As part of our summer series, the Johnson & Wales athletics department is counting down the Top 10 stories from the 2016-17 school year. A group of staff members, coaches and student-athletes selected the best 10 stories from another great season of Wildcat athletics.
Here is #5:
Look up the term "student-athlete" in the dictionary and you may see a picture of Johnson & Wales University wrestler Stephen Jarrell and Emily Gorecki from the softball team. The duo certainly set a new standard for balancing academics and athletics as they were the first Wildcats to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
With a 3.85 grade point average while pursuing his master's degree in business administration, Jarrell earned First-Team honors on the At-Large team, which is comprised of athletes from 16 different NCAA sports. It's his second national academic award of the year to go along with a National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American award.
On the mat, Jarrell had perhaps the most dominant season in school history to cap his career. He led the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the best in school history. The NCAA runner-up at 165 pounds, he led all three NCAA divisions with 18 technical falls while breaking the school record for takedowns and victories.
Gorecki completed her collegiate career with a 3.57 grade point average in accounting. She earned a spot on the CoSIDA Second-Team squad.
In addition to being the first JWU athlete to earn Academic All-America honors, she is the first softball player to earn postseason All-America honors with a Fastpitch News First-Team accolade.
The back-to-back winner of the GNAC Triple Crown, Gorecki ended her career as one of, if not the best hitter in the conference history. She finished her tenure as the Wildcats' all-time leader in hits (215), batting average (.427), runs (115), RBIs (174), home runs (29), doubles (46) and walks (61).