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Big West Announces 2018 Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year

3/5/2019

2018 Big West Scholar-Athletes of the Year

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The 2018 Big West Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year from the nine conference institutions will be honored at a special banquet on Thursday, March 14 at the Mariott Suites in Garden Grove, Calif.  Each institution selected its own honorees.

Here is the list of each school's top Male and Female Scholar-Athlete. The complete Commissioner's Honor Roll list for each institution was also announced, and can be viewed by clicking on the above PDF link.

2018 BIG WEST MALE SCHOLAR-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Michael
 Giguere,
 Cal 
Poly 
(Westlake
 Village,
 Calif.) A distance runner for the Mustangs, Michael helped capture three Big West Conference cross country championship rings.  He also captured the championship in the 5000m at the Big West Conference track and field championship and earned all conference honors in three consecutive years.  Michael has already completed his Business Administration undergraduate degree and will graduate with his MBA this June.  He is a member of the Cal Poly Accounting Club and and has interned the last two summers with Ernst & Young.  After graduation, he will begin a full time position at Ernst & Young in San Francisco.  He plans to become a CPA.    

Jacob
 Pavletich,
 Cal
 State 
Fullerton 
(Bakersfield, 
Calif.) The starting first baseman for the Titans baseball team, Jacob was a second team All Big West Conference selection in 2018.  He has also been named to an All Super Regional Team in Starkville.  He has already graduated with his degree in Communications/Public Relations and he is currently working on his Masters in Instructional Design and Technology.  He has served as an intern with Titan Athletics Sports Media and worked with the agency Illuminate Communications to rebrand the organization “Build Futures”, serving homeless individuals aged 18-25.  He has also volunteered  with Miracle Clinic, helping coach baseball for special needs children.  Jacob hopes to one day be a Division I Baseball Coach. 

Andrew 
Rizeq,
 CSUN 
(Mission 
Viejo,
 Calif.) Andrew finished up his career with the CSUN soccer program this past Fall, earning first team All Conference honors.  He previously was named to the All Big West Conference freshman team and took home second team all conference after his junior season.  He was named team captain after his sophomore year and has been involved in numerous volunteer opportunities with the Matadors.  He is currently working with patients with disabilities at the CSUN Brown Center.  A kinesiology major, Andrew has earned Dean’s List honors four times.  He will graduate next year and hopes to attend graduate school to become a Physician’s Assistant. 

Josh 
Carr,
Long
 Beach
 State 
(Visalia,
 Calif.) The team captain of the Long Beach State track and field team, Josh is a three-time NCAA preliminary qualifier in the discus and the hammer throw.  He has earned all Big West Conference honors in the hammer throw.  He graduated Cum Laude this Fall with a degree in Kinesiology and is now working on earning his teaching credential.  He has spent two days a week the last year volunteering at Lincoln Elementary School mentoring fifth graders in the Club Fit afterschool program.  He has made the Dean’s List and the President’s List.  He wants to teach and coach at either the middle school or high school level. 

Wallis 
Lapsley,
 UC
 Davis 
(Seattle,
 Wash.)
 The junior goalkeeper for the Aggie soccer team, Wallis is the single season saves record holder at UC Davis.  He finished 2018 in the Top 20 nationally in shutouts, save percentages, Saves and minutes played.  He earned All-Big West Conference honors.  A Global Disease major with a minor in Chicano Studies, Wallis has volunteered in a Spanish Immersion Classroom as well as at the Davis Migrant Center.  He is a laboratory technician at UCD School of Veterinary Medicine with two publications pending.   He is also a host on campus radio.  After pursuing a career in professional soccer, Wallis plans to become a registered nurse with the ultimate goal of working in underserved communities. 

Dante
 Chakravorti,
 UC
 Irvine
 (Glencoe, 
Illinois)
The team captain, Dante is a senior setter for the UCI men’s volleyball team.  Dante earned Honorable Mention All-Big West Conference honors after ranking fifth nationally in set assists in 2018.  He is a finalist for the 2019 Lloy Ball Best Setter award.  A Computer Science major, Dante has earned Dean’s List honors eight times.  He was a member of the Research Experience for Undergraduates.  He worked with undergraduates from across the country on a study focusing on Mental Health including PTSD, suicide, depression and anxiety.  Their paper was published and he was asked to present the findings on behalf of his team at an international conference in Singapore. 

