Elena-Lovato---Trinity-ValleyTrinity Valley Community College head women’s basketball coach Elena Lovato was named the NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year today.

Carrying on the winning tradition of Trinity Valley women’s basketball, Lovato has established a new era in the program’s history in only her second season. After guiding the Cardinals to a national championship in her first year at the helm, Lovato repeated the feat this year by leading Trinity Valley to their third straight national title – a first in the history of NJCAA basketball.

Following this season’s 36-1 finish, Lovato now boasts a record of 72-2 in the past two seasons with the Cardinals and has yet to lose a game in the spring. Prior to arriving in Athens, Texas, as a head coach in 2012, Lovato was a Cardinals assistant in the 2009-10 season before being promoted to interim head coach for the final 11 games.

Following that season, Lovato earned the head coaching job at Grayson (Texas) before moving on to NCAA program Nebraska-Omaha as an assistant. She also served as an assistant at Houston and Pittsburg State following a successful career as a high school coach in Missouri and New Mexico.

Trinity Valley Community College officials issued the following alert Sunday for the Athens campus:

“Watch for green Toyota Camry 4 door w/red bumper sticker. If spotted, avoid all contact, immediately call TVCC PD 903-675-6235.”

In response to a request for more information, the college released the following statement this morning:

“Early Sunday morning, a green, four-door Toyota Camry drove onto campus and the driver of the vehicle confronted two groups of students. Because of the serious nature of this incident, TVCC issued a campuswide alert in the interest of student safety and to inform students to be on the lookout for the vehicle. Students were cautioned to avoid contact with the driver of the vehicle if spotted again on campus and to immediately call campus police. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.”


The Trinity Valley Community College cheerleaders were named national runners-up behind Navarro College following a solid performance during the final round of competition at the NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship on Friday.

TVCC posted a final-round score of 94.68.

The NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship featured 304 teams and 6,530 athletes representing 38 states and four countries.


(From left) Marc Robinson, Andrea Meadows, Sara Clifton, Buck Monning, Robert Young, Charlie Harrell, Charles Nunnally.

By Jayson Larson/TVCC Public Information

Trinity Valley Community College Ag Club Vice President Robert Young and several Ag students and club members recently attended the 2014 Texas Junior College Agriculture Association (TJCAA) Convention. 

This year’s convention was held April 2-4 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Students from junior college Ag departments from around the state attended the convention.

TVCC agriculture students who attended this year’s convention were Robert Young (VP), Charlie Harrell, Andrea Meadows, Buck Monning and Sara Clifton.  Students were accompanied by their faculty advisor, Marc Robinson, and his fellow agriculture professor from TVCC Palestine campus, Charles Nunnally.

Upon arrival, students gathered at the SFA Piney Woods Native Plant Center and were treated to a Crawfish boil. This was a mixer that allowed students from various community colleges to begin getting acquainted with one another.

The competition segment of the convention was held on Thursday morning. That afternoon students were taken on tours of the SFA Gardens Mast Arboretum, the SFA Beef, Equine, Swine and Poultry centers on the SFA farm.  TVCC students performed well, with three placing in individual quiz events: Clifton placed 3rd in Equine Science, Monning placed 3rd  in Wildlife and Young placed 3rd in Agricultural Economics and 2nd in Entomology.  In the Scrapbook Competition, TVCC placed 3rd, and when all of the awards were tallied, TVCC placed 3rd in the sweepstakes.

“The Conference was great experience for me, it allowed me to see friends from past conferences and to make new ones,” Harrell said. “The contacts I make here are people I will be seeing around in the future. They will be the next Ag professionals in our great state.”

Said Robinson: “I was very proud of our students’ performance and also glad that they had the opportunity to network with many other future agriculture professionals from other community colleges across the state. We look forward to attending the 2015 T.J.C.A.A convention which will be held at Texas State University.”

Adut Bulgak 1By Benny Rogers/TVCC Sports Information

Adut Bulgak has become the eighth women’s basketball player at Trinity Valley Community College to be named Junior/Community College Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

Bulgak, who recently helped the Lady Cardinals to their third straight national championship, received the award Monday night at the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show in Nashville, Tenn., site of the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

“Adut is a special one,” said Lady Cardinal head coach Elena Lovato. “She exemplifies a strong commitment to core values both on and off the court.

“As a two-time national champion and All-American, she naturally established herself as a leader and was named co-captain of the team this year. Her passion for success and diligent work ethic come second to none. She acts with purpose, desire, tenacity and perseverance.”

