COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The NJCAA announced this month that seven Pitt Community College softball players were among the record 6,006 student-athletes to earn distinction on one of three prestigious all-academic teams for the 2016-17 academic year.
More than 59,000 student-athletes participated in NJCAA sports in 2016-17, with 10.1 percent of them earning a slot on one of the three highly-regarded all-academic teams – a significant increase from the last year's record number of 7.9 percent.
Four Bulldogs – freshmen Anna Craft, Caroline Dorman, Megan Latsko and Taylor Carroll – from a squad that reached the 2017 national championship earned First-Team NJCAA Div. II All-Academic honors. Sophomores Haley Wright and Rebecca Walker took Second-Team honors, and sophomore Taylor Niemotka was a Third-Team honoree.
Carroll's academic recognition came on the heels of an outstanding regular season in which she was named the 2017 Region X Conference Player of the Year after batting .436 with eight home runs and 29 runs batted in. Wright, meanwhile, was named PCC's 2017 Female Scholar-Athlete Award recipient in the spring, and Craft was accepted into the prestigious PCC Student Ambassador program for 2017-18.
The softball program's classroom success follows an outstanding 2016 Fall Semester for PCC Athletics in which the college's 71 student-athletes turned in a collective 3.1 GPA. And, like softball, men's basketball had a team member, Laszlo Upchurch, accepted into the PCC Student Ambassador program for the coming academic year.
According to the NJCAA, several changes have been made to its academic student-athlete awards program in recent years. Prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, the organization began allowing first-year student-athletes to be considered for the awards program, if they had completed 24 semester-hours (or 36 quarter-hours). That change led to the rise in total award winners the past two years.
Additionally, the NJCAA simplified the titles of the three honor categories this past year to avoid confusion. Gone are the previous titles of "Pinnacle, Superior and Exemplary Award for Academic Achievement." In their places are three new title classifications listed below (along with GPA benchmarks):
- NJCAA All-Academic First Team: 4.00 GPA
- NJCAA All-Academic Second Team: 3.80-3.99 GPA
- NJCAA All-Academic Third Team: 3.60-3.79 GPA
A total of 1,333 student-athletes qualified for First-Team accolades, shattering the previous record of 663 set last year. New records were also established in the other two award designations, as 1,992 student-athletes earned Second-Team honors and a total of 2,681 individuals qualified for inclusion on the Third Team.
The NJCAA has been recognizing the academic success of its student-athletes each year since 1983.