SCOOBA – Headlined by the softball program's eighth consecutive NJCAA Academic Team Award, East Mississippi Community College had 21 student-athletes and three teams garner national recognition for their academic excellence during the 2016-17 school year. The NJCAA's team and individual honors for academic achievement were recently announced by the national office headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach Kyndall White's EMCC softball team tied for third nationally with a 3.64 composite grade point average for the 2016-17 academic year. The Lions ranked behind only Lincoln (Ill.) College (3.74) and the College of Southern Idaho (3.71). East Mississippi previously garnered back-to-back NJCAA Softball Academic Team of the Year accolades by recording respective GPA marks of 3.59 and 3.58 in 2012-13 and 2013-14. EMCC's softball program has now posted composite team GPA numbers of 3.31 or better every season dating back to the 2009-10 school year.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC baseball squad collected NJCAA Academic Team Award honorable mention status for the third consecutive year by posting a 3.05 team GPA in 2016-17. The Lions have now earned NJCAA Academic Team Award recognition in baseball six times spanning back to 2008-09.
In addition, Coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC women's basketball team eclipsed the 3.00 mark for the fourth time in eight years with a 3.01 team GPA during the 2016-17 academic year.
This year's total of 21 EMCC individual honorees comes on the heels of last season's school-record 26 NJCAA academic recipients for the Lions. The previous school mark was 17 NJCAA academic selections set in 2013-14.
All-state outfielder Mallory Vance highlighted East Mississippi's contingent of individual recipients with her perfect cumulative 4.00 GPA achieved during her two-year stint 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 began studying this summer within the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Occupational Therapy Program located in Jackson. 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.
Fellow EMCC softball teammates Ciara Steward, Sydney Olander and Carly Thompson also recorded perfect 4.00 GPAs this past academic year to help lead the way for the softball program's dozen NJCAA academic award honorees for the second straight season. Along with the quartet of first-team recipients, the Lion softball team also placed four players on both the second and third teams: Jordan Self (3.90); Rebekah Williams (3.90); Ashley Vickers (3.82); Danielle Darmohray (3.81); AG Stewart (3.71); Layton Sills (3.70); Jourdan Jones (3.67); and Madison Jacques (3.63).
EMCC's baseball team was next with five NJCAA academic selections for the second year in a row (Corley Reynolds-3.88; Lane Colson-3.80; Garrett Ainsworth-3.78; Wesley Leamon-3.75; and Mike Farnell-3.61). Rounding things out for the Lions on the national level, men's basketball (Mitch Storm-3.91), women's basketball (Kimmie Jackson-3.90), football (Raleigh Wood IV-3.86) and men's golf (Eli Hemphill-3.78) each added one NJCAA academic recipient apiece.
In addition to their four NJCAA first-teamers for having perfect 4.00 GPAs during the 2016-17 school year, the Lions featured nine second-team academic honorees (3.80-3.99 GPAs) and eight third-team recipients (3.60-3.79) as a collective athletic program.