MENA – A flurry of announcements were made last Tuesday at UA Rich Mountain Community College as they make a huge step toward offering a more well rounded college experience for students.
The announcements made by school Chancellor Phillip Wilson and Vice Chancellor Morris Boydstun, include the introduction of the school’s new mascot, plans to enter the college athletic arena, and the possibility of on-campus housing. The announcements were made during a press conference held in the Ode Maddox Building Tuesday afternoon in front of students, staff and media.
Vice Chancellor Boydstun began by stated that the school had wrapped up a campaign to name a school mascot. Boydstun and Chancellor Wilson wasted no time unveiling the new mascot, The Bucks, to a roomful of cheers.
Chancellor Wilson stated, “It’s a pretty big dag gum thing.” when talking about the mascot.
Chancellor Wilson shared that the process had included input from students and staff and had come down to either The Royals, or The Bucks. He explained that although the history of Queen Wilhelmina State Park certainly lends itself to The Royals moniker, it was decided that The Bucks would be easier to market.
This marks the first time in school history that they will have a mascot. The mascot logo utilizes the colors red and grey and feature the head of a buck. The new mascot, BUCKS will be displayed on athletic uniforms, collegial apparel, and marketing and advertising for the institution. The UA Rich Mountain Bucks logo was designed by former Mena High School graduate Amelia Loftin who is the President and Creative Director of FosterLoft Creative Communications based in Denver, Colorado.
UA Rich Mountain Community College also announced they will be entering the college athletic arena and will compete in both NJCAA sanctioned sports, as well as club sports.
Club fishing is the first sport the school has begun with Mount Ida’s Ty Whisenhunt representing the school in the Arkansas Collegiate Fishing Series . He finished fifth in the state through the most recent series of tournaments. Matthew Vincent of Oden has joined him on the team and the two will represent the school going forward.
Samantha Shores was introduced as the new cross country coach for the school. UA Rich Mountain will field a cross country team in the Fall of 2018. The school has already begun recruiting locally in a sport that area schools have traditionally excelled in. It was stated that this was one of the deciding factors in choosing cross country as the first NJCAA sanctioned sport.
The school plans to build a program that will make itself known immediately on the na
tional stage. Chancellor Wilson stated that they had compared local high school times to the times in last year’s NJCAA National Meet and discovered that local athletes would have finished in the top 50 nationally if they had competed.
Coach Shore is looking forward to getting things going and has already been recruiting local athletes. She stated that there are at least six athletes waiting until after Tuesday’s announcement to commit to the school.
Coach Shores has scheduled open tryouts for the cross country team to be held April 28 and will be open to all illegible area student athletes.
Vice Chancellor Boydstun stated that the college will be announcing other sports over the course of the next five years of so. Sports being considered include, but are not limited to trap-shooting, basketball, baseball, and softball. He explained that they want to choose sports that local high schools have had success and support in traditionally. Ultimately, they want the sports program to enhance and expand the college experience for students.
They stated that although basketball seems like an easy fit, finding a facility is a crucial element to moving forward with this and many other team sports. Vice Chancellor Boydstun stated that the school could use the basketball court in the Mena Armory, but they want to make sure they were able to provide the best possible environment for both athletes and fans.
Another key issue regarding the recruitment of team sports is the need for housing. Vice Chancellor Boydstun stated that the college is researching the possibility of on-campus housing at UA Rich Mountain Community College.
He explained that with a sport like cross country student athletes are able to train near their homes and drive back and forth to school. Team sports such as basketball, baseball, and softball require a different set of issues with practice. On-campus housing would provide easy access to and from practice for student athletes.
He added that on-campus housing would not come to fruition within the next two years, but it is a part of a five year plan the school has for expansion.
UA Rich Mountain Community College is located in Mena, Arkansas with satellite campuses in Mount Ida, Oden, Waldron and Wickes. They offer a variety of two year programs, and technical training programs. For more information regarding UA Rich Mountain visit their website at uarichmountain.edu.
For more information about Cross Country contact Samantha Shores at (479) 394-7622 ext. 1421 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Club Fishing contact Jerod McCormick at (479) 394-7622 ext 1430 or email@example.com.