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OC revving up new programs
For the first time in two decades, students will be able to participate in community college soccer and golf in Kitsap County starting this fall.
It only took Olympic Colleges Athletic Director Barry Janusch 15 minutes to convince the schools Associated Students funding body to sponsor the new sports last October.
Coaches have been chosen and players already are expressing interest in joining the teams.
On the soccer side, Neil Megson is compiling a list of 8-10 qualified players for the boys and girls teams.
Weve got over 20-30 people who have expressed interest, he said. We really want to keep it local. We are into winning but our main concern is to give the student athlete a place to play.
Megson played on the Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Stars, as well as the U.S. national soccer team. He is the director of coaches for FC Kitsap Club.
Before this year, Olympic College only offered five sports, although 22 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) already have soccer programs and 13 carry golf.
The golf team will call Gold Mountain its home course. The soccer team will play at Bremertons Memorial Stadium.
I went in to the student government and made the proposal to them and I really thought it would take an hour to convince them, but it only took 15 minutes, said Janusch, chuckling.
He found overwhelming support from the funding organization.
This year, he can offer $9,200 in scholarships to athletes in the boys and girls soccer and golf programs.
According to NWAACC rules, an athlete only is eligible for a maximum of $200 scholarship money per quarter.
Just like Megson, golf coach Daryl Methany has compiled a list of students who want to play on the new teams. He has about 10 boys, but is struggling to come up with a solid set of girl golfers.
Daryl and Doug (Gullickson) are going to be such cool coaches, said Andy Tolman, former North Kitsap High golf star, referring to his head and assistant golf coaches.
He is a sophomore at Olympic College who won the Narrows League Golf Championship his senior year at NK.
It would have been awesome to have that opportunity to play last year, he said. It brings a whole new experience into the Olympic College experience.
Tolman and John Hausdorf hit some drives at Kitsap Golf and Country Club Wednesday afternoon. Tolman said he is driving the ball about 285 yards.
Hausdorf went to Olympic College last year and decided to return instead of attending Washington State University, where he also considered enrolling.
Hausdorf, a 2002 alumni of Central Kitsap High, won the Narrows League Tournament his freshman and junior years. He won the Tim Higgins Memorial Invite at Kitsap Golf and County Club in 2003 as well.
Methany said he hasnt had to make too many phone calls trying to track down players for this years golf teams, which play in the spring.
Ive done a little bit of recruiting, but for the most part kids have come to me, he said. The guys team I know is going to be successful.
Methany is the head golf professional at Gold Mountain Golf Course. That also is where both Tolman and Hausdorf work.
He has been helping Bremerton High and Klahowya Secondary Schools as well as giving lessons at Gold Mountain for the last 12 years. In all, Methany has been working on golf courses from cleaning carts to giving lessons for 26 years.
I want to just be competitive for the first year, he said. Just try to get some teams in place so we can build them. Their education is the most important thing. I want to help them grow and get to the next level.
Even high school coaches in the area are excited about the new sports programs at OC.
I think its outstanding because its good to see local players who arent ready to play at four-year schools develop locally, said Steve Haggerty, who has coached girls and boys soccer at Olympic High since 1981. If they take the best from Kitsap County, they can really be competitive real quickly.
OC has had football, wrestling, tennis and track in previous years. The football team was disbanded in 1986, while the golf team finished in 1981.
At a time when many schools in the NWAACC are cutting sports from their programs, OC is experiencing growth. In total, Januschs sports budget will grow to $255,000 this year.
The NWAACC has 36 member schools, making it the largest community college conference in the United States.
Other schools have cross county, tennis and track as well.
The only community colleges that offer every sport available in the NWAACC are Spokane and Treasure Valley.