Spring of 2023 sports recap


A Mesa Olympians school logo. Photo Credit: San Diego Mesa College Office of Communications.

Welcome to the recap of the spring sports season at San Diego Mesa College! Throughout the season, the dedicated athletes at San Diego Mesa College demonstrated their talent, determination, and teamwork across a wide range of sports, leaving us with countless captivating moments to remember.


by Alysse Dodge

Under the guidance of Head Coach Jaclyn Guidi, supported by Head Assistant Coach Nicole Dall and Assistant Coach Andrea Wright, the San Diego Mesa College softball team had an unforgettable 2023 season. 

With an overall record of 19-15, the Olympians finished the season with an impressive .559 winning percentage. During conference play, Mesa softball showcased their skills, securing nine wins and enduring only three losses, resulting in a praiseworthy .750 winning percentage within the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC). 

Hitting a total of 15 home runs throughout the season, the Olympians showcased their offensive power. Ambria Guye and Carissa Topolinksi hit four home runs each, leading the team in this category. With an impressive .402 average, Hannah Anderson rose as the player with the highest batting average on the team. Her consistency at the plate significantly contributed to the team’s success, and, as a result, she was awarded a spot on the 2023 PCAC All-Conference first team, alongside Guye. Topolinksi was named on the 2023 PCAC All-Conference second team.

On the pitching side, Arianna Izaguirre led the Olympians’ pitching staff by securing 10 wins during the season. Her hard work and exceptional pitching throughout the season were crucial to the team’s success, awarding her an earned spot on the 2023 PCAC All-Conference second team. 

Arianna Salazar demonstrated her speed and athleticism on the bases, leading the team in stolen bases with a total of six steals. 

Their success during the season resulted in their well-deserved qualification for the California Community College Athletic Association Regionals. Mesa was eliminated in round one of the regionals, as they lost both games to Mt. San Antonio; however, this loss does not define their run. Although their 2023 journey came to an end at Mt. San Antonio on May 6, their talent and resilience were demonstrated throughout their highly successful season. The team can take pride in their collective triumphs and individual accomplishments, and fans are looking forward to watching their next season in 2024. 

The team received support from team managers Paige Pallamary and Adrianna Dorame, whose contributions both on and off the field ensured a smooth functioning and memorable season. Reflecting on the season, Pallamary said, “It wasn’t our best start, but we didn’t let that get to us. Towards the end of the season, we became the true underdogs and really showed out, finishing second in conference.” She continued, “Moving forward we are very excited for our returners stepping into a leadership position for our incoming freshman, and we can’t wait for what’s to come next season.”


by Clay Fordham

On the baseball side of things, the Olympians finished their season with a record of 13-27. Mesa ranked fourth, out of six, in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) standings with a far more respectable 11-14 conference record. 

Two-way standout Andrew Gauna led his squad in numerous pitching and hitting categories. Offensively, he ranked first in batting average hitting at a .356 clip while swiping nine stolen bases. On the pitching end, his impressive 3.72 ERA, the lowest on the team, was accompanied by 63 strikeouts, most on the team, in 55.2 innings of work.

Sophomore Jake Klimkiewicz was an important run-producer in the middle of their order accumulating 34 RBIs, despite missing time due to an ankle injury. On the team’s home run leaderboard, Klimkiewicz and sophomore Danny Yanez each slugged four long balls. 

The Olympians struggled particularly in their non-conference schedule, the first half of the season, where they captured only two wins. One of those victories came on the opening weekend of the season when Mesa walked off Santa Ana. 

Unfortunately, a couple of significant injuries struck early on that left the team without a couple of their most reliable players. Fighting through the adversity, they managed to play much cleaner baseball in the latter half of their schedule and will look to build off their foundation moving into next year.

The program was led by second-year head coach Jake Portugal. Assistant coaches Trevin Esquerra, Steve Pryor, and Jake Rico rounded out the rest of the 2023 baseball teams’ staff. 

