Linda Pereira and several other Springfield College students didn’t even seem interested in competing in intramural tournaments after the SC season was done with.
It wasn’t until Tom St. John, the coordinator of intramural and club sports, convinced Pereira to form an SC all-star basketball team to compete in a tournament at Boston University in late February that the group agreed.
Just over a month later, Pereira and six other students are heading to North Carolina State for the American Collegiate Intramural Sports (ACIS) National Tournament this weekend.
“We are extremely excited to head down to North Carolina to show the other teams what we have,” said Pereira, who serves as the team’s captain. “There is nothing better than representing Springfield College, ‘The Birthplace of Basketball’.”
“Springfield College”, which Pereira and her teammates used as their team name, qualified for the ACIS after they won the regional tournament at UMass-Amherst on March 25.
SC had to go up against Division I schools such as Holy Cross, Northeastern and Providence.
In the semifinals and championship game, Springfield won with only five players.
“I was injured and another teammate, Danielle Lawson, had a very important prior commitment for that Sunday,” said Pereira, a junior.
Springfield gained a lot of motivation early in the tournament when they defeated Ithaca College, after Ithaca had beat SC at the BU Tournament a month earlier.
With five players, SC defeated UConn in the championship game 44-34. Sophomore Lauren Gallant was named All-Tournament MVP, while junior Monika Malec was named to First-Team All-Tournament.
At the ACIS Tournament, there are two divisions: intramurals and club. SC has decided to play in the club pool for better competition.
According to St. John, schools like NC State, Marquette, James Madison and other bigger schools will be present.
This will not be an easy trip to Raleigh, N.C., as the entire team has to pay their way to nationals.
However, Campus Recreation has been very helpful to the seven women making the trip.
“We have paid full entry to the women’s two regional tournaments (Boston University and UMass-Amherst),” said St. John. “We are reimbursing them for a few meals and we are paying 100 percent of their hotel costs.”
Through an email, St. John stated that a recent study of the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA) shows that the average allocated money for club sports is $47,000. Springfield is way over the average, with over $60,000 dedicated to its club and intramural teams.
“We have treated this high-achieving group of students somewhat like a club sport, and they have been well-funded,” said St. John.
The ACIS Tournament is from April 13-15. Springfield College will be one of the younger teams there, with all seven players being either sophomores or juniors.
Terrence Payne may be reached at email@example.com