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Athletics Celebrates 20th Anniversary of AACC's First National Championship

Athletics Celebrates 20th Anniversary of AACC's First National Championship

ARNOLD, MD – With the 2018 Men's Lacrosse National Championship just days away, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Anne Arundel's first national championship. 

In 1998 the men's lacrosse team, under the guidance of Head Coach Bill Gorrow and Assistant Coaches Alan Pastrana and Graham Niemi; defeated powerhouse Herkimer College 17-13 to capture the title as best in the National Junior College Athletic Association. While the, "Pioneers" at the time, had been close in previous years as runner-up in 1994 and 1996, the 1998 squad was able to knock off the previous year's runner-up and then seven-time champion Generals of Herkimer, New York.

With a 13-3 overall record in 1998, the Pioneers captured the Region XX Championship and a berth to the national stage. Riding a five game win-streak, including a 15-4 Region Championship victory over Essex, AACC was in peak post-season form. The first test of the national invitational was Nassau Community College, NY. Nassau having won the 1997 national title and defeating the Pioneers earlier in the season by a score of 12-9 appeared to be the favorite in the contest. Making a statement, the Pioneers of Arnold, MD toppled Nassau 14-7 to advance to the championship game against Herkimer.

Looking to get back to their winning ways, the Herkimer Generals had their sights set on another championship title run, having strung together five in a row prior to the 1997 season. Having previously notched five runner-up finishes, the AACC team aimed to spoil the New York teams' plans with their sights on the first title in the programs history. Come game day, the Pioneers would continue their post-season dominance to defeat the Generals 17-13.

The Pioneers captured the title on their seventh straight victory and brought the hardware back to AACC where it continues to be proudly displayed in the gymnasium at the Arnold Campus. The 1998 Pioneers featured All-Americans in Ramaar Clash, Mike Haertel and Wes Speaks. The team was inducted into the Anne Arundel Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in May of 2011.

On this 20th anniversary we congratulate our national champions and thank them for their tremendous contributions to Anne Arundel Community College Athletics.

Alumni from the team may reach out to the athletic department to inquire about receiving their game jersey from 1998. A celebration is being planned for the 2019 spring.    

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