NJCAA All-Academic Award Nominations 2021

Women’s soccer team nominated 14 individual athletes nominated

Dakota County Technical College has submitted nominations for 2020–2021 NJCAA All-Academic Awards for teams and individual players. The DCTC Blue Knights women’s soccer team (average GPA: 3.11) has been nominated for the NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Award.

Fourteen Blue Knights softball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball and basketball players have been nominated for NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards.

Marki Struensee

Marki Struensee serves as the college’s athletic coordinator. Marki oversaw the nomination process for all six NJCAA teams at DCTC.

“I am proud of each and every Blue Knight athlete,” she said. “In the past year, COVID has forced us to make some big changes to athletics as well as academics. These student-athletes worked hard to balance it all—at times with things changing daily. Congrats to the individual and team nominations, as well as those who didn’t make the nomination criteria. Thank you for all of your hard work!”

ACADEMIC TEAM OF THE YEAR NOMINATION PROCESS

The NJCAA will select and honor an athletic team for each sport as the NJCAA Academic Team of the Year based upon the criteria below. If no qualifying teams are nominated in a particular sport, no winner will be selected for that sport.

Nomination Criteria

  • Minimum 3.0 team grade-point average for the current academic year only.
  • Minimum number of student-athletes certified on the eligibility form for the respective sport based on nomination process.

ACADEMIC STUDENT-ATHLETE NOMINATION PROCESS

The NJCAA will honor student-athletes in all sports for outstanding academic achievement according to the following criteria:

Nomination Criteria

  • Must have completed two full-time semesters or three full-time quarters of college work.
  • Must have participated in at least one season at the varsity level at the college from which he/she is nominated.
  • Minimum of 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours completed in the current academic year.

Student-athletes who graduated mid-year will be eligible for academic awards—individual and team.

Minimum 3.60 grade-point average (GPA) on a 4.00 scale

  • NJCAA All-Academic First Team: 4.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale
  • NJCAA All-Academic Second Team: 3.80 to 3.99 GPA on a 4.00 scale
  • NJCAA All-Academic Third Team: 3.60 to 3.79 GPA on a 4.00 scale

DCTC Team Nominated


Blue Knights Women’s Soccer

Average GPA: 3.11

Bella Ciccarelli (4) • 3.81 GPA • Team and Student-Athlete [team photo unavailable]


DCTC Individual Players Nominated

Ben Goelz
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Zach Gunderson
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Ariyontai Hatcher
Basketball
Freshman
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Jordi Herrera
Men’s Soccer
Sophomore
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Alissa Merrick
Women’s Soccer
Freshman
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Caitlin Springer
Women’s Soccer
Freshman
GPA: 4.00 NJCAA All-Academic First Team

Kirby Pieri
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 3.97 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Riley Pederson
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 3.95 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Maria Gutzmann
Softball
Freshman
GPA: 3.94 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Benjamin Simonsen
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 3.91 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Lilly Hernandez
Women’s Soccer
Sophomore
GPA: 3.88 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Elizabeth Lehrer
Softball
Freshman
GPA: 3.82 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team


Isabella Ciccarelli
Softball, Women’s Soccer
Freshman
GPA: 3.81 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team

Dalton Burns
Baseball
Freshman
GPA: 3.75 NJCAA All-Academic Third Team

History of the NJCAA¹

The movement to form a unique sports association dedicated to America’s two-year colleges arose in 1937 when several track and field coaches gathered in Fresno, California. A year later, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rejected a petition from 13 two-year colleges in California to grant their teams and athletes permission to compete at the NCAA Track & Field Championships.

In the spring of 1938, following the NCAA’s rejection, those same 13 two-year colleges gathered again in Fresno to organize and form an association that would promote and supervise a national athletics program exclusively for junior and community colleges…and the rest is history.

On May 14, 1938, the first constitution of the National Junior College Athletic Association was accepted by its charter members and the organization held its first national championship event a year later in May 1939.

The NJCAA has played a vital role in collegiate athletics for the past eight decades and continues to be the leader in championing academic and athletic opportunities for student-athletes. This section of the association’s website is dedicated to celebrating the NJCAA’s rich history and tradition as the national governing body of two-year college athletics.

LEARN MORE…
Learn more about NJCAA athletics at DCTC by visiting GoBlueKnights.com or contacting:

Marki Struensee
Athletic Coordinator
Academic & Financial Aid Advisor
Individualized Studies & Athlete Advising
651-423-8641
Schedule a Virtual Appointment
Virtual Walk-ins for Financial Aid, Admissions, or Advising (select at top of web page)

¹ Courtesy of NJCAA

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