Six MCCC Athletics Programs Earn NJCAA All-Academic Team Awards


West Windsor, N.J. - Following a standout year in which 11 student athletes earned spots on the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Academic All-American team, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) doubled down on the achievement, with six of its 10 athletic programs earning Academic Team awards.

Men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and softball all took home Academic Team honors. To qualify for the award, each team must post a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.6.

Athletes are also expected to have completed at least two full-time semesters of collegiate work, and must have participated in at least one full season of varsity play.

Assistant Athletic Director and head softball coach Ryan Zegarski said that Mercer’s emphasis on academics begins with recruiting.

“We try and recruit student athletes,” said Zegarski. “From day one, we make sure they understand that the classroom comes first. Almost every day we speak to them to make sure they are attending and doing their work.”

Zegarski added that the athletics department holds study halls to provide athletes a quiet space to complete assignments. The department also hands out progress reports to ensure athletes are hitting their marks.

“We also have students who are strong in certain subjects and will help students who need a little assistance,” Zegarski added. “They are just consummate team players on and off the field. overall we have really good student athletes.”

Widmarc Dalce, Coordinator of Student Services and the head men’s soccer coach noted that 2020 marks the first year since he started coaching at Mercer that the men’s soccer team had players make the All-Academic Teams.

Dalce said that despite Mercer having a variety of services available to help student athletes succeed in the classroom, he makes it a part of his coaching duties to remind his players about performing well in the classroom.

“I always make sure to lecture them [about doing their coursework] almost every day before or after each training session or game,” Dalce said. “I always remind them about the importance of their education. I also get in contact with most of their instructors monthly.”

Like most of Mercer’s coaches however, Dalce is glad to see that his team leaders work to keep their teammates accountable.

“I leave the responsibilities into the players hands, this is a way to teach them to become responsible and accountable on their own,” Dalce said.

“But I still make my daily rounds.”

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Six Athletics Teams were named 2020 NJCAA All-Academic Teams.