Surry student-athletes excel in the classroom

Surry Community College’s All-Academic Members are top row, from left: Austin Smith (golf), Abbey Johnson (volleyball), Adrienne Harris (volleyball), Jenna Simpson (volleyball), Lamonte Johnson (baseball) Second row: Taylorann Fowler (softball), Piper Draughon (volleyball) Bottom row: Clay Taylor (baseball), Dillon Draughn (baseball), Colby Guy (baseball), Josh Reynolds (baseball), Logan Philemon (baseball)

The COVID-19 pandemic may have halted sports for most of 2020, but it could not stop Surry Community College’s student athletes from continuing to excel in the classroom. 

Not only has Surry’s golf and volleyball teams been named as National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Academic Teams, 12 Knights have also earned a spot on the NJCAA All-Academic Team. Surry’s 12 individuals named to the All-Academic squad was the second-most out of all North Carolina community colleges. Additionally, the six players honored from the SCC baseball team was the most for one community college team in all of the Tar Heel State. 

“Given the difficult circumstances that our student-athletes faced due to the pandemic, we are so proud of their academic achievements,” Surry Community College Athletic Director Mark Tucker said. “We had 30 student-athletes recognized by Region X for academic excellence along with 12 being honored by the NJCAA.” 

The Surry men’s golf team aced the test in the classroom, finishing as the top team in Region X and 29th nationally with a 3.33 grade point average (GPA). The men’s golf team also finished fifth overall among all Region X colleges that were honored. SCC golf team members include Zekiel Eaton, Evan Marion, Austin Smith, and Will Zeller. Surry’s golf team also is the reigning Region X champion. 

The Surry volleyball team scored big at the net and in class, finishing with a 3.20 GPA - ranking fourth among all Region X colleges in volleyball. The Lady Knights also placed ninth overall from the 21 Region X colleges that earned academic honors. On the court, Surry finished 15-9 this past season and advanced to the semifinals of the Region X Tournament. Surry volleyball team members included Ashlyn Brady, Colby Crater, Piper Draughon, Natalie Eaton, Emma Garland, Adrienne Harris, Abbey Johnson, Jenna Simpson, Nikita Sizemore, and Hannah Williams. 

Surry was only one of five Region X colleges with multiple teams that earned academic honors. The Knights joined Spartanburg-Methodist College, Sandhills Community College, Cape Fear Community College, and Catawba Valley Community College as the only colleges among the 33 Region X schools to recognized. 

“We are extremely proud of our athletic teams that earned honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association,” Tucker said. “Despite an academic year that was interrupted due to COVID-19, our student-athletes flourished with all four of our teams finishing with a 2.85 GPA or higher. Our coaches are constantly communicating with our student-athletes about the importance of academics and making education a priority. 

“Additionally, having the top team among Region X is an outstanding honor,” Tucker said. “We have over 190 total teams in Region X, and for one of our teams to have the highest grade point average is a significant achievement.” 

Individually, 12 student-athletes at Surry have been honored by the National Junior Athletic Association (NJCAA) for their performance in the classroom during the 2019-2020 academic year. Surry honorees to the team were Abbey Johnson, Josh Reynolds, Clay Taylor, Dillon Draughn, Colby Guy, Lamonte Johnson, Jenna Simpson, Piper Draughon, Taylorann Fowler, Adrienne Harris, Logan Philemon, Austin Smith. 

“We are extremely proud of these student-athletes that exemplify academic and athletic excellence. This past academic year was extremely challenging and our student-athletes truly persevered during these very challenging times,” Tucker said. “To have the second most student-athletes honored for academic excellence is incredible considering that we only have five athletic programs. It is a testament to our faculty, staff, coaches, and most importantly student-athletes.” 

Student-athletes were categorized into three different teams: All-Academic First Team (4.0 GPA), All-Academic Second Team (3.80-3.99 GPA) or All-Academic Third Team (3.60-3.79 GPA). 

Three Surry student-athletes earned All-Academic First Team honors with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Abbey Johnson (volleyball), Josh Reynolds (baseball) and Clay Taylor (baseball) were named to the first team for SCC. 

Surry placed four members on the Second Team including Dillon Draughn (baseball), Colby Guy (baseball), Lamonte Johnson (baseball) and Jenna Simpson (volleyball). The Knights earned five Third-Team selections with Piper Draughon (volleyball), Taylorann Fowler (softball), Adrienne Harris (volleyball), Logan Philemon (baseball), and Austin Smith (golf). 

Surry was one of only four North Carolina community colleges with both multiple teams and individuals earning academic distinction. All 12 Surry student-athletes were also named to either the Dean’s or President’s List at Surry. 

“NJCAA student-athletes proved that no obstacle is too difficult to overcome,” stated NJCAA President & CEO Dr. Christopher Parker. “These difficulties pushed our student-athletes to the limit this year, but the opportunity to overcome these challenges presented itself and our student-athletes flourished academically. The association commends all individuals for their continued success on the playing surfaces and in the classrooms.” 

Surry NJCAA All-Academic Honorees 

2019-2020 NJCAA All-Academic Team 

Abbey Johnson, volleyball (First Team) 

Josh Reynolds, baseball (First Team) 

Clay Taylor, baseball (First Team) 

Dillon Draughn, baseball (Second Team) 

Colby Guy, baseball (Second Team) 

Lamonte Johnson, baseball (Second Team) 

Jenna Simpson, volleyball (Second Team) 

Piper Draughon, volleyball (Third Team) 

Taylorann Fowler, softball (Third Team) 

Adrienne Harris, volleyball (Third Team) 

Logan Philemon, baseball (Third Team) 

Austin Smith, golf (Third Team) 

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