Skipjacks hitting homers in the classroom
Twenty Chesapeake College baseball players earn ’B’ average or better
WYE MILLS There is a lot of competition within the Chesapeake College baseball team and it isn’t just for playing time. The competition extends into the classroom as well.
Twenty Skipjacks earned a 3.0 ("B") or higher quality-point average for their Fall 2008 classes on the school’s 4.0 scale. One reason for that success, according to one of the team’s top returning players, is that doing well in the classroom is another way to meet head coach Frank Szymanski’s high on- and off-field expectations.
"With so many players on the team, we know we have to do our best in school and in baseball," said sophomore Andrew Markey, a North Caroline High graduate who carries a 3.1 overall QPA. "Coach Szymanski keeps on us about going to class, keeping up with the work, and attending our study halls. He makes it a top priority."
"Coach Szymanski really preaches academics," added freshman Kyle Gannon, an Easton High graduate who earned a 3.1 QPA his first semester in college. "After every morning practice he tells us to work hard that day in class. One reason we do so well is we don’t want to let him down in the classroom."
Szymanski credited Chesapeake’s many programs for first-year students including the mandatory, one-credit Freshman Seminar Course with helping to get the Skipjack freshmen off to a good start.
"The college does a great job laying the foundation for success by providing the students with the tools they need to succeed time management strategies, note-taking skills, test-taking tips and other important information students need to know," said Szymanski, noting a total of 28 student athletes from four sports achieved a 3.0 or higher last fall. "And our coaches reinforce that academics is the top priority and athletics in this case, baseball is secondary."
While Szymanski is proud of the 20 Skipjacks who made the 3.0 mark, he said he is equally proud of some of his other players who successfully completed difficult fall semester schedules.
"We had another four or five players with 2.7 or 2.8 QPAs who made it through difficult lab science courses and worked extremely hard," said Szymanski. "That’s what we ask out of all of our student athletes their best effort every day in class, in the weight room and on the field."
Many of the Skipjacks’ top academic performers said adjusting to the differences between high school and college environments is a major key to academic success in college.
"There is a lot more freedom in college and you have to stay on the ball," said Johnny Northam, a freshman from Colonel Richardson High who has a perfect 4.0 QPA.
Freshman Joey Zonetti, a Kent Island High graduate who has a 3.5 QPA, said making time for classes, studying, practice, and a baseball schedule that includes over 70 games between the fall and spring seasons is another key to success.
"The main thing is you have to find the time to fit it all in," said Zonetti. "I’m glad we have the study halls. I get a lot of my work done there. It’s hard to study at home."
Freshman Devin Gardner, a Kent Island High freshman who also carries a 3.6 QPA, agreed with Zonetti that time management is important.
"There’s more work in college and you have to be willing to work harder," said Gardner. "You get used to the workload later in the semester. The study halls have helped a lot because you can get a lot of your work done in that time period."
Freshman Ryan Deighan, a St. Michaels High graduate with a 3.1 QPA, said Szymanski’s academic priorities come through loud and clear.
"He’s always saying school comes before baseball," said Deighan. "Some practices Coach takes the whole team to the library to study. He gives us enough time to work on our schoolwork so we can be successful."
Photo caption: Twenty Chesapeake College baseball players earned 3.0 ("B") or higher quality-point averages (QPAs) during the Fall 2008 semester. Those Skipjacks, pictured left to right, were: (back row) Joey Zonetti, Devin Gardner, Rob Karwacki, Norm Cushing, Kyle Gannon, Ryan Deighan, John Shobe, Dan Miller, Gary Blackledge, Ryan Staton, Tyler Brunk, (front row) J.J. Corriveau, Kyle Sanders, Kyle Hayes, Mike Liddell, Billy Felo, Victor Woo, Johnny Northam, and Chris Bodnar. Not pictured: Andrew Markey.
Photo by Marcie Molloy
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