Utah State Eastern Student Athletes, Teams Honored for Success in the Classroom

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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