Four student-athletes and three Fighting Owl teams earned NJCAA National Academic Honors, as announced by the national office on last week. Sophomore Christina Verzi was the first Harford student-athlete to receive the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence, the highest honor given to a junior college student-athlete by the NJCAA.
Verzi earned a perfect 4.00 grade point average in her two-year career as a women's soccer player. She is the only Fighting Owl to meet those requirements with a perfect GPA.
Women's tennis student-athletes Emilie Keith and Shelby Mink, along with men's soccer standout Chris King, received the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement.
Three Fighting Owl teams also received academic accolades. The men's tennis team, the women's tennis team and the women's cross country team all had overall team GPAs above 3.00.
The totals are both the best in the conference. A total of 25 MD JUCO student-athletes were recognized, led by Harford and Hagerstown's four. Verzi was one of two MD JUCO members to earn the highest praise. The Fighting Owls' three teams were the most in the conference, as well. Southern Maryland had two teams and Anne Arundel had one.
The NJCAA honors student-athletes with a 3.60 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) with three individual awards. The NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards were previously known as NJCAA Academic All-American honors. The NJCAA has renamed its academic awards program to the following: NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale), NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement (3.80 to 3.99 on a 4.00 scale) and NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.60 to 3.79 on a 4.00 scale). Student-athletes must have completed 45 semester credit hours in three full-time semesters or 60 semester credit hours in four full-time semesters.