from school reports
The Meridian Star
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – East Mississippi Community College has earned the distinction of being the 2012-13 NJCAA Softball Academic Team of the Year for achieving a 3.59 cumulative grade point average to rank first nationally among the 369 colleges that compete in softball at the junior college level.
In addition to EMCC’s Lady Lion softball program collecting NJCAA All-Academic Team recognition for the fourth consecutive year for having a composite team GPA of 3.00 or better, the East Mississippi men’s golf program has garnered national academic team honors for the third straight season with a 3.18 cumulative grade point average.
Individually, eight East Mississippi Community College student-athletes have collected NJCAA Academic Awards for posting cumulative grade point averages of 3.60 or higher, including a school-record three sophomores achieving Pinnacle Award status with perfect 4.00 GPAs. Lion pitching ace Smokey Ethridge, starting offensive lineman Tyler Stanley and reserve softball player Sarah Dudley all posted identical 4.00 GPAs throughout their academic careers on the Scooba campus.
“Earning the highest team grade point average among all NJCAA softball teams is a tremendous accomplishment for our program and a true indicator of EMCC’s commitment to academic excellence,” said EMCC Vice President/Director of Athletics Mickey Stokes. “We’re extremely proud of Coach (Kyndall) White and Coach (Taryn) Gray as well as our student-athletes for their diligence and dedication throughout the academic year.”
With 16 of their 19 players this past season posting composite grade point averages of 3.41 or higher, EMCC head softball coach Kyndall White’s Lady Lions bettered the 3.55 cumulative GPA marks compiled by fellow MACJC member Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Rend Lake (Ill.) College.
“We are so very proud of this team for the excellence they displayed on and off the softball field this season,” added EMCC’s Kyndall White, who completed her first season at the Lady Lion helm following a standout playing career at Auburn University.
In addition to Dudley, three other Lady Lion sophomore softball players were honored individually by the NJCAA. Former Clarkdale High School teammates Alex Smith and Amber Spann earned Superior Academic Achievement ratings with respective grade point averages of 3.89 and 3.82, while Haley Tutor followed with a 3.72 GPA for Exemplary Academic Achievement.
Also picking up Superior Academic Achievement accolades for East Mississippi were women’s basketball player Brianna May and linebacker D.J. Jordan with cumulative GPAs of 3.92 and 3.91, respectively.
“These achievements are a testament to the players for their hard work and to our coaches for continuing to stress the importance of succeeding in the classroom,” noted Brittany Wagner-White, who serves as EMCC’s athletic instructional advisor/compliance assistant.
“These honors also should be shared with the EMCC faculty for their dedication to educating young people.”
Though freshmen don’t qualify for individual NJCAA academic honors, Corey Dawkins added a 4.00 GPA for the Lady Lion softball team, followed closely by rookie teammates Taylor Hackney and Abby Roberts at 3.94 and 3.91, respectively.
Other members of East Mississippi’s 2013 softball team included Jade Albritton, Charly Boswell, Kendal Carpenter, Meri Morgan Fortune, Halie Green, Sarah Harris, Allison Hauer, Angel Johnson, Amelia LaVergne, Misty Richard, Tori Seymour, and Kendra Wilson.
On the softball field, the 2013 EMCC Lady Lions posted a 24-19 overall record and finished as runners-up in the MACJC’s North Division standings with a 17-7 mark en route to making the program’s fifth consecutive appearance in the MACJC State Softball Tournament.
This year’s eight individual NJCAA academic honorees marked the most for EMCC since 11 student-athletes were recognized nationally during the 2008-09 academic year. In addition, only Holmes Community College’s four Pinnacle Award individual winners succeeded East Mississippi’s trio of 4.00 GPA recipients this past academic year.
Under former head softball coach Kate Neely McCarty, now EMCC’s event coordinator on the Scooba campus, the Lady Lions achieved prior cumulative team grade point averages of 3.47 in 2009-10, 3.39 in 2010-11 and 3.31 in 2011-12.
Headlined by freshman John Pittman’s 3.92 grade point average and sophomore Miles Respess’ cumulative 3.52 GPA, head golf coach Dale Peay’s EMCC Lions ranked 21st nationally among the 206 colleges fielding junior college men’s golf programs. This year’s composite team GPA of 3.18 follows prior nationally recognized team marks of 3.15 in 2011-12 and 3.04 in 2010-11 for the Lions.
On the links this past spring, EMCC’s golf squad earned MACJC state runner-up team honors for the third consecutive year in addition to featuring a school-record three MACJC All-State performers (Caleb Westmoreland, Nick Davis and Respess), including the golf program’s first-ever NJCAA All-American (Respess).
MCC excels academically
Meridian Community College had seven of its athletes receive Academic Student-Athlete Awards Tuesday afternoon. Three members of the MCC tennis team and four members of the MCC baseball team were among the recipients. MCC tennis star Edward Warren received the top honor among the MCC athletes by being named a recipient of the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence. Warren finished the 2012-2013 academic year with a 4.0 GPA and helped the MCC tennis team to an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament.
Stephanie Grayson and Tara-Beth Hall of the MCC women’s tennis team also received academic honors by the NJCAA on Tuesday. Grayson received the Superior Academic Achievement Award with a 3.95 GPA, while Hall was awarded with the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award with a 3.62 GPA. Grayson and Hall were both members of the MCC women’s tennis team that captured the Region 23 Championship in the spring, and helped pace the Lady Eagles to an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament.
The MCC baseball team had another spectacular academic year in 2012-2013 and placed four players from its team on the Academic Award List. Mitchel Babb and Luke Stanley each were named Superior Academic Achievement Award winners and each ended the academic year with a 3.8 GPA. Jace Belcher and Alvin Franklin were the final two award winners named on Tuesday and both received the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award. Belcher finished the academic year with a 3.76 GPA and Franklin had a 3.68 GPA.