Story:A Tale of Two Colleges

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A Tale of Two Colleges
Written by JWolfman

Outside of Central and Northern California, not many people could pinpoint where Pacific Metro College and Pinetop College were, much less know that the Triscon Trophy existed. Not to take away the dedication and talent of the student competitors, but FCAA Division-II athletics generally don’t hold a candle to Division-I sports. Division-I had the high-profile universities and their sports programs, with huge budgets and their games broadcast nationally. Division-II athletics were considered intermediate, and known to be throw-away opponents for Division-I schools to puff up their win columns. But for the people that understood the details and history of the Triscon Rivalry, they firmly believed that this rivalry deserved all the attention that the higher-level school rivalries get.

In 1945, two brothers, Terry and Robert Triscon, migrated to the United States from England. With their father’s automotive industry fortune, they set up shop in Salinas, California just south of the San Francisco Bay area, creating parts for vehicles. They were both young, athletic, and ambitious gray foxes, and judging from the photos, they were handsome as well. Their business grew as the automotive industry thrived in the car-culture-crazy United States, and it seemed like their future were bright, but both of them lacked having families of their own, and that ultimately led to their split.

It was Terry who met Cherice Bradshaw first, and it was literally by accident. Cherice became distracted by an insect that flew onto her face as she was driving her convertible, and accidentally ran the red light in an intersection, slamming the front of her vehicle onto Terry’s left rear panel of his car. After constantly apologizing for the accident, Cherice ended up in tears as she felt she would not be able to afford the costs of repairing the vehicles, but Terry replied that he would pay for the damages of both vehicles, as long as she accept a date with him for dinner. After their third date, they felt ready to commit to each other in a romantic relationship, and it was by around this time when Robert came into the picture.

“In hindsight, I should’ve just backed off and left them both alone,” Robert admitted years later in a 1970 interview. “She was dating my brother, after all, but she was the most beautiful vixen I had ever seen. I was young back then, and didn’t think I would ever meet another woman like her, so I made my move.”

To make a very long and complicated story short, Robert seduced her and finally Cherice decided to end her relationship with Terry and attached herself to Robert. The two brothers turned to distrust and hate each other, and while Terry stayed in Salinas with the family business, Robert and Cherice moved to Angwin, located within California’s wine country and Robert started his own business which still existed to this day as Roadcreek Winery. While Robert and Cherice eventually married each other, Terry met and married another vixen, Shirley Ross. However the split between the two brothers were permanent and became worse.

By 1949, Terry was already the wealthiest man in Salinas, and when he heard about plans for a new college to be built in Salinas, he placed his fortune behind it and became the college’s primary investor. He wanted the college to be named Triscon University once it was built, but the founders turned it down and they eventually settled on the name Pacific Metro College. During the 1960s, PMC was a hot bed for the counter-culture movement, but it also had a very strong athletics program, thanks in big part to Terry who was very dedicated into sports. In 1972, Terry’s youngest son Frederick Triscon became PMC’s Athletics Director, a position he held until his retirement in 2003.

Similar to the case with Salinas, Robert Triston became the wealthiest man in Angwin, and his winery grew to be one of the biggest in all of Napa Valley. However tragedy struck as Cherice died soon after the birth of their second child, and Robert raised their two children alone as he never remarried. A group of religious businessmen, all belonging to the Lutheran Church, founded a liberal arts college in Angwin by 1952, calling it Pinetop College. Robert wanted them to have an athletics program but the founders initially resisted until Robert offered them enough money to change their minds. In 1975, Robert’s daughter Henrietta Brockson became the school’s Athletics Director until her retirement in 2000.

Early on, both colleges only occasionally played against each other but already the respective students had animosity toward each other. Pinetop students regarded their PMC peers as hippies and stoners, while PMC students in return regarded Pinetop as a college for drunk snobs and guppies (and not the fish kind). With the two colleges only 140 miles apart, a sense of ‘regional’ rivalry brewed between them but it didn’t catch fire until 1969 when both colleges joined the Northwest Athletics Commission Conference (NACC), a FCAA Division-II conference that consisted of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana universities.

