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Men prepare to compete in their 21st NJCAA Tournament

Monday, March 19th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

The NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is coming to the Sports Arena again, starting Monday. Not only that, but Hutchinson Community College received one of the eight at-large-bids and has been seeded 11 in the tournament against Cape Fear, whic the Blue Dragons will play at noon Tuesday.

The Blue Dragons will now have been in the NJCAA Tournament 21 times.

Joe O’Sullivan, the Tournament Director, gave some information on the workings of being in the NJCAA Committee. There are other people with specific jobs such as team host, scorer’s table, press credentials and assignments, locker room and equipment, statisticians, entertainment, opening ceremonies, awards, public address, game officials (provided needs and security by committee), house committee, and others.

“They all do a great job without much involvement from me. My job is to manage all aspects of the tournament directly involving the games,” O’Sullivan said.

He also explained in further detail what he does.

“I coordinate the activities, making sure they are where they need to be when scheduled, communicate with coaches and game officials and NJCAA officials as necessary, provide solutions for problems should they arise, deal with inquiries and occasional complaints from fans, etc.,” O’Sullivan said.

Since HutchCC is now in the NJCAA Tournament, O’Sullivan said he presumes that there will be an increase in ticket sales and more enthusiasm from the Hutchinson community.

“Many of our fans have been coming for many years, and they can recite from memory the years in which Hutchinson won the tournament,” O’Sullivan said. “They are familiar with many of the teams who are returning, and the coaches and players from those schools who went on to four-year schools and to professional basketball.”

Even if the Blue Dragons hadn’t gotten into the Tournament, there still would’ve been a large audience.

“That has been proven over the 70 years the American Legion has sponsored this tournament in Hutchinson, even when HutchCC didn’t make it,” O’Sullivan said.

Since the American Legion hosts for all 24 teams, the Sports Arena has been appointed a “neutral court” so that there is no bias and no such thing as a “home-court advantage”. Therefore, committee members like O’Sullivan are impartial to certain teams, although O’Sullivan said that he is glad Hutchinson has made it to the Tournament.

 

HutchCC Child Care Center shares the love

Monday, March 19th, 2018

By Merissa Anderson
Collegian Editor

A few blocks north from main campus, next door to the Elland Hall dorms, sit the quaint building and playground area of the Hutchinson Community College Child Care Center.

Julie Wisbey, Child Care Center Coordinator, has spent the last 23 years of her time working at HutchCC caring for the young children of students, staff members and surrounding area teachers.

“We have children ages 3 and potty trained up to 6-years old,” Wisbey said. “We are open 7:30 to 5 Monday through Friday, and our main goal is to prepare children for their future. They need to learn to communicate with each other, they need the social skills, they need the introduction to the letters. It’s not as direct as a preschool but we do introduce them to the things they’ll need for kindergarten.”

For students with children, there are several scholarships available for possible financial help.

“I want campus to know that we’re here and that we’re here to support the staff and students that have children,” Wisbey said. “We want them to know that their child is in a safe and happy space while they’re working. I want even the people that don’t have children to know that so if they know someone who has a child, they’re comfortable recommending us to them.”

Although the center can care for up to 38 children at a time, with the help of three full time employees and several work study students, this year they have a smaller group with 17 kids.

The day’s activities for the children are always educational and fun for all involved.

“We have a lot of free play because a lot of learning happens when they’re playing,” Wisbey said. “We give them a breakfast snack in the morning, we have circle time with music and movement and we have stories that happen outside and a lot of discussion about the things they want to accomplish for the day. We have two groups where one group is outside and the other is inside and we switch them so they get to do both. Then we’ll all come in and do an activity of some sort, like painting. Then we have more free play and get ready for lunch.”

Just before lunch, some children leave early and load up on a bus so that they can attend a preschool of their parent’s choice for the second half of the day.

“There’s a lot of rules we have to follow but seeing the kids be successful and watching them grow up is a really great feeling,” Wisbey said. “To see them and to have them still remember me is amazing.”

