(Blinn College’s Emily Smajstrla, left, and Natilee Reed)

Blinn volleyball player Emily Smajstrla (Pearland, Texas) and softball player Natilee Reed (Orange, Texas) maintained perfect 4.0 grade point averages (GPA) throughout two years at Blinn. 

“The Blinn College athletic department is excited to honor these two outstanding student-athletes,” Blinn College Athletic Director Scott Schumacher said. “Maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average during a two-year period while also answering the demands of a collegiate athlete takes remarkable dedication. The future is very bright for these student-athletes and we at Blinn College look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.” 

Smajstrla, a sophomore defensive specialist for the Buccaneer volleyball team, helped Blinn post a 39-4 record, which included a 16-0 Region XIV conference mark and conference championship. The Buccaneers also claimed the Region XIV Tournament title and finished eighth at the 2021 NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship. Smajstrla appeared in 41 matches last fall, playing in 118 sets, and excelled in her role with 198 digs. 

Reed, a sophomore third baseman, played 20 games for the Blinn softball team this spring. She hit .259 with two doubles and a home run while driving in seven runs and scoring 11 times. The Buccaneers qualified for the Region XIV Tournament following a 13-11 record in the Region XIV South zone. 

Sponsored by the Buccaneer Alumni Lettermen Association, the Atkinson Cup was founded in 2000 to honor the sophomore student-athlete with the highest GPA in a minimum of 48 transferable hours. The award is named for the late Dr. James H. Atkinson, former Blinn athletic director and president. 

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.