In a Wednesday release from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) office, ten Barton Community College student-athletes received NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards, formerly known as the NJCAA’s Academic All-American award.  The ten Cougars were amongst the NJCAA record 2,036 sophomore level student-athletes to receive the award.

Four baseball team members made the list followed by two each from the men’s track and field team and women’s golf team.  Single members from the men’s golf team and women’s track and field team round out the ten distinction.

Jordan Plank of the baseball team led all Cougars earning the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence, the highest academic award given by the NJCAA.  The Wichita, Kansas, native, was one of a record 185 student-athletes earning the achievement obtaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.  Staying in Kansas to continue his academic and athletic career at Emporia State University next fall, Plank wound up his sophomore season earning the Jayhawk West and Region VI Gold Glove Awards pitching 77.1 innings with a perfect fielding percentage earning honorable mention West honors after going 7-2 with a 2.91 ERA.

Two men’s track and field student-athletes earned the NJCAA’s second highest honor as 741 were awarded the Superior Academic Achievement for obtaining a 3.80-3.99 GPA.  Colby Overturf, a Johnson, Kansas, native and fourth place national finisher in the Javelin, was joined by Borazjan, Iran, native Alireza Rafiei who also reached the national championships qualifying in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Seven Cougars were among the 1,110 individuals claiming the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award for a 3.60-3.79 GPA.  Six of the seven hail from the state of Kansas as the baseball trio of Trevor Hughes and Tyler Jennings, both from Wichita, and Goddard’s Jacob Richardson rounded out the four baseball players to achieve academic awards.  Also earning honors were Winfield’s Landon Fox of the men’s golf team, Abbie Thelen of the women’s golf team, and Oskaloosa’s Nicole Kruse of the women’s track and field team, all whom qualified for their respective sport’s national championships.  Natthakan Teeratrakul of the women’s golf team rounded out the selections as the native of Thanaburi Pathum Thani, Thailand, led the Lady Cougars to consecutive top ten national finishes while achieving All-American status her freshman season finishing 18th in the nation.

List of Barton’s NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards:

Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence:

Jordan Plank (Baseball)

Superior Academic Achievement Award:

Colby Overturf (Men’s Track & Field)
Alireza Rafiei (Men’s Track & Field)

Exemplary Academic Achievement Award:

Landon Fox (Men’s Golf)
Trevor Hughes (Baseball)
Tyler Jennings (Baseball)
Nicole Kruse (Women’s Track & Field)
Jacob Richardson (Baseball)
Natthakan Teeratrakul (Women’s Golf)
Abbie Thelen (Women’s Golf)

During the 2014-15 academic year, the NJCAA saw 58,531 student-athletes compete on 3,461 teams in 28 different sports. A record 3.31 percent of individuals competing in the association qualified for an academic award which is only available to student-athletes that have accumulated at least 45 semester credit hours or 60 quarter credit hours with a minimum of a 3.60 grade-point average.

More regarding the NJCAA can be found online at