Pair of Triton athletes receive NJCAA Academic Award

Two Triton College athletes were recently recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for their outstanding achievements in the classroom. Sophomore wrestler Lenny Kuspa (Oak Forest) and sophomore baseball pitcher Joe Toedt (York) were named Exemplary Academic Student-Athletes.

Prior to this year, the Academic Student-Athlete awards were previously known as Academic All-American. However, the NJCAA changed the award format, offering three separate awards based on a students’ cumulative GPA. The Exemplary Student-Athlete award requires a minimum GPA of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale.

For Kuspa, the honor capped off a solid season on the mat at 165 which saw him qualify for the NJCAA National Wrestling Tournament in Rochester, Minn. Kuspa ended the 2011-12 campaign with a 27-18 record including winning the title at the Elmhurst College Al Hanke Invitational.

Academically, Kuspa earned his associate’s degree this past spring and his efforts in the classroom earned him an academic scholarship to attend Concordia University in Mequon, Wis.

“Lenny has been an outstanding team leader this year, not only on the mat, but also in the classroom,” said Triton College Head Wrestling Coach and Athletic Director Harry McGinnis. “To complete his associate’s degree with more than a 3.6 GPA is quite an accomplishment. I am very proud of him.”

“I was very pleased to earn this award,” Kuspa said. “I’ve been told that athletics plus academics equals excellence. I’ll always owe a debt of gratitude to Triton and Coach McGinnis for getting my feet rolling and preparing me both on and off the mat to reach the next level.”

Toedt finished last season with a 5-1 record with a 2.60 earned run average in 50 innings of work. He plans to continue his academic and baseball careers at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. this fall, where he will major in Business Administration and vie for a starters' role in the pitching rotation in a perennially nationally ranked NCAA Division III program. 

“It has been a pleasure to coach Joe the past two seasons,” said Head Baseball Coach Harry Torgerson.  “It is great to see a young man who is intrinsically motivated to do the types of things he has both in the classroom and on the baseball field at Triton. I wish I had 20 more players just like him. I congratulate Joe on this award which shows what hard work and dedication can do.”

“I truly am honored to receive this recognition,” said Toedt. “Coach Torgerson was the only coach that gave me a chance to play ball, and thankfully, the opportunity worked out well. If not for Coach Torgerson and Triton College, I would not be in the position I am now, so I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I received at Triton.” 

For more information on Triton Athletics, contact Athletic Director Harry McGinnis at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3784, or visit www.triton.edu/athletics.