GSU competes in Honda Campus All-Star

Four Grambling State University students and their coach traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), recently. 

This year marks the 14th time that the university has participated in the tournament. GSU participated in the inaugural competition, and the 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 teams were quarter finalists.

Coached by Melanie C. Thomas, students Alexandrea Fenceroy, Dave Fields, Stephanie Lindsey and Raven Campbell competed against students from other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  

Even though the GSU squad did not advance to the Sweet Sixteen round of competition, Fields has many great memories. He enjoyed the Oakwood versus Morehouse competition and said it was a very good game.  

He was surprised at the number of males who participated. “We were told 80% of the participants were males. With all of the negative statistics given, it is good to see black males doing well. An all-male team won. More competitions like this are needed, especially for black students,” he said.

Since 1989, the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has been showcasing and recognizing the academic talents of students at America’s HBCUs.  All four-year degree-granting HBCUs in the domestic U.S. are eligible for the program. 

Educational partners in the program are the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). 

Since the inception of the program, nearly 100,000 HBCU students have participated, and Honda has awarded over $7 million in grants to HBCUs.

The money is distributed as follows: national champion: $50,000; runner-up: $25,000; semi-finalists: $15,000; quarter-finalists: $9,500; playoff qualifiers: $6,000; NCT qualifiers: $3,000; All-Star awards: $1,000; Sportsperson award: $1,000; and campus qualifiers: $1,000.

At this year’s 24th annual HCASC National Championship Tournament the 48 teams were divided into eight divisions. Each of the divisions was given a color and named for a trailblazing African American: black, James W. Johnson; blue, Absalom Jones; brown, Sojourner Truth; green, Mary Mahoney; orange, Marcus Garvey; purple, Effa Manley; red, Major Taylor; and yellow, W.C. Handy.

This year’s  winners of the challenge were Morgan State’s Craig Scott Cornish Jr., Kyle N. A. Dejan, James Douglass Hayes-Barber and Micheal Brandon Osikomaiya. They were coached by Dr. OluwaTosin M. Adegbola, who coached last year’s champions.

The championship games were held on the Honda Campus. Among those viewing the action were Takuji Yamada (COO, American Honda), Stephan Morikawa (American Honda Assistant Vice President, Corporate Community Relations), Richard Reid (co-founder of HCASC) and Dr. David Wilson (President, Morgan State).

After the championship games, students were treated to a corporate community relations barbecue, a Honda tour/activity, a closing awards banquet with an appearance by Faith Evans and a trip to Disneyland/California Adventure.

As a result of the star treatment and the presentations about Honda vehicles, Fields says this summer he will purchase a Honda car.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life. We were treated like stars the whole weekend, and I met people from all over the nation and was able to network. We got to compete against people who are going places in life. It was a wonderful experience. I hope to compete again,” native of Mililani, Hawaii.