Culver City Observer -

Culver Athletes Of The Year Honored

 

Fred Altieri

Jay Sterner - Boys Student Athlete of the Year

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

The 2014-15 Culver City High Senior Student Athlete of the Year banquet was well attended and joyous as awards were given out for Teams of the Year, Athletes of the Year, academically achieving students and top athletes for their respective sports programs.

Fifty four students were awarded the Dave Sanchez Award for a GPA of 3.5 and above over their four years at Culver City High. Seventeen students received the Jerry Chabola Award for seniors that do an outstanding job as a person of high character and are a great example of the student athlete at Culver.

Twelve girls and 12 boys were awarded the top Senior Athlete for their respective sports. Athletic director Tom Salter also congratulated Lloyd Dixon for doing an outstanding job as Booster Club President for the last three years.

There were two winners for the Girls Athletic Team of the Year: the track team and the cheer team. The girls track team coached by Rayfield Beaton, Tom Fritzius and Jahmal Wright went undefeated in Ocean League competition this spring.

The cheer team under the direction of Lindsey Farris attained a level never realized before in the school's athletic history as the girls placed second in the entire nation earlier this year in the 2015 NHSF UCA National High School Cheerleading Championships at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

The Boys Athletic Team of the Year was the varsity tennis squad led by head coach Phil Rothenberg and coach Seth Lewkow. The team compiled its best record since the early 2000's and was the first Centaur squad to be invited to the elite CIF Division I playoffs.

The Girls Athlete of the Year Award was presented to volleyball player Taylor Selfridge. She was a key player during her four years of varsity ball under coach Joe Manzo, helped the team go deep into the playoffs and was a team captain the last two years.

"I wasn't expecting to win the Athlete of the Year Award. I thought there were so many other female athletes at the school that could win it," she said. "But when my coach went up there I knew it would be me because there weren't many seniors on the girls volleyball team. I was honored to receive the award."

The Boys Athlete of the Year Award went to three-sport varsity player Elliot Stanger. He played water polo, lacrosse and basketball this year and scored his 100th career goal in lacrosse this spring. His coaches in water polo were Nestor Dordoni, Sr. and Nestor Dordoni, Jr.; in lacrosse with coach Casey Chabola and basketball with coach Adam Eskridge.

Stanger: "I was real excited. It was very humbling and rewarding after four years of all the hours of practice and the games. It was a good way to end the senior year. I played water polo and lacrosse all four years and basketball this year. It was a lot of fun."

The Girls Student Athlete Award was given to cheerleader Shannon Burne. The award is from the Team to Win Foundation for Culver City High School. Burne was recognized for her excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community. She was a captain on this year's cheer team.

"I was pretty surprised to win the Scholar Athlete award. I know a lot of people who are deserving of that award. So it was really heart-warming to receive it but it also felt nice that people think that way of me. My parents were really proud of me," said Burne.

"It was nice for the team to be recognized as Team of the Year because most people don't look at cheer as an actual sport. Cheer really puts in a lot of hours with the community because people want us to perform everywhere. We also do a lot of kid camps where we teach little kids cheers and stunts."

The Boys Student Athlete Award was given to baseball standout Jay Sterner. He pitched four years of varsity ball for coach Rick Prieto and was the ace of the staff the past three years. Sterner pitched numerous no-hitters, played several field positions, was a clutch hitter for the Centaurs but is noted for excelling in the classroom and tutoring other students.

Sterner, who also received the Scholar for the GPA and the baseball team awards commented: "It was great. What I wanted to be was a student, an athlete and to work in the community. That's what the award was about so it felt pretty good."

He spoke about being a Culver student: "Being a freshman on the varsity baseball team I was with mostly older kids and they helped me a lot. Culver High is ethnically diverse, you get to learn about others and can make so many different friends. It's just a great school."

Burne on the cheer team's remarkable year: "It was a highlight to finish second in the National Cheerleading Championships though it was also heartbreaking because we lost by 2/10's of a point. It was fun to go to Florida and see that all of our hard work throughout the year had paid off."

Fred Altieri

Cheer Team at National Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida

Selfridge on her career at Culver: "I remember the first year there was nobody at the games. Then when the students found out that volleyball was actually a good thing and that we were a good team they came and supported us a lot more than before."

"This year was definitely a lot more emotional for me. I knew it was my last year so I went all out and did the best that I could. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed it."

Stanger finished up: "It was kind of a farewell tour this year and I got to say goodbye to everyone from my high school playing days while getting ready to move on to next year."

"I love Culver City High School. It's a great place. All the staff is here when you need them and they're not here when you don't want them to be. So you get your own freedom and individuality. It really helps you grow as a student as well as an athlete."

 

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