Solberg retiring from NDHSSA after 34 yearsVALLEY CITY — Sheryl Solberg’s job requires decision-making skills.
By: Tom Mix, The Dickinson Press
VALLEY CITY — Sheryl Solberg’s job requires decision-making skills.
Some of the decisions she makes are tough, but it goes with the territory when you are the Assistant to the Executive Secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association.
Whether it’s making sure coaches and officials are aware of major rules changes or helping organize state tournament sites, Solberg’s job will end in June. She will retire from the post she has held for 34 years — ending a tenure that saw the rise of many sports statewide.
“I’m going to miss the staff here for sure,” Solberg said from her NDHSAA office in downtown Valley City. “There is a lot of camaraderie in this building. We’ve evolved to a point where we have given our athletes the opportunities to be all they can be.”
Solberg started out as a physical education teacher at Mayville-Portland High School. She coached gymnastics, track and field and girls basketball at the school and guided Mayville-Portland to a Class B girls basketball state title in 1975.
After back surgery forced her to take a leave from teaching and coaching in 1978, Solberg was approached by then Assistant to the Executive Secretary Mary Anderson about applying for her position. Solberg interviewed for the job, but was also asked to return to teach at Mayville-Portland.
“I had to make a decision and I think I made the right one,” Solberg said.
Over the years, her duties have expanded. Solberg currently is in charge of boys and girls cross country, boys and girls swimming and diving, volleyball, Class A girls golf, gymnastics, boys and girls track and field and softball. She shares basketball duties with Matt Fetsch.
Solberg said she is especially proud of organizing women’s leadership workshops at the University of Mary in Bismarck, creating the state softball tournaments and overseeing the Distinguished Student program.
“She has just been an outstanding advocate for female sports in the state of North Dakota,” NDHSAA Executive Secretary Sherman Sylling said. “All of her efforts have gone to make sure students excel in the activities they choose to participate in. She’s a great employee and we’ll really miss her.”
Her work has not gone unnoticed, according to Justin Fletschock, the Central Cass High School athletic director who will replace Solberg.
“Sheryl is pretty much a legend in the state,” Fletschock said. “The changes that have come about in the sports that she oversaw are amazing. She’s very innovative and led to increased exposure of North Dakota high school athletics.”
Solberg says she has enjoyed making new contacts with countless coaches, officials, students, and fans during the last 3½ decades. Once retired, she plans to travel, continue umpiring fastpitch softball and train her dog for agility competitions.
“I’m proud of the people I’ve worked with,” Solberg said. “They constantly amaze me. They amaze me because of their dedication to the kids… They put their heart and soul into what they do and that’s awesome. Athletics is a great place to be. It brings people together for a common cause and that’s great for kids.”
Mix is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.