As the school year and athletic calendar come to a close, MCC’s Athletic Department took some time to bring all of the athletic teams and staff together in order to honor the coaches and athletes for their efforts this past year for MCC.Though Athletic Director Jeff Fore admits that this year was for the most part a transition year for MCC, he is proud of the accomplishments the school has been able to make.
Several of the school’s teams made considerable runs at winning their regions and qualifying for national championships.
“We’re changing expectations. We are not settling for mediocrity. For an institution with as much tradition as we have, to not have a national title since 1980 is completely unacceptable,” Fore said.
But, the school has made significant progress this year with the women’s cross country team taking fifth place overall at the national competition.
Brooke Jackson was named a First Team All-American which is a first in a number of years for MCC, Fore added.
The addition of new coaches Andrew Guarneri, Jon Malgradi, Sam Ballard Jr. and now Carl Hargrave are key components to what Fore believes will change the look of MCC athletics to the way they were back in 1980, when MCC last won a national championship.
“We talk about a lot about expectations, we want to push academic success along with success on the field,” Fore said, “We want MCC to be the first stop for these athletes, not the only stop.”
Looking forward to next year new head football coach Carl Hargrave has already begun recruiting higher caliber players than MCC has seen in the past few years.
“We just signed one of the best running backs in the entire state,” Fore said, “Hargrave just brings a level of professionalism and credibility to MCC, not to mention his large collection of contacts from his coaching experience at the college level and the NFL.”
For those teams that had difficult seasons, like the men’s and women’s soccer teams and volleyball team, Fore has hope that they will overcome their obstacles and begin new dynasties where team performance on and off the field will embody the spirit of the Thunderbirds.
At the 2008-2009 Athletic Awards banquet on April 28, all of MCC’s athletic teams and support were honored at a ceremony held at the East Valley Institute of Technology.
Several athletes also received honors at the event, including Arizona Community Colleges Athletic Conference Player of the Year Brooke Jackson along with the rest of her basketball teammates who won 26 games on the season.
Fore said that he believes the women’s basketball program is already on track to win national championships in the near future and their loss in the first round of the playoffs this season really did not reflect the level of talent and play the team was capable of achieving.
Terrance Moore was also honored for his performance on the football field this season, even though MCC was unable to return to the Valley of the Sun Bowl.
Moore excited Thunderbird fans with 10 touchdowns that led his team and the rest of the ACCAC, earning himself a scholarship to play football at the University of West Virginia next year.
There is still hope for MCC athletics to return a national championship this year with the women’s golf team already qualifying for nationals.
The men’s tennis team will also be representing Mesa at the national championship in Dallas on May 11-15.
Thunderbird baseball is begining their run at the NJCAA World Series for the fourth time in seven years.
The men have earned the fourth seed overall in the playoffs and will take on Paradise Valley Community College.