Missouri State University - West Plains

All Americans

2014 NJCAA All American - Penny Liu

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Penny 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 AssociatioPenney Luin (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 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

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – 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.

“I am extremely proud of Kaili and Brianna,” said Grizzly VolleybaKaili Simmonsll 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.

“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-athBrianna Zebertletes.  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

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Nella 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 Nella Ioramo(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 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

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The 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).

Taylor SwayzerThe 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 www.njcaa.org and 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 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

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