HANCEVILLE – Wallace State softball’s Sabrina Russell is a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence recipient in the list of individual and team academic honorees released Tuesday by the NJCAA.

Russell, a member of Wallace State’s 2013 NJCAA Division I national championship team, achieved the NJCAA’s highest academic recognition for a student-athlete after finishing the 2013-14 academic year with a 4.0 GPA. On the field, the Fairview graduate hit .300 in 59 games, finishing with a pair of homers and 31 RBIs and tying for a team-high 23 doubles.

Russell was among eight Wallace State athletes recognized as NJCAA Athletes of Distinction for their academic accomplishments.

Wallace State baseball’s Rubert Alcantara (3.95) and golf’s Patrick Twesme (3.84) were named Superior Academic Achievement honorees for earning a GPA between 3.80-3.99. Exemplary Academic Achievement recipients (3.60-3.79) were golf’s Ryan Bowie (3.74), men basketball’s Cody Farley (3.68), Molly Thompson (3.67) of the women’s basketball team, softball’s Ashleigh McClure (3.65) and baseball’s Izaac Yarbrough.

Wallace State also had five teams recognized as NJCAA All-Academic teams for their collective efforts.

Wallace State’s golf team, the 2014 NJCAA Division I national runner-up, produced the college’s highest mark with a 3.40 GPA, good for fifth in the nation among golf teams and tops in the state. The golf team is coached by NJCAA Hall of Fame member Dan York.

Jayne Clem’s softball team finished with a 3.35 GPA, and the five-time defending state champion Wallace State volleyball team, coached by Randy Daniel, compiled a 3.27 GPA.

Wallace State’s women’s basketball team earned a state-best 3.21 GPA as a group, and baseball was first among its counterparts in the state with a 3.10 GPA. The women’s basketball team is coached by Ron Burdette and baseball by Randy Putman, a NJCAA Hall of Famer.

A team has to achieve a 3.0 GPA to be designated as a NJCAA All-Academic Team. For the full list of individual and team winners, visit njcaa.org.

According to the NJCAA, it saw 58,446 student-athletes compete on 3,705 teams in 28 different sports during the 2013-14 academic year. Of those competitors, 3.08 percent – or 1,799 student-athletes – were recognized with academic awards for their achievements in the classroom. Receiving the highest honors with a 4.0 grade-point average, 171 student-athletes received the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence.

For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.

Sabrina Russell

Sabrina Russell

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Russell Moore

Staff Writer

Wallace State Community College

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