As much as Wisbey and the other employees enjoy spending time with the kids, there are times that the young ones can pose challenges.

“Dynamics of personalities can be difficult,” Wisbey said. “Each child is different and they all have their own personality and what you can say to one child doesn’t work with the next child sometimes. And it can be a challenge to figure out how to address a certain issue with a certain child. It can be challenging but it’s rewarding.”

Wisbey make the Child Care Center mission statement online to be her goal when caring for the children of HutchCC students and staff.

“The HCC Child Care Center, located on HCC campus is dedicated to promoting a healthy self image and to developing social skills through interaction with others, enhancing language development and self expression through communication, strengthening motor skills and encouraging cognitive development through a variety of ‘learning by doing’ activities while continuing to grow at each child’s own developmental level,” The Child Care Center website states.

 

 

Defending champs are back

Monday, March 12th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team, which won last year’s NJCAA national championship, will be given the chance to defend its title.

The Blue Dragons were granted one of eight at-large bids by the NJCAA on Monday during a live tournament selection show. The Blue Dragons finished the regular season 28-6, and runner-up in Region 6 and the Jayhawk Conference. Coffeyville earned Region 6’s automatic bid with a thrilling 82-80 win the championship game Wednesday.

The Blue Dragons are the No. 11 seed and will play Cape Fear at noon on March 20 at the Sports Arena.

This will be Hutchinson’s 21st NJCAA Tournament appearance and will be there for the fourth time in five years. Hutchinson has reached the last two national-championship games, losing to Salt Lake in 2016 and beating Eastern Florida State last season.

HutchCC women get bid to NJCAA Tournament

Monday, March 12th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team’s season isn’t finished after all.

Monday morning, the Blue Dragons learned they got one of the eight at-large bids to the NJCAA Tournament next week in Lubbock, Texas. The Blue Dragons are the No. 18 seed in the 24-team field and will take on 15 seed San Jacinto at 2 p.m. Monday in Lubbock.

This will be the sixth time in seven years the Blue Dragons will be at the national tournament, and the seventh time overall under coach John Ontjes. They were national runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and they finished third in 2013.

Last year, the Blue Dragons lost in the second round.

Hutchinson didn’t have one of their stronger teams under Ontjes this season, but they still went 27-6 overall and 21-5 in the Jayhawk Conference. That placed the Blue Dragons second, two games behind Seward County.

Hutchinson’s at-large prospects seemed to take a hit with a 70-50 Region 6 semifinal loss to Independence, which then lost to Seward County in the championship game.

But the Blue Dragons still made it.

The Hutchinson-San Jacinto winner plays again at 6 p.m. March 20 against No. 2 Gulf Coast.

Blue Dragon bummer: Coffeyville edges HutchCC for Region 6 title

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

PARK CITY – Hartman Arena was the stage for the third installment of the Hutchinson Community College-Coffeyville men’s basketball clash.

The highly-anticipated Region 6 Tournament championship matchup did not disappoint the fans. The game featured 16 lead changes, 15 ties and no more than an eight-point lead for either team.

However, it was the Red Ravens who had the final lead as the clock hit zeros. Coffeyville defeated Hutchinson 82-80 and repeated as Region 6 champions, earning an automatic bid to the NJCAA Tournament in Huchinson.

The Red Ravens won two of the three matchups against the Blue Dragons this season, by two points each time.

“Coffeyville was tougher than us tonight,” HutchCC coach Steve Eck said. “We couldn’t score inside very well tonight either, and the whole team was in foul trouble, which really hurts us.” With 34 seconds left in the game, Coffeyville sophomore guard T.J. Washington drove to the lane, making a near-impossible go-ahead lay up, putting the Red Ravens up by a point.

