Highland Softball Team Earns NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Honors

Highland Softball team pictured at the beginning of the season with Head Coach Heidi Jordan and Assistant Coach Scott Jordan.
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While success on the softball field has come at a high rate for the Highland Softball program including a 35-12 record this past season which included a Top six finish at Nationals, a Region VI District E Tournament title and Conference title, that’s not the only place the Scottie softball team has found success.

For the second straight year and the seventh of the last eight years the Highland softball team as earned NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for their success in the classroom.

NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors are given out to teams that finish with a team average of 3.00 GPA for the entire school year. A total of 738 NJCAA programs earned Academic Team of the Year honors for 2018-19 and the Highland softball team was part of the NJCAA sport that had the most. A total of 131 softball programs posted a 3.0 GPA or higher as a team during the 2018-19 academic year.

Scottie softball team finish the 2018-19 school year with a team GPA of 3.44 improving upon their 3.35 mark from the 2017-18 school year. Leading the way for the team was 10 individuals who finished the academic year with a 3.60 GPA or better to earn individual NJCAA All-Academic honors (22 total Highland athletes earned this honor – full list). The 10 individual honors for softball is three more than the previous school year for the team.

Isabella Konieczka, Elizabeth Hays and Sara Shinn each posted a 4.0 GPA which gave them first team NJCAA All-Academic, while Alexis Hodapp, Kennedy Meyer and Hannah Schmidt earned second team honors with a GPA of 3.80-3.99 and McKinley Jeanneret, Chevelle Sartin, Lora Shinn and Hope Eckley all picked up third team honors with a GPA of 3.60-3.79.

Congratulations to the Highland softball team on their NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors as they showcased their success in the classroom and on the field.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.