LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2016 Grizzly Volleyball team at Missouri State University-West Plains recently received academic honors from American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
The Grizzlies were among 21 teams from two-year schools across the nation to receive the 2016-17 AVCA Team Academic Award for posting a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.30 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all players. The Grizzlies’ 3.82 average was high enough to earn the team Honor Roll distinction from AVCA officials.
“I am exceptionally proud of these girls and love the fact their hard work in the classroom gets recognized,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “This is the culmination of a lot of effort put in by these players and everyone who supports them as student-athletes. Their dedication to being good students is a testament to the work they put into everything they do, and I could not be happier for them. They were a great example of good habits leading to good results.”
Six of the team’s 14 members recorded 4.0 GPAs for the 2016-17 academic year. They were Autumn Reese, Ozark; Blanca Izquierdo-Paton, Madrid, Spain; Stephanie Phillips, Brisbane, Australia; Elliotte Bourne, Rolla; Muara Kroon, Utrecht, Holland; and Johonna Walkup, Mountain View. Three players – Maja Petronijevic, Belgrade, Serbia; Kinli Simmons, Milo; and Kaitlyn Raith, Mountain View – each posted GPAs between 3.9 and 3.99 for the year.
“As a team, they set the highest team GPA we have ever had,” Wiedemann said. “This group did an amazing job in the classroom. We had players who put in the time to improve their habits as students, and it has paid off in many ways.”
Wiedemann also credited the team’s academic coordinator, Tori Bates, and the staff in the Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success (AACCESS) and with the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program for helping the players develop the skills to succeed academically.
“Tori has done a terrific job helping them develop their study skills and encouraging them to take full advantage of the resources available to them,” Wiedemann said. “This award also is shared by our tremendous faculty and staff with the PAWS Program and ACCESS, who work together with our players to make them the best students possible. They do a fantastic job!”
The AVCA Team Academic Award was established during the 1992-93 academic year and honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom during the academic year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale, according to an AVCA press release. The award, celebrating its 25 year, is the single largest awards offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches awarded. Since 1993, the number of award winners has increased from 62 to this year’s 822 honorees. Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program’s 25-year history, with 8,461 total awards handed out.
In order for a school to receive “honor roll” status, its division had to reach a minimum number of nominations. For NCAA Division I, II, III and girls high school, their nomination numbers allow for a top 25 honor roll; for NAIA women, a top 10; and for two-year college, collegiate men, collegiate beach and high school boys, a top five.