All Americans

2015 NJCAA All Americans - Susannah Kelley and Zori Curry

Susannah KelleySophomore setter Susannah Kelley and sophomore middle attacker Zori Curry have been named National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) honorable mention All-Americans. The announcement came Thursday, Dec. 3, by NJCAA officials from their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I couldn’t be happier for Sus, Zori and our team for the recognition they have received for the dedication, hard work and love they have put into this season,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “To be named an All-American gives credit where credit is due.”

Kelley, who came to the Grizzlies from Jonesboro High School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, recorded 91 kills on 212 attempts with 27 errors for an attacking percentage of .302, 1,200 assists (9.45 per set), 20 service aces, 315 digs (2.48 per set), 49 blocks and 139 points earned this season.

“Sus has been one of the most dedicated and selfless players I’ve ever coached,” Wiedemann said. “She’s a gym rat, and I say that with a lot of respect. The time she put in the gym working on becoming a better player is what every coach would love to have and is a testament to her competitiveness and love for the game. Her never-give-up attitude in pursuing every ball in the gym made everyone else around her better, and that’s a huge part of why receiving this honor is so much deserved. She wants to be the 15VballZori2best but not at the expense of the teammates around her. That’s the beauty of watching a player make her team better by the example she sets.”

Curry, a graduate of Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, recorded 390 kills on 795 attempts with 155 errors for an attacking percentage of .296, 157 total blocks (1.03 per set), 43 solo blocks, 22 digs and 490 points earned this season.

“Zori has worked hard at becoming the player she is, and I appreciate the time, trust and effort she put into getting to where she is as a player and teammate,” Wiedemann said. “She has probably come further than anyone I have coached from start to finish, and it was a lot of fun to watch. One of the things I kept telling her is to stop being amazed at what she can do because what she can do is amazing, and she kind of ran with it. It’s not easy to be pushed out of your comfort zone as a player, but when you let it happen, it can lead to great things. Zori worked through the frustrations that can stop a lot of players from improving, and that’s why she’s being recognized.”

For a full list of this year’s NJCAA All-American honorees, visit www.njcaa.org. For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.

2015 NJCAA Academic Honors - Maja Petronijevic, Blanca Izquierdo, Stephanie Phillips, Gabby Edmondson, Susannah Kelley and Guro Froberg

Maja PetronijevicBlanca IzquiredoStephanie PhillipsGabby EdmondsonSusannah KelleyGuro Froberg

The 2015 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team and six players recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The team was named one of the NJCAA’s 2015-16 All-Academic Teams. Freshman defensive specialist Maja Petronijevic, Belgrade, Serbia, received the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence. Blanca Izquierdo, a freshman setter from Madrid, Spain; Stephanie Phillips, a freshman outside hitter from Thornlands, Australia; Gabby Edmondson, a sophomore outside hitter from Christchurch, New Zealand; and Susannah Kelley, a sophomore setter from Jonesboro, Arkansas, each received the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement. And, Guro Froberg, a sophomore right side attacker from Askim, Norway, received the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement.

“I am extremely proud of these girls and love the fact that their hard work in the classroom gets recognized,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “This is the culmination of a lot of effort put in by these players and everyone who supports them as student-athletes. Their dedication to being good students is a testament to the work they put into everything they do, and I could not be happier for them. They are a great example of good habits leading to good results.”

NJCAA officials recognize individual student-athletes for academic honors at three levels. Those who have a perfect 4.0 GPA (grade point average) receive the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence; those with a 3.8 to 3.99 receive the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement; and those with a 3.60 to 3.79 receive the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. The GPAs for Petronijevic, Izquierdo, Phillips, Edmondson, Kelley and Froberg were 4.0, 3.87, 3.89, 3.90, 3.95 and 3.79, respectively. A total of 4,587 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said, adding that is a record.

To receive All-Academic Team honors, team members must have achieved a team cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  The Grizzlies had a GPA of 3.41 this past year. Twenty-seven teams received NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for posting the highest GPA in their sport, and 687 teams were named All-Academic Teams for posting cumulative GPAs over 3.0 for the year.

“As a team, this group did a good job in the classroom,” Wiedemann said. “We had players who put in the time to improve their habits as students, and it has paid off in many ways. This honor is the result of a lot of hard work put in by our players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes. Our academic coordinator is Tori Bates, and she has done a terrific job of developing their ability to take full advantage of the resources available to them. Although awarded to the team, the honor is shared by our tremendous faculty who lead them, as well as the staff of the Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success (AACCESS) and the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program, who work together with our players to make them the best students possible. They do a fantastic job!”

Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains’ PAWS Program consists of a group of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping student-athletes develop the skills they need to excel in the classroom and provides additional assistance to student-athletes during study hall periods.

