By Sam Ojeda / Staff writer
The Hutchinson Community College athletic teams have had a fiery fall, ranked nationally in multiple sports. The Blue Dragons are ranked #1 in the country for two sports: Football and Men’s golf. Both sports have been dominant this season. Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Soccer, Men’s Cross Country, and Volleyball are ranked by the NJCAA. Athletic Director Josh Gooch is proud of the athletics at this school. The impact of the campus has been clear as well. Gooch said, “The fall sports seasons have brought a great deal of pride to the campus of Hutchinson Community College.” Gooch believes the staff surrounding these sports makes these sports what they are, “We are fortunate to have a very supportive administration and board of trustees who understands the value of Athletics. Coach Riggs, Downing, Lane, and Dallas are all having great seasons and gearing up for Region VI and postseason play.”
The football team is hot and rolling. They are 6-0 this season and do not seem to be stopping. They just dominated Dodge City with a 47-14 win. They have beaten three nationally ranked-teams this season. The play of Sophomore quarterback Dylan Laible and Sophomore Wide Receiver Malik Benson, as well as others, has earned them the #1 spot nationally.
The back-to-back national champions have stepped up the level of opponents this season. The Blue Dragon golf team has played well in multiple NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 tournaments. Sophomore golfers Dominic Clemons and Blake Saffell have helped jump them to the top spot in the newest NJCAA rankings.
Women’s Cross Country
The Woman’s Cross Country is at #2 in the latest NJCAA rankings. This ranking comes after a 27th-place finish at a predominately Division 1 event. Freshman Serenity Larson shattered the school record by 29 seconds. They also posted some of the team’s best race times of the year.
The Blue Dragon Women’s soccer team has surprised many with their season. With an 11-2 record and 8-2 in conference play, The Blue Dragon ladies sit at #15 in the newest NJCAA rankings. This ranking comes after a massive win over a ranked Barton CC squad and a convincing win over Dodge City CC. They are led by Sophomore forward Hadlie Lowe, who leads the team with 12 goals this season. Sophomore midfielder Julia Dias De Souza has also been a considerable player, leading the team with nine assists.
Men’s Cross Country
The 17th-ranked Blue Dragon Men’s Cross Country team finished 22nd out of 38 teams at the Chile Pepper Festival while also putting up good times. Freshman Douwe Bentsink ran a career-best time that builds off his previous best by 18 seconds which was set in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational two weeks before.
Delice Denning and the Volleyball team are placed 19th in the most recent NJCAA rankings. They are 22-8 this season and 9-1 in Jayhawk Conference action. They also have many wins over top-ranked teams. They are led by the dynamic duo of Freshman Taniya Golden and Sophomore Baylee Miller. These two and the rest of the team hope to lead the Blue Dragon ladies to a great rest of the season.
Sports are trending up at Hutchinson Community College and still getting better. The fall has brought tons of success and plenty more to come. These teams continue to be on the national watch. The postseasons are right around the corner, and these sports hope to bring some championships to Hutchinson. Athletic Director Josh Gooch said it best “It is a great time to be a Blue Dragon.”