Northark Lady Pioneers begin season

The Lady Pioneers of North Arkansas College didn’t get to finish the 2020 season.

That bitter taste has left the team determined to make their name known. Friday night at Pioneer Pavilion, the Lady Pioneers will play Crowder College beginning at 6 p.m.

The Lady Roughriders are a National Junior College Athletic Association Division I school.

Four of the starting five Lady Pioneers are Heart of the Ozarks products. Four of the starters are also sophomores.

Leading the way for Northark will be Valley Springs sophomore Madison Moore and two Berryville players in Kelcee Hopper and Baylea Smith. The last sophomore is Savanna Collins of Springdale Har-Ber.

The last starter is freshman Kenzie Parker of Harrison.

Collins and Hopper were both awarded regional players of the week honors on multiple occasions last season for the Lady Pioneers.

Northark won the Region II tournament by defeating Southern Arkansas University Tech at Harding University last year.

With the win, the Lady Pioneers hosted the winner of District 16. Northark defeated St. Louis Community College to earn its trip to the national tournament.

There is a shortened season this year since the NJCAA decided to move the majority of the sports to the spring semester.

The Lady Pioneers will have 11 home games and the squad has 21 games.

Ten of the 21 games this year are conference contests. There are now six teams in the region. Arkansas State University, Mid-South of West Memphis; Southern Arkansas University Tech of Camden; National Park College of Hot Springs; University of Arkansas, Cossatot of DeQueen; and Southark Community College of El Dorado join the Lady Pioneers in the conference.

Northark’s regional tournament begins on March 29 at Harding. The district playoffs will be in Missouri on April 10.

The national tournament will be held during the stretch of April 19-24.

Other team members of the Lady Pioneers include: Kendall Atchison, Omaha; Aniah Johnson, St. Louis, Mo.; Ajhane Simpson, Monticello; Emma Kelly, Jonesboro; Zoie McGhee, Alma; Cambre McCullough, Ashdown; Abby Dean, Alpena; Katie Roubique, Timbo; and Kristen Hargrove, Marshall.

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