Payson High School senior-to-be Nick McMullen might be best known for his baseball expertise.
But just lask week, recognition for his academic prowess began rolling in when Pros2Preps.com selected him to the Division III and IV All-Academic Baseball team.
Teammate Miguel Mendoza was named to the team as an All-Academic Honorable Mention.
Having two players honored for their classroom work obviously pleased PHS coach Brian Young. “To be on the All-Academic team is a great honor for Nick and Miguel. We ask our players to be students first and these guys are absolutely the example of both.”
The coach also calls the two, “dream students for the teachers lucky enough to have them in class.”
For a baseball coach, the advantage of having players like McMullen and Mendoza is, “You don’t have to ask them how they are doing in class because you know that they are already going above and beyond.”
McMullen, who recently visited Stanford University, has a 4.152 average in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Calculus, chemistry and language and composition are among the AP classes he has taken.
McMullen lauds all his instructors as “good teachers” but says of the AP classes he’s taken, he enjoys language and composition the most.
In addition to excelling academically and in baseball, McMullen will next school year serve as president of the PHS Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA).
He says he enjoys DECA because it is “not just bookwork but real world applications” that prepare students to be leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance and management.
Although McMullen, who has a 4.152 GPA, could be in line for both athletic and academic scholarships, he has not yet made a college choice but is considering Stanford.
In baseball last season, he batted .515, scored 41 runs and finished with 47 RBIs. He also stroked 47 doubles, seven triples and a division-high 11 home runs. As a pitcher, he posted a 3-2 record with a 3.39 ERA and 32 strikeouts.
Mendoza also has a 4.00-plus GPA in AP classes. In baseball he played in all 30 Longhorn games and was the team’s ace hurler, finishing with a 7-2 record and a 3.62 ERA. Offensively, he hit .352 with 26 runs scored and 17 RBIs
On the base paths, he was successful on nine of 10 steal attempts.
“I am very pleased for Miguel to be honored,” said Young. “His season was somewhat under the radar, but to lead this team in wins as a pitcher and to quietly hit .350 is really impressive.”
Most importantly about the pair, both will be back next year, Young said, “to be leaders in the classroom and on the field.”