The Mesa Community College Student Athlete Advisory Committee presented the inaugural Thunderbird awards in the Navajo Room of the MCC campus on May 1 for the 2022-23 school year to recognize and appreciate MCC student athletes.
The event was planned and presented by a committee which is made up of MCC student athletes from different prospective teams.
Head volleyball coach Jordan Herrington, who helped start the committee in January, helped guide the event along and present awards as needed.
The awards presentation began with Athletic Director John Mulhern giving thanks to not only the athletes who compete day in and day out, but also to the athletic staff who work tirelessly on the back end of the process to ensure teams and players are taken care of.
Dawson Moon and Abby Schmidt, co-presidents of the committee, then spoke about what it takes to be a student athlete at MCC, mentioning how the early practices and late visits to the athletic training room are what it takes to be successful.
The pair spoke about what really makes a teammate special, what it takes to not just value your own success, but the success of those you take the court and field with everyday.
When the awards were presented, a coach from each sport spoke about their season, whether they achieved the goals or not.
Each coach on each team from track and field to baseball spoke proudly of their team and what they had accomplished on and off the field. Each coach gave an award to one player on their team which exemplified character traits that were beneficial to their team or program.
Whether the player selected was a freshman or sophomore, each athlete proved time and time again to their coach and team that they can not only lead, but also show character traits such as loyalty, commitment, or hard work to their craft.
With most teams’ seasons being near the end, or already at that point, some coaches became emotional when speaking of their players, especially their sophomores, knowing this was their last year as a thunderbird.
After individual awards wrapped up, a fun play on popular award shows took place as categories for team, athlete, scholar-athlete, comeback athlete, selfless athlete, and Thunderbird of the year awards were awarded.
These awards had multiple nominees and were voted on by the athletes to determine who had won in each category.
Kate Brockman won multiple awards as she was recognized as the Champion of Character winner for women’s cross country, Female Scholar of the Year, and Female Athlete of the Year.
The track program not only broke 16 school records in their season, but they were also setting the bar high for awards on the night as their men’s and women’s teams both won Team of the Year.
Yotuel Garcia who is a track and field (as well as cross country) athlete won male athlete of the year, and was named the Champion of Character for men’s cross country.
Jacob Samford who is also on the track and field team won the Mr. Thunderbird award.
The event was a success that brought together nearly 100 MCC athletes, whether their season had ended months prior, or they were about to compete the next day.
MCC President Tammy Robinson even made an appearance at the event, just like many other athletic activities throughout the school year.
In the room were dozens of champions, All-Americans, and record setters.
No matter the sport, the athletes all know what it’s like to get up early for a workout, have to study on the bus to an away game, or make a visit to the training room to get worked on.
Though they all may play different sports, as well as have different lifestyles and goals, they all flock together as Mesa Thunderbirds.
Champions of Character
Men’s Cross Country – Yotuel Garcia
Women’s Cross Country – Kate Brockman
Volleyball / Beach volleyball – Cassidy Wakefield / Annie Hansen
Men’s Indoor / Outdoor Track and Field – Cannon Booker
Women’s Indoor / Outdoor Track and Field – Kassidy Faraci
Men’s Soccer – Adnan Laroussi
Women’s Soccer – Alexandra White
Men’s Basketball – Tampa Scott IV
Women’s Basketball – Xavierre Garcia
Men’s Golf – Dawson Moon
Women’s Golf – Abby Schmidt
Baseball – Thomas Schreffler
Softball – Rylee Blackburn
Men’s Tennis – Duncan Mulenga
Women’s Tennis – Kylie Williams
Awards voted on by athletes
Selfless Player of the Year – Rylee Blackburn (Softball)
Comeback Thunderbird of the Year – Christabel Longe (Women’s basketball)
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year – Kate Brockman (Cross Country / Track and Field)
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year – Timmy Johnson (Basketball)
Female Team of the Year – Women’s Cross Country
Male Team of the Year – Men’s Track and Field
Female Athlete of the Year – Kate Brockman (Cross Country / Track and Field)
Male Athlete of the Year – Yotuel Garcia (Cross Country / Track and Field)
Mrs. Thunderbird – Abby Schmidt (Women’s Golf)
Mr. Thunderbird – Jacob Samford (Men’s Track and Field)