Jackson State University Takes Home Championship Title

-- Student teams from 48 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) vied for the championship title and $75,000 institutional grant -- Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Oakwood University finished in the top four -- Herbert R. Thomas of Prairie View A&M University recognized as HCASC Coach of the Year

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29th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC)

Jackson State University earned top honors and a $75,000 institutional grant at the 29th annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament, a one-of-a-kind competition that celebrates HBCU academic excellence. In pursuit of the championship title, Jackson State University’s team surpassed its fellow competitors in a display of academic prowess, teamwork, and mastery of game strategies. More than 20 HBCU presidents showed their support by attending the HCASC National Championship playoffs on April 10at the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. campus in Torrance, California.

Winning a best two-out-of-three game series against Spelman College, the students from Jackson State University exhibited their academic talents by accurately answering questions about history, science, literature, religion, the arts and pop culture. The spirited competition brought together a packed studio audience consisting of HBCU students, school presidents, HCASC alumni, volunteers, and Honda associates. This is the second time Jackson State University has won the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge.

The winning team was coached by Joshua J. Cotton and includes Justin ClarkeJames Meeks Jr.Charles Pennington, and team captain, Zaveon Cooper II.

“Participating in a competition like HCASC is a good experience because it truly puts you up against the best and brightest students from each school, allowing you to challenge yourself and think critically,” said Zaveon Cooper II. “The journey to winning the championship was long and hard. After not making it to the National Championship Tournament last year, we had all of our members return, and we were very motivated to not make the same mistake.”

Runner-up Spelman College earned a $30,000 grant, while the third and fourth place finishers – Morehouse College and Oakwood University – earned $20,000 each.

Since 1989, the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has connected the nation’s best and brightest HBCU students who expand their scope of knowledge; learn teamwork and sportsmanship, and develop a bond with their fellow competitors. Outside of gameplay, the year-round program provides community service activities, networking, and mentorship opportunities. Over its 29-year history, HCASC has built a network of more than 125,000 program alumni – many of whom stay involved in the competition and return as volunteers for the National Championship Tournament.

“Honda congratulates the 2018 HCASC champion, Jackson State University, and all 10,000 student competitors who committed themselves to excelling in this demanding – yet fun – competition,” said Steve Morikawa, vice president, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “HCASC gives students a national stage to pursue their passion for learning and love of competition, as well as build long-lasting friendships, leadership skills and so much more. We look forward to carrying on this tradition and celebrating 30 years of HBCU academic excellence in 2019.”

Every year, dedicated volunteers, coaches, and alumni help to make the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge a success. Honda recognized outstanding individuals who have made an impact during this year’s competition, naming 20-year HCASC coach, Herbert R. Thomas of Prairie View A&M University, Coach of the Year. Fellow HCASC players selected Nayirah Muhammad of Fisk University to receive this year’s Ernest C. Jones Sportsperson Award. The award, named for one of HCASC’s early volunteers who mentored students, recognizes a student who epitomizes team spirit, camaraderie, good sportsmanship and academic focus during the National Championship Tournament.

Honda established the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge in 1989 as a way to highlight and recognize the academic talents of HBCU students. More than $8.5 million in grants from Honda have provided support for books and tuition, scholarships, enhancement of student programs and other investments to improve campus facilities. This year’s journey to the championship began in the fall, with 70 HBCUs competing for a spot in the finals. Nearly 150 volunteers, including Honda associates, helped produce the 2018 National Championship Tournament, hosting the students, conducting registration and serving as game officials.

For photos, videos and more information about the 2018 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, including a full list of the 48 qualifying teams, visit HCASC.com. Connect with HCASC on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow the conversation using #HCASC.

About Honda and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Honda has supported and celebrated America’s HBCUs for more than 25 years. Since 1989, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), one of Honda’s largest and longest running philanthropic initiatives in the United States, has impacted the lives of academic superstars from across the country. Since 2003, Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) has provided eight top HBCU marching bands with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver a dynamic performance on a national stage. Both HCASC and HBOB enable HBCUs to earn grants and positive attention for their respective institutions. Through programs like HCASC and HBOB, Honda has been able to touch the lives of more than 170,000 students and award $12 million in grants in support of education programs.