association and American Cancer Society’s annual StrikeOut Cancer initiative.

The University of Michigan was again the top fundraiser overall, collecting $151,384 to also easily lead NCAA Division I institutions and break last year’s record of $125,000 at its popular Michigan Softball Academy. The annual event, a combination of an adults-only softball clinic at the university’s Wilpon Complex and a silent auction at the Junge Family Champions Center, has grown significantly each year in the fight against cancer.

Since partnering with the American Cancer Society and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer effort in 2007, head coach Carol Hutchins and her Wolverines have raised more than $619,000 to support breast cancer research and outreach. Each year, a committee of 20 volunteers helps plan and administer the event in conjunction with the American Cancer Society.

Traditional StrikeOut Cancer fundraising leaders LSU and the University of Notre Dame (both NCAA Division I) had the next highest totals among all divisions, with $70,631 and $33,000, respectively, while Virginia Wesleyan College broke last year’s fundraising record by nearly $5,800, collecting a total of $17,406 this year to once again lead all NCAA Division III schools.

Central Michigan University ($6,013), the University of Houston ($6,000), East Texas Baptist University ($5,000 same day$5,000 same day), a combined annual effort between Loras College and the University of Dubuque ($4,642.60) and Ohio Wesleyan University ($4,052) were next, while Pearland High in Texas led all high schools, with $4,000.

Temple College paced the junior college division with $2,537.14, Hannibal-LaGrange University topped NAIA with $1,899, the Louisiana-based Acadiana Rebels Softball Club raised $2,500 in the travel ball category and NCAA Division II’s Colorado School of Mines collected $690 to roundout the divisional winners.

Numerous other schools either raised money or awareness by hosting a single event or by coordinating a season-long campaign to battle cancer. The schools that registered with the NFCA earlier this season were entitled to a special package of StrikeOut Cancer items to assist them with organizing whatever activity they chose to do for their fundraiser.

For the second straight year, the winners in each of seven NFCA member divisions will receive pink Louisville Slugger bats, generously donated by Louisville’s parent company Wilson Sporting Goods, Inc.

Last year, participants raised more than $286,000 to fight cancer.

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