When thinking of cross country and athletics, the numbers that come to most people’s minds are minutes, seconds and yards.
EPCC women's cross country team excelled in academics last semester with a 3.894 GPA.
For the Tejanos and Tejanas, the most important numbers are their GPA.
Recently, EPCC’s women’s and men’s cross country teams were named as Cross Country Scholar All-American Teams by the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association.
In order to be considered for the recognition, the students had to have competed in a Regional or National cross country meet and had a GPA of at least 3.40 in the fall semester of 2016.
“Achieving a high standard of academic excellence is part of the goal for all my students, as it is for our institution,” said head coach, Felix Hinojosa.
With the emphasis being placed on academics, the students named for the honor are in good company.
The women’s team placed 4th with a team GPA of 3.894.
Making up the Tejanas Scholar Team was Karla Enriquez, Kelli Kirkpatrick, Shalet Mitei, Ocean Stevens, Michelle Renteria and Rose Jebet.
The men’s team placed 9th overall with a team GPA of 3.464.
The men’s scholar team consisted of Michael Flores, John Sandoval, Evan Gerdes and Brian Rowley.
The women’s and men’s leaders in team GPA were Cuyahoga Community College from Ohio with a 3.954 GPA and Hesston Community College from Kansas with a 3.911 GPA, respectively.
Jebet, a graduate of Oasis High School in Eldoret, Kenya, feels that grades are so important in a student's career.
She also said the help that cross country and track athletes receive is invaluable.
She obtained a GPA of 3.58.
“If you have good grades it helps you to get to the next step and you’re confident in your next step in life,” said Jebet, who is interested in Tallahassee Florida A&M University.
You have to make sure you have good grades and make sure you’re running good so you can get to the best school and you cannot get the best school if you don’t have good grades.”
While the outstanding performance of the cross country teams makes a high GPA look easy, it’s anything but simple according to Jebet.
With running and studying taking up such a large amount of time, it’s easy to get caught up with grades but moments of relaxation in the teams off time make the effort worth it.
In order to make sure the Tejanos and Tejanas achieve success in their academics, Hinojosa monitors his students every 21 days for progress.
Jebet went on to talk about Hinojosa’s availability in regards to his athletes needing help and his process of monitoring their grades.
In addition to their grades, Hinojosa likes to find out his athlete’s majors in order to best help them academically.
Hinojosa heavily considers a student’s grades when recruiting for his teams, stating that academics play “…a very important role in the recruiting process.”
According to the EPCC Counselor's website the college requires students to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 2.0 to remain in school.
Grades are reviewed on a semester by semester basis to ensure students are in good standing.
Student athletes must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to continue participating in their sport.
A grade point average of a 2.0 is equivalent to a "C" average. Students, in general, must earn C’s or higher to ensure you are in good standing with the college.