The work Southeast Community College student-athletes put into the classroom pays off.
Led by the men’s basketball team’s 3.4 cumulative grade-point average, which earned it a second consecutive academic national championship, four SCC Storm intercollegiate athletic teams placed in the top 25 nationally in academics during the 2009-2010 school year.
The women’s basketball team (tied for 13th), softball team (tied for 16th) and volleyball team (22nd) also ranked high.
“For another year, our athletic teams competed well academically on the national level,” said Dan Johnson, SCC’s director of athletics. “We are proud that for the second year in a row, our men’s basketball team was the Academic Team-of-the-Year.”
Joel Wooton, head men’s basketball coach, explained the process his program uses to ensure his athletes are succeeding in the classroom. Seven of his 18 players earned Academic All-America honors.
“Every two weeks during the 10-week quarter, students go around to their instructors and instructors will fill out if the student has missed class, how they’re doing in class, etc.,” Wooton said. “The first negative report we get, we automatically force them into getting a tutor to make sure they’re on the right page. Then, if we get a second bad report, we’ll counsel them on an individual basis.”
Wooton said his policy centers on being preventative.
“We sit down with them the first day they get here and explain class decorum,” Wooton said. “Be on time, show interest and get to know your professor. The other thing is we’ve been very fortunate to recruit and get good academically sound students.”
Wooton said two of his players just missed making Academic All-America. And 13 out of the 18 made the Academic All-Region IX team.
“We explain to the players that the better they do academically, the more doors that will open when they graduate,” he said.
Lisa Vanderhoof, a freshman from Villisca, Iowa, led the way with two All-America honors. She earned them in volleyball and softball with a 3.81 cumulative GPA.
Other SCC Academic All-Americans by sport:
Men’s basketball: Steve Dentakos, sophomore, Melbourne, Australia, 3.68; Matt Kampschnieder, sophomore, Howells, 3.78; Mark McFadden, sophomore, Melbourne, Australia, 3.83; Andrew Miller, sophomore, Whangamata, New Zealand, 3.71; Christian Salinas, sophomore, Perth, Australia, 3.67; Kendall Sutton, redshirt freshman, Melbourne, Australia, 3.85; Matt Woodcock, sophomore, Sale, Australia, 3.80.
Women’s basketball: LaTrece Couvson, freshman, Katy, Texas, 3.73.
Softball: Sara Joe, sophomore, Fairbury, 3.95; Jessica Jordening, sophomore, Fairbury, 3.76; Shaina Peters, sophomore, Fairbury, 3.75.
Volleyball: Amanda Geib, freshman, Craig-Fairfax, Mo., 3.70; Jenny Hoffman, freshman, Friend, 3.90; Jamie Theye, freshman, Diller-Odell, 3.96.
SCC national academic team rankings:
Men’s basketball, 3.40, national champions; women’s basketball, 3.26 GPA, tied for 13th; softball, 3.33 GPA, tied for 16th; and volleyball (fall 2009), 3.32 GPA, 22nd.