Vignesh 
Kumar
 Subramanyan,
 UC 
Riverside
 (Union
 City, 
Calif.) Just a sophomore, Vignesh led UC Riverside as a freshman last spring with a team best 22-7 singles record.  He added 7 doubles match wins giving him an impressive 29 wins during his rookie season to earn the team’s 2017-18 MVP.  Vignesh is involved in the the local Riverside community, teaching tennis skills to children.   He is a Computer Engineering major who has been named to both the Dean’s List and Chancellor’s Honors List in his first year at UCR.  After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in the software industry with the hope of owning a tech start-up company.

Anders
 Arenfeldt
 Holm,
 UC 
Santa 
Barbara 
(Aarhus,
 Denmark) A senior tennis player for the Gauchos, Anders has an impressive 53-19 singles and a 41- 17 record in doubles in his first three seasons.  With a 15-6 doubles mark in 2016-17, Anders teamed with Nicolas Moreno to earn All-Big West First Team honors.  Holm and the Gaucho men’s tennis team will be looking for their fifth consecutive Big West Championship in 2019.  He is a Global Studies Major and in 2018 earned Big West All-Conference honors and was an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete. Anders who speaks four languages, hopes to pursue a graduate degree in International Studies.

Stijn 
van 
Tilburg, 
Hawai'i 
(Amsterdam, 
Netherlands)
 Stijn is an outside hitter for Rainbow Warriors men’s volleyball team.  The Rainbow Warriors are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.  Stijn earned first team All Big West honors in 2018 as well as AVCA All American honors.  He was one of the three finalists for Off the Block’s International Player of the Year award.  An Economics major with a minor in Political Science, Stijn has earned Dean’s List six semesters, earning a perfect 4.0 in four semesters.  He is an ambassador for UH athletics with the students and the community.  He plans to play volleyball professionally and to pursue a career in sports management. 

2018 BIG WEST FEMALE SCHOLAR-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Miranda
 Daschian,
 Cal
 Poly
 (Atascadero,
 Calif.) A junior distance runner for Cal Poly, Miranda won the 2018 Big West Conference Cross Country Championship.  She was named the 2018 Big West Conference Athlete of the Year.  She also qualified for the NCAA Championships in Outdoor Track and Field after capturing All-Conference honors in both the 5000 and 10,000 meter finals.  A Psychology major with a minor in Ethnic Studies, Miranda has been on the Dean’s List every quarter at Cal Poly.  She has held research positions in both the psychology and the kinesiology departments.  After graduation, she plans to pursue a degree in either clinical or health psychology with the ultimate goal of working with athletes who have eating disorders and other mental health issues. 

Patricia
 Parks,
 Cal
 State 
Fullerton 
(Chino
 Hills,
 Calif.) Trish is a pitcher for the Titans softball team.  She has earned second team All-Big West conference honors and has also been named the Big West Conference pitcher of the week.  She was a perfect 9-0 in Big West Conference play, helping lead the Titans to the Conference Championship.  Trish graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Sociology in Spring 2018.  She currently has a 4.0 in her Masters program in Social Work.  Her post college goals first and foremost are continuing to be a good mother to her son, while also obtaining her PhD and to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. 

Lindsay 
Kutscher, 
CSUN 
(Temecula,
 Calif.) An All-Big West Conference selection, Lindsay completed her soccer career at CSUN this past Fall.  She finished seventh all-time in CSUN history in matches played for the Matadors, after beginning her career as a walk-on.  A biology major, Lindsay has earned Dean’s List honors eight times.  She is currently volunteering at USC Keck Medical Center in the Anasthesia Tech Unit while also conducting research with the CSUN FAR on Health Disparities.  She has twice attended the American Association for Cancer Research and she has presented on the topic of breast cancer at the American Society for Cell Biology Conference and twice at the Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium.  After graduation, she plans to attend medical school to become a doctor. 

