FHSU women's basketball climbs to third in nation; alternate site chosen for high school state tourney

Fort Hays State University announced today, with the recent success of its women's basketball program and in mutual agreement with the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the Kansas Class 1A Division II State Basketball Tournament will be moved to United Wireless Arena in Dodge City this year.

The move comes in support of the FHSU women's basketball team and its potential to host the NCAA Central Regional. The Tiger women currently hold a record of 20-1 overall and 12-0 in the MIAA. They were ranked third in the WBCA Division II National Poll, released Tuesday.

While the 1A Division II high school tournament is scheduled for March 11-14, the NCAA Regional dates are March 13, 14 and 16. The conflicting dates do not allow for both tournaments to run simultaneously at FHSU's Gross Memorial Coliseum. The NCAA Women's Basketball Regional must be played on the dates designated by the NCAA.

In order to secure the alternate site of Dodge City in advance, the decision needed to be made prior to the FHSU women's basketball team securing the No. 1 seed in the Central Region. The NCAA regional host is not officially determined until a few days prior to the start of the state high school tournament in March.

Given the success of the basketball team, the decision to make the hosting opportunity available is a show of support for the efforts and success of the FHSU women's program. The team enters February with the top record in the Central Region.

Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president, said it was unfortunate the university would not be able to accommodate both tournaments, but the decision had to be made now. "We greatly value our relationships with Kansas high schools and with the KSHSAA, and we look forward to hosting all types of high school events in the future, but obviously our first loyalty must be to our own student-athletes."

Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke also noted the long-standing relationship between FHSU and the Kansas State High School Activities Association and its staff members. "We have worked diligently together over many years to accommodate various state events around FHSU events," he said. "This year, however, the conflicts related to hosting the NCAA women's basketball regional have created a new set of challenges that we cannot resolve in the best interests of all involved. This decision allows us to support the outstanding accomplishments of our women's basketball team this year while not compromising the format of the 1A Division II high school state tournament."

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