This year’s recognition of six Grizzlies for individual academic awards brings the total number of such honorees in the program’s history to 24; this is the 12th academic honor in the past 13 years for the entire team.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball program, visit the team’s website or call 417-255-7950.

2014 NJCAA All American - Penny Liu

Penney LuiPenny Liu, a freshman middle attacker for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, has been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) first team All-American teams.

"We couldn't be happier for Penny being named a first team All-American by both organizations," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "She has tremendous talent and ability, but what sets her apart is she puts her teammates first and proved all year long she was willing to do whatever she needed for this team."

The 6-foot, 2-inch Nanjing, China, native left an indelible imprint on the Grizzlies' stat book this season. She recorded 586 kills on 1,048 attempts with 111 errors for a season attacking percentage of .453 and 3.81 kills per set. She also had 29 service aces, 138 digs, 114 total blocks (27 solo blocks) and 685.5 points earned.

"Penny worked hard to adapt to playing in the middle for us after starting the season as a right side attacker," Wiedemann said. "She has the ability to see the court, she doesn't make a lot of errors, and she has power. She also displays such a positive attitude, she doesn't complain, and she's a selfless teammate – that is a rare combination of qualities. Her teammates love her on and off the court.

"She's a great player, teammate and person, and so deserving of these honors," Wiedemann added. "This is a wonderful way to cap off a fantastic season for her and for our Grizzly Volleyball family."

For a full list of this year's NJCAA All-American honorees, visit http://www.njcaa.org. For the full list of AVCA All-American honorees for two-year colleges, which includes NJCAA Divisions I, II and III schools, the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges schools and the California Community College Athletic Association schools, visit http://www.avca.org/awards/all-america/two-year-college/.

2014 NJCAA Academic Honors – Kaili Simmons and Brianna Zebert

The 2014 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, sophomore defensive specialist Kaili Simmons, El Dorado Springs, and sophomore setter Brianna Zebert, Pierce City, recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The team was named one of the NJCAA's 2014-2015 All-Academic Teams, Simmons received the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement, and Zebert received the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement.

Kaili Simmons"I am extremely proud of Kaili and Brianna," said Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann. "This is the culmination of a lot of work put in by these two players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes. Their leadership was evident both in the classroom and on the court. They are a great example of good habits leading to good results."

NJCAA officials recognize individual student-athletes for academic honors at three levels. Those who have a perfect 4.0 GPA (grade point average) receive the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence; those with a 3.8 to 3.99 receive the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement; and those with a 3.60 to 3.79 receive the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Simmons' GPA this past academic year was 3.95, and Zebert's GPA was 3.69. A total of 1,936 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said, adding that is a record.

To receive All-Academic Team honors, team members must have achieved a team cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Grizzlies had a GPA of 3.25 this past year.

Brianna Zebert"As a team, this group did a good job in the classroom," Wiedemann said. "This honor is the result of a lot of hard work put in by our players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes. Although awarded to the team, the honor is shared by our tremendous faculty who lead them, as well as the staff of the Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success (AACCESS) and the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program, who work together with our players to make them the best students possible. They do a fantastic job!"

Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains' PAWS Program consists of a group of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping student-athletes develop the skills they need to excel in the classroom and provides additional assistance to student-athletes during study hall periods.

Simmons and Zebert are the Grizzlies' 17th and 18th individual academic award honorees, and the team earned its 11th academic team honor in 12 years with its combined grade point average this past year.

Simmons and Zebert both graduated from Missouri State-West Plains in May with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degrees. Simmons is taking her talents to Western Illinois University in Macomb this fall, and Zebert has transferred to Missouri State University in Springfield, where she is pursuing a degree in speech pathology, Wiedemann said.

2013 NJCAA All American - Nella Ioramo

Nella IoramoNella Ioramo, a sophomore outside/middle attacker for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, has been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) second team All-American Team.

"I am incredibly proud of Nella being named an NJCAA All-American," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "She helped us remain as one of the top programs in the country again this year, and it is a direct result of the effort she put in during the spring and summer prior to the season."

The 6-foot, 2-inch outside/middle attacker from Union City, Calif., left an indelible imprint on the Grizzlies' stat book this season. She recorded 553 kills on 1,342 attempts with 220 errors for a season attacking percentage of .248 and 3.98 kills per game. She also had 28 service aces, 288 digs, 2.07 digs per game, 61 total blocks (16 solo blocks), 619.5 points earned and 4.5 points per set.

