Beavers are tops in the nation for athletics


Head football coach Jerry Haflich and cross-country coach Rick Anderson. (Photo by Stephanie Lee)

Steven Paxiao and Steven Paxaio

After an undefeated football season, a cross-country state championship, and eight playoff berths, the American River College fall athletic programs performed at a very high level of competitiveness. This success has landed the Beavers on top of the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA).

Despite finishing in the top 10 for three of the past four years, this marks the first time that ARC has led the cup standings in the nine-year existence of the award. “We have been towards the top quite a few times, but it feels good to see us on top so far,” said athletic director Jean Snuggs.

This is a huge recognition of the hard work every team endured to become successful. With six playoff berths, and both men and women’s cross-country teams qualifying for the state meet, this marks one of the most successful athletic semesters in the recent history for the Beavers.

Nov. 19, 2011 was a very unorthodox day in Beaver history. Not only did an energetic home crowd witness the completion of the historic journey for the football team, that finished with the school’s first ever 11-0 season, but the men’s cross-country team captured the California Community College state championship in Fresno as well.

Neither team is a stranger to success, but with accolades come struggles. The challenge each coach endures to be successful is the ability to recruit, and rebuild a championship caliber team every off-season.

“With a turnover of about 60-70 percent of your team every year, you have to be sure to bring in plenty of new student-athletes every season,” said men’s cross-country head coach Rick Anderson.

This success seems to be spread amongst all the athletic programs. From the coaches to the athletic administrators, the athletic programs have found the key to putting together such competitive teams in a variety of different sports, and securing them to return as sophomores.

“We have high expectations for our athletes academically as well as athletically. We really try to prepare them to move on to a four-year school, and that allows us to have pretty good numbers of sophomores back on teams,” said Snuggs.

The remaining six teams who saw postseason action were the men’s and women’s soccer teams, the men’s and women’s water polo teams, and the women’s volleyball team. The women’s cross-country team also finished fifteenth at the state championship meet.

With the spring season accounting for the second half of the scoring system, the spring athletic programs will need to keep the success coming. As the track and field team looks to defend their 2011 state championship, the remaining 10 teams must also be ready for the challenge. The final NATYCAA cup standings will be posted at the culmination of the spring semester seasons.