State Fair Community College Roadrunner sophomores Ryan Surface and Amber Braxton have been honored for their work in the classroom.

Surface earned the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence from the National Junior College Athletic Association for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average for the 2015-2016 academic year. He is the first men’s basketball player to earn academic honors from the NJCAA according to athletic department records.

“Any time a student-athlete is able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and be a starter on the team, that say a lot about the kind of person Ryan is,” said Roadrunners Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Thomas. “His future is very bright. I look forward to seeing what he becomes in the world. It’s very impressive to perform at a high level both on and off the court.”

Surface, a Versailles native, played in 29 games, starting in 26 as a sophomore. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per contest. Surface shot 60 percent from the free-throw line, while helping his team to a 19-10 record and a Region 16 tournament championship game appearance. He plans to pursue a degree in accounting at Missouri State University.

Braxton earned the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award for maintaining a grade point average between 3.79 and 3.60 and is the first Lady Roadrunner to receive academic honors from the NJCAA since 2008.

“Academic success is very important to the program,” said Lady Roadrunners Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Rich Biddulph, Jr. “The first thing we tell student-athletes is that academics comes first. Every coach in America says that, but Amber’s award really put a stamp on our program and the values we put in place. We’re trying to teach the student-athletes the importance of a degree and success in the classroom. We are extremely proud of Amber’s accomplishment because this is more important than any athletic award; there is so much life after basketball. Amber’s on the path for success off of the court.”

Braxton, a Collierville, Tennessee native, played in 21 games for the Lady Roadrunners her sophomore campaign. She helped her team to a 22-8 record and a Region 16 tournament championship appearance in the District K championship.

Braxton averaged 1.2 points per game and shot 40 percent from beyond the three-point arc. She scored a season-high six points at Three Rivers hitting three out of six attempts in 21 minutes played.

She will continue her academic and athletic career at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. When she completes her undergraduate work, she has plans to go to dental school.
Surface and Braxton also were honored by the Missouri Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) for their academic work. Surface earned MCCAC Distinguished Academic All-Conference, and Braxton was named MCCAC Academic All-Conference. Roadrunner freshman Kipras Pumputis was also named MCCAC Academic All-Conference.

Lady Roadrunner sophomores Sierra Clayborn and Ecenur Yurdakul, along with freshman Mary Ware, Bre'anna Lamar, Kendra Boone, and Aaliyah Cowan earned MCCAC Academic All-Conference honors.

Randy Kirby