Men's Basketball | 07/08/2008

Matadors place 4 student-athletes on NJCAA Academic All-American list

Schneider earns NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American distinction

Yuma, Arizona July 9, 2008 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that 4 Matador student-athletes have been named to the NJCAA Academic All-American List, and one of those four has earned the honor of NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American. The four student-athletes come from four of the Matador Athletic Department's seven athletic programs, and one of them is from Yuma County. The announcements were made as part of the comprehensive list, which was posted on the NJCAA website.

Those who reach the level of NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American must have a 3.8 cumulative grade point average or higher. Effectively obliterating that 3.8 mark with an extremely impressive 3.95 cumulative GPA over his two-year Matador career is Kevin Schneider. Schneider-a native of Spokane, Washington-was a study in hard work both on and off the baseball field, working his way up through the ranks to earn a starting job this season at first base for the Matadors. Schneider also recently signed his letter of intent to continue his education at Central Washington University this fall, and play baseball for the Wildcats next season.

Heading the list of those making the NJCAA Academic All-American list-and missing the Distinguished All-American list by the narrowest of margins-is Matadors' football player Jon Jay. The Honolulu native achieved a 3.79 cumulative GPA during his one year at AWC after transferring from West Texas A & M. Jay won the starting defensive end job in preseason camp for the Matadors, and started 5 games for the Mats before suffering a season-ending leg injury in late September. Just behind Jay with a cumulative 3.77 GPA is Matador Men's Basketball player Mehdi Cheriet. Cheriet is a major success story for the Matador program, considering he arrived on campus in the summer of 2006 from Tarare, France, speaking very little English, but persevered to be the only freshman starter on a veteran Matadors' squad in 2006-07. As a sophomore, he was named an NJCAA Preseason All-American and became one of the few student-athletes during AWC Men's Head Basketball Coach Kelly Green's 11-year tenure to sign an official letter of intent before the start of his sophomore season, signing with San Diego State University last November. He then went on to fight through a serious ankle injury in November to bounce back strong enough to earn 1st Team All-Region I and 1st Team All-ACCAC honors this past March. Rounding out of the list of Matador representatives on the NJCAA Academic All-American team with a 3.66 cumulative GPA is Matador Softball player Morgan Evans. The Yuma native (and Cibola High alum) went from pinch-runner and late-inning defensive replacement as a freshman to full-time starting right fielder and strong offensive cog this past spring, and was rewarded for her determination in the classroom and on the softball field this past May by signing her letter of intent to attend NAIA power Bethany College this coming fall.

These four student-athletes really show what one can do when they are given an opportunity to be successful, and how one can fight through real challenges to accomplish what's important," remarked AWC Athletic Director Jerry Smith. "You can't help but feel a great sense of pride about all four of these great students and great people. From working their way up the depth charts to fighting language barriers to fighting serious injuries, Kevin, Jonathan, Mehdi and Morgan all exemplified what hard work is really about in everything they did to achieve this honor. Everyone on this campus-from coaches to administrators to professors to staff to fellow students-should applaud the efforts of these four student-athletes, and we look forward to seeing what great accomplishments these student-athletes have in front of them."

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