Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Rhymes adds another honor as NJCAA names basketball star All American

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

On Tuesday, Hutchinson Community College sophomore guard J.J. Rhymes was named first-team NJCAA All-American. His honor marks the third-year-straight that the HutchCC men’s basketball team has had a player in the first-team NJCAA All-American.

Rhymes played as a freshman and contributed to win a national championship in 2017, and this year carried the Blue Dragons to the NJCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship again.

Rhymes hit his career-high of 41 points December 6, against Butler 82-80. Rhymes hit the game-winning shot with a 3-pointer as the buzzer went off.

In addition to his career-high, Rhymes became 11th in Blue Dragon history to score 700 points in a season with 704 total points. He also made the career Top 10 scoring list, placing with 1,295 points.

Rhymes is one of two Jayhawk Conference players to have earned a spot in the All-American this 2018 season. The second being Coffeyville guard Travis Washington. Rhymes also was named Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year and was a first-team Region 6 selection.

HutchCC, Gowans will be site of 2020 national track championship

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

Hutchinson Community College will be the host school for the 2020 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the NJCAA announced on Tuesday.

Gowans Stadium will be where the events will take place May 14-16 2020, except for the throwing events. The discus and shot put will be on the grass field northeast of Gowans, the javelin at Don Michael Field, and the hammer throw will be Fairgrounds Park.

Hutchinson also was the championship host in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Hutchinson has become something of a hub for the NJCAA to stage national championships. The men’s basketball championship has been in Hutchinson since 1949. The Division 1 Volleyball Championship was at the Sports Arena last November and will be there the next two Novembers.

The Salt City Bowl football game has been in Hutchinson since 2009

Athlete of the week: men’s golfer Matt Percy

Friday, April 6th, 2018

The week: Percy had a solid day at the first of three Jayhawk Conference tournaments, this one at Colbert Hills in Manhattan. Percy finished in fourth place, three strokes out of first by carding a two-round, 5-over-par 149. He was one of three Blue Dragons in the top eight, leading them to a third-place finish.

The season: Percy, a sophomore from Ottawa, has two other top-20 finishes this season, including a sixth-place finish at the Newman Fall Invitational.

Rhymes lauded as best in conference, region

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

Now that the basketball season is over for this year, the end-of-season awards are being announced.

Hutchinnson Community College sophomore J.J. Rhymes was named the 2018 Jayhawk Conference and Region 6 Player of the Year, some of the highest honors a Blue Dragon can win. His co-star Devonte Bandoo, along with Sal Nuhu, also achieved post-season conference and region honors.

Rhymes was Hutchinson’s leading scorer, as well as the conference’s, with 19.6 points per game. He almost shot 50 percent on the season, coming in at 47 percent. He finished in the Blue Dragon Top 10 scoring list, with 1,295 career points. Rhymes had 18 games of 20-plus points, six of which were 30 or more. He also scored a game-winning buzzer-beater against Butler on Dec. 6, to give the Blue Dragons an 82-80 victory. He tallied a career-high 41 points that night.

Bandoo was the other major offensive threat, as he became one of the most dangerous 3-point shooters in the conference. The sophomore averaged 16.7 points per game, which was third-best in the conference. He shot 49.3 percent on the season, and 43 percent from 3-point range, fourth best in single-season history. He also ranks 15th on the Blue Dragon career scoring list, with 1,079 points.

Like Rhymes, Bandoo was awarded first-team all-Jayhawk Conference and all-Region 6.

Nuhu is the last Blue Dragon to receive postseason recognition. He was awarded honorable mention all-Jayhawk Conference selection. Nuhu was a great defender for Hutchinson, as he blocked a team-high 56 shots this season, which was fifth in the conference.

He blocked five shots in a single game on Nov. 2 against Garden City. He also averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, shooting 48.1 percent on the season.

Josh Gooch gives input on recent football accusations

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

Hutchinson Community College Athletic Director Josh Gooch said that he was aware of the recent news stories regarding accusations that football coach Rion Rhoades allegedly displayed racism towards black players, and Gooch said he met with some football players and coaches to discuss the allegations.

Gooch, in an email response, said he could not comment on the meeting because it was a “personnel-related matter.”

The Collegian has contacted some HutchCC football players about the accusations, but none have been willing to provide on-the-record comments.

The Collegian’s policy is not to use anonymous sources unless a person’s physical safety is at risk. The Collegian uses only named sources otherwise, for credible and ethical purposes.

“Hutchinson Community College will not tolerate any form of discrimination. We have a robust nondiscrimination environment,” Gooch said.

