The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Basketball Introduces John Bowler as Next Head Coach

The former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee assistant coach becomes the 11th head coach in Parkland men’s basketball history

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Parkland College Athletics and Cobras Basketball are proud to announce that former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Assistant Coach John Bowler as the next head coach of the Parkland Cobras men’s basketball program. The Chicago native brings nine years of coaching experience at both the NJCAA and the NCAA level to Parkland. In addition to coaching, Bowler will also work as an assistant athletic director and an academic advisor for Parkland College. 


“It is truly an honor to be named the next head coach at Parkland College,” Bowler said in a statement. “Cobras basketball has a rich tradition of, not only winning, but graduating student-athletes and moving them on to four-year institutions throughout the country. I have great respect for the foundation that Coach Figueroa has laid here, and I look forward to building on that foundation and continuing that standard of excellence on and off the court.” 


Basketball has always been an important part of Bowler’s life. In high school, John was a three-time Chicago Tribune All-Area selection at Notre Dame College Prep before committing to Eastern Michigan University in 2002. By his senior year, Bowler was a First Team All-Conference player, leading the league in scoring and rebounding in 2006. His 20 points and 11 rebounds per game ranked 25th and 11th respectively in the NCAA that season. Bowler went on to play six seasons of professional basketball in Germany in the country’s highest division from 2006-2012. 


“Basketball has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Bowler reveals, “What drew me to the game as a young player is the same thing that I look forward to daily as a coach: competition. I love to compete, and my coaching staff and I will build a program that competes daily in all that we do.” 


Bowler began his coaching career in 2013 as a graduate assistant at Delta State University, in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he earned his master’s degree in Education of Sports and Human Performance. In 2014, while completing his degree, Bowler became the Associate Head Coach and Assistant Housing Director at Des Moines Area Community College. Bowler held this position until he was promoted to Head Coach and Academic Advisor at DMACC for the 2018-2019 season. In five seasons at Des Moines, Bowler produced three NJCAA All-Americans, four NJCAA All-Region selections and 11 ICCAC All-Conference players. From 2014-2019, John Bowler’s staff had 12 junior college athletes transfer to NCAA Division I programs, and 11 players transfer to Division II programs, the most of any junior college at that level. In 2019, Bowler joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coaching staff as an assistant, where he served until his hire at Parkland. 


Parkland College athletic director Brendan McHale sees a lot of promise in new head coach John Bowler, saying, “Parkland College Athletics is very fortunate and excited to announce that coach John Bowler will be the next head coach of the Cobra Men’s Basketball program. We are looking forward to seeing Coach Bowler showcase his experiences and talents both now and in the future. John complements our existing and talented Cobra coaching staff very well.” 


“I have been blessed to form lifelong friendships with teammates, coaches, colleagues and campus personnel from every step on my basketball journey,” Bowler said. “I look forward to developing more of those relationships here at Parkland.” 


Original story by Nathan DeHaan

Four Cobras Programs Earn Academic Recognition From NJCAA

Thirty-eight student-athletes earn individual recognition

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Parkland College Athletics and Parkland College are proud to announce the academic success of Cobras student-athletes for the 2020-21 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 four programs receive NJCAA All-Academic Team recognition for having achieved a combined team GPA of 3.00 or higher for both semesters. Those programs were softball (3.40), women’s soccer (3.30), volleyball (3.28), and baseball (3.24).  


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). A total of 38 Parkland student-athletes received All-Academic recognition. (See full list below.) Twelve earned a spot on the First Team, earning a perfect 4.00 for both the fall and the spring semesters. Twelve more were named to the Second Team, and fourteen were named to the Third Team. 


Parkland teams receiving NJCAA All-Academic Team recognition 

Parkland College Softball                               3.40 

Parkland College Women’s Soccer                3.30 

Parkland College Volleyball                          3.28 

Parkland College Baseball                             3.24 


2020-21 NJCAA All-Academic First Team (4.00) 

David Ascencio Jr. – Baseball 

Kyle Brown – Baseball 

Lizzy Davis – Softball 

Ella Godsell – Volleyball 

Linda Jancola – Women’s Soccer 

Hogan McIntosh – Baseball 

Michelle Miller – Women’s Soccer 

Matt Parenteau – Baseball 

Summerlyn Smith – Volleyball 

Kaylee Warren – Softball 

Noah Weiman – Baseball 

Sophie Young – Volleyball 


2020-21 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team (3.80-3.99) 

