By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---The Owens Community College athletic department shattered its college records for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Academic Awards yesterday upon the release of the NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete and NJCAA Academic Team Awards.
Owens Community College had 18 student-athletes become NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete winners, while the department produced three NJCAA Academic Team Awards. A student-athlete must achieve at least a 3.60 GPA to earn the individual award, while a team must compile a 3.00 team GPA to earn the team award. The individual awards were previously known as Academic All-Americans, but that changed beginning with the 2010-11 school year to its current format.
With the 18 individual winners and three team recipients, Owens broke the college record for both categories. The previous high for individual winners was 11, which was set in 2010-11, while the previous team high was two, which was set in each of the past three years.
Among Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) schools, Owens set the standard, once again, for all schools to follow. As a whole, the conference had 51 student-athletes earn individual academic honors, while 18, or 35 percent, of those came from Owens. Furthermore, Owens had half of the conference's six teams to compile at least a 3.00 team GPA.
Individual awards are separated into three categories. Student-athletes who earn a 3.60-3.79 GPA are presented with the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award. Those who earn a 3.80-3.99 GPA earn the Superior Academic Achievement Award, and student-athletes who earn a 4.00 GPA achieve the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence.
For Owens, seven student-athletes earned the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence including Ally Mikesell (St. Henry/St. Henry, Ohio), Jessica Kreger (Bedford/Temperance, Mich.), Joseph Swager (Continental/Continental, Ohio), Karit Kitipongpatana (St. Dominic School/Bangkok, Thailand), Lynzee Richardson (Napoleon/Napoleon, Ohio), Mikayla Ward (Huron/Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Will Mullins (St. Bernadette's/Bristol, United Kingdom).
Superior Academic Achievement Award recipients include: Macy Reigelsperger (Coldwater/Coldwater, Ohio), Stephen Parker (Eisenhower/Shelby Township, Mich.) and Zach Bobbitt (Oldham County/Oldham County, Ky.).
Exemplary Academic Achievement Award recipients include: Drew Reich (Charlestown/Charlestown, Ind.), Ashley Pleiman (Fort Loramie/Fort Loramie, Ohio), Casey Gose (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio), Erika Hartings (Coldwater/Coldwater, Ohio), Xavier Cochran (Huron/Ypsilanti, Mich.), Josiah McCloud (Monclova Christian/Toledo, Ohio), Lydia Yeager (Start/Toledo, Ohio) and Sabina Watson (Bradford/Starke, Fla.).
The Owens Community College women's volleyball team earned the top team GPA in the conference with a 3.23 GPA. They were one of three teams at Owens to earn the team award, which also went to men's golf (3.19 GPA) and women's soccer (3.03 GPA).
Among the three Owens team award winners, women's volleyball and baseball each produced four NJCAA Academic Award winners, while women's soccer was next up with three. Men's soccer and men's golf each had two recipients, while softball, women's basketball and men's basketball each had one - giving all eight teams at least one recipient for the first time in college history.
Cochran's selection in men's basketball allows him to join Austin Somerfield to give the program at least one recipient in back-to-back seasons for the first time since Cal Edwards won the award in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Ward became the first women's basketball recipient since 2010-11 when Jordan Floyd, Saige Meyer and Karrah Windau earned the award.
Reigelsperger became one of the rare student-athletes to earn both the NJCAA's Academic Student-Athlete Award and NJCAA All-American status in the same year.
The team award for women's volleyball marks the fourth straight season in which they earned the honor, while the award is a first for men's golf and women's soccer.
A Banner Year
In 2015-16, Owens Community College captured four conference championships, three Region XII championships and three top 10 finishes at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. This summer, Owens also captured the OCCAC's All-Sports Award, which goes to the top overall performing school in the conference. They also finished 33rd in the NATYCAA Cup Standings, which ranks colleges based on performance in the national tournament.
Away from the playing field, Owens previously placed 42 student-athletes on the OCCAC's All-Academic team, which set a new college and conference record.
About the NJCAA
Since 1938, the National Junior Athletic Association (NJCAA) has served as the governing body of two-year athletics, offering athletic and academic opportunities to students. The NJCAA is the second-largest national intercollegiate athletic organization in the United States with over 500 member schools in 42 states. Each year nearly 60,000 student-athletes compete in one of 28 different sports and the organization sponsors 48 national championship events and seven football bowl games. NJCAA Headquarters has been located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, since 1985. For more information visit www.njcaa.org.