In leading up to the start of the 2017-18 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 25 with the men's soccer team hosting Rio Hondo and the women's volleyball team hosting Citrus, the Laser athletic department will count down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2016-17 school year.
The No. 8 story on the list was Irvine Valley's year end awards, including the unveiling of the male and female athlete of the year for the school. In late May, Irvine Valley Dean and Athletic Director Keith Shackleford announced the athletes of the year, scholar athletes of the year, Character Champion winners, Community Ambassadors, team GPA award winner, team of the year, coaches of the year, alumnus of the year and Anna L. McFarlin Sport-For-All Service honorees.
The Anna L. McFarlin Sport-For-All Service honorees went to counselor Parisa Soltani and senior administrative assistant in counseling Monica Hooge.
Given annually to two members of the Irvine Valley College community, the Anna L. McFarlin Sport-For-All Awards are presented to those who have provided meritorious service to the College's Student-Athletes. Each year, a member of the IVC Faculty and the IVC administrative team are recognized for their continued efforts on behalf of the students who represent the College in athletic competition.
Dr. McFarlin was the President at Irvine Valley College when intercollegiate athletics was founded in 1991. Her efforts were directly responsible for the establishment of teams, the hiring of the first two athletic directors, and the tremendous coaching faculty we see today.
Annie, as those closest to the program came to know her, led a larger administrative effort that included the Chancellor and Board of Trustees to spearhead campus efforts in hosting the finest athletic programs and to bring the best and brightest student-athletes to IVC.
The alumnus of the year award went to former Laser women's golf standout and current assistant women's and men's golf coach Ailam Newkirk. Newkirk will become the head men's coach in the spring and the women's head coach next fall.
Awarded annually, The Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to the former IVC student-athlete who has made significant contributions to IVC Athletics. Award winners are those who have maintained close ties to our programs following the completion of their IVC athletic careers, and continue to leave a legacy of excellence for subsequent generations of students.
The Irvine Valley women's coach of the year went to Ross Duncan with women's tennis. He helped guide the Lasers to their second-ever Orange Empire Conference title, a trip to the So. Cal Regional Team Dual Playoffs and a postseason win. No. 1 player Sarah Mae Garcia was also named a community college All-American
The men's coach of the year honors went to Tom Pestolesi with volleyball. He helped turn around a program that missed the playoffs in 2015. The 2016 Lasers were ranked No. 1 in the state for a good part of the season, took second in the Orange Empire Conference and made the CCCAA State Championship Tournament.
The Irvine Valley Team GPA Award went to the baseball team with a 3.25 team grade point average. In all, seven Irvine Valley teams had a GPA of 3.00 or higher with the women's badminton team finishing second at 3.22
The Irvine Valley team of the year was the men's tennis squad. The Lasers won their third straight CCCAA State Championship, had the state singles winner (and repeat winner) in sophomore Javier Callejo and the doubles state winners in the team of Callejo and Lucas Lesoeur. Several players were named All-American.
IVC was ranked No. 1 in the state by the ITA. And the Lasers also captured another conference title.
Irvine Valley's Community Ambassador Award winners were women's soccer player Payton Purcell and men's basketball player Daniel Hernandez.
Awarded annually, The Ambassador scholarships are presented to student-athletes committed to our community. These student-athletes are recognized for their positive influence on the image of student-athletes by way of their conduct in competition, in their educational pursuits, community service, and in their day-to-day contact with the public.
The Character Champion winners for Irvine Valley were women's basketball player Serena Saba and baseball player Tyler Odekirk.
Saba also won the overall female award for the Orange Empire Conference.
Presented by the Commissioner of the OEC, the Character award is presented to one man and one woman from each member college who best represent the ideals of the modern student-athlete. The criteria considers "Sportsmanship, respect, caring, fairness, civility, honesty, integrity and responsibility shown through a specific action, ideally directed toward an opponent during competition; Putting the team and teammates before oneself; Acting as a positive role model."
Irvine Valley's scholar-athletes of the year were awarded to women's indoor and beach volleyball player Lucee Fitzgerald and baseball player Cole Joy.
The Scholar-Athlete of the Year is the longest standing award presented to IVC student-athletes. Award winners epitomize achievement in competition and in the classroom, and demonstrate that excellence is possible in all arenas through their dedication and work ethic.Fitzgerald is continuing her athletic and academic career at Hawaii-Hilo and Joy is headed to play baseball at Long Beach State.
Finally, Irvine Valley's athletes of the year were given to women's golfer Araceli Esquivel and Callejo of men's tennis.
Esquivel placed sixth and earned a spot on the all-state team at the CCCAA Women's Golf State Championships last Novermber at the Morro Bay Golf Course.
Esquivel shot a round of 2 over par 74 on Sunday and followed that a 5 over par 77 on Monday to finish sixth with a score of 151.She also helped Irvine Valley place seventh as a team in the event.
Callejo was named All-American in singles for IVC by the ITA and he and partner Lesoeur were given All-American honors in doubles.Callejo won his second straight state title in singles, defeating Cypress' Vincent Reynaud, 6-3, 6-4, in the final in Ojai.
He did so as the No. 9 seed in the event.
In doubles, Callejo and Lesoeur, who were seeded second, took down top-seeded Nikita Katnelson and Sasha Krasnov from Cerritos, 6-2, 6-4, for the state title.