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Record Number of MCCC Athletes Named Academic All-Americans


WEST WINDSOR – Competitors in Mercer County Community College (MCCC) sports programs emphasized "student" in student athlete this year, with a record number of MCCC athletes being named as Academic All-Americans by the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA).

“We call them student athletes; we never just use the word athlete," said MCCC Athletics Director John Simone. "They are students first. And this year, it was especially true to form."

A total of nine Mercer athletes were named as Academic All-Americans, which requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.6. Athletes with a GPA of 4.0 were named as Pinnacle Award recipients, those with GPAs from 3.8 to 3.99 were named as Superior Award winners, and those with GPAs between 3.6 and 3.79 received the Exemplary Award. In addition, students were required to have completed at least two full-time semesters to be eligible.

Wang, Gurdon, Blank, Simone

Mercer County Community College President Dr. Jinaping Wang with MCCC basketball players Brianna Gurdon and Dean Blank, and MCCC Athletics Director John Simone. Gurdon and Blank, pictured as recipients of the Dr. Cynthia Schaffer Scholar Athlete Award, were named as Academic All-Americans by the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Men’s basketball player Dean Blank of Holland, Pa., was a Pinnacle Award winner with a 4.0 GPA after four semesters at Mercer.  Blank also earned the MCCC Male Scholar Athlete Award for 2016. He will be transferring to Drexel University this fall.

Mercer also had five Superior Award winners: Women’s basketball player Brianna Gurdon of Allentown, and softball player Casey Murphy of Hillsborough, both sophomores. They were joined by three freshmen: Women’s tennis players Stephanie England and Gabriela Gates, both of Hamilton, and women’s cross country runner Anna Prendergast of East Windsor.

Gurdon also won the MCCC Female Scholar Athlete Award for 2016 and is transferring to Allegheny College.  Murphy was the 2016 recipient of the Marucci Elite Hitter Award, presented to All-American nominees with the highest batting average in their district, in addition to being a two-time First Team All-Region 19 and All-Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) player.  She will be entering the U.S. Air Force this fall.

Baseball player Anthony Boselli of Ventnor City, men’s cross country runner Russell Budd of West Creek, and softball player Hayley Fletcher of Hamilton were named as Exemplary Award winners. Boselli, a freshman, was also named as an NJCAA Division II All American, First Team All-Region 19, and All-GSAC. Fletcher will transfer to Rider University this fall.

"Our student athletes practice hard and play hard on the court and on the field, but it is important that they save plenty for the classroom," Simone said. "This year's group was particularly accomplished on both fronts. We are proud of all of them."





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