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Raider athletes earn more academic nods

August 4, 2018

Student-athletes are normally rewarded and judged for their performance in their respective sports, but Central Community College-Columbus recently had nearly two-dozen student-athletes recognized for their performance in the classroom.

Twenty-three CCC-Columbus student-athletes were included on the National Junior College Athletic Association’s first, second and third academic teams lists for their efforts in their studies. Student-athletes who earned a 4.0 GPA were named NJCAA All-Academic First Team, while those who posted a GPA of 3.80-3.99 were included on the NJCAA All-Academic Second Team list. The NJCAA All-Academic Third Team is comprised of student-athletes who finished with a GPA of 3.60-3.79.

The CCC-Columbus volleyball team led the way with nine student-athletes earning NJCAA academic honors. As previously reported by The Telegram, the squad posted a combined GPA of 3.73 for the 2017-18 academic year, the highest team GPA in the 23 years that head coach Mary Young has been guiding the program. In July, the team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.

“We’ve developed a great culture at Central,” Young told The Telegram in late July after learning of her team’s ACVA honor. “That culture is winning on the court and in the classroom. The skills they’re using on the court and in the classroom are the same skills they’re going to use in life, and that truly is the most important thing.”

The Raiders’ men’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball teams also had athletes recognized by the NJCAA, eight, three and three, respectively.

CCC-Columbus Athletic Director Jack Gutierrez said he’s excited about the performance of the athletes in their studies.

“We are once again very happy and pleased with the academic progress of our student-athletes in our athletic programs,” Gutierrez said. “All of these student-athletes are key members of their squads and of outstanding character. It is a true testament to the type of athletes and coaches we have leading them to achieve such academic prowess.”

Gutierrez also seemed happy about the number of athletes who were honored for their efforts in the classroom.

″(It’s) probably the biggest we’ve had,” Gutierrez said. “It’s just a tribute to the coaches as far as keeping their kids on track, and shows the character of the kids that we recruit.”

Gutierrez added he feels good knowing these students will have a career after they’re done at CCC-Columbus.

“It’s really rewarding. I would say that probably 100 percent of those students are going on to a four-year college,” Gutierrez said. “Some of them will go on to play in their sport, but a lot will go on to pursue their degree.”

The athletic director spoke about the soccer team, which got a new coach earlier this summer, as previously reported.

“The majority of them were international students. We hadn’t gone the international route really heavy until last year,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a testimony to them just being really good students and promoting them to be good students.”

Gutierrez is also the head coach of the softball team. He had three girls on his team who were rewarded for their success, all three of whom are from the area.

MacKenzie Eller is from David City and played shortstop for CCC. Gutierrez described her as a strong player for both of the years she played for the Raiders.

Danica Schaefer, who is from Wayne, played catcher for CCC. She is now trying to play softball at Wayne State, according to Gutierrez.

Taylor Griffith was a freshman last year and played outfield for CCC last year. According to Gutierrez, Griffith really came on strong at the end of the year for CCC.

Neither Mary Young, volleyball coach, or Billy Perkins, women’s basketball coach, could be reached for comment at press time.

The following is a list of each sport and each team members’ specific honor. Students are listed by hometown, name and the honor each of them received:

Men’s Soccer

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL: Italo Vichiatto, second team

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL: Tulio Magalhaes, second team

NOVA IGUACU, BRAZIL: Lucas Apolinario, second team

RIO de JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Lucas Gama de Mattos, second team

SALVADOR, BRAZIL: Riolan Mello, first team

SALVADOR, BRAZIL: Guilherme Balestra-Demhougi, second team

SALVADOR, BRAZIL: Peterson Costa, third team

CHESHAM, UNITED KINGDOM: Marcus Horwood, third team

Softball

DAVID CITY: MacKenzie Eller, third team

LOUP CITY: Taylor Griffith, first team

WAYNE: Danica Schaefer, second team

Volleyball

ARCADIA: Sheridan Holcomb, first team

CHAMBERS: Jacie Laetsch, first team

COLUMBUS: Jordee Korte, first team

COLUMBUS: Maeghan Pieper, second team

FILLEY: Alexis Howard, second team

LOUP CITY: Jessica Eurek, second team

OMAHA: Amber Anderson, second team

OMAHA: Paxton Throne, third team

YUTAN: Maddie Davis, second team

Women’s Basketball

GENOA: Alexis Ramaekers, second team

OMAHA: Paxton Throne, third team

PALM BAY, FLA.: Shanelle Wong-Sang, second team

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at peter.huguenin@lee.net

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