On the heels of its final season as a provisional member in NCAA Division II and the recent announcement of its acceptance as full member in the division, the Cal State East Bay Athletics Department saw 25 student-athletes earn California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) All-Academic honors. The Pioneers collected more than 20 awards for the second straight year, with student-athletes representing 12 of East Bay's 13 CCAA-sponsored sports.
To be eligible for CCAA All-Academic honors, student-athletes must have earned a varsity letter, have competed in one of the CCAA's 13 sponsored sports and have a grade point average of 3.4 or higher while completing a minimum of 24 semester or 36 quarter units during the current academic year.
Women's soccer led all sports with six honorees, led by junior Tenaya Davis' 3.95 grade point average, which was the best among all the Pioneer student-athletes. Senior Jennifer Lu, junior Kristen Elms, and freshmen Donna Williams, Gail Bassett and Katie Brawley joined Davis on the list. On the men's side, sophomore Tyler Andersen joined Davis as a two-time honoree after posting a 3.89 GPA as a kinesiology major.
Baseball was also well-represented, garnering five awards, led by junior Nolan Cassidy's 3.93 GPA. Senior Lincoln Clapper, juniors Dylan Johnson and Andrew Woolfe and freshman Scott Shields rounded out baseball's honorees, a group that increased from just one award winner last year. On the other diamond, senior Nikki Freiberg's 3.78 GPA in criminal justice administration gave her a second straight All-Academic award, while fellow senior Dani Foster rounded out the softball representatives.
Three women's basketball players – sophomore Lauren Lucchesi, a two-time honoree, and freshmen Maria Dinesen and Brianna Terrance – earned recognition, while freshman Kenneth Farr represented the men's team on the list. The volleyball team also collected three awards, with senior Sukhjit Athwal earning her second straight honors and senior Lauren Massa and freshman Mona Goudarzian each garnering their first award.
Men's and women's cross country and track combined to pick up four awards, with junior sprinter Justin Landry leading the way with a 3.64 GPA. Sophomores Erik Rodriguez and Bernadette Lu and freshman Chris Gallagher joined Landry on the list to give the Pioneers representation in nearly every CCAA sport.
Along with the 25 honorees for the CCAA, Cal State East Bay also had eleven water polo players earn All-Academic honors from the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA), with six of those – seniors Danielle Comforti and Kendra Mason, sophomores Claire Pierce and Chelsie Bryan and freshmen Julia Charlesworth and Meaghan Paschall – meeting the more stringent CCAA requirements. In addition, four swimmers met the requirements, although swimming is not a CCAA-sponsored sport. Senior Heidi Reddig and freshmen Rachel Knowles, Lindsay Miller and Rebecca Stratton each posted a 3.4 GPA or better, led by Stratton's 3.84. Rounding out the non-CCAA sports was freshman golfer Deanna Tyndall, who not only led the team on the links but also posted a 3.44 grade point average in her rookie campaign.
All told, the Pioneers had 36 student-athletes, both in CCAA-sponsored sports and otherwise, who met the requirements of a 3.4 GPA and full-time enrollment while earning a varsity letter in their sport. East Bay also had 10 student-athletes earn their second straight honors either from the CCAA or WWPA. This season, Cal State East Bay earned eight all-conference selections, collected four all-district awards and had seven named conference player of the week, while volleyball's Jim Spagle was named CCAA Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a second-place finish in conference and water polo notched its best-ever finish at WWPA Championships, taking fourth.
UC San Diego led all CCAA schools with 84 All-Academic selections, while Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State and San Francisco State each collected 40 or more academic awards. Sonoma State and Cal State Stanislaus followed with more 35 or more honorees.
Cal State East Bay will open its first season as a full active member in NCAA Division II when men's and women's soccer and volleyball get things started the first week of September. On Sept. 1, the men's soccer team will open the regular season at home against Missouri – St. Louis at 7 p.m., while the women will travel to Belmont to take on Notre Dame de Namur at 4 p.m. Volleyball will kick the season off in Arcata at the Humboldt State Tournament, playing four matches in two days, beginning with Academy of Art on Sept. 2 at 9 a.m.