MCC Thunderbirds earn NJCAA All-Academic Student-Athlete Awards

MESA, Arizona -- Jan. 29, 2020 -- Mesa Community College student athletes and four teams earn All-Academic awards from the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association). Thirty-four individual MCC Thunderbirds (T-birds) earned at least a 3.6 GPA during the past academic year (2018-19), including 13 who achieved perfect 4.0 averages.

"At MCC getting an education is the priority,” said MCC Athletic Director John Mulhern, “I am proud to say that year after year, T-birds continue to succeed in the classroom.”

Men's tennis, women's golf, softball and volleyball earned academic honors for posting a composite GPA of at least 3.0.

“We have many coaches who include team study time before or after practices. With this type of commitment by both the coaches and student athletes, we are able to instill time management skills and consistent study habits into routines for our athletes that spill over into other areas of their lives,” Mulhern said. “We are excited about the future and look forward to future success.

Academic excellence for MCC student athletes is nothing new. Since the NJCAA program began in 2005-2006, 181 MCC athletes and 41 teams have earned academic honors.

Below is a list of the 34 All-Academic Student-Athlete Awardees from MCC 2018-2019:

FIRST TEAM, Pinnacle Award is for a 4.0 GPA
Demetrio Botello—Baseball
Emily Clark—Indoor Track & Field
Connor Denning—Baseball
Jorge Sala Frigeri—Men's Tennis
Rachel Graff— Volleyball
Joshua Leslie—Baseball
Rach McCleve—Cross Country
Erin Peters— Women's Soccer
Nolan Ruff—Baseball
Lucas Severo—Men’s Tennis
Paul Steffensen—Baseball
Greg Student—Baseball
Brittany Walkingstick—Softball

SECOND TEAM, Superior is for 3.80-3.99
Luke Barnes—Football
Kendall Coleman—Volleyball
Erik Dallman—Men’s Tennis
Mallory Gornall— Women's Soccer
Sara Henson—Volleyball
Trustan Stellmach—Cross Country, Outdoor Track & Field, Indoor Track & Field
Jodi Taylor—Softball
Marissa Velljo—Softball

THIRD TEAM, Exemplary is for 3.60-3.79
Nathan Belt—Football
Hannah Brown—Women's Golf
Brendan Cobb—Men's Golf
Jaden Encinas—Softball
Michael Johnson—Cross Country, Outdoor Track & Field, Indoor Track & Field
Garrett LaBreche—Baseball
Thomas Lofron—Outdoor Track & Field, Indoor Track & Fiel
Margaret Orr—Cross Country
Jessica Reynolds—Cross Country, Outdoor Track & Field, Indoor Track & Field
Ariana Sanchez—Softball
Kaitlyn Schoenwetter—Volleyball
Cody Tucker—Baseball
Madison Voisard—Women's Golf

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, MCC,, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning throughout it’s 50-year history. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online, and at its two campuses and additional locations. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming the ways it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment or advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and more than 50% of its students are the first in their family to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes and more than 30 out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, January 29, 2020