Although they originally faced each other twice a season in basketball, a schedule change in 1972 enabled them to only face each other once, by the end of the regular season. In 1975, the directors of their respective athletic departments, Frederick Triscon and Henrietta Brockson, met together with an army of FCAA attorneys and counselors at FCAA headquarters in Indiana. Despite being related through their fathers, the family hostilities were still bitter by this time and they rarely spoke to each other when they were growing up. Now as adults and professionals in the same field, they were civil toward each other in meetings but almost never found together outside of business matters. What came out of their meetings were two important decisions: their divisional placements if they earned a spot in the DIvision-II basketball tournament that starts every March, and the creation of the Triscon Trophy, to be rewarded to the winning team of each of their respective sports whenever they face each other by the end of the regular seasons. Thus began the Triscon Rivalry that continued to this day.

The Rivalry however started rather lopsided with basketball. Pacific Metro was already NACC defending championships at the time the rivalry started, and they became champions again for the next three seasons. Pinetop meanwhile floundered in the middle of the conference pack, only scoring their first win against PMC in 1978. By 1983 however, the two teams met each other in the Division-II FCAA tournament for the first time, with Pinetop pulling out the win in a stunning upset. For the next three decades, the Triscon Trophy traded hands numerous times, but PMC was often regarded as the superior school, even winning the Division-II FCAA championship twice (1994 and 2003), while Pinetop only won the NACC championship once, in 2001.

In 2015, PMC’s most recognized basketball star was Gary Elsinore. The 6’7” crowned lemur swingfur was already the best player in the team by the end of his freshman year, and as a sophomore, he became the team captain. He was ranked 9th in Recruits-dot-com’s most sought-after high school player by colleges which included a number of big-name Division-I schools, but chose PMC in order to stay in Salinas to take care of his ailing parents and autistic sister. Many experts in the field predicted that he will become a great FBA prospect, if he decided to go that route but he insisted on graduating with a degree on Business Marketing. He quickly became a big name in Salinas, with his charismatic nature drawing in people by the droves, and his aggressiveness and determination on the court winning the respect of many opponents. However he garnered many enemies as well, due to his brash bursts of emotions that rub people the wrong way, and he was no saint in terms of following the rules, off and on the court.

His biggest rival in Pinetop however was very different in terms of reputation and upbringing. Michael River, the 6’8” musk deer swingfur from Yucaipa, California, led his high school straight to their divisional state championship in basketball, but he never gained much recognition and wasn’t even on the rankings list of most sought-after players. Despite his success on the court, none of the Division-I schools pursued him, and Pinetop was simply the best school that actually sent him an academic scholarship. Outside of basketball, he was regarded as a hermit recluse, dedicating his life entirely to basketball and not much else, including socializing with his own teammates. Due to his quiet nature, he was unrecognizable by many students even in his own college, and he could easily blend in with a crowd if it weren’t for his imposing size and the saber-fangs that protrude out of his deer-shaped skull. On the court however, he was known as a fearsome beast with a chip on his shoulder. Basketball was his element, his state of mind. It was on the court where he could seriously cut through his shell and bring out the animal within him, but once the final buzzer sounds and the team retreats out either in defeat or victorious, he would quickly duck back into his personal shell. He had none of Gary Elsinore’s charisma whatsoever but considered to be even more aggressive than him in the game.

The Triscon Trophy game on March 5th, 2015 sparked the beginning of a rivalry between the two school’s top players that grew beyond from the restraints of the basketball court. Although PMC had already clinched the NACC championship, they wanted the Triscon trophy back in their paws after losing it last season. The game was a tightly contested affair, with the school exchanging leads fifteen times in the first half alone. However the second half was completely different as PMC began to pull away and after claiming the lead again with six minutes to go, they never relinquished it and won the game 98-87.

If left simply at that, not many people would remember it as Pinetop was going through yet another struggling season so despite the trophy on the line, this would’ve been considered a throwaway game in terms of conference ranking. Gary Elsinore however changed everything with one move and one gesture.

