Academic success for ECC women's basketball
July 30, 2015
IOWA FALLS – The Ellsworth Community College women’s basketball program has had a lot of success in the classroom this year. The team is ranked 9th highest grade point average (GPA) in the nation out of all community colleges with a 3.51 team GPA by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
The Panthers have been ranked academically eight out of the last nine years. Along with this great accomplishment, the team also finished 9th in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) team academic rankings.
In addition to the team’s academic accomplishments this year, the Panthers had several players recognized for their individual academic standings. The team qualified nine players for the Academic All-Region team. First Team includes Alivia Zubrod of New Hartford; Ashley Gates of Lake City, MN; Justice Thigpen of Tampa, FL; and Leslie Birkenholz of Hopkins, MO; Jordyn Lehman of Iowa City; Molly Greenfield of Williams; and Tijuana Weatherspoon of Pensacola, FL. Second Team honors went to Keziah Lewis of Hobsonville, New Zealand, and April Jones of Humboldt.
First Team honorees must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 to 4.0, and Second Team honorees must have a 3.0 to 3.49 GPA.
The NJCAA also awarded Superior Academic Achievement to Thigpen, Gates and Birkenholz. Individuals receiving this honor must have a GPA of 3.8 to 3.99. Zubrod and Lehman received NJCAA Exemplary Academic Achievement with a 3.6 to 3.79 GPA.
“I am very proud of the work our athletes have done in the classroom,” commented ECC Head Women’s Basketball Coach Ed Geitz. “It is easy to see how hard they work on the court, but this shows how hard they are working in the classroom. When they are able to do well on and off the court, they will be successful later in their life.”
Melvin Rodriguez drafted into MLB
June 12, 2015
IOWA FALLS – Former Ellsworth Community College baseball player Melvin Rodriguez was drafted into the MLB by the Washington Nationals on day three of the 2015 draft.
Rodriguez was taken in the 18th round and was picked 554; he was the first Jackson State University Tiger drafted since 2008.
Rodriguez received several honors this year while at Jackson State, including NCBWA All-America Third Team and ABCA All-Region Second Team, Louisville Slugger All-American, finalist for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, SWAC Player of the Year and Co-Hitter of the Year, All-SWAC First Team, SWAC All-Tournament Team, and being named to the Dick Howser Trophy Watch List.
Rodriguez, a native of Manati, Puerto Rico, recorded a .422 batting average and had 97 hits, 22 doubles, seven home runs, 61 runs and 65 RBIs at Jackson State. He also posted a .477 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage to go along with a .961 fielding percentage.
“The Ellsworth Community College Athletic Department and Panther student-athletes are extremely proud of Melvin and wish him all the best as he pursues his dream of being a professional athlete,” says Nate Forsyth, ECC Athletic Director. “Melvin has an incredible work ethic and he’s an inspiration to student-athletes everywhere. We look forward to following his successful career in professional baseball.”
Melvin Rodriguez swings for success
June 5, 2015
IOWA FALLS – Former Ellsworth Community College baseball player Melvin Rodriguez, who transferred to Jackson State, has experienced great success on the field … and it just keeps getting better. Along with the many baseball awards Rodriguez has received this year, he’s now a proud graduate of Jackson State University.
Rodriguez was recruited to Ellsworth in 2011 by ECC Athletic Director (and former Head Baseball Coach) Nate Forsyth during a recruiting trip to Manati, Puerto Rico. “Melvin showed really well the day we saw him in Puerto Rico,” recalls Forsyth. “He had good bat speed and could really hit. I could tell he was a super hard worker.”
Coming to Iowa was a big step for Rodriguez but the chance to play baseball and get an education was too good to pass up. “He put his head down and went to class and did everything right in the classroom and on the baseball field,” says Forsyth. “Sometimes the language barrier can be difficult, but he worked hard on improving his English.”
