The EPCC Department of Athletics has recently nominated five EPCC sports teams and four student-athletes for the NJCAA Honors Award which is one of the awards given by The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), an association that consists of college or junior college athletic departments from all over the country, and EPCC is one of its member colleges.
The NJCAA focuses on promoting and encouraging two-year college athletics. The association offers athletic and academic opportunities for its college students.
Each year, student-athletes compete in one of the many sports it sponsors, such as cross country, baseball, soccer, basketball and softball.
The sports teams that have been nominated this time are the Half Marathon Women, Half Marathon Men, Cross Country Women, Cross Country Men and Softball. Additionally, the four individuals nominated are Shalet Mitei, Amy Vidal, Michael Flores and Carlos Quintana.
The Assistant Athletic Director at EPCC, Dana Eisenga, says the NJCAA Honors Award recognizes “individual student-athletes for excelling in the classroom,” and the criteria to be nominated is based on their GPA.
“Any student-athletes who passes 24 or more hours with a GPA of 3.60 or better, during the academic year,” can be nominated said Eisenga.
As for the teams that they nominated, Eisenga explained that the teams account for all the students on the eligibility roster for each of the designated sport.
Eisenga added that “the team with the highest GPA is named the NJCAA Athletic Team of the Year in that sport. ”One of the student-athlete nominees, Michael Flores, has expressed his enthusiasm for being nominated, and how significant it has been for him.
“I was ecstatic because it showed that all my hard work paid off and I feel like I was able to accomplish my goal of getting a 3.8 GPA through my college career. I feel like it will impact me in the future because it is something that I can look back on and say that I have accomplished something that not many people have,” said Flores.
Flores also attributes his support to Coach Felix Hinojosa because he gave him the opportunity to go to college with a scholarship and Flores says, “I felt that one of the ways I could pay him back would be to excel not only athletically but academically.”
He advises future student-athletes to keep working hard towards their goals, to never give up and “when it gets hard and you’re tired, you feel like throwing in a towel is the best option.
But if you keep working hard you’ll be able to overcome anything you set your mind to.” While Flores had to face several challenges along the way, being a student-athlete has helped him focus on his classes and academic career.
Student-athletes have been nominated for this award since 2011, with about 44 student-athletes and 27 team nominations in the past few years.
According to Eisenga, the nominees are “100 percent” likely to receive this honor. The department will be officially notified about the results sometime in July.