May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Pacific Coast League’s sportsmanship award winners honored at virtual ceremony

Northwood quarterback Jaden Piazza was one of the winners of the PCL sportsmanship award. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Athletes from the six Pacific Coast League schools were honored in a virtual ceremony last week as part of the Senior Scholar Athletic program.

The program is held annually at an Irvine high school, but this year had to go to a virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The top scholar athletes from each high school were honored along and two athletes from each school received scholarship awards.

The sportsmanship awards were given to the athletes who exhibited ttrustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship and who “serve as role models and out- standing citizens both in and out of the fields of play,” officials ssid.

Here are the sportsmanship recipients with the descriptions that appeared in the program from the athletic directors of the high schools: Gabe Cota, Travis Haynes and Kris Klamberg, Irvine; Steve Fischel and Monica Salas, Beckman; Brandon Emery and Sierra Wang, Northwood; Katie Levensailor, Portola; Tom Shrake, University; and Rick Gibson and Matt Campbell, Woodbridge.


Haley Tran: “Haley embodies all IHS values and holds herself accountable. She is not only respectful towards all those she encounters but, she also views every player as her equal despite her captain status and years of expertise in the sport (lacrosse). She is very humble, shows a great deal of compassion, is dedicated to developing her skills and the skills of others, and has been a light to the team….Haley also has provided outstanding leadership as Irvine High’s ASB President and a leader on the city of Irvine’s Youth Action Team. She unifies student efforts to guide students toward action that brings our whole student body together.” 

Gregory Cordilian: “Gregory was a team captain of our 2020 league championship team, and the most inspirational wrestler. He finished as a Pacific Coast League champion, and one match victory away from placing in CIF. More importantly, his integrity and character is what shines. Gregory had two knee surgeries for torn meniscus in the off seasons following his sophomore and junior years. The second injury during the Orange County Summer League tournament prior to his senior season was especially disappointing and a huge challenge to overcome. Nonetheless, he fought back in his recovery and wrestled in 12th grade, never complaining about his setbacks. Gregory wrestled all four years; he definitely represents what we expect from an IHS athlete.” 


Malak Hassouna: “Malak Hassouna earned six varsity letters in swimming, participated in three CIF post seasons, and five top lady Timberwolf times. Malak started swimming at the age of nine competitively and later qualified for the Egyptian national team, holding the 13 and under 50 backstroke re- gional record. Malak developed her love for swimming as a toddler as she enjoyed being in the water. Malak will be studying women’s studies (pre-law) and swimming D1 at American University next fall.” 

Jaden Piazza: “Jaden Piazza played football and baseball at NHS where he earned letters in both sports. He most loved his position as quarterback which gave him the opportunity to shine as a christian leader on and off the field. Jaden is a fierce competitor who always treats his coaches and teammates with deep respect. Even his opponents were recipients of his positive influence in the game. In his senior year he was honored to serve as one of the four team captains. Some of his football accomplishments include: 2018 season first team all-league, 2018 Northwood best offensive back, 2019 season first team all-league, 2019 Northwood co-offensive player of the year, 2019 season All CIF Division 12, and a school record of the most passing touchdowns in a season with 28 TD passes. Jaden will continue his football career at Fullerton College while studying business. His goal is to transfer to a four year university.” 


Alyssa Braunstein: “Alyssa Braunstein was the type of captain that led by example. First one in the gym, the first one on the line for sprints, and always in the front of the pack leading the sprints. And if Alyssa saw a teammate struggling to finish their sprints or laps, without hesitation she would run back and help them finish. Alyssa always found ways to give back to her teammates in a positive way. In games, she would fly in for rebounds, knock her opponents down, outlet the ball and then help her opponents up. True sportsmanship at it’s finest. Alyssa definitely put in the work to earn this award.” 

Mohammad Mohseni: “Mohammad is a two-time league champion and CIF-qualifer, has earned medals from multiple varsity tournaments, and was instrumental in leading the team to our first-ever league championship in school history. When he first began wrestling his freshman year, he did not start as the best wrestler: yet, he has matured into a positive leader and encouraging role model with a mean streak for pinning his opponents. He inspires many of our younger wrestlers on the team to follow in his footsteps, In addition to his accomplishments in wrestling, Mohammad has been honored as Athlete of the Week, Weightroom Athlete of the Week, and Beckman Honor Roll recipient (GPA 3.71). Through his transformation, accomplishments, and leadership, Mohammad has definitely left his mark on Beckman Wrestling. After high school, Mohammad will study in the IVC Honors program for two years before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona for Civil Engineering. “


Lauren Hwang: Lauren Hwang has earned two varsity letters in tennis. She participated in the CIF postseason once and has won the CIF-SS Division III championship title with her team. Her awards include Top Dog and ESPY Best Humanitarian Athlete Award. She was a founding member of Portola’s girls tennis team and served as captain for all four of her high school career. She also served as ASB vice president and Spirit and Rally Commissioner, was the President of her club Create The Change, and was a founding member of PHS Ambassadors. Lauren has a 4.48 GPA and will study Neuroscience at Dartmouth College this fall.” 

