GRCC looking to share decades of awards with former student-athletes

Grand Rapids Community College baseball player Troy Moratti earned a golden bat as the 2004 NJCAA Player of the Year.

GRCC Athletic Director Lauren Ferullo wants Moratti to have the trophy to remember that special season.

The bat is among 120 athletic awards that have been stored at GRCC’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, and Ferullo would like to present them to former Raiders.

“We’re proud of our GRCC student-athletes and what they’ve accomplished in our college’s 107-year history,” she says. “These awards represent a special time in these students’ lives. Rather than keep them here, I think it is appropriate to share them with the athletes and their families so they can enjoy them.”

The athletic department proudly shows off dozens of awards earned by GRCC teams in the fieldhouse display cases, including national and state championship trophies and plaques. But others have been in storage for years.

Decades of awards

Most of the stored awards are certificates saluting student-athletes for earning All-American honors. Many are from the 1960s and ’70s. Others, like the golden bats earned by Moratti in 2004 and Braden Staranchuk in 2001, are from the past 20 years.

The college also celebrates its athletic legacy through a mural created for its 2018 renovation, linking Raiders of today with historic photos, including sports that are no longer offered, like swimming and wrestling.

Ford Fieldhouse Director Whitney Marsh has cataloged all of the awards and is working with Jenna VandeKamp, who coordinates GRCC’s alumni relations efforts, to contact former athletes and their families.

“We’re excited because this is a chance to reconnect with some of our students,” VandeKamp says. “We want to share a piece of their past, but we also want to hear about what they’re doing now and keep in touch.”

Former Grand Rapids Junior College and GRCC student-athletes who believe they earned an award that might be in storage should contact the athletic department at grccathletics@grcc.edu or call 616-234-3883.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.