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10 PC student-athletes named to NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards list

June 24, 2014

Aguilar, Cipolletti, Olmos, Jackson all earn NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement


Phoenix, Arizona – June 24, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that ten PC student-athletes have been named to the NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards List, with four of them earning the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement.  The ten student-athletes represent five of the Bears’ Athletic Department’s eight athletic programs.  In addition, five Bears’ athletic programs were named as NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year list for accruing a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.  The announcements were made as part of the comprehensive list, which was posted on the NJCAA website earlier today. 


  • The goal is a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average for each student going into their college career, but most can only dream of reaching the end of their career without getting at least one grade that isn’t an ‘A’.  However, you can’t get much closer to 4.0 than Jackie Aguilar (AH-ghee-lahr) did without achieving it.  The sophomore pitcher-who achieved NJCAA All-American status on the diamond for her athletic prowess as a freshman-led the Bears’ long list of NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete honorees this year with a stunning 3.903 cumulative GPA.  That mark also placed her near the top of the national list of NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement, who must have a 3.8 cumulative grade point average or higher to qualify for the extra honor.  Aguilar spent her two-year career first at Mesa Community College, then at PC, and never wavered in her academic prowess no matter which set of classrooms she was in.  Aguilar’s 10 wins on the field were an integral part of the Bears’ Softball machine that reached its 14th straight Region I Championship Game, and she was the MVP of the Bears’ student-athlete academic contingent by nearly acing every one of the 62 credits she accrued in earning her Associate in Science degree last month.
  • Just a shade behind PC Softball’s top academian on the NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement list were a pair of star student-athletes from another sport that reached the Region I’s final match, PC Volleyball student-athletes Danielle Cipolletti (sih-poh-LEH-tee) and Brianna ‘Monet’ Olmos (bree-AH-nuh “moh-NAY” OHL-mohs).  Danielle Cipolletti was the Bears’ table-setter on the volleyball court, leading the team (and placing 6th in the ACCAC) in assists per set.  Off the court, though, Cipolletti was their front-runner, achieving a 3.827 cumulative GPA during her Bears’ academic career.  Of the 10-person list of honorees today, Cipolletti also completed the 2nd-most credits of the ten, whizzing through 75 credits en route to earning her Associate of Arts degree this past May.
  • Pushing Cipolletti for the top spot on the volleyball academic list was Monet Olmos, who also celebrates a spot on the NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement list with a 3.818 cumulative grade point average.  Olmos spent last fall becoming the Bears’ top defender from her Libero position on the volleyball court, leading the team in digs and digs per set on the back line.  The rest of the time, though, Olmos was on offense academically, earning 66 credits over her Bears’ career while taking home an Associate of Arts degree from PC Commencement Ceremonies last month.
  • Completing the four-woman sweep of spots on the NJCAA Awards for Superior Academic Achievement list for the Bears is the one flying the flag for the Bears’ Women’s Basketball squad, Daesha Jackson (DAY-shuh).  It’s a familiar spot for the sophomore shooting guard, since she led the way for the Bears in 2013-14 in scoring, and placed among the ACCAC Top 20 in both free throw shooting and three-point percentage, earning both All-ACCAC and All-Region I honors along the way.  She was even more dangerous in the classroom, mirroring Olmos’s academic stats with a 3.818 cumulative GPA over 66 credits in two years.  Jackson also leaves PC with a prestigious Associate of Arts degree in her hand.



  • Right after the NJCAA Superior Academic Achievement squad is the NJCAA Awards for Exemplary Academic Achievement list, whose honorees must maintain a 3.6 cumulative grade point average over their academic career.  At the top of that ladder for the Bears (and nearly reaching Distinguished Academic All-America status) is the first male student-athlete on this list, David Bonney (BONN-nee).  Bonney was one of three student-athletes on this list to exceed the 70-credit plateau during his PC academic career, earning 71 credits along the way.  Bonney’s ferocity on the defensive backline was one of the big reasons why the Bears earned the right to host the Region I Men’s Soccer Finals for the first time ever.  Bonney’s persistence and ferocity hitting the books is the main reason why he earned a 3.789 cumulative GPA, and why he has an Associate of Arts & Sciences degree in Computer Graphic Design tonight.
  • Aguilar led the way for both the athletic program and the softball program academically, but she had plenty of close pursuers among her softball teammates.  Leading that list was Bears’ outfielder Leilani ‘Lani’ Redmond (lay-LAH-nee ‘LAH-nee’).  On the field, Redmond excelled in being ready for just about anything as Bears’ Head Softball Coach Heinz Mueller used her in starting and reserve roles, and she excelled in just about everything, hitting .440 in helping the Bears to the top seed in the Region I Division II Tournament in early May.  Redmond had that same penchant for versatility in the classroom, racking up 64 credits in two years to earn a 3.766 cumulative grade point average and an Associate of Arts degree.
  • The top of the NJCAA Awards for Exemplary Academic Achievement list for PC was a tug-of-war between men’s soccer and softball as Ryo Sugihara was next on the list with a 3.745 cumulative GPA.  It was hard to tell at times whether Sugihara excelled more on or off the field.  During the fall, Sugihara served notice to the rest of the NJCAA Men’s Soccer world while putting his name in the PC Men’s Soccer record books by becoming only the 2nd Bears’ Men’s Soccer player ever (behind his head coach, Dave Cameron) to be named the ACCAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year and be named an NJCAA 1st Team All-American.  Even with those huge accomplishments, both Sugihara and Cameron are even prouder of the fact that Ryo came all the way from Japan to Phoenix to not just learn the English language but earn one of the top academic honors while accumulating 56 credits and an Associate of Arts degree.
  • Back to the softball side for the next honoree, but staying with a nationally recognized athletic star as Rebecca Wyatt comes in with a stellar 3.727 cumulative GPA for her two years at PC.  The stories of Wyatt’s speed on the basepaths have become the stuff of legend as the Bears’ outfielder torched the national stolen base books for the past two years, leading the NJCAA in that category as both a freshman and sophomore.  She also hit over .500 for the 2014 regular season in leading the Bears to an eyelash of their 12th NJCAA Tournament appearance in this millennium.  But for all the speed she showed on the field, Wyatt took her time and concentrated fully while in the classroom, achieving 66 credits and as Associate of Arts degree that she took home in May.
  • Quarterback is traditionally considered one of the most cerebral positions on the football field, which should mean seeing Joseph Federico (FEH-deh-REE-koh) on this list should be no surprise.  Federico quietly represented the Bears’ Football program well during his two-year Bears’ career, spending both years at the ready and quickly learning two different offensive systems in the Bears’ signal-calling corps on the field; and snapping up knowledge quickly while cracking the books on the PC campus.  Federico earned a 3.685 cumulative grade point average over 54 credits while at PC, and has an Associate of Arts degree today as a result.
  • The Bears’ list of NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards ends where it began:  with another key component of Heinz Mueller’s vaunted PC Softball battery.  While her teammates take the nod from Aguilar in leading the way on this list, on the field, Aguilar had to take the nod and direction many times from Bears’ catcher Makenzi Dallas (muh-KENN-zee).  The rest of this list also takes the nod from Dallas as she led the way with 78 overall credits earned during her Bears’ academic career.  The lady who was as hard-nosed between the lines of the softball field-battling through a pair of concussions in 2014 to still be the Bears’ primary catcher in the Region I Tournament last month-was just as tough between the pages of a textbook at PC.  Dallas achieved a 3.654 cumulative grade point average during her Bears’ career, and takes an Associate of Science degree with her as she heads to her four-year university home this coming fall.