Dana
 Fujikuni,
 Long
 Beach
 State
 (Moorpark,
 Calif.) A three-time All-Big West Conference selection, Dana finished her career with the Long Beach State women’s soccer program this Fall earning Big West Conference Midfielder of the Year honors, as well as Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.  She was selected as a 2018 Second Team Scholar All American.  Dana graduated in December with a degree in Health Care Administration.  She held multiple internships in the medical field prior to her graduation, working in the Emergency Department at Hoag Memorial Hospital, in the Education Department at the VA Hospital in Long Beach as well as with SCCAN Health Plan in their IT Service Management unit. She is now working with United Health Group in their OptumRX unit following graduation, and looks to continue in that field as a project manager.

Emily 
Allen, 
UC
 Davis 
(Santa
 Barbara,
 Calif.) An outside hitter for the UC Davis women’s volleyball program, Emily completed her career by earning first team All-Big West Conference honors.  The team captain, she is only the fourth Aggie of all-time to accumulate 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.  She also captured the Iron Aggie award, an honor bestowed upon her by the UC Davis strength and conditioning team.  A Psychology major with a minor in Communications, Emily has worked as a student assistant in the UC Davis International Center while also interning in the Psychology research lab.  She has also interned as a research assistant in the Mind-Emotion Development lab at UC Davis.  After graduation this Spring, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in organizational psychology or organizational development. 

Shelby 
Lee, 
UC 
Irvine 
(Carlsbad,
 Calif.)
 A senior midfielder with the Anteaters, Shelby finished her career earning All-Big West Conference second team honors.  She earned Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring two goals in back-to-back matches, including a game winner.  She serves as the Big West Conference’s representative to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.  She represents the National SAAC on the Division I Strategic Vision and Planning Committee.  She was also selected to represent student-athletes at a Summit examining Sexual Assault and Abuse in Olympic Sports.  She was also invited by NACDA at the annual Convention to speak to the impact of time demands legislation on student-athletes.  A Public Health Sciences major, she has earned Dean’s List honors and has logged in over 100 hours as a Patient Experience Intern with UCI Health.  Shelby is applying to nursing school and hopes to become a NICU nurse. 

Ka’iulani 
Ahuna,
 UC 
Riverside 
(Hilo,
 Hawai’i) An outside hitter for the Highlanders volleyball team, Ka’iulani was attacking the Highlanders record book prior to a lower leg injury this Fall.  She owns three of the programs top six single match performances, and set the UCR record for kills in a match three times last season.  She led the nation in overall kills and in kills per game.  Her performances led her to be named Big West Conference Player of the Week, AVCA Player of the Week and VolleyMob Player of the Week.  She is a member of the National Honors Society and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.  After graduation, she hopes to play volleyball professionally overseas and to one day attend graduate school. 

Emilia
 Petrachi,
 UC 
Santa
 Barbara 
(Modena, 
Italy)
 A senior libero for the the UCSB women’s volleyball team, Emilia finished her career with the Gauchos atop the record books.  She is the all-time digs leader for UCSB, and fourth overall in all-time Big West Conference history.  She earned All-Conference accolades in three of her four seasons and earned Big West Defensive player of the week a record eight times during her career.  A biological sciences major, Emi is a member of the Society of Undergraduate Biologists at UCSB and also is a part of the Learning Assistant Program through the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology department.  This program allows her to mentor younger students in biology majors.  She also works as a grading TA in the Italian department.  After graduation this June, she would like to pursue a PhD in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health. 

Petra
 Melounova,
 Hawaii (Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic) In the midst of her junior season with the Rainbow Wahine Tennis program, Petra is already one of of the most successful players in program history.  She is a two time Big West Conference Player of the Year winner, and has also earned first team all conference with her doubles partner.  She finished her sophomore campaign ranked 75th overall in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s poll.  She was selected to participate in the 2018 NCAA Championships as an individual, while also leading her team to only their second all time appearance in the team tennis championship.  An electrical engineering major, Petra is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2020.  She plans to play tennis professionally and to ultimately become an astronaut.
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