Bearcats Break To The Island

While many fans place University of Cincinnati athletics to the side during the summer months, the student athletes who make up many of the schools 18 varsity teams keep hard at work getting ready to battle for Big East Championships and national rankings. This weekend saw men's and women's basketball teams, along with the entire football team spend time at the Kings Island amusement part.

The summer of 2007 will be remembered for its hot temperatures by many, but for those who compete in college athletics summer usually means the difference between having a winning season or watching others when bowl games and tournament play begins.  Just like everyone else, these student athletes need a break from the workload and the university has found a great partner to help their student athletes while at the same time getting the word out about Bearcats athletics.

Kings Island, celebrating its 35-th year has become a place coaches can allow their student athletes to meet and greet fans and would be new fans while also giving them a break from the hard work they've putting in.  On Saturday both the men's and women's basketball programs signed autographs and talked with fans young and old before spending the day taking in all the thrills Kings Island has to offer.

For the men's basketball team it allowed them to bring along some of the youngsters involved in the community program the team is part of. 

Have you ever stood next to a 6-foot-11 person before?  Those at Kings Island on Saturday morning got that chance as Anthony McClain was there signing autographs and talking with fans young and old.  For some this was a bigger thrill than any of the many rides and attractions at the park.

 Here is a photo of the men's team from Saturday.

For J. Kelley Hall and the women's team, Saturday allowed the universities up and coming program to get out and share the excitement of women's basketball to the many that've yet caught on that UC plays in the top women's conference in the country.  The new Bearcats head coach also used the time to spend with his daughters and expecting wife.

For the athletes it was a chance to learn there is interest in their program as they signed many autographs while joking with fans.  Many of the new incoming players were on hand for this event and it'll be interesting to watch the program this year under Coach Hall and his staff who've been busy building top-notched recruiting classes. 

Here is a group photo of the women's team.

Sunday the Bearcats football program made a return trip to Kings Island to help promote the football program by signing autographs and getting photos taken.  Just as in years past, the quest to have fans sign players shirts was in full effect.

Each position took turns with their position coach to sign and ask for the autographs of those in the park going by.   After serving their time players and coaches were released to enjoy the entire park with some going to the limit of the parks many high-speed thrill rides.

One thing for sure Kings Island may have been happy when the Bearcats left on Sunday night.  Many of the Bearcats found success playing the many games and returned to Camp Higher Ground with an assortment of prizes including some "Giant" stuffed animals.

These were just two of the many Bearcats to walk away with prizes.

By the end of the day players were ready to return to work as they found out Monday was going to be a two-a-day with their stay at Higher Ground only days away from ending.  For many the thought of getting back to campus and the start of the season won't happen soon enough.

Here are several photos taken during the Bearcats stay on Sunday.

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