Columbia County’s Blanchard Woods Park long ago made a name for itself in the sporting world with a super-competitive cross-country course. Now its championship soccer fields, already well-known in the Peach Belt Conference, are about to get a maximum exposure upgrade.
As noted in today’s guest column by Columbia County’s new Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Randy DuTeau, the Evans park will play host to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II Soccer Nationals Championships this weekend.
The final four tournament includes some 275 athletes from men’s and women’s soccer teams from not only across the country, but across the continent, including the men’s team from Simon Frazer University in Vancouver, BC. The winning men’s and women’s teams will meet Saturday to crown the Division II champions, with the men playing at noon and women at 3 p.m.
“It’s a great honor to host an NCAA championship event in our community,” said DuTeau in a news release. “Blanchard Woods Park has proven itself as a championship-level facility, allowing Columbia County to host these kinds of elite events.”
For that, the participants should applaud Columbia County officials – including retired Recreation Department Director Charlie Beale – for their vision in creating the recreation complex, and for upgrading it with new locker rooms to meet NCAA standards.
Columbia County residents, too, should pat themselves on the back: When they approved the special-purpose, local-option sales tax that funded this multipurpose park, they undoubtedly wanted the money spent wisely and on high-quality facilities – and at Blanchard Woods, they certainly got it.
Please join us in welcoming the NCAA Division II final four soccer teams to our community.