Fall sports programs end season; prepare for spring competition

   The fall semester has ushered in several changes for collegiate sports programs at Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC). Some of those changes were personnel and some due to COVID-19 including delaying several program starts from fall to spring.  The change means springtime at NTCC will be busy with opportunities to catch several live game matchups starting in early February.

   The men’s and women’s soccer programs, normally played in the fall, will now kickoff in Spring 2021 by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The baseball and softball programs had a reduced fall practice season and plan to have their regular seasons in the spring also.

   The Eagle Soccer programs saw a lot of new faces. New Head Coach Zane Barnes brought in new assistant coaches JD Perales and Heather Brady to help lead both the men’s and women’s soccer programs. The soccer teams were able to conduct a few scrimmages this fall and will resume practices March 15, 2021 with games beginning in early April.

   The NTCC Rodeo program hosted its annual rodeo event at the Mount Pleasant Rodeo Association Priefert Arena Oct. 1617. The rodeo attracted teams from across Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The rodeo program completed the fall competition season for all NTCC sports with a final rodeo hosted by Sam Houston State University. The spring season will take the rodeo athletes to Trinity Valley Community College, Texas A & M University-Commerce, Texas A&M University, Hill College and Wharton County Junior College for rodeo competitions.

   The baseball and softball programs are scheduled to begin regular season practices again in January when the Eagle athletes return to campus for the spring semester.

      The Eagle Softball program recently held its final practice session to complete the first fall under new Head Coach Joshua Freeman. Freeman took over the NTCC Softball program in October and hit the ground running along with returning assistant Coach Kallee Wilkins.

   Selected after a nationwide search, Coach Freeman came to East Texas from Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, Virginia where he served as assistant head coach.

   In addition to his most recent position at CNU, Freeman has been an assistant coach at Virginia Wesleyan University, Head Coach of the Hampton Roads Vipers Select team in Virginia Beach, Virginia and both as Assistant Coach and Head Coach of Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

   At CNU, Freeman helped lead the Captains to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Super Regionals in 2019. Overall, Christopher Newport has posted a 74-19 record since 2018 and reached the top spot in the NFCA National Coaches Poll for the first time in program history last year.

    During his time at Virginia Wesleyan Coach Freeman helped lead the team to the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championship and the coaching staff was selected as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Coaching Staff of the Year.

   A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Freeman graduated from East Carolina in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. He and his wife, Melissa, have one child, Lauren.    For more information about Eagle Athletics programs, visit the website at www.ntcceagles.com