Adams State’s John Ybarra to receive $2,500 post-graduate scholarship

By Keith Nunez, USTFCCCA

August 4, 2008   

NEW ORLEANS – Newly hired Adams State College assistant track and field coach and former Grizzly throwing standout John Ybarra has been named as the winner of the Division II Scholar Athlete Award and thus earned a post-graduate scholarship from the U. S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the organization announced Monday.

Ybarra, a native of Holland, Mich., recently completed his collegiate career as a 5-time NCAA Division II All-American shot putter and will now turn his attention to a coaching and post-collegiate athletic career. Naturally, Ybarra will coach the throwers for ASC’s elite squads that combined to win three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships and the school’s first NCAA Division II National Championship during the women’s indoor season, one of four top-4 national finishes during the 2007-08 season.

The $2,500 scholarship will also help Ybarra towards a second master’s degree in education, which he will start work on this fall.

"We are very happy to award a $2,500 postgraduate scholarship from the our Division II committee to John who is an outstanding student and national class thrower.  Adams State should also be acknowledged for their continued support to student-athletes applying for this scholarship,” said Dave Harris the Division II Scholar Athlete Award committee chair and head track and field coach at Emporia State (Kan.) University.
Ybarra, nicknamed “Big Cat”, transferred to ASC from Grand Valley State (Mich.) University prior to the 2006-07 season, completed his bachelor’s degree in human performance and physical education in May of 2007. He then started towards a master’s degree in sports administration which he completes this summer.
“Being selected for this award speaks volumes about the atmosphere around the Grizzly track and field program and Adams State College as a whole. I’m honored to be selected,” Ybarra said.
Ybarra earned numerous awards and honors during his 2-year Grizzly career, certainly highlighted by three All-America honors in four trips to the NCAA Division II National Championships. He also helped the team to three RMAC titles and a four top-5 finishes at NCAA Division II National Championships in as many possible seasons.

He also performed well in the classroom recording a 3.91 GPA during his undergraduate work and a 3.87 thus far into his graduate studies. For the efforts, Ybarra was named a Second Team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-Americanâ and was a member of the USTFCCCA Division II All-Academic Team in each of the past two years. He was also named as a unanimous first team pick on the Academic All-RMAC squads for both the indoor and outdoor campaigns.

A 2002 graduate of Dutch High School, Ybarra started his collegiate career at GVSU. Redshirting during the 2003 season, Ybarra earned a pair of All-America honors for the Lakers and set the school’s indoor shot put record of 56 feet, 9 ½ inches in 2005.

Taking a year off while working as a physical therapist technician in his hometown for one year, Ybarra then transferred to ASC where he saw his career flourish as he claimed five All-RMAC honors in arguably the toughest conference in the nation, one of which came in the hammer throw.

Ybarra finished third in the shot put at the 2007 RMAC Indoor Championships and took 10th at the national championships before taking fourth at both the RMAC and NCAA Outdoor Championships that year.

As a senior, Ybarra recorded a personal-best of 18.22 meters (59′ 9 ½”) during the 2007-08 indoor season, a campaign capped by a RMAC title and a third place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships. He then finished second and fifth at the RMAC and NCAA Outdoor Championships, respectively.

Ybarra, who will still compete for the ASC Elite Club Team, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a certificate he earned from the National Strength & Conditioning Association in May, 2007, and is a certificate personal trainer, an award he received from the same organization in March, 2006.

He is the son of John and Diane Ybarra, who continue to reside in Holland. His older sister Stephanie and 21-year old brother Myles also live there.