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EMCC claims 2020-21 NJCAA Softball Academic Team of the Year honors

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the third time in nine years, East Mississippi Community College has earned NJCAA Softball Academic Team of the Year honors, as released Thursday as part of the NJCAA’s 2020-21 Academic Teams of the Year and All-Academic Student-Athlete Awards announcement.

Along with the EMCC softball team recording an NJCAA-best 3.86 team grade point average this past academic year for the highest team mark in recorded school history, the Lions baseball team also achieved a program best with a 3.43 team GPA in 2020-21 to rank 14th nationally among the NJCAA’s top programs.

“We would like to congratulate all of our student-athletes, especially our softball and baseball programs, for their outstanding work in the classroom during this past academic year,” EMCC Director of Athletics Sharon Thompson said.  “We are extremely proud of our softball program for winning the national award for academic excellence once again.  They continue to consistently set the bar academically for all of our sports programs here at EMCC.”

Individually, EMCC had 30 or more student-athletes earn NJCAA All-Academic Team honors for the third consecutive year.  With 34 student-athletes nationally recognized for their academic excellence during the 2020-21 school year, a school-record 15 EMCC honorees were tabbed NJCAA All-Academic First Team for touting perfect 4.00 grade point averages this past year.  East Mississippi also featured 12 second-team, all-academic recipients for having GPAs between 3.80-3.99, along with adding seven academic third-teamers for posting GPAs between 3.60-3.79.

East Mississippi Community College has now garnered a total of five NJCAA Academic Team of the Year accolades dating back to the 2012-13 academic year.  EMCC’s softball program previously earned the honor during consecutive school years (2012-13 & 2013-14), while the football Lions claimed the top spot in the classroom twice during a recent three-year span (2017-18 & 2019-20).

With teams required to compile a 3.00 grade point average or higher to achieve NJCAA team academic honors, the EMCC men’s basketball team just missed the cut by recording a collective 2.97 GPA in 2020-21.  EMCC’s football and women’s basketball teams followed close behind with respective grade point averages of 2.86 and 2.75 during this past academic year.

Not affiliated with the NJCAA but instead members of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), the EMCC men’s and women’s rodeo teams combined to record a collective 3.24 GPA during the 2020-21 school year.

With a new school-record 15 student-athletes achieving perfect 4.00 GPAs this past year, EMCC has now featured a dozen or more NJCAA All-Academic First Team recipients during each of the last three academic years.

Again setting the pace for EMCC’s sports teams, eight softball players registered 4.00 GPAs in 2020-21, including the trio of Carrie Grace Baty, Jenna Coker and Lily Ramsey who completed their two-year EMCC careers with cumulative 4.00 grade point averages.  Fellow sophomores Rylee Bourland and Kamryn Moore also boasted 4.00 GPAs, as did first-year players Aislynn Cochran, Kaitlynn Stroud and Taylor Watkins.  The Lady Lions softball team had 80 percent (12 of 15) of its team members record GPAs of 3.60 or higher in garnering NJCAA individual academic honors.

EMCC’s baseball team also set a new school standard with 15 players collecting national academic accolades.  Led by two-time NJCAA All-Academic First Team recipient Ian Richard, this year’s Lions baseball club also had Justin Black, Jonah Caskey and Zack Griffith earn first-team academic status with 4.00 grade point averages.

Rounding out EMCC’s list of 2020-21 first-team academic honorees were football freshmen Joshua Aka, Tyler Hodges and Peyton Rodgers.

EMCC’s 12 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team recipients (3.80-3.99 GPA) included eight in baseball (Will Long, Beau Bates, Ryan Smith, Trey Trosclair, Wesley Sides, Jobi Cook, Cade Davis and David Dickerson), three in softball (Tommesha Brown, Maggie Meadows and Allison Brown), and football’s Tonorris Brookins II.

East Mississippi’s seven NJCAA All-Academic Third Team honorees (3.60-3.79 GPA) were divided between baseball (Drew Brown, Zane Berry and Rhet McDonald), football (Carlos Davis and Jamond Gordon), softball (Katelyn Humphreys), and men’s basketball (Traemond Pittman).

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