COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The NJCAA national office announced the recipients of the 2014-15 NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards Wednesday. This year saw a record 1,936 student-athletes from 324 NJCAA member colleges earn national academic honors. Formerly known as NJCAA Academic All-America honors, the NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards program has annually recognized the academic success of the association's student-athletes since the program's inception in 1983.
Williston State had 5 honorees this year, 1 up from the year before. Emma Keller, of the Women's Basketball team, highlighted the honorees by winning the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence. Keller earned a 4.0 at her time at Williston State. This culminates her outstanding career; achieving Academic Honors both years, being named to the All-Conference Team, and averaging double digit points each year of her career. Keller is planning on attending NDSU for Engineering.
It was basketball show this year as the 4 other honorees were basketball players, 3 Women's and 1 Men's. On the Womens side, McKayla Haugeberg achieved the 2nd highest honor with the Superior Achievement Award. Haugeberg was named twice to the All-Conference team and will continue her career at Black Hills State. Jaylen Newman and Tia Conrad both received the Exemplary Achievement.
On the Men's side, Xavier Cruz won the Exemplary Achievement, a feat even more impressive once you considered he transferred after 1 year into his college. Cruz was recruited and played at Dakota College - Bottineau by Coach Fehringer. Once Coach Fehringer was named WSC's head coach, Cruz hoped to follow his mentor. His gamble paid off, achieving high academic honors and making an impact on the floor. Cruz scored 10+ points 7 times on the year.
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Below is a listing of the three NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards with the qualifying grade-point average for each honor:
Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence: 4.00 GPA
Superior Academic Achievement Award: 3.80-3.99 GPA
Exemplary Academic Achievement Award: 3.60-3.79 GPA