After a Hutchinson timeout, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over, forcing them to foul the Red Ravens. The Blue Dragons’ top scorer, Devonte Bandoo, had to exit the game with his fifth foul and the Coffeyville made one of his two free throws, putting the score at 82-80. Tiylar Cotton’s potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired was wide-left, giving the Red Ravens their second consecutive regional title.

James Rojas, a freshman forward for the Blue Dragons, had another outstanding game, scoring 14 points at the half, and finishing with 21 on the night. Sophomore Robert Whitfield also dropped in 14 first half points.

The leading scorers for the Blue Dragons, J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo, didn’t reach double figures till mid second half.

Hutchinson shot 41 percent from the field, while Coffeyville shot an even 50 percent. Washington was the highest scorer for the Red Ravens with 19 points.

Although, the Blue Dragons fall to 28-6, their season might not be over yet. They will have to wait until Monday, to find out if they will get one of the eight at-large bids for the NJCAA National Tournament.

“It’s a great conference. Every night we have to battle, so we’re all waiting for a call,” Rojas said.

The Blue Dragons were in the same situation last year when, of course, they won the national championship.

“I hope we make in,” Eck said. “We made it to the regional championship and played a great team, but you just never know.”

Graduation fair to provide students with caps, gowns and video opportunity

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Paige Soellner, Hutchinson Community College Audit Specialist, makes sure students are eligible for graduation, and she gets everything organized for the graduation fair nd makes sure the students have their caps and gowns

The graduation fair takes place in Lockman Hall, across from online education, from March 15-16. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

“It’s definitely very busy, but it’s exciting knowing that you’re helping (students), you know they’re so close to graduation, and anything you can do to reward them for that accomplishment, it’s really rewarding in yourself,” Soellner said.

So what is the purpose of a grad fair?

“The grad fair is an event for our graduates,” Soellner said. “First, they can pick up their cap and gowns, so it gives them the opportunity to do that.
“It also gives them an opportunity to participate in a thank-you video that we actually display at graduation, so they can give appreciation, whether it’s teachers or parents,” Soellner said. “It’s also an opportunity to where different campus departments … I know our alumni association is going to be there, and they give tips or they go there to congratulate the students on graduating.”

Last semester, there was 500 students who had graduated.

Soellner is still getting applications in. She said HutchCC should expect the same number from last semester.

“We don’t have, I don’t have a number quite yet, I’m still getting grad applications. I know last year we had around about 500,” Soellner said. “So we are probably expecting around that number probably this year too.

“Fall semester typically don’t have as many graduates, and then 500 could include some summer and fall, because they walk in the spring.”

If there was an emergency, and a student isn’t able to make it to the graduation fair, Soellner gives details on how to approach that.

“They would have to contact me or Christina (Long), they would also contact their advisor. We ask that they have their application in to us by March 20, and that just ensures that they’re on the posters and fliers and stuff we hang out, so they can probably still give us the applications. We just can’t ensure they’ll be on the grad poster.”

“Soellner said, the cafeteria are cater some nachos but, other departments, might bring different snacks”

Pablo Sanchez

Blue Dragon bummer: Coffeyville repeats as Region 6 champion

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

PARK CITY – Hartman Arena was the stage for the third installment of the Hutchinson Community College-Coffeyville men’s basketball clash.

The highly-anticipated Region 6 Tournament championship matchup did not disappoint the fans. The game featured 16 lead changes, 15 ties and no more than an eight-point lead for either team.

However, it was the Red Ravens who had the final lead as the clock hit zeros. Coffeyville defeated Hutchinson 82-80 and repeated as Region 6 champions, earning an automatic bid to the NJCAA Tournament in Huchinson.

The Red Ravens won two of the three matchups against the Blue Dragons this season, by two points each time.

“Coffeyville was tougher than us tonight,” HutchCC coach Steve Eck said. “We couldn’t score inside very well tonight either, and the whole team was in foul trouble, which really hurts us.” With 34 seconds left in the game, Coffeyville sophomore guard T.J. Washington drove to the lane, making a near-impossible go-ahead lay up, putting the Red Ravens up by a point.

