The Parkland College Blog

Seven Cobras Programs Earn Academic Honors From NJCAA

Thirty student-athletes earn individual recognition

Parkland College Athletics and Parkland College are proud to announce the academic success of Cobras student-athletes for the 2019-20 academic year. The National Junior College Athletic Association recognizes teams as well as individual student-athletes for their success in the classroom. 

 

Cobras Athletics had seven programs receive the designation of “2019-20 Academic Team of the Year,” meaning the team’s average individual GPA was 3.00 or higher for both semesters. Those programs were volleyball (3.55), softball (3.48), golf (3.46), women’s basketball (3.41), women’s soccer (3.32), men’s basketball (3.18), and baseball (3.16). 

 

Individual student-athletes are recognized in three different categories: NJCAA All-Academic First Team (4.00), Second Team (3.80-3.99), and Third Team (3.60-3.79). (See full list below.) A total of 30 Cobras student-athletes received All-Academic recognition. Ten earned a spot on the First Team, earning a perfect 4.00 for both the fall and the spring semesters. Nine were named to the Second Team, and eleven were named to the Third Team. 

 

2019-20 NJCAA All-Academic Teams 

 

NJCAA All-Academic First Team (4.00) 

Samuel Beesley – Men’s Basketball 

Mallory Bergbower – Volleyball 

Sydney Eichelberger – Softball 

Emily Meinert – Women’s Basketball 

Michelle Miller – Women’s Soccer 

Briana Poehler – Softball 

Cassandra Russo – Women’s Basketball 

Summerlyn Smith – Volleyball 

Kelvin Swims – Men’s Basketball 

Madison Wade – Women’s Soccer 

 

NJCAA All-Academic Second Team (3.80-3.99) 

Matheus Araujo – Men’s Soccer 

William Barnak – Golf 

Halle Everett – Volleyball 

Chase Gockel – Baseball 

Charles Hodges – Baseball 

Brooke Norder – Volleyball 

Camryn Skundberg – Softball 

Cameron Wise – Men’s Basketball 

Paige Yoder – Volleyball 

 

NJCAA All-Academic Third Team (3.60-3.79) 

David Ascencio - Baseball 

Ariana Booker – Women’s Basketball 

Tristan Cazel – Baseball 

Shelby Frederick – Softball 

Amanda Greening – Volleyball 

Summer Johnson – Softball 

Evan MacLean – Golf 

Jeff Madden – Baseball 

Lotte Miller – Women’s Basketball 

Samantha Tamburo – Softball 

Madison Yocks - Volleyball 

 

[Article by Joey Gruner]

Mason Ghidina Chosen 2019-20 Male Athlete of the Year

All-American and conference champion

Parkland College Athletics and Parkland Cobras Golf are pleased to announce that Mason Ghidina has been named the 2019-20 Parkland Male Athlete of the Year.
 
During the Fall 2019 golf season, Ghidina helped lead the Cobras to a 39-3 record, taking first-place in three of the five tournaments in which they participated. In addition to earning the Mid-West Athletic Conference title, Parkland won the IVCC Fall Invitational and the Wabash College Classic. The Cobras finished with a No. 4 national ranking in the final Bushnell Golfweek Coach's poll.
 
"Attending Parkland was great for me, academically and athletically," reflected Ghidina. Coach Sebens offered me a chance to come play golf at a high level and a phenomenal opportunity to get better and compete for a National Championship. While at Parkland, I was able to learn a lot about how I could become a better student-athlete and a better all-around person. I just want to give a huge thank you to my teammates and Coach Sebens for a great two years!"
 
Ghidina, a sophomore from Pekin, Illinois, was ranked as the 14th best player in the nation by the GCAA. He recorded a 72.8 stroke average over 9 rounds this season, winning the IVCC Fall Invitational and sharing medalist honors at the MWAC Championship.
 
