The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College athletics to receive CCCAA academic awards

City College sophomores Brain Ingram, Alex Muzzi, Austin Spainhour, Michael Terry and head coach Derek Sullivan at Union Stadium.

Kristopher Hooks | Sports Editor | [email protected]

2014 Panthers’ athletes excel on the field and in the classroom

The California Community College Athletic Association recently released its annual list of academic awards, and several City College players were among the recipients of the 2014 honors.

The Panthers’ softball team was awarded the Scholar Team Award, and players Brian Ingram, Alex Muzzi, Austin Spainhour and Michael Terry were named to the Academic All-State team for baseball. Former football player Corey Nelson, who is now studying at UC Davis, was named to the 2014 Scholar Athlete Men’s Honor Roll.

The accomplishments mark the sixth consecutive year that a City College team or athlete has been awarded either the Scholar Team or the Scholar Athlete award.

According to head coach Tim Kiernan, winning the Scholar Team Award is similar to winning the state championship in that it’s always an objective going into to each season for softball.

“We try to do that every year,” said Kiernan. “That’s a goal like winning conference or going to playoffs, so I thought it was really nice.”

It’s not the first time a team coached by Kiernan has won the award. City College’s women’s golf team has won the award three times in 2001, 2010 and 2012.

The award is presented to one team of each sport throughout California. According to the CCCAA’s website, “All team members must have excelled academically with a total GPA of 3.0 or higher. The team should have demonstrated better than average accomplishments in intercollegiate athletic competition.”

In 2014, the team’s members maintained a collective 3.10 GPA throughout the year and fi nished its season 31-14 and advanced to the Northern California Super Regional Playoffs where they eventually lost in the second round.

Sophomores Aaliyah Oliver and Erikka Burke were on the 2014 roster and said they felt the urgency of having good grades throughout the year.
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“I feel like it’s really important,” said Oliver. “We’re student athletes, so we come here for school first. You’ve got to get your stuff done, even if it’s hard.”

“I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere if you don’t have your academics,” said Burke. “So that’s the main purpose to even be at school and to even be able to play. If you don’t have the grades, you’re not going to play. Period.”

According to Kiernan, he and his coaching staff recruit players who are not just athletes, but also good students, something that many people do not typically associate with community college athletics.

“We’re not looking for students with bad grades; we’re looking for good student athletes,” said Kiernan. “A lot of people’s perception of community college is that you’ve got to have bad grades to go to community college, which is not true at all.”

Baseball head coach Derek Sullivan shares a similar philosophy on the perception of community college athletics. However, instead of recruiting players who are good in academics and sports, he focuses on the athlete.

Once an athlete gets into the program, Sullivan said he pushes him to do well in school and on the fi eld. It’s a philosophy that he feels works well for him and his players, and the outcome is rewarding.

“That’s what you do the job for, to see a guy… do fantastic on the fi eld but then exceeds what he does on the field by what he does in the classroom,” said Sullivan. “The sky’s the limit for those type of guys.”

The award will be presented to a City College athletics department representative at the Celebration of Scholar Athletes Luncheon during the 18th annual CCCAA Convention on April 1 in Ontario, California.

“The accomplishments, to me, just go right to the heart of why we exist,” said City College Athletic Director Mitch Campbell. “We are a vehicle for student success and for students to transfer and to continue their education. We know that in the long run, the value for athletics is just that — a vehicle for academic achievement.”

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