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Friday, Jul 31, 2015

SFSC's Upchurch Academic All-American

Special to Highlands Today

South Florida State College student athletes continue to set records for their work inside the classroom.

Panther softball player Taylor Upchurch was named an Academic All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association.

"We are proud to recognize Taylor as an National Junior College Athletic Association Academic All-American this year," said Rick Hitt, South Florida State College athletic director. "Taylor joins a list of outstanding student athletes who have achieved this national recognition over the years at SFSC. We congratulate her on her outstanding academic habits and thank the college's first-class faculty and staff for their efforts in helping all of our students reach their full potential."

Three distinctions are awarded to student athletes that are based on their cumulative grade point averages.

The highest distinction, the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence, is for students with a 4.0 GPA or higher.

The second distinction, the Award for Superior Academic Excellence, is for student athletes with a 3.8 - 4.0 GPA.

The third distinction, the Exemplary Award for Academic Achievement, is for student athletes with a 3.6 - 3.8 GPA.

The NJCAA Academic All-Americans must have sophomore standing.

Upchurch, a sophomore second baseman from Lecanto, closed out the academic year with a 3.68 grade point average (GPA). She received NJCAA's award for Exemplary Academic Achievement.

"South Florida State College had 22 post-season academic awards this year which set a new record for our student athletes," Hitt said. "Taylor leads that effort with her national recognition."

Upchurch had the versatility to play several infield positions for the Panthers.

"Taylor is an outstanding young lady," said South Florida State College softball coach Carlos Falla. "She is a very hard worker and played well at a number of positions for us."

Upchurch is hoping to play softball her last two years of college and the talented Panther student-athlete is figuring out which college is the best fit for her and her education.

"Taylor was one of our better players and she would like to play softball for two more years," Falla said. But she's going to go to the school that's the best fit for her major.

"She was a team leader and has a bright future."

The National Junior College Athletic Association is the national governing body for two-year college athletics in the United States and is the nation's second-largest national intercollegiate sports organization.