By Angela Lingg

Hutchinson Community College is gearing up for the NJCAA Division I Men’s National basketball tournament. The tournament runs from March 14-19.

The Blue Dragons men’s basketball team will be participating in the tournament.

Vic Boucos, the sports arena operations coordinator, expects that the men’s team will draw a big crowd and will help boost ticket sales.

“It’s the hometown team so people will come, that’s why the American Legion loves to have us in it, it makes a lot of difference in ticket sales,” Boucos said.

The American Legion has a chapter located in Reno County that is responsible for running the tournament.

A portion of all the ticket sales will go to support the American Legion. They have been running the tournament since 1949.

According to Ken Fry, the Admission Chairman, the American Legion handles a variety of things including ticket sales, parking, helping out the teams, and even a pancake feed that funds five scholarships for Hutchinson Community College. “Basically we man the tournament,” Fry said.

The tournament pancake feed will be on Thursday, March 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m at 730 W. 4th. The cost is five dollars for adults and three dollars for children eight and under.

“This event [the tournament] is the American Legion’s largest fundraiser,” said Don Rose, Director of Facilities. “The American Legion does an enormous task of running the tournament.”

The American Legion is made up of mostly volunteers and they have about 250 volunteers to run the tournament, but they are still in need of more volunteers.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Jerry Ricksecker, the tournament chairman.

Due to construction on the north and south side of the arena, those areas will not be available for parking. With those areas off limit, parking will be moved to other locations.

The maintenance and custodial departments are increasing their staff during the tournament to keep the arena clean and orderly.

“There is a lot of time put in by a lot of people,” Rose said. “We increase our staff of about twenty in the custodial… If the games get over at 10 or 10:30 at night, depending on the crowd, we could be there until about four in the morning cleaning it up before we start all over the next morning at seven and get ready to go again.”

The tournament is made possible through the work of many HCC employees, as well as numerous volunteers.

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