NJCAA Moments of the Decade The top NJCAA moments from 2010-2019

NJCAA Moments of the Decade: 2010-2019

As the decade comes to a close, the NJCAA is taking a look back at some of the top moments from around the association over the last 10 years. From standout student-athletes, to thrilling upsets and streaks of dominance, the following moments have left their marks on NJCAA history. Follow along each day until the end of the decade to see which moments will be recognized.

Bryce Harper No. 1 MLB Draft pick

In 2010, history was made when Bryce Harper was selected as the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals out of the College of Southern Nevada. Harper's top draft selection is the highest of any NJCAA student-athlete or alumni.

During his lone season at Southern Nevada, Harper led the NJCAA in three major hitting categories with 101 hits, 98 runs, and 31 home runs. The Coyotes earned their second NJCAA DI World Series appearance in program history during Harper's tenure.

Harper's decorated NJCAA career includes a NJCAA DI Baseball First Team All-America selection and was named the 2010 Golden Spikes Award winner given annually to the top amateur baseball player in America. Harper became just the second-ever NJCAA student-athlete to win the award.

In his first season with the Nationals, Harper was named the 2012 MLB National League Rookie of the Year and became the youngest position player to play in the MLB All-Star Game.

Decade of dominance for Daytona

2010 began a dominant decade for the Daytona State (FL) women's golf program. The Falcons would collect seven of ten possible team national championships in addition to crowning six individual champions.

The 2010 team was particularly impressive. Posting a 60-stroke victory over national runner-up McLennan (TX), the Falcons were led by Mitsuki Katahira, posting a score of 211 to lead the individual scoreboard. Daytona State had six golfers finish in the top eight positions on the leaderboard. Katahira also recorded a 64 on the second day of play, a mark that still stands as the best single round score in NJCAA history.

Mitsuki Katahira would defend her individual title the following year to become the second two-time champion in NJCAA women's golf history.

Head coach Laura Brown would guide the Falcons to six more team titles and plenty of other records over the course of the next decade. More than 20 players from this last decade continued their careers at NCAA DI programs

South Plains joins elite company, completes undefeated DI men's basketball season

In its 2011-2012 men’s basketball season, the South Plains (TX) Texans went 36-0, making them the first team in school history to finish the regular season undefeated. South Plains defeated Northwest Florida State 81-68 to claim the 2012 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship title in Hutchinson, KS.

The Texans became just the sixth NJCAA DI Men's Basketball team to complete an undefeated national championship season in association history. The last undefeated championship run was accomplished by Indian Hills (IA) in 1998.

A dynamic scorer, South Plains' Marshall Henderson continued his career at the University of Mississippi where he earned SEC Newcomer of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in 2013.

After clinching the championship title, sophomore guard Marshall Henderson was named the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Player of the year and head coach Steve Green earned NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year honors for the team's unprecedented run.

The 2012 title marked the second for head coach Steve Green after claiming his first in 2008. Green guided the Texans to the program's third national championship in 2018.
At the time it was our second championship, the first coming in 2008, and the fact that we were undefeated placed us in an elite group of teams that have done both. The carryover from that season has propelled SPC to many more accomplishments since, a runner-up finish, two other final four appearances, an elite eight team, and another title in 2018. These accomplishments have placed the SPC men's basketball program as one of the most successful in junior college history. Each and every member of those who participated share in this tradition. - Steve Green, South Plains Men's Basketball head coach

No. 10 Glendale's Cinderella story DII volleyball title win

In 2014, Glendale (AZ) entered the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship tournament as the No. 10 seed. However, the Gauchos stunned the field defeating No. 1 Parkland in a five-set thriller to claim the program's first national title in program history.

During the championship match, Glendale fell in the first two sets, 13-25 and 14-25. The Gauchos did not let their Cinderella story championship run come to an end, battling back to take the next three sets 25-23, 25-10, 15-12.

Glendale became the lowest seeded team to win a NJCAA Volleyball title during the 2010-2019 decade.

The Gauchos pulled off three upsets en route to earning a place in the national final. Glendale swept No. 7 Kansas City Kansas in the first round of play, before knocking off No. 2 Central (NE) and No. 6 Cowley (KS) in five-set matches.

