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“The Fabulous Five” Swim Academic All-Americans- Bob Jones Seniors Gain Honor

MADISON- The 2020-2021 version of the Bob Jones swim team had a tremendous season finishing third at the AHSAA State Meet in both boys and girls divisions. Now individual recognition has poured in with five of the 2021 graduating seniors being named Academic All-Americans by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA).

Those receiving the national honor were Mary Ellis Pell, Joe Palenapa, Quinn Burgess, Jake Palenapa and Josh Lin.

The objective of the Academic All American award is to recognize individuals that perform on a high academic level while participating in swimming, diving or water polo. The award is a cumulative effort over seven semesters or 11 trimesters by individuals who strive for academic success during their high school careers. To qualify for the award, each student-athlete had to have a minimum grade point average of 3.75, be a graduating senior and have lettered in the school program their senior year. Each of the athletes received a commemorative certificate stating their All-American status.

Bob Jones head coach Wade Thaxton said of those departing and award-winning seniors, “All of these tremendous student-athletes had higher GPAs than was required.”

The “Fabulous Five” Patriots each left a mark on the rich history of the Bob Jones swim program. The senior season accomplishments for each included:

Mary Ellis Pell- She was part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished sixth at the State Meet. She chose to attend the School of Nursing at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.

Joe Palenapa- A team co-captain with his twin brother, Jake, he had both relay and individual success at the 2020 AHSAA State Meet. He finished eighth in the 200y freestyle and tenth in the 100y butterfly as an individual swimmer. In relays, he was part of the four-member squad that finished third in the 400y freestyle relay and a member of the 200y freestyle, which took fourth place. He is attending the United States Air Force Academy.

Quinn Burgess- She did not swim at the State Meet, but as team co-captain for the girls team was a very important leadership piece that the entire squad looked up to. She chose to attend college at Mississippi State.

Jake Palenapa- Just like his brother Joe, he, too, was a co-captain. He took fifth place in the 200-y IM and was twelfth in the 100y breaststroke. On relay teams, he was part of the 200y freestyle that finished fourth, and the 400y freestyle, which took third place. He, like his brother, is attending the United States Air Force Academy.

Josh Lin- He swam in both the 50y and 100y freestyle. He chose to trek north for college attending the University of Michigan.

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