WNCC looks to add sports in 2004-2005

Western Nevada Community College plans to add four sports to its fledgling athletic program in 2004-2005.

WNCC hopes to offer men's and women's soccer in the fall of 2004 and men's baseball and women's softball in 2005. WNCC began its athletic program with an intercollegiate rodeo team based in Fallon this school year.

The new sports programs need approval from the state Board of Regents. WNCC will go to the Board of Regents for approval when they meet in June in Reno.

WNCC vice president Helaine Jesse said the school will begin a fund-raising campaign for the sports programs this spring. Jesse said all of the sports programs will be completly supported through private funds.

If everything goes extremely well with fund-raising, Jesse said the school could possibly begin its spring sports programs as soon as the spring, 2004. "If we could start earlier, we will," Jesse said.

But the target goal is to add all the sports in 2004-2005, Jesse said. She said if WNCC can't add all four teams, it's goal is to start with women's soccer and baseball in 2004-2005. "But our goal is to go with all four," Jesse said.

WNCC has formed an advisory committee of community leaders which has studied the issue of having athletics at the school for the past year. Jesse said the two biggest factors in choosing the sports that were selected was the support for the programs and the availability of facilities.

"Those four sports were highly ranked," said Jesse about the teams that were chosen. "But we also have access to facilities."

Edmonds Park, Centennial Park and Governor's Field could all be available. A likely scenario would have the soccer teams play at Edmonds, the softball team play at Edmonds or Centennial Park and the baseball team play at Governor's Field.

Jesse said because of logistics and because seasons would conflict, it's likely that Carson High wouldn't be available. That's the biggest reason why WNCC couldn't proceed with basketball, Jesse said. "There is no gym space," she said.

Jesse said WNCC would like to join either the Golden Valley Conference or Bay Valley Conference in Northern California. Board of Regents approval is needed before the school can seek to join one of those conferences, Jesse said.

WNCC should be able to fill a void with athletics, Jesse said. Many local students head for Northern California community colleges to participate in athletics and many end up not playing at all.

Jesse noted that students who head out of state to play sports can't use their Millennium Scholarship, but could do so at WNCC. In addition, not all students head immediately for a four-year school, Jesse said.

"A lot of kids aren't ready for the university experience when they get out of high school," she said.

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