Last updated: March 04. 2014 1:08PM - 903 Views
By Travis McMullen Contributing Columnist

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The State Fair Community College Roadrunners play basketball in the NCJAA, Division 1, Region 16. Region 16 is made up of teams from Missouri, including Mineral Area College, Missouri State University-West Plains, Moberly Area Community College, Three Rivers College and SFCC. Yes, they play both MAC and MACC — they’ve got confusingly similar names and abbreviations that sound like throat clearing onomatopoeia.

Yes, it’s a five-team conference which means there’s a reasonable amount of parity. Four different teams have won the region in the last four years — if the MACC Greyhounds can win it next year, it would mean that all five member teams have won in succession. If Missouri State University-West Plains wins next year by beating MACC, it would mean the Greyhounds have lost in the finals to all the other teams in a four year span.

But a small conference doesn’t essentially make for easy pickings. MACC is one of the finest programs in NJCAA Division 1 men’s basketball. They’ve won the NJCAA National Championship 4 times, which means they are tied with San Jacinto College-Central in all-time national championships. I think MACC should be held in higher regard since they actually won their last national championship in 1967 in head-to-head competition against that other school with four national champions.

And even though the Greyhounds haven’t won a national championship in four decades, they have frequently been within shooting distance of the gold; they were runner-up as recently as 2005.

Region mate Three Rivers Community College is also no slouch when it comes to NJCAA championships. They won the nation in 1979 and 1992, which makes them less successful on an all-time level but more successful in a slightly more recent sort of way.

SMSU-WP and MAC have never so much as made the national championship game but they have won the region a few times; but it seems like Three Rivers and Moberly have been trading the championship for decades. There are only a few games in the collected history of the Region that don’t involve at least one of those teams.

And the Roadrunners have traditionally rested near the bottom of the region. There are regional championships in 1972 and 1976 and ever since, there’s been, uh, not much. But we’re just at the start of a serious reevaluation of who’s really the eternal champion of Region 16.

Yes, your State Fair Community College Roadrunners are just a few days removed from winning Region 16 for the third time, ever. The season featured an undefeated record in Region 16 play with three wins over MAC and MACC and two over Three Rivers and they’re riding high into the NJCAA District 4 tournament on a 14 game winning streak. (All right, so one of the wins against Moberly was due to forfeit but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a win.)

But it wasn’t just the men’s team that won the region.

Last Saturday was a very good day for Roadrunner basketball; both the men’s and women’s teams had entered the Region 16 tournament as the No. 1 seed. They dominated region play in the regular season and just had to win two more games to tie up the championship. They both started at 3:00.

The men’s tournament ended like a properly seeded tournament should end: the No. 1 seed upstart Roadrunners against the No. 2 seed old guard Greyhounds. The Lady Roadrunners faced a surprising No. 6 seed Jefferson College Vikings.

The Lady Roadrunners won first, but they’re used to that since they’ve won Region 16 as recently as 2011. Within minutes of the final score in that game, 72-55, the men took care of their business and beat Moberly 84-70. A clean double region championship, and to top it all off, the Lady Roadrunners featured the Region 16 Player of the Year, Antoinette Taylor, and the Roadrunners have the Region 16 Coach of the Year in Kevin Thomas.

I think it is safe to say that the people of Sedalia salute you, basketball Roadrunners of both genders. You have done your college and the city that it calls home proud. You do not all come from Sedalia, or even from Missouri, but Sedville will always think of you fondly.

But there is no time to rest! Perhaps the Roadrunners could be the third team in the modern Region 16 to have a national championship under their belt! The voters in the NJCAA poll only seem to have a little faith in that team from Sedalia, as they do not currently appear in the top 25. But there is a little respect given, in the consolation section that is the “also receiving votes” section. They’re the first team out of the top 25, at least. Rankings are highly arbitrary anyhow, right?

Sedalia is behind you, Roadrunners.

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