Women’s Basketball 

by Andres Armenta

After finishing the season with an overall record of 17-12, 9-5 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC), Mesa’s women’s basketball team clinched a historic playoff berth in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) regional playoffs.

Led by head coach Lindsay Samaniego, the Olympians secured a spot in the tournament bracket as the #14 overall seed hosting #19 Pasadena City College in the first round, snapping an 11-year playoff drought. 

Offensively the Olympians were led by freshman Gwen Morris-Lundstrom and sophomore Niki Madgedi, averaging 10.3 and 9.7 points respectively, earning them 2023 PCAC All-Conference first-team honors. Madgedi recorded a career night mid-way through conference play against the San Diego City College Knights, lighting the scoreboard up for an impressive 34 points. After sophomore point guard, Keila Terya suffered an injury inside the first minute of the game, Madgedi propelled the team to a 71-55 victory shooting 11 for 18 from the field and 8 for 10 from beyond the arch.

Sophomore Ella Fitzgerald earned 2023 PCAC All-Conference second-team honors and solidified the Olympians on the defensive side of the ball. Averaging 2 steals per game, the two-time All-Conference honoree was crucial in setting the Olympian’s signature full-court press and forcing turnovers from opponents. On the glass, the Olympians were led by freshman Alex Purnell and Morris-Lundstrom each grabbing 6 rebounds per game, and freshman Bella Terry with 5.9. 

After winning five of their final seven conference games, Mesa carried momentum as they entered their first home playoff game in over a decade.

Nearly two months after the Olympians mounted an impressive come-from-behind victory against the Pasadena City Lancers in the Santa Ana College (SAC) tournament, the two faced off on Feb. 22 for a chance to advance to the second round. Despite suffering a 44-46 loss the Olympians fought until the final buzzer, cutting an 11-point deficit to bring the game within two before a 3-pointer by Fitzgerald came up short. Though the loss ended the team’s playoff run, the coaching staff shares a sense of optimism as the program got a taste of playoffs once more and aims to build off the historical season.

“[We] were happy for the program, moving in the right direction. We were really happy for the team to have the opportunity to be there,” said head coach Samaniego.

Men’s Basketball 

by Andres Armenta

The Olympians men’s basketball team finished the season with a 15-13 overall record and a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) record of 10-6. The team closed out the final month of the season winning five of their last six, including an impressive win against Palomar College after sophomore Daron Taylor landed a jump shot with three seconds remaining securing a 91-89 victory. 

Taylor led the team and conference in scoring this season, averaging 21.1 points per game on 52.2% shooting in addition to a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game. His efforts earned him a spot on the 2023 PCAC All-Conference first team, and he has committed to continue his educational and collegiate career at Southern Arkansas University. 

Sophomore Jaiden Pate also secured 2023 PCAC All-Conference honors after being selected to the second team with a well-rounded 14.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 2.1 assists per game. Honorable mention was given to freshman Steve Stinson, who often was the core of the Olympians’ defense, posting 1.3 steals per game while also averaging 11.5 points. Freshman Dallas Rider, though only appearing in 14 games this season, made a notable impact while on the court, averaging 13.4 points per game on 46% shooting and collecting an average of 4.9 rebounds per game. 

The season highlights include a three-game season sweep against Cuyamaca College in which the Olympians outscored the Coyotes 227-183, and notable single-digit victories against Grossmont, Imperial Valley, and MiraCosta. 

Though the team came up short of securing a playoff berth, head coach Travis Nichols is optimistic and aware of the program’s potential. Nichols acknowledged that the handful of single digit losses the team had was in part due to their inexperience, which the program aims to improve upon come the 2023-2024 season.

Men’s Volleyball 

by Clay Fordham

Men’s volleyball had what many considered around the program a Cinderella season. With no external pressure or expectations from others surrounding the sport, this Mesa team caught a lot of their opponents off guard. In fact, they made it a characteristic to prove their resilience in the face of steep challenges.

The team’s 17-5 record earned them a spot as the #4 seed in the California Community College Athletic Association men’s volleyball championships.

