Beaver Falls, PA – It has been a long wait for the Geneva College athletic department. For the past four years, the Golden Tornadoes have competed under NCAA Division III provisional status since its move from the NAIA. When the Geneva College softball team walked off the field following its run at the NCCAA National Tournament last week, the wait was officially over. With the end of the 2010-11 school year and athletic seasons, the Golden Tornadoes are set to begin full membership in the fall.
Geneva made the move to NCAA Division III beginning in the fall of 2007. In fact, the Golden Tornadoes decided to cease all athletic scholarships a year earlier in hopes of a quicker turnaround. For the past five years, Geneva has been competing with non-scholarship athletes while following NCAA Division III standards. Competing within the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, Geneva has been playing all non-conference competition without the promise of competing for a conference title or the opportunity to move on to regional or national play. Equally as frustrating has been the inability for Geneva’s student-athletes to receive weekly or post-season honors as stated by provisional by-laws.
Beginning in September, the Golden Tornadoes will have put all of those provisional memories behind them as they embark on a new era of athletics as a full-fledged member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.
During the past four years, the Geneva athletic department has been anything but stagnant. In fact, Geneva has enjoyed some of its most successful athletic achievements within the NCCAA during those years. The football team made a pair of trips to the NCCAA Victory Bowl, including a title in 2009. The men’s basketball team made two appearances on the NCCAA national stage as did the baseball team. Both soccer teams and volleyball have advanced to regional play within the NCCAA while the track and field and cross country teams have sent a record number of student-athletes to national meets in the past four years. Most recently, the women’s softball team returned from its first trip to the NCCAA national tournament in five years.
Individually, Geneva athletes have been honored with a total of 16 All-American awards during the past four years as well as over 50 NCCAA Scholar-Athlete honors. The Golden Tornadoes have also seen 17 NCCAA national players of the week honors handed out during the past four years.
The Geneva College senior class of 2011 has endured four years without having the opportunity to compete at the NCAA level in post-season. Because of that fact, it has perhaps been the most influential senior class in school history. Bringing the athletic department through this difficult time and serving as a bridge to the future is something that only the coaches and student-athletes will ever fully understand and appreciate. Because of those sacrifices, the Golden Tornadoes are ready to compete this fall within the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
So for Geneva College and the Golden Tornadoes the waiting is over. When the Geneva tennisteam takes the court against Saint Vincent on September 2nd, a new era of Golden Tornadoes’ athletics will begin with the first ever conference competition within the PAC. Thanks to the dedication and patience of the Geneva coaches, the vision of the administration and the passion of its student-athletes, the time has finally arrived on College Hill. As the saying goes, “We got next”.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
Through the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Geneva offers the 3&3 Program enabling students to complete a B.S. and a M.Div. in only six years.