Tecumseh Excessive Faculty athletics director Rance Brown wanted a second to take all of it in.
Simply this 12 months, the Braves appeared in three Class A group state championships. Women basketball and softball received state titles, whereas the baseball group was the runner-up. It wasn’t one thing you see on a regular basis at this small, rural college.
There are a number of components which have contributed to the success. There’s one widespread denominator throughout the board – the Pocket Athletic Convention. It ready Tecumseh, the smallest member college, for such a second.
The PAC made an argument for greatest small college convention in Indiana this 12 months.
“Some groups are up, some groups are down however for probably the most half each PAC recreation is hard in its personal means. There aren’t any simple video games,” Brown stated. “The moments do not get too large (for us).”
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The 2021-22 athletic season was a banner 12 months for the PAC with 4 group state champions – Gibson Southern soccer, Forest Park women basketball, Tecumseh women basketball and Tecumseh softball – and one particular person state champ in monitor and subject with Forest Park’s Rachel Mehringer ( 100m hurdles).
Solely the Circle Metropolis Convention (six) received extra group state championships than the Pocket this 12 months. Not dangerous for a convention with a median enrollment of 563 college students.
“The sort of 12 months the convention had reveals that possibly we should not be neglected. As a result of 12 months in and 12 months out, we produce gifted children and groups,” stated Forest Park women basketball coach Tony Hasenour. “This 12 months was simply sort of the exclamation level on that entire concept.”
Along with the state champions, Tecumseh baseball and North Posey softball had been each state runner-ups. Heritage Hills boys soccer, North Posey volleyball, Princeton women cross nation and Pike Central softball had been all regional champions.
The Pocket Athletic Convention was established in 1938. It had beforehand by no means received greater than two state championships in a single college 12 months. The closest comparable 12 months was in 2002-03 when the PAC had two state champs and two runner-ups.
This 12 months accounted for 14 p.c of its state championships. Some member faculties have extra titles however they got here previous to PAC membership.
“I’ve all the time felt prefer it’s an ideal small college convention throughout the board in each sport,” stated Gibson Southern athletic director and soccer coach Nick Hart. “This convention has all the time had success however these previous few years, it is gone up much more.”
Since 2000, the PAC has grown from eight groups to 13 groups. Two faculties who joined – Forest Park (2007 from the Blue Chip) and Boonville (2021 from the Massive Eight) – are amongst current applications with state titles. The elevated competitors allowed the convention to showcase its depth throughout a number of sports activities.
Tecumseh and Forest Park women basketball completed third and fifth within the convention standings however nonetheless received state titles. Tecumseh softball completed third and baseball was fifth. These coaches repeatedly stated throughout their titles runs the convention paved the best way.
“Any group can beat any group,” stated Tecumseh baseball coach Ted Thompson. “It makes it good competitively as a result of you’ve gotten these little battles inside the convention. There aren’t any simple video games.”
Every college within the PAC was additionally guided by a plethora of group assist. When a group makes a run, followers from every college pack the stands. With many of those faculties situated in small cities, these tight-knit communities will journey wherever to assist.
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These crowds will typically be filled with younger children in awe of what the athletes are doing on the courtroom or subject. They watch and examine their each transfer. They wish to sometime take pleasure in the identical success this present group of excessive schoolers skilled.
“There’s numerous expertise and numerous nice applications which helps breed expertise,” Hart stated. “Youngsters at a younger age get enthusiastic about enjoying soccer or baseball or no matter sport. Success brings extra success and our youngsters wish to be part of it.”
From Posey to Dubois to Gibson to Spencer and each county in between, followers had been there from the sectional to the ultimate firetruck experience with the state championship trophy in hand. For these cities, sports activities is rather more than simply video games and matches. It is a lifestyle.
“It is a testomony to how we do issues down right here. Individuals in our communities see athletics as an enormous a part of educating children,” Brown stated. “I really feel like the youngsters that excel in athletics additionally excel within the classroom and life as a result of they be taught good issues from it. That results in the success we have had.”
Contact Courier & Press sports activities reporter Hendrix Magley through electronic mail at [email protected] or through Twitter @TweetsOfHendrix.