NOC Teams win NJCAA Academic Awards

Seven of Northern Oklahoma’s varsity sports teams—four at NOC Tonkawa and three at NOC Enid—have been recognized by the NJCAA for academic excellence, according to Jeremy Hise, Northern Oklahoma College athletic director.

Maverick teams, based in Tonkawa, included women’s soccer with a team grade-point average of 3.21; men’s soccer, 3.14 team GPA, eighth highest in the nation; men’s basketball, 3.23 team GPA, sixth highest in the nation; and softball, 3.14 team GPA.

In addition, Mavericks student-athletes received individual NJCAA academic awards. The Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing students who achieved a 4.00 GPA, went to soccer players Abigail Resendiz, Enid; and Taylor Sargent and BreAnn Tolleson, both from The Colony, Texas; Tawn Neidy, Chickasha, softball; and Walker Whitworth, Ada, baseball.

The Superior Academic Achievement Award, recognizing students achieving a GPA between 3.80 and 3.99, went to Brooklin Burns, Chickasha, and Tori Smith, Shawnee, softball, and Chad Dunlop, Edmond, baseball.

Fourteen Mavericks received an Exemplary Academic Achievement Award, recognizing students with a GPA between 3.60 and 3.79. They included Sarah Blakley, Enid; Hannah Grant, Stillwater; and Mason Richardson, Forney, Texas; women’s soccer; and Victor Hernandez, Enid; Aramis Jones, Yukon; and Josiah Laine, Warr Acres, men’s soccer.

Also, Alena Chernova, Novokutznetsk Russia; Laramie Edens, Ada; and Darian Hill, Newalla; women’s basketball; Dwayne Brown, Jr., Conyers, Ga., and Keeshawn Palmer, Chicago, Ill., men’s basketball; Kylee Stafford, Sayre, and McKenzie Weigt, Tulsa, softball; and Ted Wisdom, Sanger, Texas, baseball.

“It truly was an amazing year that three of our 10 teams finished in the top 10 in the nation academically and seven of our ten teams were recognized for academic excellence by the NJCAA,” Hise said.

He recapped the Mavericks’ athletic accomplishments during the 2015-2016 academic year, noting that women’s soccer, men’s basketball and baseball teams were nationally ranked; the women’s soccer team won the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and the NJCAA Region II championship; and both the men’s basketball and the baseball teams competed for OCAC championships and were Region II runners-up. The cheerleading team won a United Spirit Association Collegiate National Championship in its division.

Josh Smith, women’s soccer coach, and Donnie Jackson, men’s basketball coach, were each named Region II Coach of the Year in their respective sports.

Five student-athletes were named NJCAA All-Americans: Alexis Gipson, Crandall, Texas, and Tolleson, Third Team, women’s soccer; Costa Anderson, Atlanta, Ga., Honorable Mention, men’s basketball; Josh Evans, Ponca City, First Team, baseball; and Ariel Burgos-Garcia, Broward, Fla., Third Team, baseball. Evans set a new NJCAA record with 103 RBIs in a season.

MLB draftees were Burgos-Garcia, picked by the San Diego Padres in the 32nd round, and Whitworth, chosen by the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round.

Finally, the teams completed more than 12 different community service projects.