Top 15 Athletic Stories of 2011-12: Eagles Earn JuCo World Series Berth

Top 15 Athletic Stories of 2011-12: Eagles Earn JuCo World Series Berth

WINTER HAVEN — With Polk State's 2011-12 athletic season complete, we have been looking back on this year's thrilling and exciting accomplishments. has compiled the top 15 stories from Polk State Athletics in 2011-12, which we've shared in the last few weeks.

Today, we look at are No. 1 story as we finish our countdown.

No. 1 — Eagles Earn JuCo World Series Berth

Athletically, the goal of every student athlete is to compete for an NJCAA National Championship. To do that, students must reach the postseason events in their respective sports. In baseball, it begins in the FCSAA/NJCAA Division I Gulf District Baseball Tournament.

It's not easy to reach the FCSAA/NJCAA Division I Gulf District Baseball Tournament, which takes only the top two teams in each conference. Just getting to the state tournament is difficult, but winning it to clinch a berth to the JuCo World Series has never been done before at Polk — until this spring.

That's exactly what happened on May 8, when the Eagles defeated Palm Beach State 8-4 at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium, earning a shot to compete on the grand stage.   

The team's school-record 45th win of the season yielded Polk's first state title since 1992 and moved the Eagles on to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, CO. It was the first JuCo World Series appearance in Polk State history.

"This is about as good as it gets," said Head Coach Al Corbeil.

Polk State's previous state title was won under then-head-coach Tyus in 1992. "Being part of such an accomplishment yet again is a precious thing," he said.

"What's really special is that when we won in 1992, we had to go to a regional tournament, and we got beat," Tyus said, explaining that the Eagle's win sent the team directly on to the World Series. "They worked all year long and persevered."

The victory capped a season of highs — including the Suncoast Conference Championship, a No. 1 state ranking and a No. 3 national ranking.    

No. 2 — Polk Volleyball Team Wins First Conference Title

On October 13, 2011, the Polk State Volleyball team accomplished a feat no other team in the history of the program has ever done. On the road, they took down conference rivals St. Petersburg College in four sets (25-12, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20) to win the program's first Suncoast Conference Championship.

During their historical 2011-12 campaign, the Eagles claimed the program's first conference championship, their biggest winning season at 25-12 and another first, a No. 3 ranking in the final FCSAA Volleyball Coaches' Poll.

This team changed the face of the program. The coaches and players brought in a new energy and left a legacy for others to follow. 


No. 3 —
Polk State Men's Basketball Participates In Relay For Life

On April 27-28, members of the Polk State College Men's Basketball team participated in the Relay For Life event at Lake Region High School.

Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Relay For Life event celebrates people who survived cancer, remembers those lost to the disease, and fights back against the disease. The event is held across the nation and takes place annually.

The Men's Basketball team and the coaching staff camped out all night and took turns walking around the Lake Region High School track at the overnight event. One member of the team was on the track at all times. The Relay started at 6 p.m. Friday night and finished at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The Men's Basketball team concluded the event on Saturday morning helping staff members pick up trash and load tables and chairs.

This is the second year the men's basketball team has participated in Relay For Life.
No. 4 — Polk State Cheerleaders Finish Ninth in Nation

Thelist of top 10 cheerleading teams in the country now includes Polk State College.

 In their first appearance at the Cheersport National Cheer and Dance Competition, the Polk State Eagles finished ninth in the nation.
The Cheersport event took place Feb. 18 and 19 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Polk State competed against 12 teams, including Michigan State University and the University of Georgia. "We're only a third-year program, but we're already ninth in the nation. We're a team on the rise," said Head Cheerleading Coach Brittany Carson.

No. 5 — Men's Basketball Earns Second Straight Trip to State Tournament
The Polk State College Men's Basketball team defeated State College of Florida 75-56 to win the Suncoast Conference Tournament on February 27 at the Health Center. With the win, the Eagles advanced to the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region VIII Men's Basketball Tournament for the second consecutive year. In Head Coach Matt Furjanic's 12 years, the Eagles have received an automatic birth to the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region VIII Men's Basketball Tournament four times by winning the regular-season conference title. But until this past season, they have never advanced to the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region VIII Men's Basketball Tournament through winning the conference tournament in six tries.
Polk has clinched a birth to the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region VIII Men's BasketballTournament four times in the past five years.

Check out more of the Top 15 Countdown:

Numbers 6-10

Numbers 11-15


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