Cerritos College to host State Championships

Through unanimous votes from community colleges, Cerritos College will begin its first of two straight years in hosting the basketball State Championships at the Falcon Gymnasium from March 14 to 16.

Hosting the tournament is a two-year cycle, and it rotates every two years between community colleges from north and south.

The cycle is in its south stage, and Cerritos College has been selected to host, as it submitted an application.

“Now that it’s new, (The Falcon Gymnasium) (is) one of the nicest gyms you can have in the state of California,” Dan Clauss, the athletic director, said. “It seats up to 2300 people and the max capacity is about 2455. It’s a unique structure compared to most community college gyms. So it was kind of a no-brainer to have us host.”

Andrew Malesala, undecided major, said, “It’s good. The school will get publicity.”

Clauss has been going left and right taking care of each individual responsibility at the event. Conference calls have been made to address issues of security and custodial work to simple things like running the snack bar.

“It’s a little bit stressful,” he said. “There’s a lot of preparation, a lot of management. Making sure you have the right staff to manage, the teams that are traveling know where they’re going and making sure people have a good time.”

A partnership was formed with the Holiday, a hotel in La Mirada, in order to accommodate to player and family needs, allowing them to stay in during the State Championships.

The weekend is not limited to State Championship basketball, as events, such as the Coach’s Association basketball hall of fame, where former Cerritos College basketball coach Dean Ackland will be inducted, and a sophomore recruiting basketball game in Cypress College will also take place.

Julius Sitala, business administration major, said, “It’s good for the school. It’ll get some money. Overall it’ll benefit the school.”

Tickets for the State Championship games will be $10 for adults and $8 for students, children, seniors and the military.

“We collect the funds throughout the whole weekend and we pay the officials, the expenses of staffing and security,” Clauss said. “Once everything is paid for, any money that is left over is sent back to the state.”

Clauss wants the event to go smoothly, as he has been orchestrating the preparation as such, but it’s ultimately because of his desire to make Cerritos College the premiere destination for attendees.

“I always make sure when you arrive on the Cerritos College campus, that you’re treated as a No. 1 guest. And that they (attendees) walk away from Cerritos College saying that that was the best State Championship I had ever participated in. I take a lot of pride in that.”