June 28, 2018 10:31:07 AM
SCOOBA -- The East Mississippi Community College had four teams and 18 student-athletes garner national recognition for their academic excellence during the 2017-18 school year.
The EMCC football team led the way by winning the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) Football Academic Team of the Year honor and the national championship in the same academic year.
EMCC became the first football program in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) to reach four national championships, as recognized by the NJCAA. EMCC's 31-28 victory against Arizona Western in the Mississippi Bowl X in December in Perkinston allowed coach Buddy Stephens' team to secure the national title.
EMCC also topped all 65 NJCAA-affiliated schools that compete in football with a 3.01 composite team grade-point average during the 2017-18 academic year.
The 2017 EMCC squad also became the first junior college football team to eclipse the 3.00 team GPA mark since Butler (Kan.) C.C. posted a 3.03 team GPA in 2013-14.
EMCC's softball team continued to rate among the nation's top programs academically, as it ranked fourth nationally with a 3.65 team GPA.
The EMCC baseball team recorded a program-best 3.25 composite GPA to rank among the nation's top 25 teams academically. It eclipsed the 3.00 team mark for the seventh time in the past 10 years.
Coach Sharon Thompson's women's basketball team earned NJCAA honorable mention status for the second-straight year with a 3.00 team GPA.
Though not affiliated with the NJCAA, coach Morgan Goodrich's EMCC rodeo team posted a 3.11 collective GPA.
Softball pitcher/hitter Carly Thompson highlighted EMCC's 18 NJCAA academic award individual recipients with a cumulative 4.00 GPA.
Softball teammates Avery Bouchillon, Bryley Rodriguez, and Ashley Vickers, baseball outfielder Dillon Brown, and golfer Eli Hemphill, a former standout at Caledonia High School, also recorded 4.00 GPAs throughout this past school year.
EMCC's softball team led the way with nine NJCAA academic award honorees. Second-teamers Rebekah Williams (3.90) and Mollie Singleterry (3.82) and third-team members Layton Sills (3.75), former Central Academy standout Savanah Stapleton (3.63), and AG Stewart (3.63) were recognized.
EMCC's baseball team was next with four NJCAA academic selections. Former Oak Hill Academy standout Ken Dill (3.83) was a second-team recipient. S.T. McMurrian (3.73) and Weston Acey (3.62) grabbed third-team honors.
Men's golf and women's basketball added second-team recipients in Coleman Suber (3.87) and Brianna Page (3.80), respectively, while men's basketball (Jordon Lee, 3.68) and football (Jakoby Jones, 3.62) each featured third-team honorees. Jones is a former standout at Starkville High.
"All of these accomplishments say a great deal about the outstanding job that Abby Jenkins has done with all of our athletic teams," EMCC Director of Athletics Randall Bradberry said. "Since she started working here at EMCC last summer, Abby has spent countless hours with all of our student-athletes in getting them prepared for their future endeavors."
Along with showcasing a school-best six first-team NJCAA academic honorees for having 4.00 GPAs, EMCC also featured five second-teamers (3.80-3.99 GPAs) and seven third-teamers (3.60-3.79) as a collective athletic program.
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