June 10, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Three John A. Logan College sports teams and nine individuals have earned national recognition this week from the National Junior College Athletic Association for their academic success this past school year.

Those Vols’ teams garnering accolades include: women’s golf (cumulative 3.71 grade-point average); softball (3.46) and volleyball (3.43).

Teams must have a combined GPA of at least 3.00 to qualify. Moreover, students must have completed three full-time semesters and a minimum of 45 semester credit hours of college and have participated in at least one season of college sport.

Those individual JALC student-athletes honored with the Pinnacle Award by the NJCAA for a perfect 4.0 GPA were Tyler McGowan of Harrisburg in baseball and Jack Wilson of Bolivar, Tenn. in men’s golf.

Achieving a Superior Award (3.80 to 3.99) was Dana Kaufmann of Carterville in women’s golf with a 3.92 GPA. Kaufmann was also a student ambassador for the college.

Notching Exemplary Awards (3.60 to 3.79) were Jessica Hirsch of Du Quoin in softball and basketball and Mollie Borowiak of Nashville  in women’s golf at 3.75; Kirsten Price of Mt. Washington, Ky. in softball at 3.72; and Kasey Krough of Carbondale in volleyball at 3.67.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls for their accomplishments in the classroom this past school year,” said JALC women’s golf coach Bill Glenn. “While we didn’t have as many student-athletes (seven) on our team as other teams do here at the college, it’s still quite an honor to have the highest GPA as a group. That goes to show that if you work hard with your studies, you can achieve many great things. I wish my graduating sophomores well in their future endeavors and welcome back those freshmen who will be sophomores here this fall.”

JALC softball coach Bruce Jilek said he was also pleased with the team’s academic recognition. This year marks the 12th consecutive year the softball team has received the NJCAA honor.

"We had five spring semester perfect GPAs and a 3.46 team GPA,” Jilek said. “That is impressive seeing how most of our players on the team are majoring in health-related fields like pre-med, pre-physical therapy, nursing, etc. The kids devoted their time wisely to their classwork and it paid off for them.

“This type of academic achievement is what the coaching staff expects and promotes each semester,” Jilek added. “As former teachers, we demand the players understand the importance of succeeding in the classroom and how difficult it is to balance the demands and expectations of athletics and academics if time isn't allotted properly." 

Volleyball head coach Bill Burnside concurred.

“It’s always a pleasure to learn that our girls have been as successful or even moreso off the court as they have been on the court,” he said. “Too many times, the student-athlete’s classroom work is overlooked, which is a shame. I applaud the work ethic of these girls and am confident those graduating sophomores will enjoy great success in life. I am also thrilled to welcome back those student-athletes with a year left on their scholarships. All of us here at Logan are proud of those student-athletes who make academics the top priority.”