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Northeast Community College Student-Athletes Recognized For Academic Honors

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NORFOLK – Jabbar Washington’s prowess on the basketball court is well known in Region XI of the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference. But the sport isn’t the only focus of the point guard on the Northeast Community College men’s basketball team.


Emily Wilmes, Dakota City, a member of the Northeast Community College volleyball team, presents an autographed, miniature volleyball to Gene Willers, Pilger, a member of the College Board of Governors. All eleven members of the Northeast volleyball team, plus seven members of the women’s basketball team and four members of the men’s basketball team were recognized by the board for achieving academic honors. (Courtesy Photo)

“Coming here (Northeast) was the best decision I ever made,” Washington said. “Being a student and an athlete is not easy, but my coaches have helped me develop into the young man that I am today. I came here as a boy, but I will leave here as a young man.”

Washington, a potential NCAA Division 1 recruit from Michigan City, IN, is among student athletes at Northeast Community College who have earned post season academic honors. He and three teammates along with seven players on the Northeast women’s basketball team, and all eleven members of the Hawks’ volleyball squad, have been named to all-region academic teams by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The student-athletes were recognized for their achievements at Wednesday’s meeting of the College Board of Governors in Norfolk.

Members of the Northeast volleyball team named to the All-Region Academic 1st Team include: Kennedy Cheyney, Stanton; Maggie Earney, Whitney; Grace Ecklund, Overton; Kirsten Fink, Randolph; Sydney Luedtke,Creston; Sarah Maxson, Wayne; Brittany Sullivan, Allen; and Emily Wilmes, Dakota City.

Those members named to the All-Region Academic 2nd Team include: Haley Roelle, Creston; Nazya Thies, Winside; and Shelby Weber, Atkinson.

The Hawks are coached by Amanda Schultze. Sarah Novak is the assistant coach.

Those named to the women’s basketball All-Region Academic 1st Team include sophomore Emily Gamble, Omaha, and freshmen Yasmin Miller, Mountain Creek, Qld, Australia, and Annie Szczepaniak, Bellevue. Student-athletes named to All-Region Academic 2nd Team include sophomores Lexi Murphy, Papillion, and Olivia Schneiders, Dixon, and freshmen Megan Trinder, Hollywell, Qld, Australia, and Ena Viso, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The women’s basketball team is led by Coach Matt Svehla. Dr. Mike Copper serves as assistant coach.

Four players on the men’s basketball team earning academic honors include freshmen, Jesse Brown, Madison, SD, and Chima Moneke, Canberra, Australia, who were named to the All-Region Academic 1st Team.  Dionte Smith, Nassau, Bahamas, and sophomore Jabbar Washington, Michigan City, IN, were named to the All-Region Academic 2nd Team.

Dan Anderson is men’s basketball head coach. Adam Blaylock and Zach Towle are assistant coaches.

Dr. Karen Severson, vice president of Student Services at Northeast, noted that the students are enrolled in some challenging classes. “These are folks who are taking anatomy and physiology, chemistry, very, very difficult classes while they are maintaining rigorous practice and game schedules  – and they are just doing it all extremely well.“

To be named to the All-Region 1st Team, the student-athlete must have earned a 3.5 and above grade point average (GPA). To be named to the All-Region 2nd Team, the student-athlete must have earned a 3.0-3.49 (GPA).

Schultze told the Board of Governors, “We are very proud of our girls, not only what they did on the court, but how they perform in the classroom.” In order to keep up with their studies, she said team members would often study on the bus when traveling to away games. “They are very responsible when it comes to their academics.”

“As a student athlete, it taught us as a team that we have to be responsible for our homework,” said Sullivan. “Our teachers expect us to have our homework done by the time we get to class the next day or hand it in before. We have time management skills now and we need to get things done before we leave, otherwise, we have to stay up until 2:00 in the morning to get our homework done.”

Gamble is appreciative of her instructors. “The teachers here are very good and I like the smaller class size because you get more one-on-one time with the teachers. They are always there to help you get through it.” Trinder credits Svehla for her transition to Northeast from Australia’s academic system. “He has helped us tremendously through the whole thing and I don’t know what we do without him.”

Anderson is proud of the group of the players he had this year. “I might be the oldest person in this room, but I think I have the youngest heart because they make me young. And I really enjoy that.” He said his team’s average GPA of 2.899 falls just below the 2nd Team minimum qualification of 3.0.

John Davies, chairman of the Northeast Board of Governors, has declared this year of the student at Northeast. He said, “I want to thank the coaches. We have heard great testimonies as to what kind of impact you have on these kids’ lives. And you student athletes, we ask of a lot of you. You have to be a student first, and then we want you to be an athlete and we want you to entertain us and then you have whatever time you have left over for yourselves. Thank you for choosing Northeast and thank you for making us so proud.”

Each of the athletes were presented certificates in recognition of their accomplishments.

The importance of the day was not lost on Washington, who said he loves playing basketball, but understands the value of a college degree. “At times basketball is an important part of life, but getting an education is forever.”

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Northeast Community College Student-Athletes Recognized For Academic Honors