EVANS, GA -- Peach Belt Conference commissioner David Brunk and
Columbia County, Ga., Board of Commissioners chairman Ron Cross
announced that Evans, Ga., and Blanchard Woods Park have been
selected as the host site of the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division II
men’s and women’s soccer National Championships.
The announcement was made at a press conference at the Columbia
County Government Complex and represents the first NCAA National
Championship event to be held in the Central Savannah River Area
(CSRA) since 1995. It will also be the first time the
Peach Belt Conference has hosted an NCAA final.
“We are so thrilled to be able to bring the soccer national championships to the CSRA,” said commissioner Brunk. “The Augusta area has supported our efforts with our own soccer championships these last two years and we felt confident that the community would be very excited at the chance to be seen on a national stage. We appreciate the NCAA for taking the
|PBC Commissioner David Brunk announces the arrival of the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division II Soccer National Championships to Columbia County, Ga.|
time to look at what the Peach Belt Conference and Columbia
County could offer in terms of providing a memorable championship
experience for those student-athletes who will come here to
fullfill their national championship dreams.”
The tournaments will be played on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1, 2012, and Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, 2013 and will feature the final four teams for both the men’s and women’s soccer national championships. The national final will be the first NCAA Championship held in the CSRA since USC Aiken hosted the men’s golf national championships in 1995. The tournament will also be the first NCAA tournament hosted by the Peach Belt Conference office, headquartered in Martinez, Ga., and the first final hosted by a conference affiliation since Armstrong Atlantic State held the 2005 men’s golf championships in Savannah, Ga.
“This is just a tremendous event and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to Columbia County,” said Ron Cross, chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. “This is what we hoped for when we constructed Blanchard Woods Park, we wanted to make it one of the premier soccer-only facilities in the country. We’ve been fortunate in the past with bringing in some high-profile events and are very, very happy to be able to present our area to a national audience.”
The event will be held at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga., which has hosted several Peach Belt Conference championships since opening in 2007. The facility first hosted the PBC cross country championships in 2007 and then held the league’s men’s and women’s soccer finals in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the Peach Belt will combine the two events for a first fall sports festival the weekend of Nov. 5-7. It will be the first multi-championship event the Peach Belt
|Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross at Wednesday's press conference in Evans, Ga.|
has ever held.
“A lot of people have done a lot of work to make this
happen,” said Brunk. “It it were not for the efforts of
the people in the Columbia County government to get behind this
idea and bring this championship here, it would not have
happened. The commitment they have made with regard to
upgrading the facilities, providing volunteers and supporting our
campaign to bring this tournament to the Augusta area cannot be
overstated. It is a partnership between the conference and
the county, one that will provide fans of the CSRA with events like
this for years to come.”
The NCAA soccer national championships will be played at Blanchard Woods Stadium, one of the premier soccer fields in the state. The facility has covered seating for 1,000 and hillside seating can accommodate 1,000 more. The Peach Belt has drawn over 1,500 fans for both the 2008 and 2009 soccer championships. In the spring of 2010, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners voted to expand the facility with the construction of locker rooms that will attach to the existing concession/restroom building. The county has also constructed new press facilities, scoreboards and upgraded internet access at all facilities to allow live internet streaming.
“The commission was united in doing what we had to do to bring the soccer championships here,” said chairman Cross. “So there was no hesitation in adding locker rooms and other amenities to the facility. When you have something of this magnitude, it brings recognition to our area and attracts other prestige events.”
For the NCAA championships, the men’s and women’s semifinals game will be carried live over the web through NCAA.com while both national championship games will be televised over the CBS College Sports Network. The national telecast will be the first from Blanchard Woods Park.
|(L to R): Columbia County Recreation Department manager Charlie Beale, Chairman Ron Cross, PBC Commissioner David Brunk and Columbia County Convention and Vistors Bureau Executive Director Beda Johnson announce the 2012 and 2013 DII Soccer National Championships.|
Watch the full press conference: