Puerto Rico trip highlights SVC schedule

Jake Mendel

Special to the Banner

BENNINGTON — With the release of the 2017-18 college basketball schedule, the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team's regular season is highlighted with a trip to Puerto Rico to compete in the Puerto Rico Classico Tournament over Christmas break, on December 19 and 20.

This will be the first Southern Vermont College team to ever play internationally. They will face against Cortland State and Carthage College, which is located in Kenosha, Wisc.

"It is something we have worked hard for," said SVC men's basketball head coach Dan Engelstad. "It isn't cheap, but we wanted to provide the guys in the program with a unique experience. It is a nice opportunity to escape the cold for a couple of days."

Engelstad, who is entering his fifth year as the head coach at SVC, is proud of what his players are accomplishing on and off the court.

"One thing we stress is we want to put together competitive teams with good people," Engelstad said. "I am proud that we have been able to achieve that in our first four years. We are excited about this group, it has the potential to be the best team [SVC] has had."

The team has been fundraising anyway possible to help pay for the trip. Whether it is a cornhole tournament, basketball camps and clinics, or just reaching out to friends of the program, the players are doing the fundraising on their own.

When Engelstad first joined the program, they would see about a dozen kids at the basketball clinics and camps, now they are seeing upwards of 80 local high school and middle school students showing up.

"It's been great to get them into the gym," Engelstad said. "It has been fun to see [the clinics and camps] grow because it allows us to take trips like this. I am really proud of what we accomplished and how we can compete. We aren't where we want to be just yet though. Our goal is to be winning a tournament game in March. We set the bar higher and higher. I believe we are capable of winning games in March."

The SVC men's basketball team will be holding their first annual H-O-R-S-E and Cornhole Tournament at Ramunto's in Bennington this Saturday. Registration for the tournaments start at 11 a.m. The H-O-R-S-E tournament will begin at noon with a $10 entry fee. There will be boys and girls divisions for fifth and sixth grade, seventh and eighth grade, ninth and 10th grade, 11th and 12th grade, and even an open division for people not in high school. The Cornhole tournament will have a $10 entry fee and begins at 2 p.m. with an open division for anything interested in playing.


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