SCOOBA – A school-record 51 student-athletes from East Mississippi Community College plus five EMCC sports teams have earned recognition by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) for their academic excellence during the 2018-19 school year.
Along with surpassing the previous school standard of 46 individual academic all-state recipients set two years ago, EMCC featured a school-record 18 student-athletes who collected Distinguished Academic All-State honors for having grade point averages of 3.80 or higher during the 2018-19 academic year. Included within that group were a dozen perfect grade point averages that doubled the previous school mark of six 4.00 GPAs posted a year ago. An additional 33 EMCC student-athletes were recognized as Academic All-State honorees for having GPAs between 3.25 and 3.79.
EMCC's softball team, under the guidance of head coach Austin McNair, once again claimed top honors among the school's six sports teams with a 3.52 composite grade point average, including 11 individual honorees, this past academic year. The Lady Lions softball program has now put together seven consecutive years with a team GPA of 3.43 or higher.
Coach Brett Kimbrel's EMCC baseball team established program history with a 3.39 collective grade point average to exceed last year's previous program-best 3.25 team GPA. The 2019 Lions also made school history by having more than two-thirds (21) of their 30-man baseball roster achieve MACJC All-Academic status, including six players with perfect 4.00 grade point averages.
On the hardwood, head women's basketball coach Sharon Thompson's Lady Lions and head men's coach Billy Begley's state champion Lions registered team grade point averages of 3.04 and 3.01, respectively, with four individual recipients apiece during the 2018-19 school year.
Though not affiliated with the MACJC or NJCAA, head coach Morgan Goodrich's EMCC rodeo team recorded a 3.27 collective GPA this past year. Additionally, head coach Buddy Stephens' two-time reigning national football champions posted a 2.83 team grade point average, including a program-best 12 players that were tabbed either Distinguished Academic All-State or Academic All-State. A team GPA of 2.50 or higher is required to earn academic team honors within the MACJC.
Along with EMCC's six sports teams averaging a collective 3.18 GPA between them during the 2018-19 academic year under the guidance of third-year athletic academic advisor Abby Jenkins, the college's five MACJC-affiliated sports (excluding rodeo) registered a 100 percent graduation/completion rate this past year.
Individually, EMCC's 12-member 4.00 GPA club was headlined by 2018-19 Academic All-American Avery Bouchillon of the Lady Lions softball team. The Ethel native maintained a cumulative 4.00 grade point average in biology throughout her two years on the Scooba campus. As EMCC's Presidential Partnership Scholarship recipient to attend Mississippi State University as a pre-medicine major, Bouchillon has been selected for the EMCC-MSU Bridges to Baccalaureate research program.
EMCC's other student-athletes posting 4.00 GPAs during the 2018-19 school year were softball teammates Lilly Burton, Kelsey English, Riley Huckaby and Kat Reeves, along with baseball teammates Austin Campbell, Jeremy Davis, Treven Knight, S.T. McMurrian, Frederic Reynolds and Jackson Rogers, as well as Honorable Mention NJCAA All-America quarterback Messiah deWeaver of the Lions' 2018 national championship football team.
The remaining six EMCC student-athletes that garnered Distinguished Academic All-State recognition were Brianna Page (women's basketball-3.90), Gage Pierce (baseball-3.90), DJ Clayton (football-3.82), Hadlee Lewis (softball-3.81), Josh Smith (football/baseball-3.81) and Megan Cummins (softball-3.80).