The 6-4 Canadian sophomore averaged 15.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game and hit 29 three-pointers in leading the Lady Cardinals to a 36-1 season and eighth straight national championship. She was named the Most Valuable Player at the national tournament, where she averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in four games.

Bulgak, a two-time first-team WBCA NJCAA All-America selection, was also a finalist for the Player of the Year award as a freshman.

“Adut came to Trinity Valley to graduate and win championships,” Lovato said. “Not only has she come through on the court leaving her name amongst great company, she has also separated herself in the classroom and in the community.
“Our motto from day one has been ‘Leave A Legacy.’ I can honestly say that I am blessed to have been part of watching this kid do just that …Adut has left her footprints in the heart of Athens, Texas.”
Previous Lady Cardinals to claim the award were:

1988 – Portia Hill
1995 – Shalonda Enis
1996 – Tausha Mills
1999 – Yalisha “Boo” Barnes
2003 – LaKiste Barkus
2006 – Shannon Bobbitt
2012 – Sha’Kayla Caples

Other Player of the Year winners Monday night were Odyssey Sims, Baylor University (NCAA Division I), Lauren Battista, Bentley University (NCAA Division II), Nicole Moss, Thomas Moore College (NCAA Division III) and Nicole Ballestero, Vanguard University (NAIA).

The WBCA Players of the Year are selected by committees composed of WBCA-member coaches with the respective membership divisions.

The WBCA was founded in 1981 and promotes women’s basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, visit www.wbca.org.


The arrival of spring also marks the return of the annual Trinity Valley Community College Health Fair and Blood Drive.

Carter BloodCare’s blood drive will begin Tuesday, April 8, and continue Wednesday, April 9, in conjunction with the health fair, which is hosted by nursing students from the TVCC Health Science Center in Kaufman. TVCC has set an aggressive goal of collecting 15 gallons of blood during the two-day drive – the equivalent of 120 donors. According to Carter BloodCare, each pint of blood donated can save as many as three lives.

Carter BloodCare figures reveal 4.5 million American lives are saved each year by blood transfusions and 32,000 pints of blood are donated each day in the U.S. Even so, blood centers often experience shortages – especially during the summer and winter months. The need for blood is constant, as someone needs blood every three seconds, including one in seven hospital patients. Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors, according to Carter BloodCare.

Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds may donate blood every 56 days.

The health fair will be held Wednesday, April 9, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Student Union Building on the Athens campus (located at 100 Cardinal Drive). Information will be offered including:

  • Child abuse and child protective services
  • Stress and stress-boosting techniques
  • Skin cancer and sun exposure
  • First aid
  • Weight reduction
  • Organ donation

In the event of inclement weather, the fair will be held on the second floor of the Student Union Building.


The 2014 NJCAA champion Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals and their fans raised $7,600 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund at their annual Play 4Kay game in February. As a result, TVCC was named the Community College Division winner by the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. TVCC organizers of the event were (from left) Judith McGilvray, Elena Lovato and Lucy Strom-Miller.

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund®, in partnership with the  Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation for Cancer Research, today announced the divisional winners of the 2014 Play 4Kay® initiative.

Trinity Valley Community College was named the winner of the Community College Division. TVCC raised $7,600.

“It is a true testament to the hard work, commitment and selflessness of the staff, fans and community of Trinity Valley and Athens to be able to achieve such an accomplishment,” said TVCC athletic director and head football coach Brad Smiley.  “Everyone involved in this year’s Play 4Kay efforts should be very proud.”

The Play 4Kay initiative serves as a platform for a nation of coaches, student-athletes and fans to raise awareness and funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, an organization committed to funding women’s cancer research and supporting projects that assist the underserved community.

The institutions that raised the most funds in each division will be recognized at the 2014 Wow 4Yow Party on Friday, April 4, held in conjunction with the 2014 Women’s Final Four and the WBCA National Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Students from Eustace High School were among the competitors in last year’s inaugural Egg Catapult Competition, which is held in conjunction with the campuses Earth Day Festival. This year’s event is set for Tuesday, April 22. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Students from Eustace High School were among the competitors in last year’s inaugural Egg Catapult Competition, which is held in conjunction with the campuses Earth Day Festival. This year’s event is set for Tuesday, April 22. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Jayson Larson/TVCC Public Information Officer

The Trinity Valley Community College Science Club is doing that spring fling thing again – literally.

