Nine Cougars make academic all-American, softball team earns team academic honor
     2015-07-23      By The Gering Citizen   
Courtesy Photo - The 2015 Cougar softball team earned Academic All-American honors as a team with a 3.24 GPA.  
SCOTTSBLUFF — Western Nebraska Community College was well represented on the NJCAA Academic All-American list that was released Wednesday, July 15.

The Cougar softball team earned Academic All-American honors as a team with a 3.24 GPA. The Cougar softball team was one of 120 softball teams in the nation to earn academic honors. It is the team’s third team academic honor in the last four years.

Nine Cougar athletes were also honored with Academic All-American honors. Earning Superior Academic Achievement recognition with a 3.80-3.99 GPA, include men’s basketball players Diante Mitchell, of Syracuse, Utah, and Preston Christensen, of Layton, Utah. Also, men’s soccer player Josh Ring of Torrington, Wyo., earned Superior Achievement honors.
WNCC players earning Exemplary Achievement honors (3.60-3.79 GPA) include women’s basketball player Lyndie Puckett of Erie, Colo.; women’s soccer players Bailee Dopp, of Layton, Utah, and Whitney Parker, of Cllinton, Utah; and softball players Hannah Gonzales, of Pueblo, Colo., Lindsay Guymon, of Stansbury, Utah, and Jordan Smith of Wellsville, Utah.

This year, the NJCAA recognized a record 1,936 student-athletes from 324 NJCAA member colleges.

During the 2014-15 academic year, the NJCAA saw 58,531 student-athletes compete on 3,461 teams in 28 different sports. A record 3.31 percent of individuals competing in the association qualified for an academic award which is only available to student-athletes that have accumulated at least 45 semester credit hours or 60 quarter credit hours with a minimum of a 3.60 grade-point average.

Student-athletes are divided into three teams: the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.00 GPA), Superior Academic Achievement Award (3.60-399), and Exemplary Academic Achievement Award (3.60-3.79 GPA).
The Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence was presented to a record 185 student-athletes that earned a 4.0 grade-point average. There were 741 qualifiers for the Superior Academic Achievement Award, while 1,110 individuals claimed the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award.

WNCC softball team’s 3.24 GPA is the highest in the last four years. The team had a 3.20 GPA back in 2011-12 season.
East Central Community College had the highest team GPA at 3.54 among softball teams, while McCook Community College had the highest GPA among Region IX teams at 3.51.

Individually, this is the most Cougar athletes that were honored with academic all-American honors. The 2012-13 academic year saw eight Cougar athletes receive all-American recognition. WNCC has had 34 academic student-athletes in the last eight years.
Of this year’s Cougar recipients, five will be going on to playing sports in college. Whitney Parker and Jordan Smith will be playing Division I athletics. Parker signed to play soccer at the University of Louisiana Monroe earlier this year, while Smith will be pitching for Utah State University.
Preston Christensen and Diante Mitchell will be playing Division II basketball. Christensen will be at the Minnesota State University Mankoto, while Mitchell signed to play at the University of Alaska-Anchorage earlier this month.

Lyndie Puckett will be taking her 3-point shooting talents to Colorado Christian University to play basketball, while Lindsay Guymon will be playing softball at Doane College.

Collfeyville (Kan.) Community College claimed the most accolades with 35 student-athletes gaining recognition, including four individuals earning the Pinnacle Award, 12 claiming the Superior and 19 taking the Exemplary honor.

Four programs tied for the most Pinnacle Award recipients as Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, Hesston (Kan.) College, Itawamba (Miss.) Community College, and Waubonsee (Ill.) Community College each had five student-athletes record a 4.0 grade-point average.
The complete list of individuals that earned NJCAA academic honors is available on the NJCAA website at www.njcaa.org/newsArticle.cfm?articleId=24785#sthash.XrXE2bzR.dpuf

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