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Midland College reaches national tournament in Arnold's first year

The Chaparrals look to add to the trophy case in Hutchinson next week.

MIDLAND, Texas — The Midland College Chaparrals came into the 2022-2023 men's basketball season under new leadership, as Tra Arnold took over the head coaching position of a program that had been struggling. 

Fast forward, and the Chaps are heading to the national tournament. So, what have the last few months been like for the team? 

"They've been great," said sophomore forward Trent Johnson. "I've had a blast here and it's been really fun, and getting to come in and work with these guys everyday, it's been fun."

MC has this storied program back on track with a bounce back season that has included 27 wins to just six losses, and a region five championship in year one under head coach Tra Arnold.

"We expect to be here," said Arnold. "That was from day one when I got here we talked about, not being arrogant or anything, but if you're not trying to play for a national championship, then what are you doing in my opinion? So everyday we got better, and better, and better."

Midland College has the opportunity to do just that, as the Chaps have hit their stride, winning five straight games, and they hope that momentum continues in the national tournament.

MC won't play until Tuesday, after earning a first round bye, but Coach Arnold says nothing in practice today is changing. 

"It's the same as usual, we come in, we work hard every day with a lot of energy, and just trying to get better," said Arnold. "Like I told them, I'm gonna coach them all the way until Saturday, and hopefully we're playing on Saturday."

The Chaparrals will wait to play the winner of the first round game between Cape Fear and Chipola that will take place on Monday, and this team is secure in what identity they bring into the final field of 24.

"It's those extra little plays," said Johnson. "I know we have guys out here willing to die for this ball, so all the loose balls, going for rebounds, all that little stuff, we do that really well I think."

If the Chaparrals make it all the way to the final, that game will be played on Saturday, March 25.

In addition, Midland College will be celebrating the Chaps with a proper send off on Sunday at 9:15 a.m. at the college, as the team heads to Hutchinson, Kansas for the national tournament.

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