Santiago, Crabtree wrap-up 2017-18 Athlete of the Month Awards with honors for May

Santiago, Crabtree wrap-up 2017-18 Athlete of the Month Awards with honors for May

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -  Softball star Michelle Santiago of Mt. San Antonio College and men's swimming and diving standout Brandon Crabtree from San Diego Mesa College turned in outstanding performances during May and were rewarded for their efforts by being named the California Community College Sports Information Association Women's and Men's Athletes of the Month.

Listed below are recaps for the month for both the winners and honorable mention selections.

May Female Athlete of the Month
Michelle Santiago | Mt. San Antonio College | Women's Softball | Sophomore
The championship-laden month of May was an unforgettable one for Mounties catcher Michelle Santiago. She guided Mt. SAC to an undefeated, 8-0 record during the month, leading the Mounties to their fifth CCCAA State Championship and earning her state championship MVP honors. The sophomore catcher out of John Burroughs High School (Burbank, CA), finished her career with moments few could dream about. She started off May by being named to the All-South Coast Conference North Division team. She followed that up by hitting .391 in the postseason as the Mounties finished a perfect playoff run. In the State Championships, Santiago really shined, hitting .455 and slugging 1.000. After not hitting a home run all year long, Santiago went yard twice in the State tournament. Santiago finished the weekend by driving in eight RBI and scoring five runs. Behind the plate, she didn't commit a single error or allow a passed ball, and threw out one of two baserunners who attempted to steal. In the fifth inning of the opening game of the state tourney, Santiago belted her very first home run of the season. The two-run blast gave the Mounties a 2-1 lead, which they held on to for the win over Ohlone. In game 2, in her next plate appearance, she hit her second home run, a grand slam which gave the Mounties an early 4-0 lead that eventually led to a 10-3 win over El Camino. Defensively in May, Santiago caught 55 innings (every inning of every game during the playoffs/month) and gunned out two runners.

May Male Athlete of the Month
Brandon Crabtree | San Diego Mesa College | Men's Swimming | Sophomore
Crabtree, from Southwest High School in El Centro, will go down as one of the greatest swimmers in California Community College history as he was named the State Swimmer of the Year for the second time, capturing three event gold medals at the CCCAA State Meet held May 3-5 at De Anza College. Crabtree broke the state meet record in the 100-yard freestyle (43.83) and 100 butterfly (46.49), breaking his own meet record in the event set in 2016. He won the 50 freestyle in 19.94, not a state record but joining an elite group over the years that swam under 20 seconds in the sprint. In all, Crabtree was a perfect 6-for-6 in state titles in events over two state championships, a first in California CC swimming. His win in the butterfly won him Outstanding Performance of the Meet.

Honorable Mention - Women
Taira Ka'awaloa / Megan Ramseyer | Irvine Valley College | Women's Volleyball | Sophomore
Irvine Valley's top pairs team of Taira Ka'awaloa, from University Lab in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Megan Ramseyer, from Coeur d'Alene H.S. in Idaho, posted a 22-20, 21-18 victory over Long Beach City's Josannah Vazquez and Sierra Davis to cap a perfect two days and win the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Pairs championship on Saturday, May 12 at West Valley College. The duo went 7-0 and dropped just three sets over the two-days of the state pairs tournament. Along with beating Vazquez and Davis, Ka'awaloa and Ramseyer also defeated Long Beach City's Jessica Kaeka and Brooklin Mize (22-24, 21-13 18-16 - round of 16), Cabrillo's Hayley Hall and Deirdre Wilson (21-12, 21-19 - quarterfinals), and MiraCosta's Michelle Mason and Claudia Mathews (23-21, 21-18 - semifinals) on the final day. Ka'awaloa is headed to the University of Hawaii Hilo to continue her indoor and beach volleyball careers, while Ramseyer will be playing indoor volleyball at NCAA Division I Butler University next fall.

Sayeh Faridnia | West Valley College | Women's Swim/Dive | Sophomore
Sayeh Faridnia, from Monta Vista in Cupertino, won both the 100 and 200-yard butterfly races at the 2018 CCCAA state championships, making her the only three-time state titlist in West Valley history. In the 200, Faridnia grabbed the lead out of the blocks and was never threatened as she outraced runner-up Rory Nuuhiwa of Sierra 2:08:25 to 2:10:86. A day earlier, she dominated the 100 field with a time of 56:51 to add the 2018 crown to the 2017 title she claimed at last year's championship meet at East LA. The two-time All-American was undefeated in the 100 and 200 fly in 2018 and picked up the Athlete of the Meet and Performance of the Meet at the 2018 Coast Conference championships. Faridnia has accepted a scholarship to Concordia University in Irvine.

Honorable Mention - Men
Beau Philip | San Joaquin Delta College | Baseball | Sophomore
The 6-1, 185 pound shortstop from Oak Ridge H.S. in El Dorado Hills, had a monster month of May. In 12 games he hit .420 with a .508 on-base percentage leading the Mustangs to the CCCAA Baseball State title. Philip hit five doubles, a triple and two home runs along with stealing four bases. The big numbers were the nine RBI and 20 runs scored. In the championship game victory over Sacramento City he went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases. 

Salvador Capetillo | Mt. San Antonio College | Men's Track & Field | Freshman
Distance specialist Salvador Capetillo produced an incredible month of May for the Mounties track and field program. The freshman out of Baldwin Park High School went undefeated in the month, culminating with CCCAA State Championships in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.  The 20 team points he scored for the Mt. SAC led the team to the 2018 title and also helped set the all-time CCCAA Men’s Track and Field State Championship team points record of 160. In May, Capetillo also captured Southern California Championships titles in the 5,000 and 10,000M, which led the Mountie Men to a Southern California Championship Team Title with a whopping score of 231.5 points.  In the state championships, Capetillo’s dominance showed as he captured the 10,000 race with a time of 31.25.93, 11 seconds faster than the second place finisher. In the 5,000, his time of 15:32.12 was 7 seconds over the second place finisher.  Capetillo finishes the season with a personal best in the 10,000 of 31:02.35 (San Francisco State Distance Carnival - 03/30) and 14:26.94 (Mt. SAC Relays - 04/19) in the 5,000 which ranks as the #2 community college mark in the nation this year.

(Brian Sylva, CCCSIA)