TOPEKA – Accolades reigned down on Kansas City Kansas Community College's national basketball champions in heaps and bunches Wednesday.
Between a visit with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownbeck, legislators in both the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives gave the new NJCAA Division II women's champions standing ovations along with proclamations saluting their championship – the first in KCKCC in any sport.
"A very neat experience for our team," said KCKCC Coach Joe McKinstry, who was named the national tournament's top coach. "To be in the State Capital building on a day when the House and the Senate are making important decisions is an opportunity that most people never get. And then for each of the legislators to take the time to recognize us and give us the amount of respect and appreciation that they did is very special.
"It's just another part of this whole experience that our team will never forget. I am very happy for them. They are very deserving of the attention."
The Lady Blue Devils meeting with the Governor was highlighted by some lighted-hearted give-and-go between Brownback and Cheyenne North, named the Most Valuable Player in the national tournament.
The meeting came after Wyandotte County Senators Pat Pettey and David Haley recounted KCKCC's run to the championship in an appearance on the Senate floor that lasted nearly 15 minutes and included introductions of each player as well as KCKCC President Dr. Doris Givens, Vice-President Dr. Susan Lindahl, Athletic Director Tony Tompkins and trainer Rodney Christensen.
Rep. Valdenia Wynn was joined by fellow Wyandotte County Representatives Tom Burroughs and Cathy Wolfe Moore in a 10-minute recognition on the House floor. "I'm happy and proud to say that we are No. 1," Wynn said with an index finger held high above her head.
The Blue Devils were also introduced at a committee meeting and spent considerable time with Sen. Pettey and Rep. Wynn, who is also a long-time member of the KCKCC faculty.
The Lady Blue Devils will be honored again Friday at a 12:15 p.m. Pep Rally to be held on the lower level of the Jewell Center.
After nearly five minutes of introductions and questions posed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (seated center), members of KCKCC's 2016 NJCAA national championship team, college administrators and Sen. Pat Petty and Rep. Valdenia Wynn grouped together for a keepsake photo. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)