NAIA Cancels All Winter Championships, After Basketball Receives High Ranking

Hunter Sipe, Staff Writer

As the men’s and women’s basketball teams were both crowned league champions, with the women’s team winning their fifth straight GSAC tournament in a row, the thing that they were working towards all year finally came near: the National Tournament in Kansas City. 

After watching the selection show, the women claimed a No. 1 seed overall, and the men got a second seed. After seeing their matchups, both teams were extremely excited to represent Westmont and both made runs for the championship. However, neither team would even get the chance. The morning after the announcement, the NAIA cancelled all winter tournament events and ended the season for both teams. 

Everything the teams have worked for felt as if it was stripped away. The precautions taken for COVID-19 were necessary, but it was still so difficult for the teams to move on from such accomplished seasons. 

Jordan Spaschak, senior and team captain of the men’s basketball team, reflects on his emotions of the cancellation, considering it is his final year. 

He says, “I was sad. My only words came via tears and hugs shared with my teammates. The pill hasn’t become any easier to swallow in the days following. However, I’m fortunate to be sad because it’s a reflection of how I feel about our team and the greater Westmont community.” 

Maud Ranger, the lone senior on the women’s team, also reflects on the cancelation by saying, “At first, I was extremely disappointed that we were not going to be able to finish our season the way we wanted to. It just felt like all the work that we put in all season, that we would not get to see it pay off on the floor one more time.”

Ranger adds, “But after a lot of thinking and reflection, I realized that we did not need a national tournament to feel accomplished. All throughout the season our team has worked day and day out. Being faced with a lot of challenges, we chose to fight back, and for that we should be proud. I can say with full confidence that we truly maxed out and took advantage of the opportunities that came our way all year long. The cancellation of the tournament cannot take that away. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, this team has chosen to feel grateful for the opportunity to even play the game knowing that it can be taken away in a heartbeat.”

Graduating from the basketball programs will be Justin Bessard, Jordan Spaschak, and Maud Ranger. They have all left their marks on the program and will be remembered for years to come. The offseason starts now, and both teams are extremely hungry and eager to return to The Murch and represent Westmont next season. Go Warriors!