May 8, 2012

By:  Trevor Varley - Sports Information Director

The 2nd Annual NJC Athletics Banquet was held Tuesday April 24, 2012 in the Bank of Colorado Event Center.  Athletes from volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, golf, softball and baseball were all recognized at the event.  Current sophomore student/athletes were all honored by their individual coaches as they prepare to leave NJC at the end of the school year.  This year’s banquet saw the addition of two prestigious athletic awards.  These awards will be given annually in honor of Darold Propp, a mainstay at almost every NJC sports contest and Jake Clifton, an incoming freshman baseball player.  Both Darold and Jake lost their lives earlier this past year.

Former NJC Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Lowell Roumph was the keynote speaker.  Roumph served the NJC athletic department for 34 years, from 1968 until his retirement in 2002.  During those years, Roumph served as an assistant from 1968-1981 before taking over as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach from 1981-2002.  During his tenure, Roumph’s teams won a remarkable 720 games.  Coach Roumph spoke of his time at NJC and the things he looked for as a coach and mentor.  Roumph said, “When I was recruiting athletes, I focused more on their attitude and work ethic, opposed to looking at just ability”.  Roumph also touched on the relationships he has built throughout his time at NJC. 

The 2012 recipient of the Darold Propp Memorial Student- Athlete Award was NJC Women’s Basketball sophomore Hannah Pollart.  NJC Athletic Director Marci Henry and Propp’s brother Larry presented Pollart with the award.  The first time award was established to honor the student-athlete that most exemplifies the love of the game and honors NJC Athletics through positive attitude, work ethic and leadership.  Propp, who passed away this past December, was an avid supporter of NJC Athletics.  He could be found at nearly every home sporting event and was always willing to carry on a conversation pertaining to current and former NJC sports teams.

The Jake Clifton Memorial Scholarship was awarded to freshman left handed pitcher Ryan Reno.  On hand to help Head Coach Bryan Shepherd give out the award were Jake’s father Vance, mother Karen and sister Sammi.  Clifton, who was set to attend NJC on a baseball scholarship, was tragically lost in a swimming accident two weeks before he was to move to Sterling.  The award is presented to a returning sophomore baseball player who exemplifies hard work, character and toughness on and off the field.