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Big competition in mountains

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
May 20, 2003
It is obvious that the teams in the 2003 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., form an impressive bracket.
Just talking about how stiff the competition for the Division I national title is almost absurd.
As Anthony Rawson, who pitched for the Meridian Community College in 2000 the last time the team made the World Series, put it, "You don't make it to the World Series unless you are a good team."
But just how good is the field this year?
There are five teams in the field of 10 that are ranked in the top 20 of the final Division I baseball poll of the season. Two other teams received votes in the national poll.
In fact, MCC, Indian Hills Community College of Iowa and Grayson County Community College of Texas are the only teams in the championship tournament not to be mentioned in the poll.
No. 1-ranked San Jacinto Community College-North headlines the list of ranked programs that will take the field in the 18-game tourney that starts on Saturday at Sam Suplizio Field.
The JuCo World Series also has the No. 4 team in the nation, Seminole Community College of Florida, No. 9 Community College of Southern Nevada, No. 10 Spartanburg Methodist Community College of South Carolina and No. 18 Walters State Community College of Tennessee, the Eagles first opponent on Sunday, in its ranks.
Neosho County Community College of Kansas and Connors State Community College of Oklahoma round out the list of teams in the series, and both of those programs received votes in the final poll of the year.
While the recognition of so many teams that will converge in Colorado may seem intimidating, MCC head coach Michael Federico said he is not overly concerned about the many ranked teams.
What isn't deceiving is the guaranteed talent level the Eagles will face over the week-long tournament.
Another guarantee is the Eagles desire to capture their first title in six tries in the World Series.
So no matter how stiff the competition may seem, MCC is ready to prove it can match up with the best in the country.