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KCC athletes earn NJCAA recognition for academic achievements

Two athletic teams and 13 student-athletes at Kankakee Community College have earned recognition from the NJCAA for academic achievements during the 2021-22 academic year.

“Academic success has always been a high priority in the Athletic Department at KCC, and it is so important to our athletes as they transfer to four-year universities,” said Todd Post, KCC’s athletic director.“We are very proud of our student-athletes and have the resources available to assist them academically and athletically.”

The minimum team grade point average requirement is 3.0 to receive recognition. KCC’s teams qualifying for NJCAA All-Academic Team status are: 

  • Men’s basketball, with a 3.05 team GPA, and six students with GPAs above 3.0; and
  • Softball – 3.28 team GPA, and 12 students with GPAs above 3.0.

It is the first time the men’s basketball program has achieved a team GPA above 3.0.

“I am extremely proud of our team!” said Michael Brown, head men’s basketball coach. “Academics is a priority within the athletic department and our men’s basketball program. To be one of the top academic men’s basketball teams nationally is a big deal. Not only did we show we can accomplish our goals on the court, but off the court as well.”

There are only 39 men’s basketball teams, including four from Illinois, on the NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year list.  There are 181 softball teams, including 26 from Illinois, on the NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year list.

“The coaching staff is very proud of the academic achievements accomplished by the softball program this school year!” said Keith Cooper, head softball coach. “We set high standards and goals for the ladies to meet academically, and they crushed it!”

Brown also mentioned staff who assisted players with study skills, advisement, and in college success.

“We did an excellent job of utilizing the resources provided at KCC,” he said. “We did not achieve this alone and would like to give special thanks to Professor Josh Riley, Cydney Boyd, Vern Turner, and Bryce Shafer for their support, assistance, and influence with our program.”

Thirteen KCC student-athletes received NJCAA honors for academic achievements during the 2021-22 school year.

The All-Academic First Team members, with a 4.0 grade point average, are: Claudia Morris of Mazon, softball; Rylee Panozzo of Grant Park, volleyball; and Gage Velasquez of Peotone, soccer.

The All-Academic Second Team members, with grade point averages between 3.80-3.99, are: Lucas Bateman of Waterloo, Canada, baseball; Brooklyn Brian of Edmonton, Canada, softball; and Malachi Mabins of St. Anne, baseball.

The All-Academic Third Team members, with grade point averages of 3.60-3.79, are: Kyle Czarnecki of Shorewood, baseball; Emily Glogowski of St. Anne, softball; Jaylen Jennings of Indianapolis, basketball; Lauren Sinks of Sherman, softball; Peter Sorich of Bourbonnais, soccer; Hayden Stork of Danvers, baseball; and Kevin Vance of Chicago Heights, basketball.

The overall grade point average of KCC student-athletes was 2.87 for the year.

More information about KCC athletics is at athletics.kcc.edu.

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