After playing at ECC for two years, Rodriguez transferred to Jackson State. In his junior year he hit .309 on a team that went to its second straight NCAA regional tournament. His senior and final year of playing baseball has brought him additional success.
Rodriguez was recently selected by the Southwestern Athletic Conference as its Player of the Year and co-Hitter of the Year. He was named to the 2015 Preseason All-SWAC First Team. Rodriguez ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division I baseball in batting (April 21) with a .451 average. He leads the league in batting average, hits, RBIs and walks. He also ranks high in runs scored and doubles. In 207 at bats, he has struck out only 11 times.
Currently Rodriguez is 4th in the nation in batting average with .421, 5th in the nation for hits with 93, and top 25 in the nation for RBIs with 60. He has also hit seven home runs and driven in 60 runners.
Rodriguez’s list of awards continues to accumulate. He was named a Louisville Slugger All-American as well as College Sports Madness All-American. He was the only player from the SWAC to receive the College Sports Madness All-American honor. He also received Fourth Team honors from the organization.
Rodriguez was a finalist for the 2015 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, an award named for Mississippi’s 93-year-old baseball legend Boo Ferriss, who pitched for Mississippi State and the Boston Red Sox before becoming a highly successful college coach at Delta State. In addition to the nominees’ athletic talent, they were also all honors students.
The next step for Rodriguez could be the major leagues. He has been listed on the SWAC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team and is #5 on the 2015 MLB Draft Talent-Hitting list. A player from the SWAC has been drafted every year since the Rule 4 draft began in 1965.
“ECC is extremely proud of all of Melvin’s accomplishments,” says Forsyth. “This is the kind of success we hope for when our student-athletes attend Ellsworth and then transfer to continue to pursue their academic and athletic dreams.”
Anibal Reinoso finishes 34th at Nationals
May 27, 2015
Ellsworth Community College Panther golf has had an amazing representative in Anibal Reinoso this year. He just finished an exciting weekend at the National Golf Tournament in Scottsboro, AL, May 19-22.
Reinoso qualified for Nationals by finishing 3rd at the Regional Tournament May 2-3 in Lake Panorama in Panora, IA. He played well on the first day, putting himself in a position to finish high if he had a successful second day; he shot a 75 and a 77.
“He kept his nerves in check, and he was able to finish third in the Regional Tournament,” says Head Golf Coach Nate Adams.
While at Nationals in Alabama, Reinoso had impressive scores of 76-69-77-75, putting him at a 34th place finish.
“Anibal represented Ellsworth well down in Alabama,” said Coach Adams. “There were a few bad shots, but it was a great learning experience for him. His effort shows that he is right there at the highest competitive level. I am excited to see what next year bring for Anibal.”
ECC alum Rodriguez racks up impressive stats at Jackson State
April 24, 2015
Ellsworth Community College baseball alumni Melvin Rodriguez (2012) has achieved amazing success with Jackson State University, where he continues his baseball career. His impressive DI stats: currently ranked 1st in batting average (.446); 5th in hits (66); 8th in runs batted in (47); tied for 1st in sacrifice flies (8); 7th in toughest to strike out (1 strike out every 21.1 at bats); and 9th in runs batted in per game.
Along with Rodriguez’s DI rankings he has received SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Co-Player of the Week in 2015, First Team All-SWAC in 2014, and 2015 Pre-Season Second Team All-Conference.
This season Jackson State went 4-1 with Rodriguez hitting .667 (12 hits in 18 at bats) with 2 home runs, 6 runs, 7 RBIs, and 0 strike-outs.
The team overcame a horrific accident during the 2014 season when its bus was destroyed in a fire on the way to a game. After the fire, the team bounced back to win the 2014 SWAC Tournament and qualify for a Regional Tournament just weeks later.
While he played with the ECC Panthers, Rodriguez was named ICCAC 2nd Team All-Region infielder in 2012. He is originally from Manati, Puerto Rico.