Community college steps up to National Junior College Athletic Association
As the spring sports season kicks off at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), the Phantoms are facing a new level of competition.
This season marks the athletic program’s move into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). As members of Region XIX of the NJCAA, the Phantoms strive to continue to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
“The move to the NJCAA will allow our student athletes to compete at a national level against stronger competition,” said Andrew Johnson Jr., director of wellness, athletics and recreation. “Our association with Region XIX and the NJCAA will also promote stronger academic standards for our student-athletes so they will be better prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.”
Founded in the 1930s, the NJCAA serves as the national governing body for two-year college athletic programs and is the second-largest intercollegiate sports organization in the United States.
The college’s transition into the association began earlier this month with the baseball team. The other six sports men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball—will follow suit for the 2012-13 academic year.
The move comes on the heels of a historic win by the men’s basketball team. In their final season in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference, the Phantoms beat out Community College of Philadelphia last month with a final score of 85-72, winning the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship. The hard-fought victory marks the first championship the team has seen in 16 years.
“From the beginning of the season the guys were built to be champions. They bought into the system that the coaches and I laid down and the hard work paid off,” said Dwayne Saunders, coach of DCCC men’s basketball. “To have the championship label and enter the history books at Delaware County Community College is an awesome feeling. We ended the season on a good note and hopefully the momentum we had this season will carry over to next season, especially since we will be a part of the NJCAA.”
As the Phantoms look to next season in the NJCAA, they plan to remain consistent, bring in more talent and continue to win.
Moving to the NJCAA will also give the team the opportunity to compete at the national level against stronger competition. The association also promotes stronger academic standards, so students will be better prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.
“Having won the championship will give our program and College more notoriety and will help us get more students and talented athletes to come to the College,” Johnson said. “It also gives me, the coaches and the players more confidence as we make the move to the NJCAA. I know after watching this team perform this year that we are ready to compete at a national level.”