Trojan athletic teams are reflecting on unprecedented accomplishments and are even more optimistic for 2020.
Only one other Kansas community college has the distinction of watching all six fall-semester NJCAA Division I teams recognized in national polls. CCC volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's basketball, and wrestling have been ranked or are receiving votes in their respective sports.
Collectively, volleyball and the basketball teams posted a fall semester record of 45-10, a winning percentage of .818. The volleyball team under Coach Carey Jones went 24-7 and finished as the Jayhawk Conference and Region VI runners-up. Second-year coach Antwain Scales has women's basketball off to an 11-1 start, and Rusty Elmore, in his first season, launched the Trojan men to a 10-2 record. Wesley Banguria capped his historic cross country season by earning the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Male Athlete of the Year award after winning all five races he started during the season and claiming the national championship race by more than a minute (22:55).
Earlier in 2019, the USTFCCCA named Nehemia Too as the men's indoor track athlete of the year after scoring a remarkable 28 points at the NJCAA Indoor Championships with titles in the mile (4:15.68) and 5000-meter (14:24.93) runs.
The spring sports had plenty to celebrate. On the way to earning Jayhawk Conference coach-of-the-year honors, Steve Kinnett guided the softball team to a 30-19 mark as they won the school's first conference title. Ryan Carter's baseball team tallied a 37-22 record and extended their season to the West Central District semifinals.
In addition to the solid performances during competition, CCC student-athletes are taking care of business in the classroom. In June, Kinnett's squad learned they posted the highest grade point average (3.67) among all 131 National Junior College Athletic Association softball programs. Nine other Trojan teams finished with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Character development is also a significant part of Colby athletics. During the fall semester, sometime between practice and studying, CCC student-athletes volunteered more than 1,000 hours in the After-School Program, the Genesis-Thomas County Food Pantry, the Prairie Museum, Kansas Special Olympics, and several other individuals and organizations.
Excitement is high for the new year. In January, men's and women's basketball play seven times at the Colby Community Building scheduled around a home wrestling dual on the 22nd.
Alumnus, Olympian and world champion mixed martial arts fighter Daniel Cormier comes to Colby for the opening of a new privately-funded training facility on January 16. The building not only provides a safe environment for practices but also adds a boost to recruiting efforts. Coupled with the nearby Colby Event Center that will be home to basketball and volleyball games, current and future Trojan student-athletes have the facilities, coaching, and academic resources to succeed in 2020 and beyond.