COLUMBUS, Ohio – A quartet of Columbus State Community College student-athletes have been selected as 2017 NJCAA All-Academic Award recipients as announced by the National Junior College Athletic Association on Thursday afternoon.
A total of 6,006 NJCAA academic award winners were nominated to one of three possible classifications: NJCAA All-Academic First Team - 4.00 GPA, NJCAA All-Academic Second Team- 3.80-3.99 GPA, and NJCAA All-Academic Third Team-3.60-3.79 GPA. To be considered, a student-athlete must have completed at least 24 credit hours with a minimum 3.60 cumulative GPA.
Two sophomore student-athletes are two-time recipients, making history in the athletics program. Men's basketball guard Grant Dierksheide (Worthington/Worthington Kilbourne HS) was selected as All-Academic Second Team and women's cross country runner Emily Howard (Worthington/Worthington Christian HS) was named All-Academic Third Team.
Also chosen were freshmen volleyball players Haley Litman (Grove City/Grove City HS) and Leah Conway (Groveport/Madison Christian HS) who were recognized as First Team and Third Team respectively.
Dierksheide, achieving a 3.84 cumulative GPA, was a 2016 Third Team NJCAA All-Academic award winner. He is the first men's basketball player in school history to receive this award twice. Additionally, he was a two-time recipient of the college's Student Leadership & Service Award and the OCCAC All-Academic team, as well as a nominee of the 2017 OCCAC Scholar-Athlete Award.
On the court, Dierksheide was a member of the 2016 12th place national finish men's basketball team and the 2017 Region XII Runner-up team. He averaged seven points, two assists, one rebound, and one steal per game. He holds the highest free throw shooting percentage on the team (88.9%) and lowest number of turnovers per game (0.5).
Dierksheide plans to transfer to The Ohio State University this autumn to study Sports & Exercise Science.
Howard is the first female two-time recipient of the NJCAA Third-Team All-Academic Award. With a 3.64 cumulative GPA, she was a recipient of the Columbus State Student Leadership & Service Award and represented women's cross country in the 2017 OCCAC Sportsmanship Award. Furthermore, she was a two-time selection on the OCCAC All-Academic team.
On the course, Howard helped lead her team to a 2016 NJCAA DIII National Runner-Up finish, the best finish in school history. She was also selected to the Women's Cross Country 2016 All-Region XII DIII team for her fourth place overall finish. Howard plans to transfer to The Ohio State University this autumn to study Early Childhood Education.
Litman, a standout libero for the Cougars, achieved an impressive 4.0 GPA over two semesters, earning her NJCAA All-Academic First Team accolades. Litman was twice selected on the OCCAC all-academic team.
On the court, Litman was selected on the 2016 Volleyball All-Region XII DIII team. She led her team in digs (4.20) and service aces (0.25) per set. The Associate of Arts major plans to return to Columbus State this autumn to continue her academic and athletic career with the Cougars.
Conway, an outside hitter, earned Third Team NJCAA All-Academic award laurels for her 3.75 cumulative GPA. Like her fellow student-athletes, she was twice selected on the OCCAC all-academic team.