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Four NWC teams make All-Academic list

Four Northwest College teams and seven student-athletes were honored for their work in the classroom, the NJCAA announced Tuesday.

Both Trapper soccer teams and the NWC volleyball team were named to the NJCAA’s 2013-14 All-Academic list.

Six men’s soccer players and one women’s basketball player received academic student-athlete awards, which are given to NJCAA athletes with a grade point average of 3.6 or greater.

This marks the second straight year Northwest had three programs qualify for the team award, which requires a GPA of at least 3.0.

The Trapper women’s soccer team boasted a 3.33 GPA, the best of any NWC squad and seventh in the NJCAA among women soccer teams.

The men’s soccer team was third in the NJCAA with a 3.22 GPA, one of only 10 men’s soccer teams to make the list, and boasted enough all-academic players to fill out more than half of a starting lineup.

“It’s pretty incredible,” said head coach Rob Hill.

The coach said recruiting successful students out of high school leads to success at the college level.

“We’ve got a real emphasis on the quality of the people we recruit,” Hill said. “We do hold them accountable ... soccer is a secondary part of the college experience, and the guys know we don’t accept them having poor work in the classroom. The soccer is used as an incentive to do well.”

It wasn’t always that way, though. The soccer program has evolved its recruiting process, and Hill says the teams are now reaping the rewards.

“When we first started we weren’t that detailed in it, but now we look deeper in what’s going on with that athlete,” Hill said. “We look at transcripts, and everyone can have an off year, but if a student (does poorly) throughout their four years in high school, it’s a pattern of behavior and we don’t really look at them.

“I think our recruiting GPA from high school on average is over 3.0,” Hill said. “We’ve specifically gone for the students that have done well academically.”

Wyatt Fabrizio (3.87 GPA) was awarded for his “superior academic achievement,” while William Moatts (3.79), Callum Dickerson (3.76), Marcus Couldridge (3.73), Jakob Higginbotham (3.67) and Matthew Frost (3.65) were all recognized for their “exemplary academic achievement.”

“It’s the most we’ve ever had and I’m definitely proud of it,” Hill said. “This group of sophomores is a very hard-working, very determined group.”

The coach said both the men’s and women’s teams have been self-sufficient when it comes to school work.

“We haven’t have to do much to motivate them in that sense,” Hill said. “They’ve been a very good group to work with on both sides.”

An impressive report card also increases the chances an athlete will move on to a four-year school.

“It’s much easier to transfer a (player) with a 3.0,” Hill said. “We try to drum that into our players, both males and females. Your two years go quick here, if (a four-year school) is what you’re aiming for. We definitely have that standard from the beginning.”

The women’s basketball team was one of two NWC squads to make the list a third consecutive year. The Trappers finished with a 3.29 GPA.

Head coach Janis Beal said expectations are set early for her players, and they’ve consistently met and exceeded them.

“When we recruit kids, it’s something we tell them before they even get here, that’s why they’re here,” Beal said.

Every player is held accountable for her actions, and teammates push themselves in order to support the team.

“Taking care of their academics is helping their teammates out, too,” Beal said. “If they don’t study or don’t go to class or whatnot, it doesn’t only affect them it affects their team GPA, which is what we’re striving for.”

Former point guard Andressa Augusto was awarded for her “exemplary academic achievement” in the form of a 3.78 GPA.

“She’s just a hard worker,” Beal said. “She’s going to do whatever it takes to be successful.”

Augusto, a native of Brazil, had to do more than most to achieve her impressive GPA.

“She had to focus that much more that first semester — a lot of it was just learning English,” Beal said. “She had to take more credits per semester just to catch up on that.”

The NWC women were third in the NJCAA with a 3.47 GPA in 2012-13 and 15th in 2011-12 with a 3.32 GPA.

Northwest’s volleyball team made the list with a 3.04 GPA this season after making it with a 3.44 the year prior and a 3.38 in 2011-12.

Head coach Shaun Pohlman said his team overcame a rough first half of the year to rally and dramatically improve grades.

“There were huge changes from the fall semester to the spring semester,” Pohlman said.

The team’s eight freshmen struggled to transition from high school to college before turning things around in the spring.

“The funny thing is most of the freshman that made those mistakes completely made up for it and changed their grades the next semester,” Pohlman said.

The coach said the effort to stay successful in the classroom is part of the team’s “more than an athlete” creed.

“We try to emphasize giving back to the community,” Pohlman said. “We try to be good role models in the classroom.”

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