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BCC Athletes Step Foot on New Gym Floor
October 4, 2012 - The long wait – and the long rides – ended on Wednesday for Brevard Community College's volleyball and men's and women's basketball teams. They were finally able to practice in their home gym – and on a brand new wood floor at that.
The three teams were forced to travel for practice – and in volleyball's case – matches as well as the new floor was being installed in the Melbourne Campus gym during the month of September.
Volleyball had the longest ride – 41 miles one way – for practice and three matches on the Titusville Campus. Men's basketball hoofed it 19 miles one way to the Cocoa Campus for practice while the women's basketball practiced at the Eau Gallie Civic Center and the Florida Institute of Technology, both in Melbourne.
But on Wednesday men's and women's basketball shared the gym for a spirited shoot-around from 2 to 4, volleyball held court from 4 to 7 p.m., women's basketball from 7 to 9 and the men from 9 to 11.
While the reviews of the experience and the new floor – which replaced a rock-hard composite surface - were all positive, head volleyball coach Herb Tokumoto was upbeat well before his team hit the gym.
After all, the 82-mile trip and the two hours it took away from his players' studies and life was behind them.
"For the girls they actually have a home now," Tokumoto said. "There's a difference in an athlete's mind when their locker rooms are here, their mainstay for everything is here versus traveling 41 miles – which is an hour – one way. And to have them having to do homework, studying for a test, it makes a big difference.
"There is the inspiration of being part of the program now. You can never say we were practicing in Melbourne. Even what we called our home games were held in Titusville. Now bringing it back home I really believe that will instill incentive in the girls because this will be home."
The feelings of exuberance extended to the basketball players as well.
"Much, much, much, much better," said women's co-captain and sophomore Kasie Berry of Orlando. "I can jump higher. It doesn't hurt my knees when I come down. My ankle feels 100 percent better on this floor."
The aesthetics – the gym has been brightened not only by the new floor but also by a new white and blue paint job - also resonated with Berry.
"We can see each other on the court now," she said. "It's much better, way better than before."
For men's co-captain and sophomore Gary Gaskins of Orlando, the floor was part of an entirely new package.
"It's a major difference, it doesn't feel like we're in the same building anymore," Gaskins said. "When I ran out on the floor I could see the difference immediately. And I like the big sword emblem in the middle. That gives it that real professional look.
"It feels great. We got new shoes, new floor. That goes hand in hand on the performance on the court. New court, new feel, new shoes, new team. We should do good things this season."
For volleyball player Alicia Vaccarelli, a sophomore and graduate of Melbourne High School, being able to call the Melbourne gym home once again is a major step forward.
"Having our gym ready to go is an adrenaline rush," she said. "Knowing our next home match is in Melbourne makes the team pumped. Practicing on the new floor was exciting and the team loved it."