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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Spikers and runners take top state academic honors at SBCC

Juan Fonseca
City College volleyball player, Evan Yoshimoto, 20, and track and field runner, Amy Connor, 19, celebrate the recognition of their teams by the California Community College Athletic Association as Scholar Team recipients on Feb, 20, at La Playa Stadium.

Succeeding on the court or track was not the only focus for City College’s men’s volleyball and women’s track and field, as both teams thrived in the classroom as well.

With overall team GPA’s of 3.58 (men’s volleyball) and 3.43 (women’s track and field) both groups are the recipients of the California Community College Athletic Association Scholar Team Award.

“The biggest thing that I believe, is that athletics is a model student success program,” said Ryan Byrne, City College athletic director.

“We are hoping the academic side is what is going to lead them into greater opportunities down the road.”

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The Scholar Team Award is the highest achievement presented by the CCCAA.  A 3.0 cumulative team GPA is required as well as success in intercollegiate athletic competition.

“I think this award is really recognizing incredible balance in terms of balancing two very important parts of these students lives and doing them both at a very high level,” Byrne said.

As great of an accomplishment this is for the student athletes themselves, they couldn’t have done it alone.

“We have academic counselors, advisors, tutors, and coaches,” Byrne said.

“Coaches who are mentoring these students and holding them accountable to high standards and really holding them accountable to their own goals.”

Now a Men’s Volleyball Coach at UC Irvine, Armen Zakarian is still very proud of his old team.

“This award is all about the team,” says Zakarian.

“Santa Barbara City College as a whole has allowed our student-athletes, coaches, teachers, and academic support services to perform their specific duties with confidence day in and day out,” Zakarian said.  “If one of these links does not perform, the rest suffer.  I’m proud of the Vaquero family.”

This belief has been carried on, as current City College men’s volleyball coach Matthew Jones shares the same views as Zakarian.

“The athletic department from day one stressed that the academic side of things was definitely the most important part,” Jones said. “The goal is to move all the students along to four year schools academically and if they can also have success on the court, it would be a great addition to that.”

Scott Fickerson, track and field head coach, shared his comments on the reception of the award in an interview with Dave Loveton, City College’s sports information officer.

“This is the most prestigious honor a team can earn because it is awarded to a team that succeeds on both the track and in the classroom,” Fickerson said.

After working hard in class and practice all year, players from both squads easily understood the great accomplishment that had been achieved.

“I think it proves that we are not here just to play,” said Corey McDown, a player on the men’s volleyball team. “We are here for school and to learn, and you must take care of business in the classroom first.”

“It was an awesome thing to find out,” said Amy Connor, a member of the women’s track and field team. “The whole team did so great and we definitely really worked hard.”

With plans on continuing the academic and athletic success of City College’s teams, Byrne knows that this reception was no easy achievement.

“It’s pretty rare for any college to get one,” Byrne said. “But to have two and to have it on a men’s team and a women’s team, is extremely rare.”

“I’m just really impressed with their dedication.”

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