I came to TJC, as many students have, unaware of its athletic history and success.
I sat in on my first Apache Pow Wow staff meeting in August and found out that the school was sitting on 49 national championships and looking for its 50th.
I followed, as many did, the fall sports, where both the volleyball and the men’s soccer teams were one victory away from being the team to lay claim to that historic title.
Both teams lost in the championship match of their respective national tournaments.
The football team had a chance as well, but lost in the first round of the NJCAA playoffs.
We entered the spring semester still wondering who would win that championship.
You could feel the excitement in the fall. Those three teams took the school to the brink of history.
When the spring semester began, the excitement was back. Both basketball teams were expected to be good. As was baseball.
All eyes were – and still are – on tennis. The men’s and women’s tennis teams have accounted for the majority of the school’s championships and both have won four national titles in a row.
The teams are fresh off another Region XIV championship and will begin their respective national tournaments in the coming weeks.
The women’s team will start theirs on May 3 at the JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center on campus. And yes, that is a hint to get out and watch the team bring home the school’s 50th championship.
If that happens, the men’s team will likely make it 51 when it competes May 12-16 in Plano.
The golf teams will get their turn May 12 for the women and May 20 for the men.
Last year, the men were ninth and the women were fifth at nationals.
Baseball will be the last team with a chance to win a national title this school year. The Apaches are currently ranked in the Top 5 in the nation and will have the luxury of hosting both the District C Tournament and the Division III World Series.
So, just because school is out, it doesn’t mean that the excitement of the chase for 50 titles has to end. It will go on – and likely culminate – this month.
One other thing that is certain, and something I have learned this school year, is that the winning tradition will carry on. And it is easy to get caught up in it.
The teams will be just as strong. Softball will be the newest sport on campus and the squads will be past that 50th championship and will be working on getting to the 100t