PHCC sophomore takes home state academic honor
By Kyle LoJacono
Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC) sophomore volleyball player Ashley Seal thought her final year with the program could not get any better.
The Conquistadors went 36-7 en route to winning the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II championship. Seal, a setter, was named the tournament MVP and made NJCAA All-American second team.
The awards and accolades keep coming for Seal, as she just received the Roberta Stokes Scholar-Athlete Award, given each year by the Florida Community College Activities Association (FCCAA).
“I was shocked,” Seal said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I thought the season was over and this is an amazing way to end my time playing here.”
PHCC seven-year coach Kim Whitney said she knew Seal had a good chance because of her work ethic in all parts of her life.
“She’s the first player I’ve coached to win the award,” Whitney said. “It’s really a great thing for her and great for our program. There are some very smart athletes in Florida community colleges and she beat out everyone.”
Seal, an education major, has a 3.75 grade point average, but academics were only part of the criteria for the award. The FCCAA also factored in Seal’s athletic ability and community service.
Seal is active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and also volunteers with a local volleyball club to teach children the game she loves.
“I like helping kids,” Seal said. “With Big Brothers/Big Sisters I get to make a positive impact on them. It’s something I want to be a part of for a long time.”
Seal added she wants to be an elementary school teacher so she can change children’s lives.
Seal’s grades will also earn her the honor of being an Academic All-American after the spring term. She is a two-time Academic All-Conference and All-State member, and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
“My parents taught me how important grades are,” Seal said. “They taught me the work I put in now in school will last me the rest of my life.”
Seal has made as much an impact on PHCC’s team as she has in the community and classroom. She was the Conquistadors team captain this season while putting up a team-high 1,471 assists, 9.8 per set.
Seal also had 375 digs, 105 kills, 83 aces and 59 blocks in 2010.
“Her first year she came in not knowing what to expect and had some struggles,” Whitney said. “She always got good grades, but had to really work to become a better player. She put forth the effort in the classroom and on the court and was a huge part of our team. We’ll miss her.”
Seal will continue playing at Armstrong Athletic State University in Georgia. She received a volleyball scholarship with the Pirates.
Ates heads to New Hampshire
Pasco-Hernando Community College sophomore volleyball player Desiree Ates will continue her playing career next year at the University of New Hampshire, a Division I program in the American East Conference.
Ates, an outside hitter, had a team-high 508 kills last season, helping the Conquistadors to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II championship. She also added 605 digs, 47 aces and 27 blocks. Ates is studying nursing.
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