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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jumpin' For Joy Day at MCC

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm going to admit, there has been a few times that I've thought about paying a late-night visit to the new McCook Community College Events Center.

I've driven past the new $10 million home for MCC athletics many times on my way home in the past month, eagerly anticipating the Wednesday, Aug. 22 festivities to official christen the new facility. Saw the doors propped open a couple times as various workers have been scrambling seemingly around the clock to put the final touches on the building that should become a focal point of athletic events in the city and surrounding area.

Couldn't quite get up enough nerve to sneak through the doors and take a peak at what will be, in my opinion, one of the nicest gymnasiums in the western half of the state. So Wednesday morning, I'm hoping to sneak down to the college and be part of McCook history as MCC officials welcome the public into their new athletic "Taj Mahal" to show off the building and all it has to offer.

I'm very happy to hear MCC athletic director Jon Olsen talk about forging a working relationship with McCook High School and other area high schools, trying to bring those schools into the fold and perhaps having area basketball and volleyball teams someday play on the new MCC floor. Jon and I chatted during Legion baseball tournament action in Minden a few weeks back, and he wants to stage a four-game basketball extravaganza with the MCC teams and McCook's varsity squads sometime in the future.

Olsen seems committed in bringing the community to the college to: 1. support his MCC teams, and 2. get area schools and fans involved, to allow those youngsters an opportunity to play in a first-class college venue and to perhaps bring more local and area fans to watch MCC athletic teams in action.

I LOVE THE IDEA of having a high school-college four-game set at the MCC Events Center. Mr. Olsen sees a McCook girls varsity game to start the event on a Saturday afternoon, followed by the MCC women playing, then the McCook High boys varsity, then the MCC men to wrap up the night. Olsen said with contracts signed for future years, it might be tough to pull off the event for next winter, but I'm betting that will happen in coming years.

Now, I did get a tour of the building a ways back when construction was in early stages. I haven't seen the finished product, although I did peak at a video of the main gym floor, with the MCC logo at mid-court and McCook Community College painted in blue along both end lines. At that time, before bleachers were even close to being installed, the main gym looked huge. I think it's going to be a great place for fans to watch a volleyball or basketball contest.

Give the college administration and all the donors who made this beautiful facility possible. Now it's up to local and area fans to fill the seats when MCC teams play there.

I know MCC volleyball coach Natalie Alred has put together a strong roster this fall, nearly doubling the number of players she had on the 2011 roster. Alred has recruited several foreign players, one from Germany and another from Australia, plus some area talent that hopefully will jell into a competitive team.

I've always enjoyed watching the MCC basketball men and women compete, although perhaps not so comfortably in the old facility, True Hall gym. Coaches Ben Smith and Brandon Lenhart have both added standout athletes to the MCC women's and men's basketball teams, and both Indians and Lady Indians teams always put on a fast-paced show.

It's going to be a fun 2012-13 sports season at MCC, and it officially gets underway Wednesday. Hope to see you there, and circle another big date on the calendar -- Wednesday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m., when the MCC volleyball women hit the floor for the first official competition in the MCC Events Center against NCTA from Curtis.

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Steve Kodad
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