Athlete of the Week award highlights student triumphs

Over 200 student athletes have been crowned the athlete of the week since the weekly acknowledgement began at Cosumnes River College in 2011, said the program’s creator and assistant coach for the men’s basketball team Nicholas Podesta.

Coaches nominate athletes for the recognition based on who they see excelling throughout the season, Podesta said. Besides being recognized by their coaches, Podesta said there are more benefits to the program.

“They receive statewide recognition, if chosen, on all the major [sports] websites,” Podesta said. “It’s great publicity for the college and the student athlete. It’s a great thing that they can attach to college applications.”

Podesta said the award is also a team award, as the individual player could not do great without their team.

“We want to recognize someone on a team that is winning so that we can showcase that player and that team,” Podesta said.

While being recognized is important, Podesta said athletes who are featured get another big reward from the program.

Every month one of the chosen athletes of the week is nominated for the California Community College Athletic Association Award. The association recognizes a male and a female student athlete each year for their excellence in athletics and academics, according to the CCCAA website.

Podesta said he believes that the athlete of the week and the CCCAA award are great ways to show recognition to student athletes who deserve it and are performing well in both their studies and in their sport.

“That’s very difficult to do. It’s a full time job as a student athlete and if you are excelling in the classroom as well as in your sport, it shows how successful you can be under pressure,” Podesta said.

Mitchell Love, a sophomore guard on the men’s basketball team, has been athlete of the week two times.

“I was surprised that I was going to get it and I was happy that I was able to get it since there are so many different athletes that go here as well,” Love said.

Love said that he doesn’t go into the game thinking about what acknowledgments or nominations he might receive. Instead he said he goes in thinking about how he can help the team win the game.

“It’s a great achievement but it’s about being the best player every week,” Love said.

Josh Dela Cruz, another sophomore guard for the men’s basketball team, said he agreed that winning the award should not be the focus on the court. Josh was awarded athlete of the week as well, and as much as the recognition was appreciated it didn’t change his focus on the court.

“When on the court, it’s not about the recognition. It’s all about the win,” Dela Cruz said.