by Austin Lockwood
Despite a disappointing end to the season for both basketball teams at the college, women’s head coach Ben Conrad garnered national recognition by being chosen for the 2016 United States Marine Corps/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Junior/Community College National Coach of the Year award.
Coach Conrad earned the award over other historically successful coaches such as Jeff Allen of Collin County College (26-6) and Cal Cochran of Daytona State (28-3). The award adds to his many accolades attained over the last eight years of him coaching at the college. Conrad also won the same award last year along with the Coach of the National Tournament title in 2015.
Another honor added to the résumé is the title of Kansas East Jayhawk Conference Women’s Coach of the Year. The announcement marks the fifth time Conrad has earned such an honor. At the time of publication, Conrad was unavailable for comment.
Conrad was not the only one coming home with honors. Women’s sophomore guard Erica Nelson also earned honors from the WBCA when she was voted a first team All-American. The title goes to the 10 best players in the National Junior College Athletic Association as voted on by the WBCA committee. She became the 11th Cavalier on the women’s team to gain such a title from the WBCA.
Nelson also earned first team All-Conference honors from the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference along with fellow sophomore Chastity Franklin. The remaining three starters Shelby Dahl, Kayonna Lee and Bhrea Griffin all earned second team All-Conference honors to fill out the rest of the team.
The men’s team garnered attention of its own, with sophomore Danzel Wright earning both Most Valuable Player and first team All-Conference for the year. Freshman Jerry Perry earned second team All-Conference, which gives the team plenty of hope for next season.
The women’s team, however, faces an uphill battle next season, losing all five All-Conference members.