SCOOBA – A school-record 46 East Mississippi Community College student-athletes have earned MACJC Academic All-State recognition for their classroom efforts during the 2016-17 school year. In addition, the EMCC softball and women's basketball programs posted state-best team grade point averages for their respective sports.
Included among EMCC's academic recipients were 28 freshmen and 18 sophomores representing all six of the school's MACJC-affiliated sports programs. Coach Kyndall White's softball Lions again headlined this past academic year by having 17 of their 19 rostered players maintain grade point averages of 3.25 or higher, including eight Distinguished Academic All-State honorees (3.8 GPA or higher) and four players (Mallory Vance, Ciara Steward, Sydney Olander and Carly Thompson) with perfect 4.00 GPAs.
Vance, an all-state outfielder, highlighted East Mississippi's contingent of individual recipients with her perfect cumulative 4.00 GPA achieved during her two years on the Scooba campus. The West Lauderdale High School product was EMCC's 2016-17 student recipient of the HEADWAE (Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence) award and has been accepted into the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Occupational Therapy Program. On the field as a two-year starter for the Lions, Vance batted .388 for her collegiate career with 109 total hits, 71 runs scored and 30 stolen bases.
Also helping to contribute to the softball program's state-high 3.64 team GPA were four other Distinguished Academic All-State recipients (Jordan Self-3.90, Rebekah Williams-3.90, Ashley Vickers-3.82 & Danielle Darmohray-3.81) and an additional nine Academic All-State selections with GPAs between 3.25-3.79 (AG Stewart-3.71, Layton Sills-3.70, Jourdan Jones-3.67, Madison Jacques-3.63, Kiera Phillips-3.59, Rachel Rooney-3.57, Treasure Lynch-3.44, Kendall Wilkinson-3.34 & Kaitlyn Brannon-3.31).
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC baseball Lions featured a dozen academic honorees that contributed to the team's 3.05 composite GPA for the 2016-17 school year. Headlining baseball's list were Distinguished Academic All-State recipients Corley Reynolds (3.88) and Lane Colson (3.80) followed by Garrett Ainsworth (3.78), Wesley Leamon (3.75) and Mike Farnell (3.61). Also recognized from the diamond were Walker Kelly (3.58), Austin Lowther (3.53), Cole Whitman (3.51), Alex Knight (3.45), Wesley Grantham (3.41), Luke Templeton (3.38) and Tucker Calhoun (3.25).
EMCC women's basketball, under the guidance of veteran head coach Sharon Thompson, also led the MACJC with a state-best 3.19 team grade point average during this past school year. With Kimmie Jackson (3.90 GPA) leading the way as a Distinguished Academic All-State honoree, the EMCC women's hoops quintet was also represented by Academic All-State selections Adriane Peters (3.52), Kaisah Lucky (3.50), Robrieka Finn (3.31) and Anissia May (3.25).
Coach Buddy Stephens' reigning MACJC state championship football team was also well represented academically with Distinguished Academic All-State pick Raleigh Wood IV (3.86) pacing seven gridiron team members who helped the Lions to a 2.88 team GPA. Also honored were Taury Dixon (3.44), Walter Barnes (3.40), Tyrell Price (3.38), Denzel Bonner (3.29), Ty Williams (3.29) and Taylor Crabtree (3.28).
Mississippi State men's basketball walk-on transfer Mitch Storm (3.91) garnered Distinguished Academic All-State laurels by leading a trio from Coach Billy Begley's Lions squad that also recorded a 2.88 composite GPA this past season. Keith Harris and Jordon Lee followed with matching 3.33 GPAs for the 2016-17 academic year.
Rounding out EMCC's successful school year in the classroom were MACJC Academic All-State recipients Eli Hemphill (3.78) and Kent Vaughn (3.50) from Coach Benji Williams' golf team that posted a collective 2.84 GPA in 2016-17.