Matheus Araujo – Men’s Soccer 

Kanay Benschneider – Volleyball 

Reagan Cheely – Softball 

Aynsleigh DeFries – Softball 

Sydney Eichelberger – Softball 

Summer Johnson – Softball 

Cole Jones – Baseball 

Johnny Lambert – Baseball 

Parker Mathieson – Baseball 

Brendan Tupper – Baseball 

Maddy Wade – Women’s Soccer 

Jack Young – Baseball 


2020-21 NJCAA All-Academic Third Team (3.60-3.79) 

Sam Beesley – Men’s Basketball 

Josh Candler – Men’s Basketball 

Tristan Cazel – Baseball 

Brennan Dolwick – Baseball 

Nicholas Fazzari – Baseball 

Victor Fujiu – Baseball 

Mady Harper – Women’s Basketball 

Brittney Litton – Volleyball 

Jeff Madden – Baseball 

Allie Scally – Women’s Soccer 

Emily Senjan – Softball 

Kelvin Swims – Men’s Basketball 

Anna Walker – Softball 

Claire Wilhour – Women’s Basketball 


[Article by Joey Gruner]

Parkland Cobras Sports Journalist Wins National Award

Parkland Sports Information Director Joey Gruner Awarded by CoSIDA

Parkland College's sports information director Joey Gruner was recently recognized as a 2021 National Champion Sports Information Director in NJCAA Division II Men's Golf by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Gruner was awarded for his work following the Cobras Golf team throughout its championship-winning 2021 season. The combined success of all Cobras teams this spring, with four qualifying for national championship tournaments, required the Athletics department to coordinate 146 media releases over 130 days, covering about 225 separate events.

"I consider it a privilege to report on and promote the athletic programs at Parkland College," Gruner said about the honor. "This institution has an incredible staff to work alongside, and the student athletes and coaches have had an awesome spring. It was thrilling for me personally to attend the final round of the Men's Golf championship and report on the accomplishment of winning a national title. I really enjoy my role in such a successful department and institution."

Samples of Gruner's award-winning work are available at

Parkland Cobras Golf Crowned National Champion

Wins NJCAA DII Championship by two strokes

The Parkland College golf team has been crowned 2020-21 NJCAA DII National Champions after winning the NJCAA DII Men's Golf Championship. The 4-day event, which included four, 18-hole rounds, was held at Swan Lake Resort's par-72 Black Course.
The Cobras went into the fourth and final round with a slim, one-shot lead over the favorite, South Mountain CC. Parkland finished with a 294 for the final round, while South Mountain came in at 295. This is the first National Championship for the Cobras Golf program, with its best previous finish being third, in 2018.
"I'm at a loss for words," expressed an elated Corbin Sebens, the Cobras' head coach. "I mean, give all the credit to these guys! This was our goal from the beginning of the season. To come here and get it done is incredible."
Parkland four, low scores in round four included a 72 from Joel Petersson (T20th), a 73 from Jack Halstead (T15th), and a pair of 74s from Corey Neville (T7th) and Scott O'Brien (13th). Alex White (T11th) shot a 78.
"After round one, our goal was to chip away (at the deficit), day by day, added Sebens. "After round two, we got to within three, and after the third (round), we had a one-shot lead. We just kept the same mindset throughout- mentally locked in, stick to our game plan…control ourselves and not worry about them. We knew what we had to do."
After the completion of the tournament, officials announced the All-Tournament Team. The Cobras were represented by Neville, White, O'Brien, and Halstead. In addition, Sebens was recognized as Coach of the Tournament.
As he reflected on the accomplishment, Coach Sebens stated, "This is huge. Being a cold weather school, a national championship is such a big accomplishment. A lot of people don't expect us (being from the Midwest) to be successful. We've knocked on the door a couple of times, but to come out on top today is just incredibly rewarding and means so much to this program."
Team Leaderboard
Individual Leaderboard
Team Scores (Top 7):
1          Parkland College                    +16      293+283+298+294=1168
2          South Mountain CC                +18      287+286+302+295=1170
3          Glendale CC                           +32      300+289+296+299=1184
3          Iowa Central CC                     +41      288+295+300+309=1193
5          Kirkwood CC                         +56      293+294+315+306=1208
6          Tyler Junior College               +63      302+300+311+302=1215
7          Des Moines Area CC              +65      304+310+300+303=1217
Parkland Individual Scores:
T7th    Corey Neville              +3        72+75+70+74=291
T11th  Alex White                  +5        75+69+71+78=293    
13th     Scott O'Brien             +6        72+69+78+74=293    
T15th  Jack Halstead             +10      74+72+79+73=298
T20th   Joel Petersson            +11      75+73+79+72=299


[original article by Joey Gruner]

Seven Cobras Programs Earn Academic Honors From NJCAA

Thirty student-athletes earn individual recognition

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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]