NJCAA Tournament Draws Nearby Fans

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It has been ten years since the Cloud County Women Thunderbirds played for the NJCAA Championship.

In 2001, the team not only took home the championship trophy, they also helped set an all-time high tournament attendance record.

"It's really exciting to be here at the National Championship games in 2011. It's the 10 year anniversary of their last national championship," said Lowell Thoman, CCCC student.

This year, the annual host site in Salina, hoped the Thunderbirds could do it again, especially with a fan base a mere 50 miles up the road.

"The last time we had a team that close to us was a decade ago in 2001 when they won the championship. That was very exciting for us," said Tiffany Beinein, tournament director.

Hundreds of fans flocked to the Bicentennial Center for Tuesday night's first round game.

"Our team will definitely win with spirit with all our fans. We're pretty excited," said Kristen Jarris, CCCC student.

"We have a lot of team spirit. Where ever the college is, the entire college community is right behind them," said Andrew Johnston, CCCC student.

Fifteen other communities are represented in Salina for the five day, twenty-six game tournament.

"We have about 250 community volunteers that make this a success. Those 250 volunteers work throughout the year, on everything from sponsorships to ticket sales. When you look at our scores table, you're seeing volunteers who are keeping score, keeping statistics," said Beinein.

Every volunteer dedicates their time to an event that means a lot to Salina and Concordia.

"Cloud County is a small community based around Concordia, Kansas, and there's only about 5,000 people there, but, they do like to support the Thunderbirds, whether it's men's or women's teams, we have a great time watching them," said Thoman.

Cloud County lost to Northern Oklahoma-Enid, 65-56.

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