JASON FARMER NEWS-SUN
June 21, 2018
Classes have been out for almost a month at New Mexico Junior College and while most students are long gone for the summer, the Thunderbirds and Lady Thunderbirds had 10 athletes earn NJCAA Academic All-American honors. NMJC had three players earn first team honors while five earned second team and two were third team.
Of the eight sports at NMJC, all the honorees came from three sports. There were nine male and one female athletes honored.
The three first team honorees went to two baseball players, Rody Barker and Ryan Roberson and one golfer, Chan Zhane. All three athletes had GPA of 4.00.
On the field, Barker was the T-Birds leadoff hitter and a catcher. He finished with a .330 batting average, five home runs, 50 RBI, 60 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.
Roberson pitched in four games and earned one win, on April 4 when NMJC beat Midland College 26-15.
Baseball had four second team players honored as Nicholas Millas, Jacques Palmer, Brent Pronger, and Ty Stephenson. One golfer, Preston Ewing also made second team. All five athletes finished the year with GPAs between 3.80 and 3.99
Pronger pitched 11.2 innings for NMJC finishing the year with a 2-2 record. He allowed 20 runs, eight of which were earned runs, and recorded a 6.17 ERA. He recorded 15 strikeouts and walked seven.
Stephenson pitched in 11 games with one start. He had five wins and a 5.66 ERA over 35 innings of work. At the plate he had one home run and one double in 44 at bats. He drove in nine runs and scored 12 to go with two stolen bases and a .250 batting average.
Palmer hit .323 for the T-Birds with seven RBI and eight runs scored. He swiped to bases and walked five times.
As for the two third team honorees, one golfer and on track and field/cross country athlete were honored. The golfer was 2017 Hobbs graduate Tyler Cox while the track and cross country runner was Cynthia Kipserem. Both Cox and Kipserem finished with GPAs of 3.60 to 3.79.
During the cross country season, Kipserem finished 20th at NJCAA Cross Country Championships with a time of 18 minutes and 52.3 seconds. In track season, Kipserem was ninth in the 5,000-meter run (19:09.15) during indoor season and finished seventh in the 10,000-meter run (40:06.27) during outdoor season.