By Will Adkins
In the history of West Virginia athletics, there has only been one basketball championship won, and no, it does not come from West Virginia University or Marshall University; it belongs to the small university located in Gilmer County. This year, the newly-named Glenville State University won its first national championship, thanks to the women’s basketball team.
Glenville State women’s basketball team went 34-1 on their way to the NCAA DII National Championship trophy. Obviously, this was huge for the university, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year as well as upgrading to university status. The national championship win was the cherry on top of an already stellar year.
The players still have not come down from the high of the historical win, although the approaching final exams are starting to bring them back down to earth. I interviewed Deja Atkinson, a sophomore on the team who played significant minutes throughout the season.
“It still feels surreal,” she said. “I still cannot fully wrap my head around us being the national champions; we were the best Division II basketball team in the country, that is still crazy to me.” Now that all the celebrations have ended, she has a little bit more free time, yet there are still academic obligations for national champions. “We are still going and working out on our own, we are still going to open gyms, but the majority of my free time is now being spent on trying to catch up on schoolwork and prepare for my finals. My professors have been very gracious in giving me opportunities to catch up on work that may have been a day or so late.”
Deja added that the team will be looking very different next year. With the majority of the team either graduating or transferring to bigger schools, there will be a lot of new faces on the Glenville State Lady Pioneers basketball team. “There are going to be only a few returning players from the National Championship team next year. It is going to be a new and exciting challenge to see what we can do with the new players we bring in. I feel like, being a veteran on the team, I am going to have a bigger and more important role on the team than I have in these last couple years. It is something that I welcome.”
No matter what, Glenville has put themselves on the national stage thanks to our women’s basketball team and will be catching the eye of many of the nation’s top recruits. Even though the team will look different, I am willing to bet that they will be eager to make another title run.