After a Hutchinson timeout, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over, forcing them to foul the Red Ravens. The Blue Dragons’ top scorer, Devonte Bandoo, had to exit the game with his fifth foul and the Coffeyville made one of his two free throws, putting the score at 82-80. Tiylar Cotton’s potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired was wide-left, giving the Red Ravens their second consecutive regional title.

James Rojas, a freshman forward for the Blue Dragons, had another outstanding game, scoring 14 points at the half, and finishing with 21 on the night. Sophomore Robert Whitfield also dropped in 14 first half points.

The leading scorers for the Blue Dragons, J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo, didn’t reach double figures till mid second half.

Hutchinson shot 41 percent from the field, while Coffeyville shot an even 50 percent. Washington was the highest scorer for the Red Ravens with 19 points.

Although, the Blue Dragons fall to 28-6, their season might not be over yet. They will have to wait until Monday, to find out if they will get one of the eight at-large bids for the NJCAA National Tournament.

“It’s a great conference. Every night we have to battle, so we’re all waiting for a call,” Rojas said.

The Blue Dragons were in the same situation last year when, of course, they won the national championship.

“I hope we make in,” Eck said. “We made it to the regional championship and played a great team, but you just never know.”

Battle of the sexes: ‘Scouts’ vs. HutchCC women’s basketball

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team has a record of 26-5 so far in the season. Who do they have to thank, at least in part, for their drive and hard work other than each other?

Well there is a group of male HutchCC students called, “The Scout Team” that could answer that question.

Blue Dragons coach John Ontjes decided to push the girls and make them work harder, so his idea was to find a group of male HutchCC students who aren’t doing collegiate athletics, but played in high school or were involved in athletics, and practice plays and defensive strategies with the girls.

Before games, the male students scrimmage the women’s team to boost their skills and abilities.

Sara Cramer, a freshman guard from Dighton, said, “It makes us tougher by raising the intensity of practices because they never let up.”

Ti Kimbro, a redshirt sophomore, mentioned how much fun the boys are.

“They make us want to play, and they get us hyped up when we don’t feel like practicing,” Kimbro said.

In addition to that, freshman Coretta Hopkins said, “Shout out to my boy, Chase Swanson.”

If that doesn’t explain the relationship the guys and women’s basketball team have with each other, not much else would.

One of the HutchCC males that helps the girls is Chase Swanson, a Buhler graduate. He began doing this because he knew the coaches growing up. His dad, Ryan, was a coach at HutchCC. He also works in the AD office under Josh Gooch and Steve Kappenman.

Since Swanson spends so much time with them, he was more than happy to accept the offer to become part of the “Scout Team”.

“I had been injured a lot my senior year of high school and couldn’t play, so it was a chance for me to get back to it,” Swanson said. “Plus, all of the girls are really nice and funny, so it’s really relaxed at practice and we joke around.”

Swanson also said that he wants to participate again next year.

The scrimmages are not YMCA kind of basketball, it’s like watching an actual basketball game. One of the assistant coaches creates plays for the guys and tells them what to do, while the other assistant coach calls plays for the Blue Dragons.

With the agility of the boys, and the intuition and teamwork of the girls, it makes for a healthy competition. The boys are expected to play rough, so the girls have to push themselves and challenge themselves in a way that other women’s teams won’t likely be able to do.

“They’re the best people we’re going to play against”, said sophomore guard Tia Bradshaw.

When asked how hard the boys push the girls and how they make the team better, Cramer answered, “They have more skill set and it brings a lot of diversity.”

Mickens was ready for this

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team is once again a top-tier

team in the country, as the Blue Dragons are ranked No. 23. They are currently 22-5

overall and 18-5 in the Jayhawk Conference.

Head coach John Ontjes has put together another solid team by bringing in some quality freshmen – four of whom are from Kansas, including three from small western Kansas communities.

Jada Mickens, who is a great all-round player that can light-up the stat column, is one of those stand-out freshmen from Kansas.

