By Nicho DellaValle
Sports Information Specialist
LONG BEACH, Calif. - It was a fantastic day for the Long Beach City College Athletic Department as three programs sent two or more athletes to four-year universities to compete at the next level. A total of nine student-athletes signedNational Letters of Intent for their respected upcoming seasons in 2017-18.
The men's volleyball programs saw a dynamic pair of setters sign to top-tier Division I programs. Sophomore setter Gary Trejo (Long Beach, CA) put pen to paper to attend California State University – Long Beach, while sophomore setter Jayce Ashment (Gilbert, AZ) signed his name to attend the University of Hawaii.
It is extremely rare to see two, Division-I caliber setters of the same year to have an equally positive impact on a program - especially at a position where a tandem is unusual. According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, Trejo's soon-to-be new home at CSULB is the top-ranked Division-I school in the nation, while Ashment's future new home at Hawaii is Division-I's fourth-ranked squad in the nation.
Trejo paces the Vikings in assists with a total of 379 which is good for 10th overall in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). Additionally, her ranks 10th overall in the CCCAA in assists-per-set at a mark of 7.29. Trejo has recorded double-digit assists in 13 contests and has surpassed the 20+ mark nine times. He recorded a season-high 55 assists in a five-set thriller against top-ranks Orange Coast College. Furthermore, he recorded 80 digs and notched five service aces.
Ashment has been equally as impressive by amassing 226 total assists leading to a 5.02 assists-per-set ratio. He has earned double-digit assist marks in 10 games on the season and has surpassed the 20+ assist mark four times. His serving is a strong suit as he ranks second on the squad in service aces with nine. He provides a nice change-of-pace by providing a lengthier option in the middle leading to 16 blocks.
The sophomore pair has led the Vikings to a top-10 ranking all year as they currently sit third in the most recent CCCAA poll. Additionally, they have led their team to a second-consecutive Western State Southern Division Championship and head into the playoffs as the third seed.
The Vikings saw four players sign letters of intent to attend four-year universities last Wednesday with sophomore first baseman Vincent Byrd II (Sacramento, CA) signing to California State University – Bakersfield, sophomore shortstop Antonio Monroy (Maywood, CA) signing with Georgetown College (KY) and sophomore utility player Jared Mayeda (Cypress, CA) and sophomore pitcher Cesar Gomez (Long Beach, CA) each singing with Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
Byrd II is easily considered as one of the most feared bats in the South Coast Conference (SCC) – South and the state and will look to carry over his talents at Division-I & Western Athletic Conference's CUS Bakersfield. He paces the SCC-South in numerous categories including batting average (.393), RBI (39), home runs (8), slugging percentage (.664), and on-base percentage (.507). He has amassed 15 multi-hit contests and currently holds a seven-game hitting streak. During his current hitting streak, he has launched three home runs – two coming in consecutive games. He has recorded at least one RBI in 19 games and has tallied 13 multi-RBI game. His RBI output is highlighted by a four-RBI game in an 18-6 win over San Diego City where he went 2-for-4 with a round tripper.
Monroy will join NAIA and Mid-South Conference's Georgetown University (KY) after experiencing a breakout season for Long Beach as the team's starting shortstop. The sophomore has done damage in the top-two positions in the lineup this season to earn a .374 batting average, which ranks second on the team and second in the SCC-South. Furthermore, he has scored 34 runs (4th in SCC-South), barreled 46 hits (4th in SCC-South), boasts a .455 batting average (3rd in the SCC-South), swiped six bags (T-8th in SCC-South), and struck out just seven times – proving he is a tough out. Monroy saw a 12-game hitting streak snapped last week, but in the last 14 games, he is hitting .424 (26-for-66) with 19 runs scored, 11 RBI, seven doubles, and a triple. He has been solid on the defensive end by holding a .924 fielding percentage with 172 total chances and has turned 16 double plays.
Mayeda signs with Panhandle State after providing a plethora of talents on the offensive and defensive end. Offensively, the sophomore has earned a .325 batting average (12th in SCC-South) after recording 39 hits and driving in 14 RBI. He was the team's hottest hitter in the early goes after starting the season on a six-game hitting streak where he went 11-for-20 with five RBI. He has reached safely in the last three contests and has scored twice and driven in one run. Mayeda acts as the team's designated hitter, but has seen time in right field and third base as well.
Gomez will take his talents to Panhandle State after proving to be one of the Vikings' more reliable options out of the bullpen this season as he has proven to be a stable arm. In 13 appearances and an even 30 innings pitched, he has earned a 3.00 ERA with 20 strikeouts, leading to a 6.00 strikeouts-per-inning mark. He earned one start against then No. 2 Cypress and performed will by allowing just a pair of earned runs in four innings while allowing just six hits. His best outing of the season was a 4.1 inning relief appearance where he fanned four batters and scattered just two hits. He backed the outing by striking out the side in a scoreless frame against Cerritos en route to a 4-3 victory.
The Vikings saw a trio of student-athletes sign to four year universities with freshman goalkeeper Saul Ocampo (Hawaiian Gardens, CA) signing Concordia University – Irvine, sophomore midfielder Israel Gonzalez (Paramount, CA) singing with California State University – Dominguez Hills, and sophomore defender Hector Rojo (Bellflower, CA) signing with California State University – Fullerton.
Ocampo will display his talents at Division II and PacWest Conference's Concordia this upcoming fall after having a fantastic inaugural season for the Vikings. Ocampo was named the SCC-South Defensive Player of the Year after hauling in a whopping 91 saves in 21 games played. He earned five wins and six shutouts on the year en route to a .771 saves percentage. The freshman phenome recorded five or more saves in nine games this season which is highlighted by a 12-save contest in a 1-1 draw against East Los Angeles. Ocampo was very impressive down the stretch by recording two wins and a tie where he amassed 18 saves in that span.
Gonzalez capped off his two-year career as a Viking and moves on to Division-II Dominguez Hills where he will likely play midfield. A member of the All-SCC team for the second time, Gonzalez battled through and injury-riddled season to still make a significant difference on the pitch. He scored a crucial goal to beat El Camino, 3-2, late in the season. He finished his career with a pair of goals, five assists, an 35 games started.
Rojo will join Division-I and Big West Conference member Cal State Fullerton after being one of the most poised defensive players in the SCC-South for the past two seasons. He earned his first-career All-SCC award by landing on the first team followed by a solid season manning the backline. A staple on the defensive end while chipping in timely offense primarily off free kicks, the sophomore was known for closing lanes and his distribution across the pitch. Rojo played in 20 games this season while starting in 19. He chipped in one goal in the final game of the season in the final second via free kick.