He also pointed out that there is a “Notice of Nondiscrimination” at the bottom of the college’s main web page, HutchCC.edu.

Rhoades has been the Blue Dragons’ coach since Dec. 2006. Gooch came with Rhoades as an assistant and left in 2010 to become the head football coach at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. Gooch returned a year later as an assistant coach and became an AD on July 1, 2015.

Gooch was asked if anyone had lodged a formal complaint against Rhoades – or any football coach – regarding conduct toward players or assistants of any race. He said he could not comment again because it is a personnel-related matter.

Gooch said that if a player or athlete at HutchCC feels he or she has been subjected to racism by a coach or teammate, there are options to take.

“Jake Gunden is the College Equity and Compliance officer,” Gooch said. “Any individual who feels they have suffered discriminatory incidents should contact Mr. Gunden, and he will provide the appropriate guidance on how the individual should proceed and will be the college’s contact.”

A look at every current athletic roster at the college indicates that all 12 teams are multi-racial.

“Athletics enriches and enhances this diversity and our college community,” Gooch said. “This diversity was recently highlighted in a University Business article in which Hutchinson Community College was featured. Our coaches recruit, train, and mentor all of our athletes no matter their ethnicity, religion, or country of origin. HutchCC athletics adds depth and richness to the diversity tapestry of Hutchinson Community College.”

End of the road for Blue Dragons

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The dream is finally over for the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team.

The daunting challenge of winning back-to- back national championships proved too difficult for

the Blue Dragons as they exited the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in the second round Wednesday night at the Sports Arena, falling to Florida SouthWestern State 80-65.

“They’re a good team,” Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck said. “We got their best shot tonight, and it showed.”

Many would say this is one of the more “rollercoaster-esque” seasons in recent years, as Hutchinson

experienced many highs and lows throughout the past six months. They also graduate one of

the most dynamic duos in sophomores J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo. However, the Blue

Dragons have nothing to be disappointed in, as they finish another great season with a, overall

29-7 record and fourth straight appearance at the national tournament.

The Sports Arena was the place to be Wednesday night, as the 11th-seeded Blue Dragons took on the sixth-seeded Buccaneers from Florida SouthWestern State in a highly-anticipated second-round game. Right from the beginning, it was apparent that the Buccaneers were hungry to knock off the defending national champions on their home court. The game was tight for a majority of the first half, with the Blue Dragons staying within 10 points, but after a

media timeout late in the half, things started to get ugly for Hutchinson.

Up 37-29 at the half, the Buccaneers did not slow their scoring in the second half, as they repeatedly knocked down

shots. Florida SouthWestern used its quick transition game and lethal scoring ability to put the

game to rest early.

After the first media timeout of the half, the Buccaneers were up almost by 20, and the Blue Dragons didn’t have enough firepower to get back in it. Hutchinson’s season was over 14 minutes later.

The Buccaneers shot an impressive 52.5 percent, while the Blue Dragons were held to 38.9 percent.
“Florida SouthWestern is well rounded, they run good offense, they play tough defense and it was tough to score out there,” Eck said.

Eck also stated that the height mismatch was difference maker and that the Buccaneers were no doubt the best team they’ve played all year.

The Blue Dragons graduate six sophomores this year- each of them playing vital parts on this year’s squad. However, Bandoo and Rhymes will go down as two of the best players in Hutchinson history. Rhymes finishes seventh in Blue Dragon leading scorers (1,295 points), while Bandoo finishes 15th (1,072 points). “I wouldn’t want to go out with any other group of guys,” Rhymes said in an emotional post-game interview. “We had our ups and downs, but their family that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything else, and I thank them for

that.

“I also want to thank God for giving me this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what he

has for me in the future.”

All of the sophomores leave will leave HutchCC with 64 total wins, a conference championship and of course, the 2017 national championship.

HutchCC cheerleaders compete in Region 6 Championships

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Hutchinson Community College’s cheerleaders had a chance to compete Region 6 Cheer and Dance Championship, two weekends ago in Salina.

It was a big event for the teams, as cheer competitions like this are rare.

“We only compete at the one competition. Some of the other teams compete at more competition each year,” said cheer coach Holli Rowe.

Every year, three judges are hired for cheer and three judges are hired for dance. The teams then do their routines, and the judges give their scores. Only Region 6 cheer and dance teams compete at this competition.

HutchCC cheer squad end up placing second, right behind Garden City, who took first.

Sophomore Laurelle Augustine, who is a cheer captain along with sophomore Tristin Padgett, said she thought the cheer team did well enough to win the competition. Yet, Augustine said she was proud of the squad.

