Four SBCC sports teams awarded for their academic achievements


Ryan P. Cruz

Photo illustration using Channels file photos from previous events, featuring women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s water polo and men’s cross country.

Dylan Grausz, Staff Writer

Santa Barbara City College recently had four sports teams win the California Community College Athletic Association Scholar Team Award

The award is given to teams that collectively achieve a 3.0 team GPA. The four teams that received the award are men’s cross country, women’s soccer, women’s water polo and women’s tennis. 

Cross country coach Scott Fickerson said it is a “tremendous honor” to win this award and considers it greater than any achievement that can be accomplished as a player or coach.

“This award is as valuable to me as any athletic championship award. They are students first and foremost, and academics should be their priority,” Fickerson said. “My program is about student success.”

Since the award was for the 2019-20 academic year, no members of that cross country team are still on the team. However, this is the only team where all of the members have moved on.

Fickerson makes it a point to emphasize academics as a top priority. 

“I talk to them about having two priorities as a student-athlete—academics, number one, and running, number 2,” he said. “We talk about time management, discipline and sacrifice.”

The Academic Achievement Zone is one of the services available at City College helping student-athletes keep their grades up.

“Their coaches emphasize the importance of utilizing the AAZ,” said Michael Gamboa, director of the achievement zone.

As going to the zone is mandatory for all student-athletes, Gamboa said it gets them in the habit of studying and getting their work done.

“The location is ideal because it is in the PE building,” he said. “Many of our student-athletes have classes in the building and walk by the zone.” 

Gamboa said he loves seeing the student-athletes be successful, not only in their sport but in the classroom as well.

“It makes me feel proud of our student-athletes for remembering they are students first and athletes second,” Gamboa said. “It is also in part due to their coaches, our AD, our faculty, our program assistants, our trainers and our academic support staff.” 

Each semester that a sport is held, the school submits nominees for teams that should be in the running for the award—those that reach a 3.0 GPA.

At the end of the year, however, the California Community College Athletic Association recognizes the highest GPA from each sport. One of the SBCC team winners achieved a 3.97 team GPA.

“I think these awards mean a great deal to Santa Barbara City College. It shows that the Athletics Department is a model student success program,” Gamboa said.

Since 2013 when he was hired, Gamboa said, the school has nominated at least one program every semester. Most semesters, three or four programs are nominated. 

Over the past six years, at least one team from SBCC has won the award. According to Gamboa, this is the fifth year in a row SBCC has had multiple teams win the award.