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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The Observer

ND ROTC competes in tourney

The Notre Dame Air Force ROTC hosted its 21st annual basketball tournament this weekend, drawing Air Force, Army and Navy cadets from universities nationwide to the Joyce Center for the largest athletic ROTC gathering in the nation.

Cadets from Texas A&M, San Diego State University and the University of Georgia were among approximately 400 tournament participants.

Although a few teams were unable to make it to the tournament due to weather conditions, 14 women's teams and 38 men's teams competed in the three-day event.

"It was extremely competitive ... in the beginning, there were a lot of weaker teams coming [to the tournament] for fun but in the final rounds it got very competitive," said sophomore Air Force cadet Nathan Loyd. "In many games, last second plays decided whether a team would have to start their long drive home or stay for another game. A couple of games were won by points scored in the very last second of play."

Texas A&M beat Notre Dame's Navy team in the men's finals Sunday. Each team was placed in a bracket of four teams, and the winning team from each bracket moved into single-elimination playoff rounds.

The Marquette Army team beat the South Dakota State Air Force Team in the women's finals.

Nick Possley of Notre Dame's Navy ROTC won the overall MVP award for the men's division and Stephanie Thompson of Marquette won the women's MVP.

While the basketball tournament is an annual highlight for Notre Dame's ROTC, it also inspires teams from around the nation to prepare all year for the opportunity to travel to South Bend. Loyd said teams like Texas A&M will already be fundraising and holding tryouts for next year's competition.

Notre Dame's Air Force ROTC cadets, led by junior Tony Crosser, were in charge of organizing the tournament. Crosser said he began planning the first week back at school.

As head basketball tournament officer, Crosser was in charge of sending out invitations to every ROTC unit from across the country, finding facilities for the event, ordering trophies and making T-shirts and programs.

"I definitely consider the tournament to be a success. It was a lot of hard work and the staff did a wonderful job when I as playing and couldn't be there," Crosser said. "All the other teams were telling me that they wanted to come back next year."

Sophomore Air Force cadet Brian Woodlock, who was in charge of finding referees for the tournament, said the event was a great way to interact with other ROTC cadets.

"It was a competitive atmosphere, but it was also a lot of fun to meet other cadets from across the country ... and have a good time together," he said.