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Lumberjacks earn Academic All-American honors for 5th straight year

Courtesy Photo Members of the Alpena Community College cross country team were recognized on Friday for earning Academic All-American honors as a team. The 2019-2020 season marked the fifth straight year the Lumberjacks have earned all-American honors. Pictured left to right are: ACC President Don MacMaster, Caleb Burger, Tylor Ross, Aidan Francis, Musa Kabbah, Nate Robey, Duncan Ross, Mason Kaniszewski and ACC head cross country coach Mark Jacobs. Missing from the photo is Tyler Cherry.

One for the thumb.

The Alpena Community College cross country team was recognized Friday as the team was named Academic All-American Team for the fifth consecutive year.

The eight Lumberjacks that made up the 2019-2020 roster this past Fall included Caleb Burger, Tylor Ross, Duncan Ross, Mason Kaniszewski, Tyler Cherry, Aidan Francis, Musa Kabbah and Nate Robey.

Not only is this the fifth straight year that ACC has earned all-American team honors, but it’s the fifth time in head coach Mark Jacobs’ eight years that the time has earned the prestigious honor.

“Everyone goes to this college for academics, that’s number one. To be a student-athlete is even more special. We combine and we always say student-athlete and I always say this, an academic all-American will get you further in life than just all-American in a sport. We take academics serious, athletic is an extracurricular and academics is our number one focus,” Jacobs said. “When I think about this fifth year, I think about every team that has accomplished this and everyone of these teams I’ve had the privilege of coaching, I have great memories and stories. It’s been an honor to work with so many great young men and watch them grow and see their hard work pay off.”

Courtesy Photo Francis, Kabbah and Robey earned individual Academic All-American honors for the 2019-2020 school year.

Eight years ago, Jacobs took over the ACC cross country program with the goal to someday motivate his team to succeed not only on the playing field, but in the classroom, with the main emphasis in the classroom.

In his third year, Jacobs and his program had a goal to make history and become the first Academic All-American team in ACC history.

That group led by captains Alec Firak and John Smith not only made history, but made Jacobs’ dreams come true and the 2015-2016 ACC team earned Academic All-American Team honors.

“This one is really special because if we don’t have the leadership of my 2015 team of Alec Firak and John Smith, they started the tradition and every year since then my guys have earned this incredible honor,” Jacobs said. “The words tradition, culture and expectation started to grow and now to do this five years in a row is very special.”

A Grade Point Average of 3.2 is needed and the Lumberjacks finished with a team GPA of 3.28.

To be an individual Academic All-American, a GPA of 3.4 is required and Francis, Kabbah and Robey were three Lumberjacks that earned all-American honors as individuals.

“Our cumulative GPA is outstanding and among the top of teams that are qualified. All three have unique stories, Aidan Francis was a captain this year and everyone picked him to be our leader. Musa Kabbah is also a cool story, he’s from Liberia, Africa and to come here and become an Academic All-American is special for him. Last, but not least, Nate Robey is a non-traditional student and graduated high school three years ago and worked right out of high school, he hadn’t run in three years and he’s the type of kids I loved to coach,” Jacobs said. “All three kids are well-deserving and worked hard. All of these kids, this team deserves this honor for continuing to carry on a special tradition. They worked hard for everything they’ve earned. I’m proud of each and everyone of my guys that have helped build this special tradition here and I’m ready for number six.”

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