Grizzly Volleyball team, 8 players receive NJCAA academic honors

West Plains, Mo.  The 2017 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team has earned the Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
THE 2017 MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team includes, front row from left: Kamryn Artale, Miriam Cardoner-Soler, Elliotte Bourne, Kinli Simmons, Tatjana Trifkovic and Alyssa Matherly; second row: Yileen Ng He, Strength and Conditioning Coach Keri Elrod, Head Coach Paula Wiedemann, Assistant Coach Briana Walsh, Koty Cooper; back row: Grace Stumbaugh, Keziah Williams and Karolina Noszczyk.  (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The 2017 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team and eight players recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The team received one of the NJCAA's 20117-18 Academic Team Awards.

Sophomore Elliotte Bourne, Rolla, and freshman Tatjana Trifkovic, Belgrade, Serbia, received first team All-Academic Team honors.

Freshmen Alyssa Matherly, Cabool, Miriam Cardoner-Soler, Barcelona, Spain, and Yileen Ng He, Colon, Panama, received second team All-Academic Team honors.

Sophomore Kinli Simmons, El Dorado Springs, and freshmen Kamryn Artale, Springfield, and Karolina Noszczyk, Bedzin, Poland, received third team All-Academic Team honors.

"I am proud that our players' hard work in the classroom has been recognized," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "This is the culmination of a lot of effort put in by our players and everyone who supports them as student-athletes.

"We had players who put in the time to improve their habits as students, and it has paid off in many ways," she added.

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 6,307 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said.

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 3.58 this past year.

Twenty-seven teams received NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for posting the highest GPA in their sport; 739 teams received Academic Team Awards for posting cumulative GPAs over 3.0 for the year.

"Our PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program and Coordinator Nancy Fuller have done a terrific job helping our players develop their study skills and encouraging them to take full advantage of the resources available to them," Wiedemann said.

Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains' PAWS 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.

"These accolades also are shared by our tremendous faculty and staff with the PAWS Program and AACCESS (Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success), who work together with our players to make them the best students possible," she added. "They do a fantastic job!"

This year's recognition of eight Grizzlies for individual academic awards brings the total number of such honorees in the program's history to 32; this is the 14th academic honor in the past 16 years for the entire team.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball program, visit the team's website,, or call 417-255-7950.