Long Beach State

Long Beach State Takes Home Big West Awards

The Long Beach State men’s volleyball national champions weren’t the only program on campus to collect some Big West Conference postseason honors this month.

Women’s Golf

LBSU had six golfers make the All-Big West team after winning a second consecutive Big West Championship.

Senior Haley Tygret made the first team for the second year after winning the 2019 Big West Individual Championship. Junior Maria Davis was also first team, while junior Euna Pak made second team. Senior Cara Barker, who is a four-time All-Big West honoree, and freshman Hannah Ko were honorable mention.

Coach Joey Cerulle also became the first LBSU women’s golf coach to win consecutive Big West Coach of the Year awards.

Track & Field

Senior long jumper Kemonie Briggs earned Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, and coach Andy Sythe was named Big West Men’s Coach of the Year after LBSU took the conference title for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Briggs, a Wilson High alum, became the first athlete to win four consecutive championships in the men’s long jump. His winning jump of 26’ 1.50” was more than nine inches better than the competition. Briggs is the fifth straight LBSU athlete to garner the conference award. He ranks fourth in the region and 10th in the nation in the long jump.

This is the ninth Big West Coach of the Year award for Sythe.

LBSU will be at the NCAA Western Preliminaries on May 23-25 in Sacramento.

Men’s Golf

Freshman Tyler Schafer, junior Hunter Epson and senior Joe Fryer were all honored by the Big West. Schafer was named the 2019 Big West Men’s Golf Freshman of the Year, while Epson and Fryer made the first team. Schafer and Fryer are both Wilson High alums.

Schafer had five Top 20 finishes this season, and made the second team with a 73.7 scoring average. Epson tied for fifth at the conference championships, and had six other Top 15 finishes. This is a third consecutive All-Conference nod for Fryer, who had five Top 15 finishes. He’s the first LBSU men’s golfer to receive three All-Big West honors in his career since Brett Lederer did it in 2006.

Women’s Tennis

LBSU took home a pair of top honors and three more All-Conference nods after winning a 12th Big West Tournament title in the last 16 seasons.

Freshman Wiktoria Rutkowsa became the first LBSU player since Hannah Grady to earn a top honor as well as first-team accolades in both singles and doubles. Rutkowsa was also named Freshman of the Year, and seven LBSU players have won the award in the last 15 years.

Freshman Dominuque Meyer joined Rutkowska on the first team in doubles after the freshman duo competed at No. 1 throughout the season, and freshman Emma Bardet was also named first team.

Junior Natalia Munoz was a double honoree in singles and doubles, and her partner Lalita Devarakonda also made the second team. Coach Jenny Hilt-Costello was named the Big West Coach of the Year after her team took the tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden as the third seed.

Softball

Senior shortstop Nichole Fry (pictured) made history by being named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year. She joined two-time winner Shayna Kimbrough as the only LBSU players to win the award, and was also first team for the second straight year. Fry led the Beach with a .452 on-base percentage and eight home runs. She was second on the team with a .338 batting average, and only struck out five times all season.

Seniors Lauren Lombardi and Jamie Wren also made the first team. Lombardi hit .386 in conference play, and Wren led LBSU with a .375 batting average, 41 RBIs, 12 doubles and three triples. She led the Big West with 29 hits in conference play.

Sophomore Alyssa Gonzalez made the second team, and Maddy Ruffin made the All-Freshman Team. Sydney McCollum, Taylor Rowland, Ashley Coleman and Kellie White were honorable mentions. McCollum and Gonzalez also earned NFCA All-Region honors.

The nine total awards is the most for LBSU in five years.

Women’s Water Polo

Freshman Orsi Hertzka, senior Tori Morrissey, and junior Eirini Patras made history and earned All-Big West honors this year. Hertzka made the first team, while Morrissey and Patras were honorable mentions.

Hertzka posted 72 goals, 11 assists and 24 steals. Her 72 goals are the most by any LBSU freshman, and second most all time in a single season.

Morrissey earned her fourth Big West award after collecting 30 assists, 32 goals, and 17 steals this season. Her 30 assists are the sixth most in a single LBSU season, and she is fifth all-time in career assists.

Patras won her third Big West award in three years at the Beach. She made 205 saves with a .480 save percentage. She is fifth all-time at LBSU with 482 total saves.

Beach Volleyball

The top flights of Mari Molina/Megan Kruidhof and Zoi Konstantopoulou/Nicci Reinking were named to the All-Big West First team. This is the second first team award for Kruidhof. Konstantopoulou and Reinking were Big West honorable mention selections last season. The No. 3 pair of Kendra Koelcsh/Kenzie Holtz made second team.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.
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