"Nella had a tremendous sophomore season for us, leading us offensively in kills, kills per set, total points and points per set," Wiedemann said. "The improvement she made in her ability to play six rotations and to terminate the ball from her freshman to sophomore year was amazing. Even during the course of this season, she improved from 3.21 to 4.97 kills per set during the last half of the year, which is extraordinary.

"I couldn't be happier for Nella," Wiedemann continued. "The hard work and commitment she put into improving as a player has been fun to watch. This is an example of hard work paying off in many ways, and knowing her, she will continue to push herself to keep getting better. The time and effort it takes to improve as a player cannot be taken for granted, and Nella made it her goal to be that kind of a player. This is a wonderful honor for her, and it caps off a great season for Grizzly Volleyball."

For a full list of this year's All-American honorees, visit http://www.njcaa.org. For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team's website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.

2012 NJCAA Academic Honors - Taylor Swayzer

Taylor SwayzerThe 2012 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team and sophomore outside attacker Taylor Swayzer, Houston, Texas, recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The team was named one of the 2012-2013 All-Academic Teams, and Swayzer received the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement.

"We are extremely proud of Taylor for her commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the court," said Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann. "This is the culmination of a lot of work put in by Taylor. She epitomizes the term 'student-athlete.' She is the second Grizzly Volleyball player to receive All-American honors for both her academic and athletic achievements. These honors are a direct result of her effort to be the best in both areas. I couldn't be happier for her."

Wiedemann noted the first Grizzly Volleyball player to receive both athletic and academic All-American honors was Luiza Jarocka in 2006.

NJCAA officials recognize individual student-athletes for academic honors at three levels. Those who have a perfect 4.0 GPA (grade point average) receive the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence; those with a 3.8 to 3.99 receive the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement; and those with a 3.60 to 3.79 receive the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Swayzer's GPA this past academic year was 3.81. Over 1,600 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said.

To receive All-Academic Team honors, team members must have achieved a team cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Grizzlies had a GPA of 3.05 this past year. Over 500 teams from various sports received All-Academic Team accolades during the 2012-13 academic year.

"As a team, this group did a great job in the classroom," Wiedemann said. "This honor is the result of a lot of work put in by our players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes. Although awarded to the team, it is shared by our tremendous faculty who lead them, as well as the staff of the Student Advisement and Academic Support (SAAS) Center and the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program, who together work with our players to make them the best students possible. They do a fantastic job!"

Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains' PAWS Program consists of a group of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping student-athletes develop the skills they need to excel in the classroom and provides additional assistance to student-athletes during study hall periods.

Swayzer is the Grizzlies' 14th individual academic award honoree, and the team earned its ninth academic team honor in 10 years with its combined grade point average this past year.

Swayzer graduated from Missouri State-West Plains in May with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree and has transferred to Tennessee State University in Nashville.

2012 NJCAA All American - Taylor Swayzer and Helena Peric

Helena PericTwo members of the 2012 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team have been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American Teams.Freshman outside attacker Helena Peric was named to first-team All-American on the NJCAA's Division I list and second-team All-American on the AVCA's list for two-year colleges. Sophomore outside attacker Taylor Swayzer was named second-team All-American on both listings.

"I'm incredibly proud of Taylor and Helena being named NJCAA and AVCA All-Americans," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "They helped us return to being one of the top 10 programs in the country again this season, and their leadership will carry on into next season. That is the kind of impact they've had on our program."

In her first year as a Grizzly, Peric, who also was named to the all-tournament team at the 2012 NJCAA Division I Women's National Volleyball Championship Tournament last month, recorded 501 kills, a .298 attacking percentage, 49 aces, 440 digs, 44 blocks and 594 total points.

"Helena had a great freshman season and led us offensively throughout the year," Wiedemann said. "She has earned a lot of attention as a player who has power, and people notice her when she's on the court because of it. This is a wonderful honor for her and will give all the Grizzly fans something to look forward to next season, as well!"

Taylor SwayzerSwayzer recorded 340 kills, a .207 attacking percentage, 23 aces, 456 digs, 47 blocks and 410 total points.

"I couldn't be happier for Taylor and the recognition she is receiving for the hard work and commitment she put into this past year," Wiedemann said. "She is an example of hard work paying off in so many ways, both on and off the court. The time and effort it takes to improve as a player and leader of a team cannot be taken for granted, and Taylor made it her goal to prove she could be that player. This is a tremendous honor for her and icing on the cake to cap off a terrific season for Grizzly Volleyball."

For a full list of this year's All-American honorees, visit http://www.njcaa.org and http://www.avca.org.