“We had so many people quit on us this year, and we had to change the routine so many times,” Augustine said.

The dance team finished fifth in the team routine and second in hip-hop. The team also had two individual competitors, as Aubrey Myers came in fourth and Jasmine Merrell was second.

Blue Dragon women bounced in first round

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team made their eighth

appearance to the NJCAA Division 1 Women’s National Championship on Monday.

However, the trip in Lubbock, Texas was cut short after the Blue Dragons faced a first-round exit, losing to the San Jacinto-North Gators 62-51.

HutchCC, the No. 18 seed, had high hopes coming into the tournament, as the Blue Dragons finished the season with an impressive 27-6 record. But to start the tournament they had to face a similarly-matched San Jacinto team. The Blue Dragons struggled scoring immensely, making only one of their first 12 shots.

At one point in the first quarter, Hutchinson didn’t score for nearly five minutes, leaving San Jacinto to increase its lead.

The second quarter was better for the Blue Dragons, but they found themselves down 13 to end the half. The second half was an uphill climb, as they tried to grind out points.

After a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, the Blue Dragons found themselves within four points, 47-43. However, the Gators answered with their own 8-0 run, and from there, the Blue Dragons simply couldn’t get back into the game.

The Gators shot an even 50 percent from the field, while the Blue Dragons shot 34.8 percent. For Hutchinson, Dejanae Roebuck was the leading scorer with 24 points.

She also had 12 rebounds, which led to her 14th double-double this season. Tia Bradshaw finished with 12 points and Kelsey Brett had five.

The Blue Dragons finished with a 27-7 record and are now 17-10 all-time in national tournament games.

Tom Reilly, NJCAA host, helps Tournament run smoothly

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

With the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship having begun Monday, the Sports Arena has been jam-packed with junior college teams and fans from all over the country.

With that in mind, how does everything not get out of control?

There are behind-the-scene people who help run the NJCAA Tournament and manage possible chaos. One of these groups is the team hosts. Tom Reilly, a Topeka native and Hutchinson resident is Hutchinson Community College’s host for this year.

“Every team has a host, and there are 24 teams in the Tournament,” Reilly said. “The hosts don’t know who they have until the seeds are finalized. Once they are informed who they have, they reach out to the school and introduce themselves.”

Their job is mostly to help the team with time management, scheduling practices and supervise the locker rooms and on benches with the team they are hosting. They cater to the coaches’ needs.

Sometimes, hosts know their designated junior college team close enough to have friends or acquaintances within the community. For instance, Reilly knows some people in the Hutchinson community who can help him out and he knows Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck well.

Because of his connections with Trinity Catholic, Reilly got to schedule a Blue Dragon practice for Tuesday night in advance, if the Blue Dragons were to win that afternoon against Cape Fear. Since they did win, they got to go over plays in preparation for Wednesday night’s game against Florida SouthWestern.

Reilly mentioned that he hasn’t gotten to host HutchCC until this year, and he is excited he is on the Blue Dragons’ bench this season.

“I’ve worked as a host for about 13 years,” Reilly said.

He has been through this several times and said that he always looks forward to basketball season. That is how he got his job in the first place. He said that he was asked in 2006 if he would be willing to become a host since he was a well-known basketball fan.

Since then, he has enjoyed the experiences he has had with the teams he hosted so far.

What we’re doing about the allegations against football coach Rion Rhoades

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

A statement from Collegian advisor Brad Hallier: We are aware of the allegations surrounding the Hutchinson Community College football team and coach Rion Rhoades, and players not showing up for practice, from other media reports. After much discussion with students, we felt we should address how the student journalists are handling the situation.

We want to emphasize that we are not sweeping this story under the rug or hoping it goes away. However, the Collegian also has a policy of not using anonymous sources, unless there’s a perceived threat of physical safety, like in the case of a rape victim going public with a story. In that case, we would protect the victim’s identity.

This does not mean we think the story is false or incorrect. It means we want something concrete before we report it.

Another reason The Collegian has this policy is because of the lack of trust between the public and the media, which seems to be at an all-time high.

Student reporters have contacted football players, and so far, none has been willing to talk to us on the record. We respect that decision.

Many news outlets have policies regarding the use of anonymous sources. Our policy is not better than another’s, and it’s not worse. This is how we choose to handle anonymous sources.

We would like to encourage any football player, or any person who has first-hand knowledge of what was said and what happened to please call me at 620-665-3427, or email me at hallierb@hutchcc.edu.