Volleyball team and 8 student-athletes receive NJCAA academic honors

Volleyball team and 8 student-athletes receive NJCAA academic honors

The 2018-19 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team and eight Grizzly student-athletes recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The volleyball team received one of the NJCAA's 2018-19 Academic Team Awards.

Grizzly Volleyball players Ella Akkerman, Tauranga, New Zealand, and Tatjana Trifkovic, Belgrade, Serbia, and Grizzly Basketball player Houston Johnson, Springfield, received first team All-Academic Team honors.

Volleyball players Julia Dunning, Queensland, Australia; Emily Moore, Aurora; and Kelly Wiedemann, West Plains, received second team All-Academic Team honors.

And, volleyball players Kamryn Artale, Springfield, and Yileen Ng He, Colon, Panama, received third team All-Academic Team honors.

"I am extremely proud of these girls and love the fact that their hard work in the classroom gets recognized," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said.

"This is the culmination of a lot of effort put in by these players and everyone who supports them as student athletes," she added. "Their dedication to being good students is a testament to the work they put into everything they do, and I could not be happier for them. They are a great example of good habits leading to good results."

"Houston was the recipient of our Uncommon Award this year, which goes to 'the player who goes above and beyond in all aspects of their life.' That describes Houston to a T," Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Chris Popp said.

"His approach to life is going to make him very successful in whatever he pursues," Popp added. "He is a special young man. We are lucky to have him as a part of the Grizzly family."

NJCAA officials recognize individual student-athletes for academic honors at three levels:

  • First team All-Academic Team (4.0 GPA)
  • Second team All-Academic Team (3.8 to 3.99)
  • Third team All-Academic Team (3.60 to 3.79)

A total of 6,656 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said.

Academic Team Award

To receive the Academic Team Award, team members must have achieved a team cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Grizzlies had a GPA of 3.51 this past year.

Twenty-eight teams received NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for posting the highest GPA in their sport; 738 teams received Academic Team Awards for posting cumulative GPAs over 3.0 for the year.

"As a team, this group did a good job in the classroom. We had players who put in the time to improve their habits as students, and it has paid off in many ways," Coach Wiedemann said. "Our academic coordinator is Nancy Fuller, and she has done a terrific job of developing their ability to take full advantage of the resources available to them.

"Although awarded to the team, the honor is shared by our tremendous faculty who lead them, as well as the staff of the Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success (AACCESS) and the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program, who work together with our players to make them the best students possible," Wiedemann added.

Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains' PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program consists of a group of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping student-athletes develop the skills they need to excel in the classroom and provides additional assistance to student-athletes during study hall periods.

This year's recognition of seven volleyball players for individual academic awards brings the total number of such honorees in the volleyball program's history to 44.

Johnson is the fifth basketball player to receive individual academic recognition.

This is the 15th academic honor in the past 17 years for the Grizzly Volleyball team.

For more information about Grizzly Athletics, call Dr. Angela Totty, dean of student services/athletic director, 417-255-7255.