From a spectator standpoint, what Glendale did was exciting, remarkable, and epic. I’ll never forget seeing Lisa’s (Stuck, Glendale head coach) reaction right as the final point was scored. She looked at her assistant, hugged her, and said, 'Oh my God.' When Glendale won in the semifinal and then eventually won in the championship, it did give me some comfort that they were the real deal. - Mary Young, former Central (NE) Volleyball head coach

Johnson County wins 2015 women's basketball title on buzzer-beater

A national championship game. On its home court. Against a top-ranked Parkland (IL)team on a 35-game winning streak.

A game that had all the makings for a classic, turned out to be just that. With the game all tied with just 16.7 left on the clock, Johnson County's (KS) Erica Nelson would hold for the next 10 seconds. As the clock ticked past seven seconds to play, Nelson found Alexis Brown cutting across the court. Nelson then proceeded to sink a step-back shot as time expired to hand the Cavaliers their first title since 2000.

Brown came off the bench to score 14 points in 21 minutes of action for the Cavaliers. Nieka Wheeler scored a team-high 16 points to pace Jonhson County while Erica Nelson added 11 points and five assists.

One of the lasting memories I have from that night is our student section and how invested they were. Our students were united and together and there was just an incredible amount of pride in Johnson County athletics. It was a very special night for our entire athletics program. - Ben Conrad, Johnson County Women's Basketball head coach

Onondaga's historic run sets new standard in college athletics

The Onondaga (NY) Lazers' men's lacrosse program set unprecedented records throughout the decade as one of the most dominant teams in NJCAA history. From March 30, 2010 until March 12, 2016, the Lazers set the longest head-to-head winning streak of any NJCAA program across all sports with 107 straight wins. Along the way, Onondaga captured six national championships under the guidance of head coach Chuck Wilbur.

The 2011 Onondaga men's lacrosse team topped CCBC Essex (MD) 12-9 to claim the program's second consecutive national title

Year-over-year, the Lazers put together impressive performances that prolonged the streak. In Onondaga's six national championship triumphs, the Lazers outscored the opposition by an average of seven goals per game.

The Lazers' dominant run continued in 2015 with an undefeated record and the program's ninth national title.

Not only did the Lazers put together stellar championship efforts, but the overall body of work throughout the seven-year run saw noteworthy accomplishments as well. Onondaga outscored its opposition by an average of 21.03 goals per game and allowed an average of just 4.3 goals per contest, a feat that also included seven shutouts. From All-American selections to Hall of Fame inductions, the Lazers put together one of the most decorated runs in all of college sports.

We are very proud of that record as a program. The streak is something all the teams who were a part of took a lot of pride to keep it going. We tried not to think about it while we were going through it but it was always in the back of our minds. When I look back at it, there were a lot of talented individuals who put their ego’s aside and put the guy next to them and the team first. It is what this program has always been about. Play for the guy next to you and play for our Lazer Family. - Chuck Wilbur, former Onondaga Men's Lacrosse head coach

Slate Fuller walks it off in Enid; Bengals capture World Series

An 0-2 pitch made its way to the inside part of home plate and with one swing Slate Fuller cemented his name in NJCAA history with a walk-off home run to left centerfield to lift LSU Eunice to the 2018 NJCAA DII World Series title in Enid, OK. The title marked the sixth in program history for the Bengals, all since 2006.

Slate Fuller stands alone following his ninth inning walk-off home run to lift LSU Eunice to the 2018 NJCAA DII Baseball World Series title

The top-seeded Bengals powered their way through the opening rounds of the World Series by outscoring their opponents 38-12. In the championship game, LSU Eunice trailed 3-2 and needed a late run in the eighth inning to tie the game before Fuller's dramatics in the ninth propelled the Bengals to the 5-3 victory at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

LSU Eunice celebrates its 2018 NJCAA DII World Series victory after a memorable walk-off home run to clinch the title

While Fuller's two-run walk-off blast proved to be the most memorable of a record year for the Bengals, LSU Eunice boasted a number of impressive individual performances throughout the team's 2018 World Series run. Koi Westbrook was named the Tournament MVP and Defensive Player of the Tournament while Zach Hester earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors. Hester concluded a remarkable sophomore campaign as the NJCAA David Rowlands Male Student-Athlete of the Year.