In their first regional playoff matchup, the Olympians hosted the #5 Santa Barbara City College. In a previous meeting between the two teams, the Vaqueros handed Mesa a rare loss in a 3-0 sweep. However, the team understood that history is bound to repeat itself if it isn’t learned. After falling behind 2-0 in their first two sets, the group rallied together and clawed back to complete the remarkable reverse sweep. It was a monumental win for the school as coach Proffitt noted this was the program’s first-ever playoff win, and it all came to fruition in front of the home faithful’s eyes. 

On the heels of their huge victory, the Olympians traveled north to the host El Camino College to take on the powerhouse #1 Long Beach City College. Unfortunately, Mesa was unable to slow down the blistering-hot Vikings who completed the 3-0 sweep. Long Beach’s sweep had extended their winning streak to 18 consecutive wins, as well as dominating 48 straight sets. Long Beach went on to play for the CCCAA state championship for their third successive year. 

Mesa finished the year with an 18-6 record, including a 7-2 finish in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) standings. The squad was led by freshman Tripler (TJ) Letuligasenoa and Austin Kinnear. Others made significant contributions as well, but TJ led his team in kill percentage while ranking near the top of state leaderboards with a resounding .369%. Kinnear and sophomore Isaack Grant trailed behind him with nearly identical percentages of .284 and .282. TJ’s 241 total kills led him to nearly three kills per set at 2.98. 

It’s a remarkable turnaround from the team’s long-forgotten 8-14 record in 2022. Coach Proffitt was tabbed with turning around the program and making final-four appearances certainly contributes to that end. If this past season is any sign of what’s to come, you better prepare for what the Olympians have cooking for the future. 

Women’s Beach Volleyball

by Alysse Dodge

San Diego Mesa College’s women’s beach volleyball team, led by head coach Kim Luster,  concluded their 2023 season with a remarkable overall record of 22-3, including a perfect conference record of 12-0. Their achievements on the sand have earned well-deserved recognition for both the team and Luster. 

The team’s achievements have not gone unnoticed, as the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC), recognized the exceptional abilities of their players, honoring eight student-athletes, Sophia Jarosz, Austria Mendiola, Maddie Harris, Victoria Goff, Isabelle Bakken, Nicole Eden, Maya Jessee, and Emily Eltrich, a well-deserved place on the All-Conference team. The talent within the program was showcased through their individual contributions to the team’s success. 

In addition, coach Luster was named the 2023 PCAC Coach of the Year, marking the second consecutive year she has received this honor. Her leadership and guidance undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the team’s exceptional performance this season. 

The success of the Olympians extended beyond the conference level, as two pairs earned the opportunity to compete in the eagerly anticipated California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Beach Pairs State Championships held at West Valley College on May 12 and 13. Sophia Jarosz and Austia Mendiola represented Mesa, as well as Victoria Goff and Maddie Harris. 

As the season drew to a close, Mesa College’s women’s beach volleyball team can reflect with pride on their exceptional accomplishments. With an impressive record of 22-3, including a flawless conference record of 12-0, they have made an unforgettable impact on the sand and earned the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Men’s Swimming & Diving

by Alexis Bondch

Head coach Michael Murad completed his second year with the men’s swim and dive team, and is, rightfully, proud of the culture they’ve created. While rebuilding, Mesa was looking to improve upon their fourth-place finish in last year’s conference championship. The Olympians finished second in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with 595 points, behind Palomar College’s 711 points.

Freshman Zach Gonzales finished first in the men’s 200 breaststroke. He also made the top 8 in both the men’s 100 breaststroke and men’s 200 individual medley.

Ty Hunt took second place in both the men’s 1-meter dive and 3-meter dive. Hunt and fellow diver Filip Dominique will be competing in the state championships for the second year in a row.

Each took home a medal for their scores in the men’s 1-meter and 3-meter dives at this year’s state championships. Hunt came in second place after recording a score of 242.85 points on the 1-meter and third place with a score of 224.75 points on the 3-meter, to secure his rank at fourth overall. 

