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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:21

Great Plains basketball hitting the court in January

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Even with a month or so before the regular season games actually begin, the Great Plains College SunDogs basketball teams will be better in 2014 than 2013.

The 2013 season for Prairie Athletics Conference basketball was a nightmare for Great Plains College.
It was a nightmare, not because their teams were getting badly beat, but because they were literally non-existent. There was not enough players for the men’s squad to field a consistent team. They were going to play some exhibition games which never really materialized. Ironically, Swift Current hosted the provincial PAC basketball championships in March. The men managed to field a team at the last second, but were not surprisingly ousted early. The women’s team didn’t exist.
However a new season approaches with new optimism as Mona Patterson, the SunDogs athletics and recreation co-ordinator at the Swift Current Campus, confirms there are two basketball teams ready to go when PAC starts in January.
“Although the men have stronger numbers than the women, I am confident that we will be able to field both teams for the upcoming season,” explains Patterson, adding Mark Benesh will coach both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Patterson is excited with the addition of Benesh who coached high-school basketball, including during his time as Shaunavon School principal. He took Shaunavon to the provincial Hoopla championships three times. According to Basketball Saskatchewan, he played his high school basketball at Dr. Martin LeBoldus and then with the University of Regina Cougars for five seasons including a league MVP season in 1985.
“Mark Benesh comes to the SunDogs varsity program with a very impressive set of credentials,” explains Patterson. “He will be an asset in terms of coaching and growth to the program. I am very excited to work with Mark and I know some of the athletes are excited as well.”
It was important to get the basketball program re-established and with Benesh, there should be a lot of optimism the program can grow. Players and Great Plains administration can rest easy knowing the teams are in solid hands.
For the athletics department, it was critical the sport was re-established at the school. Athletics is a growing part of the campus life in Swift Current.
“Basketball is the number one sport for many student athletes and if it is important to our students, it is important to the college. Both basketball and volleyball are sports that are realistic for Great Plains College to offer and both are equally important to the SunDogs varsity program and the institution,” says Patterson. “There has definitely been some direct recruitment in order to field this season’s basketball teams. Athletics has become a ‘good reason’ to attend Great Plains College for many student-athletes.”
Besides basketball, Great Plains is looking for volleyball players for future squads.
According to its website, the Great Plains College athletics department is hosting an ID Camp  at the Swift Current Campus gym to identify future SunDogs volleyball players for 2014 and beyond.
The camp is open to student athletes in Grades 9-12 as well as non-students who may be interested in playing college volleyball.
This camp is being offered free of charge. Email the SunDogs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 306-778-5451 to register.
On Dec. 14, from 1-3 p.m. the women’s team camp will take place and on Dec. 15, the men’s team camp takes place the same time.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor