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Big West Announces 2009-10 Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Files associated with this release:
2010 Big West Female Scholar Athletes of the Year Release
2010 Big West Male Scholar Athletes of the Year Release


The 2009-10 Big West Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year from the nine conference institutions were honored today at a special banquet this morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Garden Grove, Calif.  The winners were selected by each institution from one of 18 conference-sponsored sports.


Carissa Voegele, Cal Poly (Livermore, Calif.) – Carissa is a four-year defender on the Cal Poly women’s soccer team.  She played and started in all 18 games as a senior, earning first team all-conference honor and helping the Mustangs win the Big West regular season championship.  Voegele has been named to the Dean’s List for nine quarters.  She will be attending graduate school in the fall of 2010.

Alexandra Wolnisty, Cal State Fullerton (Riverside, Calif.) – Alexandra competes a middle blocker on the Cal State Fullerton women’s volleyball team.  She is a three-year team captain and an All-Big West Honorable Mention performer.  She is a five-time Dean’s List honoree and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society.  As a volunteer, she has been involved with organizations such as Homes of Hope, Youth With A Mission and The Grove Community Church Outreach.  A Business Administration major, Wolnisty wants to pursue an MBA at Cal State Fullerton with aspirations of working in the field of sports or fashion marketing.

Kristin McLaughlin, Cal State Northridge (La Canada, Calif.) – A four-year letterwinner on the Cal State Northridge women’s water polo team, Kristin led the team in steals (68) and assists (48) in 2009.  McLaughlin earned Outstanding Academic All-American honors by the American College of Water Polo Coaches in 2008 and 2009.  In addition, she is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  When she is not competing in the pool, she spends some of her free time mentoring and tutoring at Academic Services on campus and is a Student Assistant in the Center for Teaching and Learning.  A political science major, she was awarded the Dean’s Academic Excellence Full-Tuition Scholarship from Baylor Law School for the fall of 2010.

Lauren Sims, Long Beach State (Fullerton, Calif.) – Lauren has been named Long Beach State’s Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second straight season.   A Lowe’s Senior Class Award candidate in 2010, she has been the women’s basketball team caption for three straight seasons.  The All-Big West Honorable Mention selection in 2008-09 has had numerous academic achievements, including being named to the National’s Dean List in 2007, 2008 and 2009.  On campus, she has been involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, “Heads Up!” program and Organization of Pre-Professional Health Students.  Community service projects include the Saint Mary’s Medical Center, the Big West Coin Drive and the Long Beach Unified School District.  She plans to attend medical school and volunteer abroad with Doctors Without Borders.

Carson Lowden, UC Davis (Yuba City, Calif.)
– Carson is a setter on the UC Davis women’s volleyball team and the team caption the last two seasons.  She was named All-Big West Honorable Mention in 2009.  Lowden also earned National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American honors in 2009-10.  She just finished her Aggie career third in school history with 3,220 assists.  A three-year recipient of the Big West All-Academic award, she has been selected to the school’s Dean List for six consecutive quarters.  Her involvement in the community includes serving as an elementary school reading volunteer.  She also coaches for the CalSynergy Volleyball Club.  After graduation, Lowden plans to continue coaching volleyball and pursue a professional career playing overseas.

Lauren Collins, UC Irvine (Lake Forest, Calif.)
– Lauren is a multi events and high jump performer on the UC Irvine track and field team.  She won the high jump at the 2009 Big West Track and Field Championships with a school-record mark of 6-1.25.  She finished 10th in the high jump at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  As a competitor in the heptathlon, she qualified for the NCAA and USA Track and Field Championships with a mark of 5,549 points at a meet last March.  A four-year recipient of Dean’s List honors, she has participated in outreach activities for K-12 youth in her local area.  Collins also has been an Academic All-American every year.  A Sociology major, she intends on becoming a professional high jumper and physical trainer for those who want to enhance their quality of life through exercise.

Lauren Reid, UC Riverside (Oxnard, Calif.) – Reid is a long jump and triple jump performer on the UC Riverside track and field team.  She earned All-Big West honors in the triple jump in 2008.  Reid also competed in the NCAA West Regional in 2008 and 2009 in the triple jump.  A Sociology major, Reid has made the Dean’s List each year since her freshman year, and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society.  She also earned USTFCCCA Academic All-American honors in 2009.  She gives back through assisting fellow students with test preparation and feeding the homeless through her church.  Post-college goals include attending graduate school in sports management and working in intercollegiate athletics as an academic advisor.

Anne Marie May, UC Santa Barbara (Carmel, Calif.) – Anne is one of the most decorated swimmers to ever compete at UC Santa Barbara.  She is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA this year with the fastest time in the 50 free.  A two-time NCAA All-American in the 50 free, she has broken all-time UCSB records 43 times and Big West records 17 times.  May also earned 2008-09 CSCAA Scholar All-American and Big West Academic All-Conference honors.  Her community involvement includes Special Olympics, Swim Against Malaria and UCSB’s Adopt-A-Family program.  A Communication major, she is considering training for the next Olympic trials after finishing 14th in the 50 free at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Natalia Tomaszewska, Pacific (Marklowice, Poland) – Natalie is a four-year letterwinner on the Pacific volleyball team.  She earned All-Big West Honorable Mention recognition in 2008-09.  Her senior season she finished with a team and career-best .326 hitting percentage.  Natalia reads to elementary and preschool children and is a guest speaker at a local elementary school as part of her volunteer activities.  A Sport Pedagogy major, she earned the Outstanding Student Award in the Department of Sports Sciences in 2009.  Tomaszewska plans to pursue a career as a college coach or play professionally overseas.


Leif Anderson, Cal Poly (Reno, Nev.) – A four-year letterwinner on the Cal Poly cross country and track and field teams, Leif helped the Mustangs to their seventh consecutive and 10th Big West men’s cross country championship this year.  A BioMedical Engineering Major, he placed 39th at the West Regional and helped the team to a fifth place finish.  He has been named to the school’s Dean’s List nine times.  Leif has applied to five schools for post graduate studies in Bio Medical Engineering.

Andrew Sullivan, Cal State Fullerton (San Diego, Calif.) – Nicknamed “Sully,” Sullivan is a pole vaulter on the Cal State Fullerton track and field team.  He earned Big West Athlete of the Week honors and was a Regional qualifier in 2009.  He is tied for No. 3 all-time in the Titan record book with a mark of 5.05m.   Sullivan was a Big West All-Academic selection in 2008 and earned a spot on the Dean’s list for three consecutive semesters.  Outside the competitive arena, he has been involved with two house building mission trips with his high school youth group and is in the process of helping start a Christian athlete bibly study.  His goals after college are geared toward Law Enforcement and working for LAPD SWAT.

Moises Gomez, Cal State Northridge (Panorama City, Calif.)
– Known as Moy, he is a four-year letterwinner playing forward on the Cal State Northridge men’s soccer team.  In 2009, Gomez played in all but one game and earned his second career game-winning goal versus Loyola Marymount.  He was named to the Dean’s List in 2008.  Off the field, he is a behavior interventionist at the Dubnoff Center for Child Development and a soccer coach at Viewpoint High School and Milken Middle School.  His goals after college are to be a criminal probation office and continue to coach or perhaps play professional soccer in the U.S. or Mexico.

Alexander Black, Long Beach State (Downey, Calif.) – Alexander is in his senior season on the Long Beach State track and field squad as a high jumper.  He is a two-time NCAA West Regional qualifier and a three-time finalist at the Big West Conference championship meet.  The Mechanical Engineering major established an outdoor personal-record of 6-10.75.  Academically, he is a two-time Big West Spring All-Academic selection and a member of the Dean’s List.  In the community, Black is involved with the Long Beach Marathon, the National Beach Clean-up and the Air Power Games for Asthmatic Children.  After undergraduate work, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in engineering.

Nicholas Lopez, UC Davis (Orinda, Calif.) – Nicholas plays on the UC Davis men’s tennis team at No. 1 singles and doubles.  He received All-Big West Second Team honors in singles and Honorable Mention accord in doubles in 2009.  He was a recipient of the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholars Award in 2009.  Lopez also belongs to the Golden Key International Honor Society.   Off the tennis court, Lopez, an English major with a minor in Linguistics,  volunteered at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2009 and the Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless in 2007 and 2008.  He is interested in attending law school or graduate school in English or linguistics.

Daniel Bibona, UC Irvine (Lake Forest, Calif.)
– Danny is an All-American pitcher on the UC Irvine baseball team.  He was a Collegiate Baseball First Team “Louisville Slugger” All-American in 2009.  In addition, he was named a second team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America.  He posted a 12-1 record with a Big West best 2.63 ERA in 2009.  A Sociology major, he coaches a youth baseball team and volunteers with Community Hoag Hospital - Cancer Center for Children.  He aspires to become a professional baseball player and start his own clothing company.

Scott Clayton, UC Riverside (San Bernardino, Calif.) – A senior Business Economics major, Scott competes on the UC Riverside golf team.  He achieved All-Big West Second Team honors in 2009 after finishing third at the conference championship.  Clayton recorded a career low 63 in the first round of the Del Walker Invitational in October to tie the school record in the process.  Named to the Big West All-Academic Team the past two years, he also earned a spot on the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America.  Off the course, he is a three-year member of Golden ARCHES, one of the country’s most recognized peer health education groups.  After college, Scott aims to play golf professionally and return to school to earn a doctorate in economics to become a professor.

Josh Finkelstein, UC Santa Barbara (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Josh is a Business Economics major and a player on the UC Santa Barbara men’s tennis team.  He garnered All-Big West First Team accolades in 2008 and 2009, serving as the team caption for the past three seasons.  Finkelstein is a Dean’s List and Big West All-Academic member as wells as a 2009-10 Athletics Director Honor Roll.  He has helped out with the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons youth clinics and the UCSB Adopt-A-Family program.  He hopes to play Davis Cup for Hong Kong after college but also would be interested in pursuing a career in business.

David Rowse, Pacific (Pleasanton, Calif.) – David is in his senior season with the Pacific baseball team as a pitcher.  In his junior campaign, he had a team-low 3.99 ERA.  He was named to the Collegiate Baseball Foundation National “Players of the Week” Honor Roll in 2007.  He is a Big West Scholar-Athlete, Pacific Scholar-Athlete and member of the Dean’s Honor Roll.  He volunteers his time reading with elementary children and the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome.  He hopes to play baseball professionally and pursue a master’s or law degree.