CVCC YEAR IN REVIEW: Red Hawks fly in 2017

CVCC YEAR IN REVIEW: Red Hawks fly in 2017

HICKORY, N.C. — As 2017 drew to a close last week, the Catawba Valley Community College athletic department finished what was possibly one of its most successful years in school history.

The success for the Red Hawks started in the classroom with CVCC student-athletes posting their highest graduation rate in overall program history. The Catawba Valley baseball team also posted its highest-ever program graduation rate, as well.

More than $250,000 in scholarships were awarded to Red Hawk student-athletes as they continued their playing careers at four-year institutions.

"Since coming to the athletic program, it's been my directive from (CVCC) Dr. (Garrett) Hinshaw to see students graduate and move on through studies and playing their sport," said CVCC Athletic Director Nick Schroeder. "We've made a concerted effort by our academic team led by (CVCC head women's basketball coach) Tisha England to focus on graduation of student-athletes and, at the minimum, their ability to transfer to four-year institutions."

On the court and field, CVCC continued its dominance with three of its program's coaches earning milestones. CVCC head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson recorded her 250th win after leading her program to its highest-ever national tournament finish of fourth place in 2016.

Red Hawks head men's basketball coach Bryan Garmroth won his 250th career game in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) ranks and his 100th game overall at CVCC.

Catawba Valley head baseball coach Paul Rozzelle also notched his 100th career coaching victory.

CVCC athletic teams were 89-46 in the 2017 calendar year, winning 65.9 percent of their games. Each team — baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, volleyball — also finished in the top half of its conference.

The CVCC volleyball team won its sixth-straight conference and region championship, finishing undefeated in conference play for the sixth season in a row.

The Red Hawks women's basketball program reached the region semifinals, and the Catawba Valley baseball and men's basketball teams both reached the regional quarterfinals.

Individually, the CVCC Athletic Department added its first-ever National Player of the Year with baseball player Chandler Jenkins earning the prestigious honor.

Three student athletes were also named National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans for their play — Jenkins and volleyball players Megan Fair and Mariah Wallace, and a total of 10 student-athletes were named Academic All-Americans, including four being named first-team Academic All-Americans for carrying a 4.0 cumulative GPA.

A total of 18 Red Hawk athletes were also honored as All-Region performers.

"As we've grown as a program over the years, we've been able to establish ourselves as a dominant athletic program in all of our sports thanks to our phenomenal athletic coaching staff, who make sure they work on the entire student-athelte and developing their game, their academics and their citizenship," Schroeder said.

After what could be considered a banner year for the CVCC Athletic Department, Schroeder expects the Red Hawks to soar even higher heading into 2018.

"First and foremost, our ultimate goal is to see everyone of our student-athletes walk across the stage at CVCC and have the opportunity to go to a four-year school or enter the workforce," Schroeder said. "Beyond that, we always look toward success on the playing surface by striving to recruit and retain the highest caliber athletes possible. CVCC is one of the best institutions in the nation and provides a unique opportunity for us to recruit exceptional student athletes."