By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Colorado Springs, CO---The Owens Community College athletic department has produced nine student-athletes who earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Academic Student-Athlete Awards and two teams that earned NJCAA Academic Team Awards in the 2012-13 academic year.
The NJCAA announced the award winners this week.
David Ortega-Gonzalez, a sophomore on the Express men's soccer team, led the way with a 4.0 GPA, which earned him the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence. Meanwhile, Melanie Iacoangeli of the Express women's softball team earned a 3.86 GPA and was awarded Superior Academic Achievement honors.
Aside from those two, seven student-athletes earned Exemplary Academic Achievement honors. Dane Davis, of the Express baseball team, earned a 3.78 GPA, Luke Berger, of the Express men's golf team, earned a 3.76 GPA, Molly Hilfinger, of the Express women's volleyball team, earned a 3.74 GPA, Hannah Shank, of the Express women's softball team, earned a 3.7 GPA, Amanda Sinay, of the Express softball team earned a 3.7 GPA, Alex Roberts, of the Express men's golf team, earned a 3.64 GPA and April DeCant, of the Express softball team, earned a 3.6 GPA.
Aside from those individual student-athletes, the Express softball team earned a team GPA of 3.31, while the Express women's volleyball team earned a 3.19 GPA. In doing so, they were each awarded NJCAA Academic Team honors.
Prior to this year, no team at Owens had ever achieved that honor.
The Express athletic department's nine student-athletes earning NJCAA academic honors marks the second most in a single school year. In 2010-11, Owens had 11 student-athletes earn national honors, at that time known as Academic All-Americans. They were Cal Edwards (men's basketball), Jordan Floyd (women's basketball), Brooks Gardner (men's golf), Jessica Knueve (women's volleyball), Alyssa LaVoy (women's volleyball), Saige Meyer (women's basketball), Lee Schmidlin (men's golf), Amanda Schuster (women's volleyball), Ashleigh Whitacre (softball), Karrah Windau (women's basketball) and Bridget Wolfe (softball).
Becky Risebrough (women's basketball, 1993-94) was the very first Express student-athlete to earn academic honors from the NJCAA.
In all, 78 student-athletes at Owens have earned NJCAA academic honors since then, including five student-athletes who won it twice. They were Melinda Kistner (women's softball) in 1999-2000, Laura Wilson (women's basketball) in 2003-04, Justin McIntyre (men's soccer) in 2006-07, Lorenzo Carrion-Bistolfi (men's soccer) in 2009-10 and Cal Edwards (men's basketball) in 2010-11.
A few days ago, the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) named it's All-Academic Team, which included 31 student-athletes from Owens. That honor required at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.
Over 1,600 NJCAA student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this past year, including 169 that earned the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.0 cumulative GPA). Superior Academic Achievement (3.8+ cumulative GPA) went to 592 student-athletes and over 900 met the standard for Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.6+ cumulative GPA) honors. There are also
Academic team accolades (3.0+ GPA) were earned by over 500 programs with 24 winning the distinction as the Academic Teams of the Year.