Ohio House Of Representatives Recognizes Tigers With Resolution
Springfield, Ohio — Nearly three months after raising the 2011 NCAA Division III championship trophy to thunderous cheers of a small but partisan crowd at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Wittenberg University's volleyball team was honored much closer to home with a resolution read on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives.
The resolution was presented to the assembly during its Feb. 8 afternoon session by State Representative Ross McGregor (R-Springfield). It saluted "a remarkable group of athletes" who "have combined talent and competitive spirit with the highest ideals of good sportsmanship to establish themselves as a truly exceptional squad."
"With athletic competition playing such an important role in the total education of our young people, we are extremely pleased to pay tribute to these exemplary athletes and their outstanding coaches for a job well done," the resolution continued. "The maturity and experience the team members gained through participation in sports will greatly aid them in meeting the challenges in the future."
Click here to read Ohio House Resolution 247.
The NCAA championship was Wittenberg's first in a women's sport and the fifth overall for the university. Notably, the Tigers became the first women's college volleyball team from Ohio — regardless of division — to claim a national title, and the first North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) member to earn a national volleyball championship.
Katie Sumner, class of 2012 from Dublin, Ohio, spoke briefly to the assembly, thanking everyone around the state that supported the team through its championship run. She was followed to the podium by Head Coach Paco Labrador, who was given a commendation by McGregor on behalf of the House of Representatives that recognized his achievements, including 2011 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
Labrador saluted his players for their ability to persevere.
"Our leaders of today are getting a glimpse of what I consider our leaders of tomorrow," Labrador said. "These women are going to make something happen."
With the 2012 spring season now just one month away but offseason workouts already in full swing, the team's Ohio victory tour will continue Saturday. The team will be joined by a large gathering of alumnae for a campus celebration of the national championship at halftime of the men's basketball game against the College of Wooster, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, in Wittenberg's Pam Evans Smith Arena. A banner hung from the rafters of the arena will be unveiled at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photos By: Erin Pence