When the College of Southern Maryland announced its scholar-athlete award winners at its annual banquet last month, the Hawks welcomed a growing number of students to the stage who were named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Academic team.
Thanks in part to the CSM program known simply as PASS [Promoting the Academic Success of Student-Athletes] the school has seen a 37% jump in the number of student-athletes who attained a 3.0 GPA or higher for the school year. Several of them attained National Junior College Athletic Association First team honors, including one repeat winner.
Recent CSM graduate Kaitlyn Kluh, a La Plata High School graduate who played volleyball and basketball for the school, garnered her second NJCAA First Team award by maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She had been the lone Hawks’ student-athlete to earn such a distinction the year before as a freshman. This past school year she shared the title with sophomore Sierra Walker, a member of the Hawks’ Cross Country team, who also boasted a 4.0 GPA.
CSM Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble commended the entire group of student-athletes and acknowledged the implementation of the PASS program as part of the Hawks increased number of scholar-athletes honorees. PASS has several functions, all of which aimed to enable student-athletes to reach their potential in the classroom.
“PASS has been a great thing for our CSM student athletes because it has provided them with guidance, resources and most importantly support from multiple areas of the college,” Ruble said. “We had a great response from faculty and staff to volunteer to serve as Athletic Team Members and contributions from multiple areas of the college which assisted to make the program successful.”
In all, seven CSM student-athletes were named to the NJCAA All-Academic Team. In addition to Katelyn Kluh and Walker, both of which were named to the NJCAA All-Academic First Team for attaining straight A’s throughout the school year, freshman Kelsey Kluh, who played volleyball and softball for the Hawks, was named to the NJCAA All-Academic Second Team after posting a 3.88 GPA.
“We are proud because those seven students epitomized what we believe it means to be a CSM student-athlete, especially given the circumstances of our spring semester,” Ruble added.
Sophomores Skylar Clark and Mauai Gianan and freshmen Kelsey Hanks and Joseph Walsh were both named to the NJCAA All-Academic Third Team. Clark, who played softball for the Hawks, finished the year with a 3.63 GPA, while Gianan, who played women’s soccer for CSM, concluded the school year with a 3.61 GPA.
Hanks, who played volleyball for the Hawks last fall, finished the year with a 3.68 GPA, while Walsh, a member of the CSM Men’s soccer team in 2019, concluded the school year with a 3.64 GPA. Student-athletes must attain a 3.60-3.79 GPA in order to make the NJCAA All-Academic Third Team.
“NJCAA student-athletes proved that no obstacle is too difficult to overcome,” Christopher Parker, NJCAA president & CEO, said. “These difficulties pushed our student-athletes to the limit this year, but the opportunities to overcome these challenges presented itself and our student-athletes flourished academically. The association commends all individuals for their continued success on the playing surfaces and in the classrooms.”