Athletes combine brains with on-field achievement
by Bob Brownne
Apr 12, 2013 | 2663 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two local student-athletes are among the 48 winners of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s A. Dale Lacky-California State Educators Association scholarships.

West High senior Emma Bell is the sixth Wolf Pack athlete to gain the honor in the 20 years since the award was established.

Millennium High senior Jacob Eakin is the first athlete from the local charter school to win the award.

Both will receive $600 scholarships.

The section awarded a total of $33,800 in scholarships, with more than $26,000 coming from sports admission fees, as well as basketball and volleyball games scheduled as benefits for the Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation.

The rest of the money comes from the CSEA and Crystal Creamery.

The section’s awards breakfast will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 16, at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi.

Emma Bell

Bell, 18, said playing two varsity sports while taking a full course load is a time-management challenge that will prepare her for her studies at University of California, Davis, where she will major in civil engineering.

“It’s helped me achieve in school, because you also get the support from your teammates,” she said. “It’s kept me involved in school, and the coaches encourage us to do our best.”

She has played four years on the varsity tennis team and finished the fall 2012 season as the Tri-City Athletic League singles champion.

She also played basketball all four years at West, including two years on the varsity squad, earning an all-TCAL first-team selection her junior year.

She carries a 4.3 grade-point average, which includes advanced placement classes in psychology, English, calculus and government. She also teaches tennis and swimming, and has coached at West’s summer basketball camp.

Bell has no plans to compete in NCAA athletics, but said U.C. Davis offers plenty of opportunities to get involved with intramural sports.

“I always tell (younger students), sports is a must,” Bell said. “It helps you make friends, it teaches you good sportsmanship … It makes you a well-rounded student.”

Jacob Eakin

Eakin, 17, said his participation on the Millennium football team helped him become more involved in campus life.

“When you’re playing sports and having fun doing it, you’re more willing to jump in on campus and do things and just be more involved in the school,” he said.

Eakin has been the Falcons’ center for four years, including the 2011 season when the football team went 10-1 and won the Central California Athletic Alliance title after going undefeated in the regular season.

He also played basketball his sophomore and junior years.

His 4.0 grade-point average puts him at the top of Millennium’s 2013 graduating class.

Eakin enrolled at Discovery Charter School as a fifth-grader and stayed at the Tracy Learning Center to attend Millennium High. He said the charter school’s program is just what he needed to be successful.

“The teachers care and know who you are,” he said. “They don’t see you as another number passing through. You’re a student that they want to teach.”

He plans to play football in the fall when he heads to Chapman University, a private NCAA Division III school in Orange. He will study psychology.

Eakin added that his role as a team captain on the Falcons team was an ideal complement to his academic effort.

“To have good grades along with good athletics puts you ahead of everyone else,” he said. “It’s an important aspect of high school.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or
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