Moraine Valley Community College student-athletes not only performed well on the fields, courses and courts, but excelled in the classroom this past year. Among nearly 60,000 student-athletes who compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), 13 Moraine Valley student-athletes were recognized for their academic achievements with the Academic Student-Athlete Award for the 2011-12 school year. In addition, 33 students were named to the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference 2012 All-Academic team, leading the conference in honorees.
Being named an NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete requires having higher than a 3.6 G.P.A. after 45 course credit hours and participating in the college’s sport for a least one season. Women’s tennis players Nicole Baffin (Reavis), Sophie Baxter (Stagg) and Veronica Canseco (Argo); men’s cross country runner Ivan Chow (Hong Kong); women’s soccer players Yessica Jaimez (Hubbard) and Natalie Maka (Richards); baseball player David Loomis (Shepard); men’s tennis players Josh Rodig (Lincoln-Way Central) and Dale Van Witzenberg (Shepard); men’s golfer Brendan Ryan (Shepard); men’s soccer players Lukasz and Marek Szczesniak (Reavis); and women’s basketball player Rebecca Theriault (Sandburg) received this honor. Maka and Marek Szczesniak received the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence for attaining a 4.0 G.P.A.
To qualify for the conference distinction students must have earned a 3.0 or higher G.P.A. after completing at least 48 course credit hours while participating in one of the college’s 12 sports. Within the conference, 143 student-athletes received this honor. The athletes selected were baseball players Steven Brewer (Notre Dame), Loomis, Brian Madaj (Lake Park), Jake Murray (Downers Grove North), Joe Rigg (Sandburg), and Sean Vergara (Coral Glades); golfer Ryan; men’s soccer players Cristofer Martinez (Hubbard) and the Szczesniak brothers; men’s tennis players Mike Giordano (Oak Lawn), Rodig and Van Witzenberg; men’s cross country runners Jon Altman (Sandburg) and Chow; softball players Stephanie Ruvalcaba (Argo), Theresa Urchell (Evergreen Park) and Erika Veen (Oak Lawn); volleyball players Molly Duckwall (Bremen) and Bianca Hull (Bremen); women’s basketball players Brittany Bixman (Stagg), Theriault and Valerie Zulevic (Mother McAuley); women’s cross country runner Nagieh Omer (Reavis); women’s soccer players Jaimez, Vicky Lara (Hubbard), Maka, Jennifer Martinez (Hubbard), and Isabela Pinedo (Richards); and women’s tennis players Baffin, Baxter, Canseco, and Jessica Schiesl (Oak Lawn).
Maka and Marek Szczesniak were among seven student-athletes awarded the Dick Durrant Award for the highest G.P.A. in the conference.
“To keep this up every year and have this many student-athletes awarded is unbelievable,” said athletics director Bill Finn. “I think if you have some connection to someone on campus then you have success, and we have Gloria Coughlin [Athlete Success Coordinator]. The majority of our student-athletes use her for their academic needs and get help registering. We have a good support system and personal attention here. Our students are properly supported in their academic pursuits, which has led to this achievement.”