In recognition of his success, Ghidina was selected to the GCAA Ping All-American Second Team, and he was also named the MWAC Male Athlete of the Year.
 
"Mason is a great choice for Parkland Male Athlete of the Year," expressed Cobras Head Coach Corbin Sebens. "He is a great example of a student-athlete. He finished the year ranked in the Top 15 in the country and had a 3.81 GPA. He works extremely hard and has improved on every aspect of his game since he arrived on campus as a freshman. He made a huge impact on our program from day one, and he will be greatly missed. The best golf is ahead of him at Houston Baptist University."
 
Ghidina is the son of Michael Ghidina and Julie Davison. His academic interests include Biology.

[Article by Joey Gruner]

Ryleigh Warfel Named 2019-20 Female Athlete of the Year

Two All-American First Teams, Region 24 Player of the Year

Parkland College Athletics and Parkland Cobras Volleyball are pleased to announce that that Ryleigh Warfel has been named the 2019-20 Female Athlete of the Year. This past season, Warfel helped lead Parkland to an NJCAA Division II National Runner-Up finish along with championships in the Central A District and the Mid-West Athletic Conference. The team finished 57-3, tying the most single-season wins in program history.
 
"I am extremely grateful to be receiving this award," reflected Warfel.  "I would like to start by thanking my teammates, because without them, this last season at Parkland would not have been nearly as exciting. I would also like to thank the coaching staff for giving their best efforts towards us, 100% of the time, especially (Head Coach Cliff Hastings). He made me the player I am today, and I have him to thank for everything. He taught me so many things that I didn't even know could be learned."
 
Warfel, from Downs, Ill., was selected to both the NJCAA DII and AVCA All-American First Teams. In addition, she was the 2019 Region 24 Player of the Year. In September, 2019, she was recognized nationally as the NJCAA Division II Player of the Week.
 
The outside hitter was an attacking force all season long, totaling 463 kills and ranking 18th nationally. She was also in the top-20 nationally in total points, when combining her kills with service aces (42) and blocks (72). Over the entire season, Warfel led the Cobras in kills per set, total points, and points per set, while also finishing second on the team in total attacks, kills, digs, and digs per set.
 
"Ryleigh is an outstanding choice for Parkland Female Athlete of the Year," expressed Cobras Head Coach Cliff Hastings.  "She embodies everything we hope for a Parkland College athlete to represent.  She is fierce on the court and kind off the court.  When recruiting her, we saw the potential of what she could accomplish, and she only exceeded our expectations.  She was outstanding in all aspects of the game and scored at will for us.  We are so thankful that she said, "Yes!" to Parkland two years ago, and we will miss her on-court production as well as her off-court humor, joy and constant smiles."
 
Warfel recorded her career-high 21 digs vs. Iowa Western (11/2/19), and she recorded her career-high 24 digs in two separate matches. She leaves Parkland ranking 5th all-time in kills, with a two-year total of 926. The Tri-Valley High School alum has moved on to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
 
Warfel is the daughter of Brian and Lori Warfel. Her academic interests include Communications.

[Article by Joey Gruner]

Parkland College Athletics and Parkland College are proud to announce the academic success of Cobras student-athletes for the 2019-20 academic year. The National Junior College Athletic Association recognizes teams as well as individual student-athletes for their success in the classroom. 

 

Cobras Athletics had six programs receive the designation of “2019-20 Academic Team of the Year,” meaning the team’s average individual GPA was 3.00 or higher for both semesters. Those programs were volleyball (3.55), softball (3.48), golf (3.46), women’s basketball (3.41), women’s soccer (3.32), and men’s basketball (3.18). 

 

Individual student-athletes are recognized in three different categories: NJCAA All-Academic First Team (4.00), Second Team (3.80-3.99), and Third Team (3.60-3.79). (See full list below.) A total of 30 Cobras student-athletes received All-Academic recognition. Ten earned a spot on the First Team, earning a perfect 4.00 for both the fall and the spring semesters. Nine were named to the Second Team, and eleven were named to the Third Team. 

