PC notebook: College sees increase in student-athletes
The impact of current and potential looming state budget cuts have not affected the number of student-athletes enrolling at Porterville College.
As PC completes its fourth week of the fall semester the benchmark for student-athletes to fulfill 2012 unit requirements in the five sports programs have a combined 108 members.
That’s an increase from 93 in 2011, and 89 in 2010.
Volleyball is the only current sport in season, while men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball still have students hoping to earn a uniform.
“We are encouraged by not only the numbers, but the quality of students who are attending PC to participate in athletics,” said PC athletic director Eric Mendoza.
“It’s likely that the numbers will decline before the winter and spring sports begin, but our coaches are encouraged that rosters will be easier to shape.”
The sport with the largest increase is softball. The team ended last season with 14 members, and now has 25 women looking for a roster spot – with as many as five more expected to join during the spring term.
“I think a lot of students and parents realize that the local community college is the way to go, for both a quality education and an opportunity to compete in athletics at a high level,” Mendoza said.
“Our coaches have made a concerted effort to recruit year-round and much earlier in a player’s high school career to establish those relationships. We see the results with an increase in numbers. Of course, the recent success of our teams and student-athletes helps tremendously.”
The Pirates volleyball program, a force in the Central Valley Conference, has led the way in grabbing the spotlight.
Coach Dale Henderson, who has the No. 10-ranked team in Northern California, has seen his roster increase from 11 players in 2011 to a total of 19 in the program today. He has 14 active players and five redshirts – two transfers from other CVC schools, and three others preparing to play next season.
“Our goal is to keep growing,” Henderson said.
“We don’t necessarily want 50 players, but we want the ones who are committed to the classroom, the sport, and the community. We are at the point where players from outside our local area have an interest in PC volleyball and that’s an added bonus.”
The only downside, Mendoza added, is that the athletic budget is largely based on previous years. While many of the educational programs at PC have seen an increase in numbers, the funding has been reduced.
This may result in more fundraising needed by the athletic department, or even a possibility of reducing the number of participants that can travel on overnight trips.
“So far, we have been fortunate to avoid any massive changes to our athletic programs,” Mendoza said.
“However, a lot will be determined by the upcoming November ballot and the future of physical education courses. For now, we our doing our best to sustain an athletic department we believe offers a great all-around educational experience.”
ON THE AIR
The Porterville College athletic department continues to sponsor the KTIP Friday Night Football Game of the Week halftime show.
This week’s match-up is Granite Hills and Cesar Chavez, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The halftime show will feature Mendoza and CIF Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow.