Everybody’s All-Americans—SCC Flyers 2017-18
Since the resurrection of Sandhills Community College athletics – when the Spartans became the Flyers – a gifted assemblage of players, athletic coaches, and a talented athletic administrator have shaped a remarkable chapter in one college’s history. In one of those rare moments in athletic history, in 2017-18 at least one player from every SCC athletic team has received either academic or athletic All-American honors.
And this spring, two National Athletes of the Year emerged in track and field events.
And while Flyer success had become increasingly evident in the men’s basketball national title in 2012, in the men’s golf national title in 2014, and in the spiraling success of women’s volleyball over the past five seasons (27 wins last fall), the 2017-18 season has proved that the Flyers have arrived.
And the most important measure of that success is found in a two-fold tale: athletics and scholarship.
In athletics this year alone, SCC has fostered the careers of 10 All-American college athletes. To lend some perspective, those ten represent 14% of the Flyer athletes who competed this season – over one in 10 with a national honor.
But beyond the courses, the courts, and the playing fields, an even greater story has unfolded. The scholar portion of the 2017-18 season has produced 13 Academic All-Americans. In virtually every matrix that the North Carolina Community College System uses to measure academic progress, the Flyers soar. In retention, completion, and GPA, the teams and players meet or exceed the performance measures in campus-wide academics. That accomplishment is not without struggle – but the commitment of myriad faculty and student life personnel reveals a campus that embraces these kids and their athletic dreams.
What other schools that operate athletics on a shoestring budget can approach those figures – especially since no state dollars can be used to support intercollegiate athletics?
Local coaching talents like Alicia Riggan, Mike Apple, Gus Ulrich, and Jef Moody have joined forces with Herb Pike and Stewart Heilman in guiding young scholar athletes – in sports and in life – and have produced a cadre of determined young men and women for whom a college athletic career might have seemed a pipedream when they first garnered the attention of these coaches.
Now some of those same athletes will move on to university athletic careers – prepared both athletically and academically for the road ahead.
To provide for and protect those players, SCC provides a certified athletic trainer – thanks to a generous agreement with Pinehurst Surgical. Corporate sponsor BB&T committed to a five-year pledge – with the bulk of that support targeted for academic awareness. Former SCC athlete Jeff Yow provides unwavering support for his alma mater – paying it forward for the time that he was part of SCC athletics. In the classrooms, faculty like Tim Nocton and Shelby Basinger use access to college athletics to provide intern experiences for the Health and Fitness Science students, contributing practical training in a perfect teaching environment.
With help from this community, the Dempsey Center was renovated to create a sanctioned NJCAA facility that is the envy of SCC’s competitor colleges – The Hangar. It is now festooned with evidence of community and corporate support – and a growing fan-base that includes area school kids who are given their first glimpse of college athletics.
What other small college has done so much with so little?
Those two national championship banners – basketball and golf – now hold the prominent place on walls that are quickly covering with District Championship banners from women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross-country, track and field, men’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf.
The coaches can take pride in the fact that, in working with Aaron Denton, they have created a campus environment that breeds academic and athletic success. But more importantly, these SCC professionals are sharing the message that there is a life beyond college for which these scholar athletes must prepare. Here are the 2017-18 measures of that success:
The National Players of the Year
- NJCAA DIII National Track Man of the Year, Daniel Taylor
- NJCAA DIII National Field Man of the Year, Tyrese Kelly
The Academic All-Americans
- Jordan Anneheim, Third Team Cross Country & Men’s Track and Field
- Ryan Baer, Second Team NJCAA All-Academic Men’s Cross Country
- John Grimm, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Cross Country & Men’s Track and Field
- Sofia Flores, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Women’s Cross Country
- Sara Lindell, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Women’s Cross Country & Track and Field
- Izzabella McNeil, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Women’s Cross Country
- Paige Garner, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Volleyball
- Rachael Mashburn, First Team NJCAA All-Academic Volleyball
- Leah Salzwede,l First Team NJCAA All-Academic Volleyball
- Alicia Dunlap, First Team NJCAA All-Academic Women’s Golf
- Danielle Mirovich, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Women’s Golf
- Christopher Kraft, First Team NJCAA All-Academic Men’s Golf
- Alex Worley, Third Team NJCAA All-Academic Men’s Track and Field
- Daniel Taylor, Cross Country & Track and Field 2x National Champion
- Paige Garner, Volleyball
- Mason Harrell, Honorable Mention Basketball
- Shirley Ou, Honorable Mention Women’s Golf
- Tyrese Kelly, Track and Field 3x National Champion
- Alex Worley, Track and Field 1x National Champion
- Emily Doorey, Honorable Mention Track and Field
- Chris Kraft, 2nd Team All-American Men’s Golf
- Brady Childers, 2nd Team All-American Men’s Golf
- Koby Markham, Honorable Mention Men’s Golf
We thank these students for their efforts.