GODFREY — Lewis and Clark Community College had much to celebrate Monday afternoon.
Both of the junior college's soccer programs were recognized Monday for their accomplishments this season. Both the men's team and the women's team advanced to the national tournament in the same season for the first time in school history.
LCCC staff, students, community members and both soccer programs were on hand in the Commons as each player from both teams were introduced to rousing applause and blue towels twirling in the air.
Student activities director Jared Hennings worked as the emcee, saying, “Athletically, Lewis and Clark has always been known for soccer.”
That's very true. The Trailblazers' women's team won national titles in 1999 and 2008 and both the men and women have secured regional titles and individual accolades over the years. Through all of that head coach Tim Rooney has been at the helm. Rooney has directed the men's program for 30 years and the women for 23.
Lewis and Clark director of athletics Doug Stotler stepped to the podium and said, “Tim Rooney is a winner.”
An emotional Rooney added when it was his turn to speak, “I've been coaching for a long time and I know my window is closing. If I'm done I couldn't find a better way to go out than with these two teams. They are making my decision hard.
“This is really special.”
Rooney said he plans to make a decision on whether or not he will return as the Trailblazers' coach by the end of January.
The LCCC men completed their season with an 18-4-1 record in 2015, while the women were 16-4-2. The men played in the Junior College Division I national tournament in Axton, Va., while the women played in nationals at Melbourne, Fla.
“We are proud of both team’s achievements,” Stotler said in a release announcing the recognition ceremonies. “We hope the campus and the community can join us in celebrating them.”
Rooney, who was named All Regional Coach of the Year for both the men's and women's programs said during his time at the podium, “Overall we're done a good job here. I'm proud of that and proud to work here.”
Local representatives on the LCCC rosters are, on the men's team: Justin Robinson (Civic Memorial), Bailey Winfield and Michael Romann (Edwardsville) and Nick Harper (Belleville Althoff). On the women's roster are: Anna Whitaker (Roxana), Kirsten Funk (Alton), Tessa Wagner (Edwardsville) and Karissa Pesavento (Staunton).
Harper was named Region 24 Goalkeeper of the Year, while Blake Cearns (Australia) was named Region 24 Player of the Year on the men's side. On the women's side, Nicole Howard (Rolla, Mo.) was named Region 24 Player of the Year.