Byron Coleman had this day in mind way back before his Lady Roadrunner basketball team began its 2018-2019 campaign.
Knowing his group possessed the potential for a national championship tournament run, Coleman scheduled some of the toughest teams he could find in the pre-conference portion of the schedule. There was never any doubt about facing brutal competition within Region XIV, but Coleman wanted his players to get a taste of what lay ahead should AC book a berth to Lubbock.
“We always said we’d play anybody anywhere, and we did that,” Coleman said. “We played a great non-conference schedule knowing our conference is already so tough. We scheduled opponents we knew would help us if we just took care of our own business. It worked out well for us.”
On Monday morning, Coleman and the Lady Roadrunners joined community members for a Selection Show watch party on the Angelina College campus. They waited anxiously to hear the selection committee’s seeding announcement, and when the Lady ‘Runners saw their team listed as the No. 4 seed, the entire room erupted in applause.
“It’s great to get all these people from the community together and join us in watching this live,” Coleman said. “You know, you always see these show on TV with Division I basketball, so for us to get the chance to experience it ourselves, man, you can’t do anything but smile. I’m happy that the girls had the chance to enjoy this.”
As expected, undefeated and No. 1-ranked Wabash Valley earned the No. 1 seed, followed by Gulf Coast State at No. 2 and Shelton State at No. 3. Two more Region XIV teams – Tyler Junior College and Trinity Valley Community College – earned at-large bids, proving Coleman’s statement about the strength of the conference.
The tournament tips off on Monday, March 18; the Lady Roadrunners will play at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 against the winner of the Hutchinson/Western Nebraska game.
The national tournament championship game will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 23. All games take place at the Rip Griffin Center on the Lubbock Christian University campus in Lubbock and will be live streamed on NJCAA TV.
It’s a lot to absorb for a coaching staff and team representing the first Angelina College women’s basketball team to compete for a national title. Coleman just wants to ensure he and his players don’t forget to live in the moment.
“These kids know this will be something that 10 or 20 years from now we’ll be getting together to reminisce,” Coleman said. “We were joking on the bus that we needed to write a book about all the trials and tribulations we endured in getting to this point. They’re cherishing this, and they understand the value of the moment.
“We’ll remember this forever.”
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games.
Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.
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