2011 NJCAA Academic Honors

Colbi GoffFour student-athletes from the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Athletics program received individual academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).NJCAA officials announced the honorees Tuesday, June 19, from their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Grizzly Volleyball players Colbi Goff of Mtn. View and Abby Hanger of Belleview, Ill., and Grizzly Basketball player Nathane Simniok of Forsyth received the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement for maintaining grade point averages (GPA) between 3.60 to 3.79 on a 4.0 scale during the recent academic year.

Grizzly Basketball player Kevin Nelson, Albuquerque, N.M., received the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement for maintaining a GPA between 3.80 to 3.99 on a 4.0 scale.

"I am extremely proud of Colbi and Abby," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "This is the culmination of a lot of work put in by these two players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes."

Wiedemann noted Hanger received first-team All-Region 16 Team honors this past season for her efforts on the court.

"We are very proud of these two young men," added Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker. "They have epitomized the term 'student-athlete' during their time at Missouri State-West Plains.

Walker pointed out Simniok, who received All-Region 16 Team honors this season, was the team's third leading scorer and leading rebounder this past season. Nelson was the team's fourth leading scorer and its assists leader, the coach added.

"These young men are the total package as people, as students and as basketball players," Walker said.

Both Wiedemann and Walker praised the University's support staff and the Promoting Academic Success With Student Athletes (PAWS) Program, which provides subject-based tutoring, nightly study halls and weekly academic advisement sessions for student-athletes.

Abby Hanger"These honors are shared with the staff of the Student Advisement & Academic Support (SAAS) Center, the PAWS Program and the faculty who work to make our players the best students possible," Wiedemann said. "Everyone does a fantastic job!"

Goff and Hanger are the 12th and 13th Grizzly Volleyball players to receive NJCAA academic honors, and Nelson and Simniok are the third and fourth Grizzly Basketball players to receive NJCAA academic honors.

NJCAA officials said over 1,680 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this past year. Nearly 60,000 student-athletes competed on over 3,500 teams in 28 different sports at the NJCAA level in 2011-2012. This is the 29th year NJCAA officials have recognized the success of its student-athletes in the classroom.

For more information about awards and honors handed out by the NJCAA, visit http://www.njcaa.org. For more information about the Missouri State-West Plains Grizzly Athletics program, visit http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/.

All Americans

1994

Chelsea Taylor: Honorable Mention

1995

Shannon Washburn: Second Team

1997

Quanna Speake: Second Team

1998

Laura Paul: First Team

1999

Sara Kincaid: First Team
Tracy Flora: Honorable Mention

2000

Sara Kincaid: First Team

2001

Edna Chumo: First Team
Bea Gerevich: Second Team

2002

Edna Chumo: First Team
Roselidah Obunaga: First Team

2003

Roselidah Obunaga: First Team
Anna Dmowska: Second Team
Felicia Jones: Second Team

2004

Felicia Jones: First Team
Candace Saleaumua: Second Team

2005

Candace Saleaumua: First Team
Courtney Hendrickson: Second Team
Amy Lusk: Second Team

2006

Luiza Jarocka: First Team
Patricia Gandolfo: First Team

2007

Brittney Herzog: First Team
Patricia Gandalfo: Second Team

2008

Nile Whaley-Garrison: First Team
Katja Stepanova: Second Team

2009

Patricia Figueiredo: First Team
Katja Stepanova: First Team

2010

Lia Havili: Honorable Mention

2011

Candyce Alexander: Second Team

2012

Helena Peric: First Team
Taylor Swayzer: Second Team

2013

Nella Ioramo: Second Team

2014

Penny Liu: First Team

2015

Susannah Kelley: Honorable Mention
Zori Curry: Honorable Mention

Academic All Americans

1996

Keri Elrod: Academic

1998

DeAun Gray: Academic

2001

Sara Billingsley: Distinguished Academic

2002

Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2003

Loran Ichord: Distinguished Academic
Kacie Callison: Academic
Juliana Nogueira: Academic
Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2004

Maggie Thompson: Academic
Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2006

Luiza Jarocka: Distinguished Academic
Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2008

Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2009

Danielle Parker: Distinguished Academic
Abbey Roam: Academic
Volleyball Team: Fall Academic Team

2010

Janel Glidden: Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Volleyball Team: All-Academic Team

2011

Colbi Goff: NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement
Abby Hanger: NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement
Volleyball Team: All-Academic Team

2012

Taylor Swayzer: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Volleyball Team: All-Academic Team

2014

Kaili Simmons: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Brianna Zebert: NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement
Volleyball Team: All-Academic Team

2015

Maja Petronijevic: NJCAA Award for Pinnacle Academic Achievement
Blanca Izquierdo: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Stephanie Phillips: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Gabby Edmondson: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Susannah Kelley: NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement
Guro Froberg: NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement
Volleyball Team: All-Academic Team