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NMJC Student Athletes Honored

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Dutch Klein Award

5/3/2010 11:19:30 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. Date: May 3, 2010

Contact: Dr. Regina Organ                                                     

NMJC Student Athletes Honored

New Mexico Junior College’s student athletes were honored for their outstanding individual achievements in athletic training, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country/track, golf, and rodeo at the 43rd Annual Athletic Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 29, 2010.

Professors Linda Connell and Pete Mladinic presented a Freshman English Award to student athlete Chris Matthews and a Sophomore English Award to student athlete Caroline Jepleting. This is the first year these awards have been presented.

Nelda Helms, Professor of Physical Education and sponsor for the ThunderSpirits cheerleading program, presented ThunderSpirit Awards to the cheerleaders -- Esmer Cantu, Reina Enriquez, Kristen Garcia, Abbey McConal, Anna Palma, Jessica Romero, Randi Smith, and Ashley Spivey.

Cody Legg, NMJC Athletic Trainer, presented awards to Athletic Training Students Crystal Ortega and Kerri Tosi.

Head Baseball Coach Josh Simpson recognized the 2009-10 T-Bird team before they headed off to Snyder to compete in their last conference game series for the current year. Conference placement and post season play remains dependent on the last two weeks; however, coming off of their probationary status last year, the T-Birds have been extremely competitive.

In Men's Basketball, Head Coach Chris Tifft presented awards to the following players: Leading Rebounder -- Nick Waddell; Most Improved Player -- Andrew Morris; Best Defensive Player -- Kenny Peters; T-Bird Award  -- David Mecanovic; and the Most Valuable Player for 2009-10 -- Nick Waddell.

In Women's Basketball, the following players received awards from Head Coach Drew Sanders: Leading Scorer Award -- Samantha O’Shields; Leading Rebounder -- Hanka Musa; Leading Free Throw Percentage -- Cashena Mathis; Leading Field Goal Percentage -- Hanka Musa; Leading Steals -- Chamiya Reeves; and Leading in Assists --Travia Hart.  Both Samantha O‘Shields and Hanka Musa were also All-Conference.

Keith Blackwill, Head Coach for Women's Cross Country / Track team, and Jeff Becker, Assistant Coach, made the following presentations: Most Outstanding Indoor / Outdoor Freshman Athlete -- Olivia Lewis; Most Outstanding Indoor / Outdoor Sophomore Athlete -- Caroline Jepleting; Most Outstanding Cross Country Runner -- Caroline Jepleting; and Most Improved Cross Country Athlete -- Mychressa Ward; Most Improved Indoor Track Athlete -- Paula Bowen

Golf Coach James Black presented three awards, including Most Valuable Golfer-- Zach Fullerton; Best Stroke Average -- Zach Fullerton; and Academic Award -- Doug Quinones.

Rodeo Head Coach Philip Berry made the following presentation: High Point Man -- R.H. Whitten; High Point Woman -- Shianne Kendze; Freshman Academic Award -- R.H. Whitten; Sophomore Academic Award -- Ryan Sanders; and, Sportsmanship Award – Stephanie Andrews.

The 2010 Special Recognition Award for support to NMJC's athletic programs was presented to Randy Johns, NMJC Warehouse/Fleet Maintenance Worker. Mr. Johns regularly drives the students to their events as well as maintaining the vehicles. In addition, Mr. Johns has been a loyal supporter of the T-Birds for many years.

Mr. Worth, NMJC Athletic Director, recognized Coach Chris Tifft on receiving his 100th win during the 2009-10 school year; Coach Jeff Becker for being name of the Coach of the Champions for NJCAA Women’s Cross Country; Coach Keith Blackwill for being named NJCAA Women’s Indoor Track Coach of the Year, and Co-Coach of the National NJCAA National Championship Meet; and Coach James Black for being inducted into the NJCAA Golf Hall of Fame. In addition, Mr. Worth announced that Phillip Roybal, Nuclear Regulatory Commission curriculum developer, will serve as the NMJC Athletic Booster Club President.

The 2010 Dutch Klein Award was also presented to Caroline Jepleting. According to Don Worth, NMJC Athletic Director, it is "the single most prestigious award given to a student athlete at New Mexico Junior College. The recipient not only must exhibit athletic ability," he said, "but also the qualities of leadership, scholarship, citizenship, cooperation, and athletic achievement.” Honors for Miss Jepleting include: membership in Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society); honor roll student; recipient of the NJCAA Leaders for Life Program – student athlete award for March 3, 2010; 2010 Cross Country National Champion; 7 times Track and Field National Champion; 12 times Cross Country and Track All-American; 2009 and 2010 NJCAA Female Indoor Track Runner of the Year; and personally set 9 NMJC school records.

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