With the victory clearly settled with PMC’s lead at nine points with just five seconds to go, Elsinore had the ball at halfcourt and both teams relaxed as it looked like he was just going to run out the clock. Suddenly he burst in a final charge for the basket and leaped, slamming his body squarely onto River’s body as he slamdunked just as the final buzzer rang. The PMC home crowd cheered but River and his teammates angrily protested, seeing the move as completely unnecessary. That wasn’t the end of it however, as Elsinore appeared to clasp a paw onto his own crotch as he semi-skipped his way toward the locker rooms, and he made the gesture while directly facing the Pinetop bench and their coaches. River noticed the crude taunt however and ran to shove him on his back, but his teammates quickly surrounded him, pulling him away from a quickly escalating scene. Although Elsinore was suspended from the roster for the remainder of their season for the action, the seeds of rivalry had been planted to become very personal.

Due to their basketball schedules, the two schools would not meet again until March 3rd, 2016. By this point however, the stakes were greater and so was the hype leading up to the game. PMC was still vying for the NACC title by the last game of the regular season, and knew that if they lose this game, the championship would go to NACC’s lone Montana school, Brieghton University of Billings. Pinetop had no stake in the championship, but not only did they want the trophy back, but they wanted to deny PMC the championship. It became one of the few Division-II matches that reached even the top-tier media of FSPN, and tickets sold out for the game at Angwin within thirty minutes after it became available. When Gary Elsinore boasted that he would score more than 30 points against Michael River, the statement became a headline for the sports page in Angwin’s newspaper.

As the fans were hoping for, the game was tightly contested with Elsinore and River aggressively going for the basket and putting their paws on each other’s faces while guarding. With two minutes left in the game, PMC held a precarious two-point lead, and both Elsinore and River were having foul trouble with five each. Elsinore drove toward the basket for a layup when River stepped in his way, intercepting in midair with a grab onto his arm which forced Elsinore to miss his shot. The crowned lemur angrily protested when the referees didn’t call for a foul, but once his teammates quickly reminded him about his foul trouble, he went quiet and continued on with the game.

The next possession however would perhaps be the most controversial in their entire personal rivalry. With Pinetop possessing the ball and desperate to tie the game, River and Elsinore nudged and lightly pushed each other as they scrambled for positioning. River lightly elbowed Elsinore on the chest before running for an opening to receive a pass, but Elsinore, having a history of flopping and exaggeration to force fouls, fell onto the court as if he received a bullet. The referees caught that and blew the whistle, signalling for River’s sixth foul and consequently ejected him from the game. The home crowd heavily booed while River showed a rare burst of emotion, protesting about the blatant flop due to a slight elbow nudge. He stormed out of the court, shaking his head in disbelief, and without their star player, the demoralized Pinetop team couldn’t clinch the victory and handed PMC the conference championship. Despite Elsinore’s earlier boast, he only managed to score 23 points.

Although both players stayed in their respective colleges and teams in the following season, that game was to be their last confrontation. Just two months before their next scheduled game, Michael River confronted a PMC student while shopping at a mall in Fresno. Despite his harassment, River ignored him until the incident regarding the final foul on Elsinore was mentioned. Something inside River snapped and he turned toward the taunting student, throwing a punch toward his face. It missed but they quickly scuffled and as they both fell onto the floor, one of River’s saber-fangs dugged itself onto the student’s left eye, causing a bloodied mess instantly. He stopped fighting at that point and only stared as the student covered his blood-soaked face and police quickly arrived at the scene. Despite his claims that it was just an accident, the police placed pawcuffs on him, and hauled him to a police station in Fresno.

The victim’s family decided not to press charges and River was released on bail, but the biggest punishment came from Pinetop when they suspended him for the remainder of the season. For someone as devoted to the game as he was, it was morally devastating and it was a major factor in his decision to remain in Pinetop for a fifth year. A number of people tried to push him to enter the FBA Draft, but he refused, stating that he wanted to enter the Draft on a positive note.

Without their star player, Pinetop couldn’t compete well in their Triscon Trophy game against PMC, and the often hyped game became a rout. Although PMC didn’t earn a conference title this year, they aggressively barrel-rolled over Pinetop, and after the game Elsinore grabbed a sign from a PMC fan and held it up for everyone to see. The sign read: “Hey Pinetop, Watch Your Dentures!’

The crowned lemur led PMC to the FCAA Division-II championship, and after their victory, he declared to the media that he intends to enter the 2017 FBA Draft. Thus his college rivalry with Michael River ended, but if River decided to enter the Draft in 2018, as almost everybody was certain he would, the rivalry should start anew… and at new levels.

This is Tashira Rucson of