By Kevin Hayes
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – At the end of the director of athletics’ first full year on the job, all five fall sports are making playoff appearances and grabbing the national spotlight at Camden County College.
The men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, women’s cross country and women’s tennis teams, overseen by Athletics Director William Banks, are all competing in the postseason.
“I have tried to promote and get the students involved as much as possible,” Banks said about the wave of success this season.
Banks attributed a lack of achievement in athletics in prior years to a lack of knowledge among students. “A lot of kids I spoke to didn’t know what sports we had. Most prospective student athletes, when they are searching for colleges … let’s say within the first 30-40 seconds, if they can’t find athletics, they move on to the next school,” Banks said.
Now that numbers are up for eligibility and participation in sports in the CCC student body, “coaching staff has been phenomenal and the student athletes ‘get the picture,’ ” Banks said.
Leading the student athletes this fall has been the men’s soccer team, who finished the regular season undefeated in the region and conference.
Andrew Wallis, a student worker at CCC, works coordinating and setting up home games and matches for the school sports. “They have very talented players, as well as good coaches that really know the game, and the players play as one team. Our coaches may not (be) the best recruiters around but they know the right buttons to push to get their players to go the extra mile … and I think that’s why you see all of these playoff runs,” Wallis said. About that extra mile, Wallis stated, “I have seen the teams throughout the whole game, whether they’re ahead on the scoreboard or not, they don’t quit playing hard. The players listen to the coaches, which is what I think makes them win a lot of games.”
Banks, Wallis and the student athletes are encouraging students more and more to come out and support the teams and are show them what their hard work has brought to the school: success.
Jessica Rutledge, a psychology major at CCC, attends games occasionally. “I’ve been to a few games now and it seems like the teams are in sync with each other no matter whether they’re winning or losing,” Rutledge said.