Mickens grew up in Liberal, which is about three hours southwest of Hutchinson, on the Oklahoma doorstep.

She followed the footsteps of her family by playing multiple sports, splitting her time between

volleyball and basketball. As a volleyball player, she received many awards including all-

tournament team recognition, most improved player, and most valuable player. However, after

HutchCC contacted Mickens, her interest in collegiate basketball spiked.

“I didn’t realize how good the school was at basketball, so it was perfect that I had an offer,” Mickens said. “I didn’t have that many other offers, but Hutchinson has been a great blessing, and I’m happy this is the route I chose.”

Playing in the Western Athletic Conference during high school was a challenge for

Mickens, as it featured some of the best teams in Kansas. Although it helped make the

transition into college basketball easier, it didn’t prepare her for the height of the other players.

“In high school, I was taller than a majority of the teams we played against, but playing at the

college level is a whole new world, and I’m small in this one,” Mickens said.

Mickens also stated the speed of the game was faster, and the addition of a shot clock made things different. However, Mickens seems to have adapted fairly well to the college speed as she currently leads the Blue Dragons in multiple stats, including points per game (14.2), field goal percentage (50.7), and minutes per game (30.8) are all held by her.

Mickens also attributes her smooth transition to her fellow Kansas teammates, some of which she knows well.

“Playing next to some Kansas players has actually made this whole experience a lot easier to handle,” Mickens said. “Sara Cramer (Dighton), Tia Bradshaw (Dodge City), and Briana

Bradshaw (Dodge City), are three girls that I had played with on a traveling team, so we know each other pretty well. Also the Bradshaw sisters played at Dodge City High School, which was in the Western Athletic Conference, so we’ve played against each other before.”

For the Blue Dragons, the regular season is just about over and Mickens hopes to end on a high note.

“We have potential to do something great and I know we can do it,” Mickens said. “We have to bring it more than ever now than at the beginning of the season, it matters a lot more now and we can do it. Stay tuned to the Lady Dragons because we’re onto something big.”

‘The Tulgey Wood’ editor has passion for photography

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

Allison Schweizer became editor of “The Tulgey Wood” last year as a Hutchinson Community College freshmen. “The Tulgey Wood” is HutchCC’s literary magazine used to display student photography, poems, fiction/ non-fiction work, and art. Someone suggested her to be editor to her English teacher, Dan Pohl. He saw her talent and hard work, and selected her to be editor.

Schweizer, a Sterling native, stayed as editor again this year, but got to choose a freshmen co-editor, Hannah Knoche, Abbeyville, to train.

“I have had fun reading and looking through the submissions and getting to pick and choose what is best to include in ‘The Tulgey Wood’,” Schweizer.said.

When she isn’t going through submissions, Schweizer is hanging up posters, reminding English teachers, and spreading the word about “The Tulgey Wood”.

A lot of work is put into this magazine, and it is time consuming right before the deadline, according to Schweizer.

“I don’t have hardly any submissions in yet so please send stuff my way,” she said.

Schweizer also mentioned that once she gets submissions, her job is fairly easy. She then just has to lay out the picks and design for print.

Aside from the annual magazine, Schweizer is on “Dragon’s Tale”, the college magazine, takes pictures for HutchCC Sports Information, and has her own photography business – Allison Schweizer Photography – four years running.

“My favorite is senior photography, however I also do family, engagement, wedding and more,” Schweizer said. “When I am not working, I am usually out taking pictures for fun.”

On “Dragon’s Tale”, she writes, takes photos and designs which takes up hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some of her sports pictures are even used in The Collegian. She is also taking 19 credit hours this semester.

When asked about her busy schedule, Schweizer said, “I have a lot on my plate and it definitely keeps me on my toes, however, I think I am able to manage everything because I love what I do. I love photography and being able to work for the “Dragons Tale”, help out with The Collegian, and take pictures for Sports Information.”