Photo by Tyson Chapell
USU Eastern Press Release
The Utah State University Eastern women’s basketball and volleyball teams were each named NJCAA Academic Team of the Year this week.
Both teams earned honorable mention honors for having a team GPA above a 3.0 for the entire school year.
“We could not be more proud of our volleyball and women’s basketball team for this achievement. Their commitment in the classroom speaks volumes about these amazing student athletes,” said Utah State Eastern Vice Chancellor Greg Dart.
Those weren’t the only honors the school took home from the NJCAA, 34 USU Eastern student-athletes received academic All-American honors for their work in the classroom last year.
Headlining the list of academic All-Americans were Lauren Naisbitt and Melanie Graves of the women’s soccer team. Both students received first-team academic All-American honors from the NJCAA for having a 4.0 GPA throughout the entire school year.
The USU Eastern volleyball team and women’s soccer team had the most academic All-Americans with 10.
The volleyball team had the highest GPA in the athletic department with a 3.64 team GPA, placing them in the top 10 nationwide.
One of the biggest factors behind the athletes’ success in the classroom this past season was the hiring of Jaycie Miller as the academic advisor specifically for athletics.
Miller meets with each student-athlete regularly to help them develop academic plans and stay the course throughout the semester.
“Each student has different goals or a different idea of what success looks like. It’s my job to help them figure that out and help make a plan for them,” Miller said.
According to the NJCAA, 10.1 percent of the of 59,000 student-athletes participating in NJCAA athletics in 2016-2017 earned a spot on one of the three academic All-American teams.
Below is a list of the student-athletes who were named NJCAA Academic All-Americans from the NJCAA for 2016-2017.
Name Sport Award
Alex Morrell Men’s Basketball Second Team
Andy Isokpehi Men’s Basketball Third Team
Nicolas Schapochnik Men’s Basketball Third Team
Kristupas Totoris Men’s Basketball Third Team
Autumn Kay Women’s Basketball Second Team
Harlee Willoughby Women’s Basketball Second Team
Kaitlin Toluono Women’s Basketball Third Team
Lauren O’Connell Women’s Basketball Third Team
Madison Loftus Women’s Basketball Third Team
Sara Morley Women’s Basketball, Volleyball Third Team
Mateah Tuckett Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Softball Third Team
Agatha Roese Volleyball Third Team
Emily Bender Volleyball Third Team
Jaelyn Olsen Volleyball Second Team
Kayla Newman Volleyball Third Team
Lindy Bluemel Volleyball Second Team
McKenzie Mott Volleyball Third Team
Mekenizie Miller Volleyball Second Team
Sidney Springer Volleyball Third Team
Alexis Hill Women’s Soccer Third Team
Adri Sorensen Women’s Soccer Second Team
Gabriella Sorensen Women’s Soccer Second Team
Jennifer Reynolds Women’s Soccer Second Team
Lauren Naisbitt Women’s Soccer First Team
Megan Call Women’s Soccer Third Team
Melanie Graves Women’s Soccer First Team
Rachel Neff Women’s Soccer Third Team
Taryn Pritchett Women’s Soccer Third Team
Tarynn Kerr Women’s Soccer Third Team
McKell Marble Softball Second Team
Austin Fietkau Men’s Soccer Third Team
Kaina Elias Men’s Soccer Third Team
Kiernan Blouin Men’s Soccer Third Team
Renato Magalhaes Men’s Soccer Second Team