Skipjacks to showcase new Health Professions and Athletics Center
Chesapeake College has won four consecutive NJCAA Division II Region XX women’s basketball championships – and the accompanying national tournament berths – without playing a single postseason home game.
That will change in 2016.
Chesapeake College has been selected to host next year’s Region XX tournament. Chesapeake Athletics Director Frank Szymanski said the college had multiple reasons for seeking to host the regional in the $36 million Health Professions and Athletics Center that will open in August.
"We’re excited to have the opportunity to host the tournament in our new facility," said Szymanski. "It gives us the opportunity to showcase our new facility to the region and provide home-court advantage for our team.
"And it really is a home-court advantage," added Szymanski. "Our players won’t miss class, they get to sleep in their own beds, and there is no travel time on a bus."
The tournament will take place in late February or early March, with the region determining the actual dates later this spring.
Szymanski said the HPAC’s facilities were critical to winning the bid.
"The region recognized we will have a facility that is more than capable of hosting an event like the regional tournament," said Szymanski, noting the tournament has the potential of including 8-to-10 teams.
In addition to a newly renovated gym, the building will include an auxiliary gym capable of serving as a practice gym for competing teams. There will be a wealth of locker room facilities, a comprehensive training room, concessions facilities and the ability to broadcast games.
"This event allows us to highlight the entire facility – the new gym, locker rooms, weight room and the health professions facilities," said Szymanski, noting the original building footprint was significantly expanded to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the college’s academic programs in the health professions.
Gwen Barnes, Chesapeake’s head women’s basketball coach, said she is looking forward to defending the region championship at home.
"One advantage to hosting regionals is it will bring more exposure to the Chesapeake College women’s basketball program and to the college," said Barnes. "Over the past year-and-a-half of not having a gym, people began to lose sight of our location. I think hosting the regional tournament highlights the college.
"Of course, when we have the home-court advantage it makes us more competitive," added Barnes. "It’s going to be exciting. This is what we’ve all been waiting for and desiring. This will make us play even harder knowing we’re at home."
Szymanski said the college is committed to putting on a high-quality event.
"This will be the most important weekend of the season for the teams that are participating," said Szymanski, who has served as tournament director for state and regional tournaments in other sports, including men’s basketball and soccer. "We want all teams to feel comfortable and for everyone – the players and coaches, the fans, the officials – to enjoy the experience.
"When it’s all over," continued Szymanski, "you want people to say, ’This was a great tournament in a beautiful place.’ "