It’s most appropriate that we are providing this month’s eNews Update while March Madness is still in full swing. During a time where our country, and particularly our state, seem fixated on college basketball, some may find this hard to believe, but there is a whole lot more going on in high-level collegiate sports these days than the highly-anticipated Tobacco Road rivalry game in the Final Four in New Orleans — and it’s happening right here at home in North Carolina’s University Hub: Raleigh, Durham Chapel Hill, Cary, and Greensboro.
North Carolina’s Own March Madness
In this 31-day period that comprises March 2022, central North Carolina experienced its own version of March Madness with numerous major college and university championship events being hosted locally continuously throughout the month. The focus has been almost entirely on Women’s championship competition as three weeks of the month featured top-tier women’s college Basketball and this week showcases top NCAA Women’s Gymnastics programs.
The Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro started the ball rolling (literally!) beginning Tuesday, March 2. By Sunday, March 6, the Triangle’s own NC State Women’s Team had captured the ACC crown by downing Miami 60-47 in the Championship Game. This led to the Wolfpack Women being named to an impressive #1 seed in the Bridgeport, CT, bracket of the NCAA Tournament.
Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of NC State University then served as the host venue for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Rounds 1 and 2 on Saturday, March 19 and Monday, March 21. The Wolfpack Women routed Longwood in the first-round game and then toppled Kansas State University in Round 2 to advance to Sweet 16 tournament competition.
Women’s Championship College Basketball then returned to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, a potential venue for the 2027 World University Games, on March 25 and 27, where Creighton, Iowa State, North Carolina, and South Carolina battled to advance in exciting NCAA Division I Basketball Regional Competition. The country’s #1 seed, South Carolina, beat North Carolina and Creighton beat Iowa State in the Sweet 16 round, and then South Carolina went on to topple Creighton in the Elite Eight.
The month concludes today on a continuing high note in Women’s collegiate sports with championship Gymnastics. Starting yesterday (Wednesday, March 30) NCAA Division I Gymnastics Regional Championships competition got underway at Reynolds Coliseum. Teams vying for the Regional Championship include Iowa, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Towson, and UCLA. Competition continues through Saturday with the two top teams advancing to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Ft. Worth, TX, next month
Badminton Collegiate Nationals Makes its Mark
As if four different Women’s collegiate championships weren’t enough, as mentioned in our last month’s eNews Update, USA Badminton brought its College Badminton National Championships to Triangle Badminton & Table Tennis (another potential venue for the 2027 World University Games and a sponsor of North Carolina’s Bid for those Games), on Friday, March 25 to Sunday, March 27. Linda French, CEO of USA Badminton, attended the event and called it a “great competition in an excellent venue,” and she indicated that “USA Badminton would like to do more top events at the TBTT facility in the future.”
Approximately 100 total attendees, with players from across the nation including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, and even North Carolina, participated in the Championships. In addition to serving as the Collegiate National Championships, the event also comprised the Selection Process for the USA Badminton Collegiate National Team to represent the United States in this summer’s World University Games in Chengdu, China. Victor Kai of Triangle Badminton and Table Tennis, coached by Hendry Winarto and Shlok Ramchandran, was named to Team USA and will compete in the 2022 WUG in China. He is the first Badminton athlete from North Carolina to achieve at such a high level, and we wish him the very best this summer at the Games in Chengdu!
Event results can be found by clicking here Tournamentsoftware.com – 2022 Collegiate National Championships/Selection event for WUG Chengdu – Winners
Sponsor Team Sees Record Growth in March
The hot collegiate sports scene in North Carolina this month was only exceeded by the growth rate – both in numbers of sponsors and total dollars committed – of our bid sponsorships. Many thanks go to our outstanding Fundraising Committee members including Tim Burnett, JC Cohen, Jeff Ellington, Tracy Harris, Pat Hartley, Chuck Lovelace, John Nash, Lee Perry, and Sherwood Smith.
Leading the new sponsor additions are Cone Health and the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greensboro. Cone Health, the leading health services provider in Guilford and Alamance Counties, has been a long-standing sponsor of top sports competitions including the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, USA Masters Games, and U.S. Masters Swimming Nationals, among others. The Bryan Foundation is possibly the most entrepreneurial foundation we can think of. Led by former Greensboro Mayor, Jim Melvin, the foundation bought the land and built the venue for Greensboro’s minor league baseball team which has been a huge catalyst for downtown development, while also assembling the megasite which led to Toyota bringing its giant electric vehicle battery plant to North Carolina! In addition, Coastal Credit Union, which is the naming rights sponsor of Raleigh’s major amphitheater and one of the most-active community-focused sponsors in the Triangle, has made a significant commitment to the cause, while East West Partners, one of the most-respected high-quality real estate developers across the region and around the state has also joined our sponsor team.
We thank these and all 32 current bid sponsors and we look forward to adding to your numbers in the coming months of the bid process.
First Trade Show for Bid Organizers a Big Success
Thanks to the waning of the pandemic across the state, and the major efforts of World University Games Bid Sponsor, the Cary Chamber of Commerce, host for the event, the Cary Chamber Business Expo on Wednesday, March 23 turned out to be a huge success. Our WUG Bid booth was right in the center of the sold-out Expo space, on the main walkway through the event. Our WUG Team shared booth space with one of our major sponsors, Hummingbird Creative of Cary.
More than 80 exhibitors participated in the event, ranging from NC State Athletics and the Carolina Hurricanes, to AT&T Mobility and Pepsi Bottling Ventures. Atlantic Tire, one of our World University Games Bid sponsors, was the Presenting Sponsor for the entire Expo. Many thanks go to the staff who manned our booth and explained and promoted North Carolina’s World University Games Bid to all those who attended, including Collins Lowder, Ryan Decker, Cathy Sanita, and Hill Carrow.
With a general return to in-person events, your World University Games Bid Team has begun making live presentations on the bid around the region. On Thursday, March 3, at the invitation of the Cary Chamber of Commerce, Hill Carrow presented on the Bid Status to the Wake County Chambers of Commerce. Thanks to Triangle Sports Commission Chairman, Nan Hannah, a presentation was made to the Executive Club of Raleigh at their meeting held on March 15th at the University Club. The following week, on Monday, March 21, with an assist by Mayors TJ Cawley of Morrisville, Ron Currin of Rolesville, and Ken Marshburn of Garner, Hill presented to the Wake County Mayor’s Association. Each group was excited to learn more about the bid and to voice their support for the effort.
Hill Carrow, Chair & CEO of the NC Bid Committee, traveled to Charlotte last week to the offices of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The NJCAA, which had been located in Colorado Springs since the 1980’s moved cross country and opened its new offices in North Carolina across from UNC Charlotte in January of 2019. While there, Hill visited with NJCAA President & CEO, Chris Parker; Jeff White, VP for Legal, Diversity, IT, and Resources; and Molly Simons, VP of Championships, Governance and Memberships. All three are members of the Board of Directors of the U.S. International University Sports Federation (USIUSF) which is the lead entity for the United States bid for the 2027 World University Games, with North Carolina serving as the USIUSF’s Host City Partner.
Support the Bid
You can support the bid in a number of ways: corporate sponsorship, individual contribution, volunteering, or purchasing bid merchandise. (Bid apparel could make an attractive gift. Just click here.) We encourage you to visit our award-winning website at www.ncwug2027bid.com and join our team.
Sponsor Thank You’s
We cannot thank our sponsors enough for their strong belief in, and generous support of, North Carolina’s bid for the World University Games. We encourage you to patronize their businesses and give them your own personal thanks when you do.