Cal Poly men’s soccer player Chase Minter and volleyball standout Taylor Nelson were selected Thursday as the school’s male and female athletes of the year during the annual Night of the Mustang in Chumash Auditorium.
Minter, a two-time Big West Midfielder of the Year, became the first men’s soccer player in Cal Poly’s 22-year Division I history to win the award. He helped guide the Mustangs to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008 in the fall and finished his four-year career as the program’s all-time leader in assists with 21.
In January, Minter became Cal Poly’s highest professional draft pick when Columbus Crew SC chose him 21st overall in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
Nelson earned first-team all-Big West honors during the indoor and outdoor volleyball seasons this year. The sophomore setter tallied 1,053 assists in the fall and played a leading role in the Mustangs’ biggest single-season turnaround since 2009.
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Nelson has contributed 1,932 assists during her two-year career, good enough for seventh place on Cal Poly’s all-time list. She teamed with freshman Adlee Van Winden during the spring season to win six matches before falling to Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament semifinals.
Nelson was invited to compete with the 2016 USA College National Team later this month in Indianapolis. A strong showing there could land Nelson a spot on the USA Women’s National Team.
Other male nominees for athlete of year included: junior Brett Barbier (baseball), senior David Nwaba (basketball), junior Nick Woolf (cross country and track and field), senior Chris Brown (football), junior Cole Nygren (golf), sophomore Zach Cootes (swimming and diving), junior Ben Donovan (tennis) and junior Colt Shorts (wrestling).
Other female nominees for athlete of the year included: junior Hannah Gilbert (basketball), freshman Peyton Bilo (cross country), senior Madison Hirsch (golf), senior Elise Krieghoff (soccer), junior Sierra Hyland (softball), sophomore Sage Speak (swimming and diving), sophomore Molly Reed (tennis) and senior Kendal Nielsen (track and field).
Junior men’s golfer Jesse Yap and junior beach volleyball player Shannon Fouts were chosen as Cal Poly’s scholar-athletes for the 2015-16 school year.
Cuesta baseball players named to all-state teams
Cuesta College baseball players Dustin Miller and Louis Raymond were named to the California Community College Athletics Association first-team all-state squad Friday afternoon.
Miller, a sophomore centerfielder and the Western State Conference Player of the Year, was one of three outfielders selected to the first team. He batted .335 and led the Cougars in runs (38), hits (60), doubles (10) and triples (five).
Raymond, the Western State Conference Pitcher of the Year, was among the three starting pitchers chosen to the first team. He posted a 10-2 record and owned a 1.57 ERA, the fourth-best mark in the state.
Raymond concluded the year on a six-game winning streak, including two playoff victories, and led Cuesta in strikeouts (85) and innings (103).
Cal Poly tabs Barbier, Zill for individual honors
Cal Poly junior baseball player Brett Barbier was chosen Friday as the Mustangs’ Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player for the 2016 season.
The first-team all-Big West Conference utility player hit .352 this year and led the conference with a .492 on-base percentage. Barbier also set a school record when he reached base safely during the first 40 games of the season.
Barbier was one of three players to start all 57 games, including 33 starts at first base, eight at catcher, seven in left field and nine in centerfield.
Sophomore right-hander Jarred Zill earned the Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher award. He emerged as the Sunday starter and finished the year with a 4-3 record and a 2.79 ERA.
Zill had a particularly impressive stretch in Big West play when he recorded three straight victories against Cal State Fullerton, Hawaii and UC Santa Barbara.
Freshman catcher Nick Meyer received the John Orton Gold Glove and Scott Kidd Rookie awards.