You really couldn’t script it any better. To have a moment that was so unexpected in the home run on an 0-2 count and then to see the elation and joy of our team is something we will never forget. -Jeff Willis, LSU Eunice Baseball head coach

First nationally televised NJCAA Championship aired on CBS

In October 2018, the NJCAA announced a major milestone for the association: the first nationally televised NJCAA Championship event.

The 2018 NJCAA eTeamSponsor Football Championship aired live on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, November 29 at Carnie Smith Stadium on the campus of Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, KS. Top-ranked East Mississippi outlasted No. 2 Garden City 10-9 to claim the program's fifth national title.

East Mississippi's title victory capped a perfect 12-0 season for the Lions.

The title game proved to be a defensive struggle. The Lions pulled away from the Broncbusters in the second quarter when East Mississippi's Everitt Cunningham returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Cunningham's defensive performance earned eTeamSponsor Most Valuable Player honors.

The success of the game forged the way for additional national exposure for NJCAA Championships. A few months later, the 2019 NJCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championship finals aired on CBS Sports Network from Hutchinson, KS and Lubbock, TX.

In the fall of 2019, the NJCAA eTeamSponsor Football Championship aired live on CBS for the second consecutive year as Mississippi Gulf Coast defeated Lackawanna (PA) 24-13.

Indian River State Swimming and Diving continues unprecedented run

Over the past decade, Indian River State (FL) continued to dominate NJCAA Swimming and Diving. In 2019, the Pioneer men and women claimed their 45th and 37th consecutive national titles, respectively. At the 2019 championship meet, the men's and women's squads each won 24 of the 25 individual and team events.

The Indian River State Men's Swimming & Diving team took the 2019 national title with 1,297 points, 635 points ahead of second place Iowa Central.

The Indian River State men's team holds every NJCAA Swimming & Diving record. Since 2010, the Pioneer men have set 15 of the 18 individual records, all five of the relay records, and one diving record.

In 2018, Jarryd Baxter set four NJCAA swimming records: 500-yard freestyle, 1000-yard freestyle, 100-yard individual medley, and the 800-yard freestyle relay.

The Pioneer women controlled the NJCAA record books over the past decade as well. 14 of the 15 individual swimming records were set by Indian River State women since 2010, along with three relay records and one diving record.

I have taken great pride in seeing the student-athletes develop and move on in their athletic and academic careers. It’s not just about the success we have had in the pool, but it has also been great to see the student-athletes recognized for their outstanding achievements in the classroom. Athletically, I have really enjoyed watching the swimmers and divers achieve their goals. Whether that be doing personal bests, winning events, breaking records, or celebrating with their team. - Sion Brinn, Indian River State Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving head coach

Kenny Bednarek steals the show and sets world record at 2019 NJCAA DI outdoor championships

When it was time for Indian Hills' (IA) Kenny Bednarek to take the blocks for his 200m prelim run at the 2019 NJCAA DI Track & Field Championships, the 20-year old had all eyes on him.

Running his prelim heat in a time of 19.49, Bednarek recorded the single fastest wind-assisted time in world history.

The following day, Bednarek became just the second person in world history to run both a sub-20 200m and sub-45 400m race in the same day, posting times of 44.73 and 19.82 against the wind, respectively.

Kenny Bednarek of Indian Hills made international headlines at the 2019 NJCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Hobbs, NM

Less than two months later, Bednarek passed on interest from nearly every major NCAA DI program, instead opting to sign a professional contract with Nike. Bednarek also earned a spot on the United States' roster at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar.

Kenny’s performances at the 2019 NJCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are unforgettable. At the time, our program was in its fourth year of existence and still trying to make a name for itself. Kenny’s performances played a monumental role in taking our program to the next level. His performances reaffirmed what we tell all of our recruits- NJCAA track & field produces some of the best talent in the world. The NJCAA has been a breeding grounds for top level talent for years now. NJCAA track & field is in a unique position because our competition is not limited to two-year programs. Our athletes get to compete against the best NCAA athletes in the country on a weekly basis as well. - Brent Ewing, Indian Hills Men's and Women's Track & Field head coach
NJCAA Moments of the Decade: 2010-2019