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CMCC Mustangs celebrate National Championship

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The 2017 USCAA Women’s Division II national championship team: l. to r., from front, are Spencer True, team manager Kate Kelley, Hayley Peterson, Nicole Hamblin, Tianna Harriman, Ellie Harrington, Seve Derry-Deraps, Mikayla Yanez, Holly Decourcey, Allie Ablondi, Kristina Blais, head coach Andrew Morong, Eraleena Gethers-Hairston, Rylee Moore, Samantha Burke, Jenny Schlim, Taylor Esty, Brooke Reynolds, and assistant coaches Laura Soohey and Maggie Sabine.

Fans of the Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team gathered on campus March 23 for a celebration of the team winning the USCAA Women’s Division II national championship. The Mustangs won the title after a 74-57 win over Penn State-Lehigh Valley on March 4 in Uniontown, PA, to become the first Maine women’s college basketball team to win a national title.

“This was one of our goals from day one, when we first came to the program six years ago,” said head coach Andrew Morong, who earned USCAA DII Coach of the Year honors. “Now that it’s finally happening, we couldn’t have done it with a better group of young women. They really are an amazing group, and I’m just very proud of what they did, on and off the court.”

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte was on hand at the rally and read a proclamation declaring March 23, 2017 as “Day of the Mustangs” in the city. The mayor noted how he had worked closely with Athletic Director Dave Gonyea to ensure that the team received a police escort from the Maine border all the way back to campus during their trip home.

The team began the season with a 15-game winning streak before suffering their only defeat in a loss to Dean College on January 12. They then won their next 18 games to finish the regular season with a 33-1 record. In addition to the first-ever national championship, the Mustangs also won their fourth Yankee Small College Conference title in six years.

YSCC First Team All-Star and YSCC Tournament MVP Brooke Reynolds of Poland was named USCAA Women’s Basketball DII First Team All-American. YSCC Second Team All-Star Jenny Schlim of Nottingham, NH was honored with an All-American Honorable Mention.

Morong noted that it was all the preparation and work the players did – on the court and in the classroom – that led to their tremendous success. The coach added that he was especially proud of the fact that the Mustangs had a team GPA of 3.2 during the fall semester. “They just had this relentless pursuit of excellence… It’s a proud moment for all of us.”

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