Kai Horn: “Kai earned varsity letters in football and track. He was a team captain on his football team for four years in a row and served as a team captain for one year. He participated in the CIF post season, once in football which included a run to the quarterfinals of CIF and once in track and field. In football, he was awarded the PTP Coaches awards signifying good leadership three times, defensive MVP, as well as earning second team all-league. Kai has received several PHS Pride awards and is also involved in Portola’s music department where he participates in a school rock band as a lead singer. Kai has donated his time in several capacities throughout Irvine including serving at the OC Rescue Mission, reading to preschoolers, volunteering at the Lupus Race for Life and working for an annual box meals service project for needy families and been a Boys Youth Group Leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well. Kai also coached the 5th grade Beacon Park Winter Bowl team for two years in a row. Kai has a 3.42 GPA and will be studying construction management at Northern Arizona University.”


Jackie Diaz: “Jackie has played the past four years on varsity softball as a pitcher. During her freshman year, Jackie received the most inspirational athlete award. During her junior year she was on the leaderboard for MaxPreps as a top pitcher and had the most strikeouts in all of the Pacific Coast League. In 2019, she was the MVP and received second-team all-league. Jackie was selected by her teammates to serve as team captain for the past two years. Her extraordinary knowledge of the game was cultivated at the age of 10, where she played club softball for OC Elite Fastpitch. At OC Elite, she won the 2017 USA Softball Western National Championship and the 2019 TCS Memorial Day Classic Championship. Jackie also serves as a sports photographer and sports editor for the yearbook. Jackie also served the Girl Scouts and in 2016, she received her Silver Award. Jackie will be furthering her education and softball career at California Lutheran University while majoring in Biology. “

Caedon Ng: “Caedon Ng has competed on the varsity level for four years. He competed at CIF his freshman, sophomore, and junior year, making it to CIF finals during his junior year. He received rookie of the year his freshman year. In addition, at PCL finals, he placed first in the 100 backstroke his sophomore and junior year, and first in the 200 Freestyle his junior year. He was really looking forward to finishing off his 10 year long club career with Novaquatics and his high school season during his senior year. Caedon was was able to serve as swim captain his junior and senior year. This gave him the opportunity to make the same lasting impact that his captains made on him years prior, the one that made him fall in love with the swim team in the first place. Ending with a 4.18 GPA, Caedon will be moving on to study psychology at Boston University, hopefully, by this upcoming fall.”


Brielle Higa: “Brielle Higa was part of Woodbridge Cheer (three years) including two years on varsity. She competed in local, regional, state and national competitions. While she was a part of Woodbridge Cheer, her team earned fourth place at the USA National High School Cheerleading Competition in Anaheim and her team was also a finalist at the UCA National High School Cheerleading Competition in Florida. She was honored to earn the Scholar Athlete Award (three times) for a GPA of 4.0 or higher. Her awards include, Most Spirited, Most Improved, and Best Performer. Outside of Cheer, she also re- ceived a Sentinel Award for her academic excellence and perseverance. She was also Co-President of Woodbridge FCA and was part of Class Council (two years). Brielle has a 4.0 GPA and will be studying Business Administration at Biola University this fall.” 

William Talbert: “William Talbert earned his cross country varsity letter his sophomore year and his track letter his junior year. As a member of the Varsity Cross Country team William contributed towards winning two Pacific League Champion- ships. He also raced in CIF Prelims and CIF Finals his sophomore through senior years. In his junior year, William and his teammates proudly achieved a spot at the Cross Country California State Championships placing sixth overall in Division 2. William received multiple awards including most improved Rrunner in 2017, most dedicated Rrunner in 2018 and 2019, Scholar Athlete in 2018 and 2019, and placed all league in 2019. His senior year, William served as captain of the cross country team and distance captain for the track team. His personal record for the 3 mile is 15:13 achieved in his senior year and 4:32 for the mile during his junior year. William also played on the JV tennis team as a freshman.”