 

 

2019-20 NJCAA All-Academic Teams 

 

NJCAA All-Academic First Team (4.00) 

Samuel Beesley – Men’s Basketball 

Mallory Bergbower – Volleyball 

Sydney Eichelberger – Softball 

Emily Meinert – Women’s Basketball 

Michelle Miller – Women’s Soccer 

Briana Poehler – Softball 

Cassandra Russo – Women’s Basketball 

Summerlyn Smith – Volleyball 

Kelvin Swims – Men’s Basketball 

Madison Wade – Women’s Soccer 

 

NJCAA All-Academic Second Team (3.80-3.99) 

Matheus Araujo – Men’s Soccer 

William Barnak – Golf 

Halle Everett – Volleyball 

Chase Gockel – Baseball 

Charles Hodges – Baseball 

Brooke Norder – Volleyball 

Camryn Skundberg – Softball 

Cameron Wise – Men’s Basketball 

Paige Yoder – Volleyball 

 

NJCAA All-Academic Third Team (3.60-3.79) 

David Ascencio - Baseball 

Ariana Booker – Women’s Basketball 

Tristan Cazel – Baseball 

Shelby Frederick – Softball 

Amanda Greening – Volleyball 

Summer Johnson – Softball 

Evan MacLean – Golf 

Jeff Madden – Baseball 

Lotte Miller – Women’s Basketball 

Samantha Tamburo – Softball 

Madison Yocks - Volleyball 

 

[Article by Joey Gruner]

Parkland Student Wins NJCAA Lea Plarski Award

Women's Volleyball's Abigail Burnett earns top annual award

Parkland College Women's Volleyball player Abigail Burnett has been selected as the 2020 NJCAA Lea Plarski Award winner.

The prestigious national award is presented annually to a student athlete who exemplifies sportsmanship, leadership, community service, academic excellence, and athletic ability. 

A former varsity standout at St. Joseph-Ogden High School, Burnett joined the Cobras in 2018 and began collecting an impressive set of stats in her two-year career. The sophomore opposite hitter ranked in the top-30 nationally in four categories: 8th in attack percentage (.396), 24th in kills (443), 26th in total blocks (124), and 28th in total points (506.5). In the final three matches of the national tournament, she amassed 40 kills and 11 blocks, with a .351 attack percentage. Burnett ranked third on the Cobras in eight categories: kills, kills per set, total attacks, attack percentage, block assists, total blocks, points, and points per set.

The Parkland Radiology student has been named to the 2019 NJCAA DII All-American First Team, the AVCA Two-Year College All-American Third Team, the Region 24 All-Region First Team, and the M-WAC All-Conference Team. She was able to balance academics, athletics, and community service obligations and maintain a 3.7 during the season and achieve an overall 3.5 cumulative GPA. She is the daughter of Chad and Brandi Burnett of St. Joseph.

Cobras Volleyball Assistant Coach Heather Fletcher was asked to write a testimonial about Burnett for the award and describes her as an individual of high character and an invaluable team leader for the Cobras.

"Abi’s leadership carried over from the court to the classroom and then most importantly, in our community," Fletcher explained. "She facilitated practices and scrimmages with the Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (CUSR) athletes. She was always the first person to volunteer to work with those who needed help or encouragement to play. She has the ability to connect with everyone she meets and make each person feel valued. Burnett also volunteers with Canteen Runs in her hometown, which provide needed supplies to the homeless community in the Champaign-Urbana area."

Created in 1995, the Plarski Award is named after past NJCAA President Lea Plarski, former director of athletics at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley. In 1975, Plarski was instrumental in establishing the Women's Division of the NJCAA, the first national collegiate athletic organization to develop such a structure. 

The NJCAA held a ceremony via Zoom to present the award to Burnett with her fellow volleyball teammates. The public may view the presentation here

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