North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been selected to participate in the 25th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament. The tournament will take place in Los Angeles on April 12-16. HCASC is an academic competition among students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). NCCU has competed in 23 of the 24 previous seasons.
The returning members for a third year to the varsity team are Xian R. Brooks, team captain and a senior public health education major from Louisville, Ky., and Victoria M. Jones, a senior chemistry major from Raleigh, N.C. They are joined by 2013 HCASC All-Star Zuri M. Gurganious, a second year junior history major from Castle Hayne, N.C. and newcomer Jelaina R. Shipman, a junior criminal justice and psychology major from White Oak, N.C. They are challenged in practice by four additional club members who make up the junior varsity team: Lorenzo Fowler, a senior English major from Passaic, N.J.; Emani Mills, a sophomore human science major from Charlotte, N.C.; Ashley Roberts, a junior mathematics major and AFROTC cadet from Reidsville, N.C. and Christian Wortham, a freshman biology major from Fort Worth, Texas.
The competition club is advised by Dr. Caesar R. Jackson, Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Interim Director of the Ph.D. Program in Integrated Biosciences, and the team is coached by Christopher A. Graves, now in his eleventh year. Coach Graves’ teams have advanced to the HCASC “Sweet Sixteen” seven times, including one trip to the Elite Eight (2011), one to the semifinals (2010) and two trips to the national finals (2006, 2009). Coach Graves and the team members are helped by Clayton C. Mack, Jr. and Dr. Janice S. Dargan as assistant coaches, Sabrina Butler and Allie Geng as support staff and other dedicated faculty, staff members and alumni volunteers.
Each year, the National Qualifying Tournament (NQT) prepares teams for the national competition by providing games against regional colleges. The NCCU team won a ten-team tournament hosted on the NCCU campus on Feb. 15.
At the national tournament, NCCU will compete against Clark Atlanta University, North Carolina A&T State University, Tennessee State University, Tougaloo College and Virginia Union University.
“We are excited to go to Los Angeles and compete,” said Graves. “This is one of the best teams we’ve ever had. Our team is extremely focused and motivated to be great.” Viewers can watch the final eight games at www.hcasc.com .