12 Panther Sports Teams Finish With A Collective GPA Over 3.0 – Sac City Express
As the fall 2020 semester drew to a close, City College athletes completed a year of distance learning courses and no track and field.
Mitchell Campbell, Dean of Athletics, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and unique impact on student-athletes.
“None of us – coaches, student-athletes, myself – has ever had a year in our life where there was no athletics,” Campbell said. “It can be a very difficult thing for our student-athletes who have especially grown up and been involved in athletics all their lives.”
Despite this challenge, 12 of City College’s 17 track and field teams finished the fall 2020 semester with a collective GPA above 3.0.
The 12 teams include 280 of the 353 student-athletes. The overall GPA for all student-athletes in the fall 2020 semester was 3.07, according to the Sacramento City College Panthers website.
“I’m just really proud of how we responded [to the pandemic] and the culture of academic achievement in our student-athletes,” said Campbell.
He noted that while athlete GPAs have been increasing for some time, the fall semester GPA is one of the highest collective student-athlete GPAs.
“Our coaches and staff, to their great credit, have put extra emphasis [on] what we could control, which was our performance in the classroom,” Campbell said. “It’s been really great to see how our coaches and staff have focused and how the student-athletes have gone above and beyond.”
Men’s cross country topped the standings with a collective GPA of 3.60, while women’s cross country had the second highest collective GPA at 3.40.
Marisa Avendano, head coach of women’s cross country and women’s track and field, observed that her two teams’ GPAs were higher in the fall semester than they were the previous year. The track and field team has the highest GPA it has had in the 20 years it has coached at City College.
“Compared to last year, they’ve both improved tremendously,” she said. “The fact that both teams are above 3.0 is pretty incredible.”
According to Avendano, many athletes on his team are busy helping around the house, working and even working on second jobs or additional units during the pandemic.
“I’m very inspired by them because of their commitment and dedication,” she said. “They have so much to do in their lives and they keep showing up. They keep appearing with ups and downs, and they keep moving forward.
Laurie Nash, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, agreed with Avendano.
“I believe most, if not all, of my athletes are employed. Some of them noted that they took more hours of work,” Nash said. “By saving that time on the road, by saving that time on campus, I think they were able to embrace more responsibility.”
Amber Milano, a freshman on the women’s volleyball team, said she took on more professional responsibilities.
“I have two jobs,” Milano said. “I work at Applebee. I took three eight-hour shifts there.
Ashley Ford, a sophomore on the women’s volleyball team, has also increased her hours and is grateful that her teachers understood her job responsibilities.
“I started working a lot more so I could help pay the bills because the people I live with are unemployed,” Ford said.
Ford believes the time saved by taking classes remotely due to the pandemic has had a positive impact on her and her academics.
“I actually started to do better because I had time to think about the work, the schedule, and the planning,” Ford said.
According to Nash, City College generally has strong academic teams.
“I don’t think it’s unusual for these kids to always have their goals in line, to stay on task, to get their educational plans that they receive through our educational advisor – they’re all driven by goals,” she said. “They want the transcript. I would say the majority of our athletes—probably upwards, you know, 90-100% of our athletes—are looking to transfer. They’re trying to do it in two or three years, and COVID has just changed the look of their education.
According to Nash, City College athletes are always very disciplined in the online learning environment, and she and her fellow coaches have been proactive in connecting with the athletes and meeting their needs.
“As role models, as coaches, both athletically and academically, we try to be great support staff for them, reminding them to use the resources that are available to them, even if it’s through online learning, online support,” Nash says.
Savannah Wells, a rookie on the women’s track and field team, credits her coaches for the academic success of the athletes.
“The coaches are amazing,” Wells said. “They help us. They are all about self-care and motivation.
Milano is also very grateful for the help and dedication of the coaches to keep in touch.
“We do a team zoom every week and that helps. Staying social with the team members and keeping the team aspect – yes, I think that’s the most important,” said Milano.
Nash also emphasized the importance that togetherness has had on team morale and team academics.
“Although it’s really unpleasant for our student-athletes who don’t have a season,” Nash said. “I think we had some quality time to improvise, to be able to focus on other things that we might not be able to focus on if we were in the gym.”