John Lee earns Academic All-American Award

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor

A 4.0 grade point average is a commendable achievement for any college student, athlete or not. Hitting .400 facing division-I pitching is also a formidable accomplishment.

John Lee bordered on each of those lofty successes, a single point from completing each.

He hit .399 his senior year and graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA, with a major in chemistry. Enough to earn First Team Academic All-American status by ESPN the Magazine and the male Summit League Scholar-Athlete of the year out of a competition of thousands.

“It’s probably my proudest individual moment of my college career,” said Lee, a Mason City, Iowa native and transfer student from the University of Nebraska. “Being an academic all-american and a scholar athlete is an accumulation of all five years … it’s just kind of nice to be recognized.”

He flourished on the baseball field, hitting an eye-catching .399 his final year with SDSU, a year in which the Jacks baseball team broke several offensive team records under head coach Ritchie Price.

“He (was) such a hard worker in practice,” said Price, who Lee credits for tweaking his swing that boosted his batting average 94 points from his junior year. “He led by example by working hard, both on the field and off the field.”

SDSU played a grueling road schedule in the spring, traveling to 11 different cities for 34 total games in the span of only 58 days. They played two home games at Erv Huether Field during that time. That’s two games out of 36 at home. John Lee’s grade point average that semester was a 4.0.

“It was pretty tough, especially last year,” said Lee, who completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry last spring. “I had found enough time to do both the schoolwork and baseball, but the part I didn’t have much time to spend on was my social life.”

the hard work and dedication he needed to be recognized as an outstanding scholar. He instead described some research he did while working with Brian Logue, an assistant professor at SDSU. Logue’s research project tried to determine a quicker method of gauging the level of cyanide in the body. Cyanide has been used in warfare as an occasional biological attack intended to harm potential enemy. Lee’s research group tried finding a way to measure varying levels of cyanide by examining blood protein in an attempt to optimize tests for examining the warfare tactic.

“It was kind of interesting to be working with cyanide and stuff and do something that could actually be used in the military and other aspects of life,” said Lee, who wants to attend medical school and become a doctor.

Lee also played baseball with resounding effort and hard work, making first-team all-Summit League as a right fielder by accumulating 91 hits – 32 for extra bases – in only 59 games. He also struck out only 19 times in 228 at-bats and coupled that with a .991 fielding percentage for a 39-21 Jacks team that was among the best hitting lineups in Division-I.

“My parents had a lot to do with it,” Lee said of his athletic and academic success. “(They) always said “school first – make sure you get that education because you probably won’t be playing baseball the rest of your life.'”

The Mason City High School graduate spent a portion of his summer volunteering at Opportunity Village,a housing establishment in Clear Lake, Iowa for handicapped people that can receive outside assistance along with having their own living space. More examples of a student and person poised to make an impact with others.

“Throw in the fact that – with the sport of baseball – we missed 19 days of class last spring, but he’s still able to get a 4.0,” said Price. “That shows how responsible and disciplined he is – it’s a pretty good indication of how successful he’s going to be in life.”

#1.1573370:4212989160.jpg:John Lee bats during the team?s victory over Minnesota last season at Erv Huether field.:John Lee bats during the team?s victory over Minnesota last season at Erv Huether field. Lee batted an impressive .399 his senior season and completed his chemistry degree with a 4.0 GPA for the semester.:SUBMITTED PHOTO#1.1573371:3192841675.jpg:Recent graduate John Lee hopes to enter medical school in the near future and become a doctor.:Recent graduate John Lee hopes to enter medical school in the near future and become a doctor.:SUBMITTED PHOTO