Dominique scored 212.55 points, which landed him in seventh on the 1-meter and 209.40 points to place sixth on the 3-meter, putting him in sixth place overall at the state championships. 

Women’s Swimming & Diving

by Alexis Bondch

The women’s swim & dive demonstrated their aquatic excellence for the fifth season in a row and took home the conference title again this year. Head coach Paul Mazzarelle led the group to victory this season with a team-first approach. The Olympians finished the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with 783 points, followed by Grossmont College with 619 points.

Freshman Lourdes (Sofia) Salas took home a medal at the state championships. She scored 192.45 points in the women’s 1-meter dive for sixth place, and 209.65 points in the 3-meter dive for third place. She finished in fourth place overall. 

Men’s Track & Field: 

by Alexis Bondch

The men’s team had a record-setting season and finished in second place at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships. Led by head coach Sean Ricketts, the team had four individual state champions. 

Jake Beckwith barely stretched past Kyle Reden of Riverside Community College in the 800-meter by an incredibly close margin. His championship-winning time was 1 minute, 54.32 seconds to narrowly beat Reden’s 1:54.36. 

Second-year student Jeramiah Havens ran a personal record in the 100 with a time of 10.96. Havens wasn’t done setting personal best marks for himself as he also achieved another in the 110-meter hurdle with a time of 15.82. A true shining star on the team, Havens set a national junior college season best with his comprehensive score of 6,939 points. 

Sophomore Cesar Salazar battled defending champion, Donal Aluesi from Riverside College, and reigned victorious with a throw of 54-6 ½ feet, defeating Aluesi’s 54-2 feet. Salazar’s winning throw score ranks third of all time in Mesa’s record books. 

In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the Olympians dominated with a sensational one-two-three finish. There’s no room on the winner’s board when the Olympians are in town! Bryce Kueker was looking to defend the steeplechase title that he won back in 2022, and he did just that. His impressive time of 9:19.16 was followed by teammates David Millan at 9:23.53 and Zak Beckwith at 9:27.02.

Women’s Track & Field:

by Alexis Bondch

The women’s track & field team finished in third place at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships, with two individual state champions. Coach Ricketts mentioned why this was a noteworthy year for the school; it was the first time that both men’s and women’s teams finished on the podium together. 

Madison Rauch secured back-to-back state championships for the Olympians when she defeated both Mt. Sac College’s Bailie Horton and Chabot College’s Andie Aymond in the pole vault, reaching a height of 11-8 feet to defeat Horton’s and Aymond’s matching scores of 11 ¼ feet.  

Sophomore state champion Kaela Estrada set a Mesa track & field record with a javelin throw of 37.96 meters. Her impressive distance cleared the runner-up by nearly two-and-a-half meters. 

Women’s Badminton 

by Hana Marrone

The Olympians women’s badminton tandem of sophomore Erica Garcia Badaracco and freshman Megan Nguyen took home a California Community College Athletic Association State Doubles Championship title after defeating Evergreen Valley College. The badminton duo’s remarkable accomplishment helped Mesa reel in their second state doubles championship in program history – the first since 2001. 

Badaracco and Nguyen took down two separate teams from De Anza College, including last year’s reigning champions, on their path to the finals. 

Head coach June Andrews couldn’t seem to find enough great things to say about her champions and the program as a whole. Andrews and assistant coach Thai Lay were the two responsible for teaching and motivating the women’s team to their achievements.

Mesa’s 8-3 overall record was nearly identical to their conference standings of 8-2, with one non-conference loss to De Anza. It’s only appropriate that Badaracco and Nguyen had to overcome one of their previous challenges in the quarter and semi-finals. 

When the Olympians were winning, they left no room for doubt. In their eight regular season victories, their average margin of defeat over their opponents was 15.75 points.

Courtesy of Mesa’s state champion duos, the 2023 Spring was a resurrection year for the program.