The Science Club is hosting its second-annual Earth Day Festival and Egg Catapult Competition on Tuesday, April 22, from 1-5 p.m. in front of the Gibbs Academic Building. The festival aims to raise awareness about Earth Day and topics such as energy conservation, “green” living and recycling. Various non-profit groups from the area – including the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, the Henderson County Humane Society and Hope Springs Water – will have booths at the festival.

The Egg Catapult Competition provides a fun afternoon for students and serious scholarship money for the top finishers. Each member of the winning team (which can consist of up to four members) will receive a $1,000 Science and Math scholarship.

Biology instructor Jan Jennings said participants don’t have to be math or science majors, and the competition is open to any TVCC student including those in high school or dual-credit programs.

Participants will be required to use a trebuchet to launch their eggs. Unlike a catapult, a trebuchet uses gravity (via a counterbalance) and rotates 180 degrees to fling its object – turning the potential energy of its projectile into kinetic energy. A catapult arm, on the other hand, travels only 90 degrees and uses tension and a lever to fire.

After showing off their egg-flinging skills, the top five contenders will then be selected to make a PowerPoint presentation before a panel of judges explaining how they built their project. Finally, the students will have to submit a cost analysis for their project.

The judges will then award points based on each of the three presentations.

“This started last year as an activity for the science club, but we wanted it to be open to any student involved with TVCC,” Jennings said. “You launch a raw egg at a frying pan, and you’ll be judged on things such as accuracy and design. We’re going to be breaking eggs all over the place, and it’s going to be fun.”

For more information, contact Jennings at jjennings@tvcc.edu or call her at 903-675-6382 or Dr. Michael Felty at mfelty@tvcc.edu or call him at 903-670-2669.


By Benny Rogers/TVCC Sports Information

The Lady Cardinal softball team is headed down the homestretch of the 2014 season. Coach Ashley Johnston’s squad is 23-9 on the season and 7-3 in conference play.

The Lady Cardinals, who last year qualified for the national tournament for the first time in school history, are coming off a weekend doubleheader sweep against Bossier Parish at Cain Park. They won 3-0 and 6-3.

The Lady Cardinals have just two home dates remaining on their schedule – Wednesday, April 9, against Northeast Texas and Sunday, April 13, against Kilgore. Action starts both dates at 1 p.m.

Here are the remaining regular season games for the Lady Cardinals:

  • Wednesday, April 2 – at Kilgore, 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 5 – at Navarro, 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 9 – Northeast Texas, 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 12 – at Paris, 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 13 – Kilgore, 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 16 – at Ranger, 1 and 3 p.m. (non-conference)

The regional tournament is scheduled May 1-4 at Angelina College in Lufkin.

Induction group 2

Just as it did in the fall, Trinity Valley Community College inducted 31 new members into the Iota Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa during a ceremony Sunday, March 23, at the Student Union Ballroom.

Membership in the Iota Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a national honors society for two-year colleges, requires a student to achieve a 3.5 GPA, have completed any required developmental courses and have accumulated at least 12 semester hours of college credit. Membership in Phi Theta Kappa entitles TVCC students to have this honor noted on their official transcripts and to wear the PTK golden stole, tassel and/or medallion at graduation.

Inductees are: Savanna Abendroth of LaRue; Jennifer Acero of Houston; Alison Alibrando of Arp; Anita Lizette Arnold of Athens; Amber Barker of Centerville; Matthew Jacob Barnes of Poynor; Dena Beard of Frankston; Alexis Bongiorno of Point; Briana Booth of Star Harbor; Patti Renae Brigham of Poynor; Megan Anne DaSilva of Rowlett; Carissa Kylene Dickerson of Mabank; Stacie Lynn Ethridge of Wills Point; Karissa SuAnn Gant of Blum; William Hatfield of Wills Point; Abbey Hudson of Canton; Prosper Kaseke of Athens; Amber Lindsey of Athens; Tyler Maldonado of Gun Barrel City; Michael Pait of Combine; Nelly Pedroza of Athens; Rex Printz of Kingsland; Juan Antonio Rojas of Brownsboro; Karina Rojas Gomez of Murchison; Bryan Ruiz of Athens; Shelley Karnes Sparks of Mabank; Amber Lynn Spence of Athens; Tara Sulc of Combine, Tenn.; Taylor Brianne Valles of Copperas Cove; Cynthia L. Woodall of Mabank; and Kathryn Wright of Tyler.