Cooks and Meendering Named Cuesta’s

2014 Outstanding Athletes of the Year


SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 13, 2014) – In 2003 the Cuesta Athletic Department instituted its first true Athlete of the Year Award.  The coaching staff was encrouaged to nominate their best athlete for the award and committee was created that would weigh performance as the highest criteria.  Today Cuesta’s Outstanding Athletes of the Year for the twelvth time. This year’s winners are two-sport star Riley Cooks (Coarsegold) and Aquatic star Georan Meendering (Visalia). 

            Sophomore Riley Cooks (Coarsegold) has been a two-year star for both volleyball and track & field.  She has been the team MVP for both sports each of the past two seasons.  In volleyball, she has twice ben named to the All Western State Conference First Team and, despite arriving at Cuesta as a setter, she has led the team in kills, as an outside hitter, each of the past two seasons.  She led the team with 278 kills this season and ranks #2 all time at Cuesta with 505 kills.   She also ranks #3 all time in career service aces (50) and #10 in career digs (390).  Cooks joined the track & field team in the spring and this weekend she will compete in the CCCAA State Championship for the second straight year.  In 2013, won a confernece title in the heptathlon and set a school record three weeks later, when she finished second in the state.  This year, she has broken her heptathlon record twice (4, 808 points) and won a pair of conference titles while setting Cuesta records in the long jump (18’ 10”) and 100 hurdles (:14.64).  She qualified for the state meet in five events, including the heptathlon, and ranks in Cuesta’s all time Top 10 in sevven events.  A two-time MVP, Cooks is one of the most decorated track & field atheltes in Cuesta history.   Cooks, who boasts a 3.39 GPA, will transfer to compete at Long Beach State in 2014-15.

Backstroker Georan Meednering (Visalia) claimed the 200-backstroke title at the 2014 CCCAA State Championship and also place in the 100-backstroke and 200-individual medley.  He holds Cuesta records in all three events and also ranks in Cuesta’s all time top 10 in the 100 and 200 freestyle.  Meendering was a three-time All American as a freshman in 2013 and is a candidate to add five more certificates to his resume this spring.   He is a two-time Cuesta Swim & Dive MVP and is one of Cuesta’s best and most versatile swimmers of all time.  Meendering also played water polo in the fall and earned All American honors as a poloist.  He led the Cougars in scoring with 73 goals as the team won a conference title and advanced into the playoffs. Meendering, who boasts a 3.5 GPA, will transfer to compete at University of the Pacific in 2014-15.

Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award

            Male                                                                        Female

2003            David Lamar (Baseball)                                                Shanna DeMichelle (Swimming)

2004            Kevin Bradley (Water Polo, Swimming)                        Christina Reyes (Cross Country, Track)

2005            Mike Brown (Baseball)                                                Jessie Ritchie (Tennis)

2006            Jeff Chaney (Water Polo)                                    Lindsay Campana (Softball)

2007            Michael Williams (Wrestling)                                    Whitney Levicki (Water Polo)

2008            Quentin Cate (Baseball)                                                Julie Coelho (Volleyball)

2009            Tom Schumacher (Basketball)                                    Chloe Redman (Tennis)

2010            Roger Guardia (Basketball)                                    Kelly Barmann (Cross Country)

2011            Eric Marsh (Water Polo)                                    Alexandria Bernard (Water Polo, Swimming)

2012            Malte Kramer (Basketball)                                    Devon Kelsey (Cross Country, Track)

2013            Brady Moore (Water Polo)                                    Kryn Masutani (Softball)

2014            Georan Meendering (Swimming)                        Riley Cooks (Volleyball, Track)





SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 13, 2014) – Cuesta College is among the top-ranked community colleges in the state based on the UC and Cal State transfer ratios and part of that success stems from the commitment to academics from the school’s scholar/athletes. In an extension of its commitment to academic excellence, the Cuesta Athletic Department has endeavored to recognize its top scholar/athletes with one award rather than just listing their achievements.  This award has been named the Warren Hansen Scholar-Athlete Award in recognition of former Cuesta Athletic Director Warren Hansen’s 36-year commitment to academic excellence.  A student must maintain a 3.5 GPA and be nominated on the basis of their citizenship and athletic performance.  This year’s winners are Aquatics Star Karissa Sternfels (Clovis) and Grappler Geoff Merker (Camino).  Both of these athletes will represent Cuesta at the conference and state levels as COA Pepsi Scholar Award nominees.           

Karissa Sternfels is a three-time all-Western State Conference selection, twice in swimming and once in water polo.  She is a two-time CCCAA State Qualifier in swimming and was the swim team’s MVP in 2013.  This spring, she was voted Captain and became an All American candidate after setting a Cuesta record in the 50-breaststroke.  Karissa was also voted Captain in water polo and led the team to a school record 22 wins.    Karissa earned all-WSC Academic Team honors twice in swimming and once in water polo.  She compiled a 3.89 grade-point average in 62.5 units in his first three semesters at Cuesta, averaging over 20 units per semester, while competing and working a job.  Karissa will continue her studies in Business Administration major at Fresno State next fall.    

Geoff came to Cuesta after a stint in the US Marines and is a two-year member of the Cuesta wrestling team.  He helped lead Cuesta to a SouthEast Conference title this year and to 6th place at the CCCAA State Championships.  Geoff posted a 19-16 record on the mat and was an individual state place winner (6th) at 197-pounds this year.  He posted a 3.68 grade-point average in 47.0 units over his first three semesters at Cuesta and is a two-time all-conference academic selection.  Geoff is a Fitness, Health and Nutrition major and will attend Boise State next fall.

Both of the athletes will represent Cuesta at the Conference and State as Cuesta College’s COA Pepsi Scholar Award nominees. Last year’s Male Warren Hansen Scholar-Athlete Spencer Silva became 14th Cuesta athlete named to the CCCAA State Honor Roll. Over the past 15 years Cuesta athletes have earned more academic honors both, as individual student-athletes and scholar teams, than any other community college in the CCCAA.

 Warren E. Hansen Scholar-Athlete Award

            Male                                                                        Female

2002            Savio Gomes (Water Polo)                                    Virlena Bascos (Basketball)

2003            Jeremy Waldram (Wrestling)                                    Leilani Greene (Track & Field)

2004            Kevin Bradley (Water Polo)                                    Chelsea Tallcott (Soccer)

2005            Jared Hollows (Track & Field)                                    Lauren Villa (Basketball)

2006            Jon Jordan (Track & Field)                                    Clare Nowel (Cross Country)

2007            Mark Stephen (Water Polo)                                    Haley Woeste (Basketball)

2008            Quinn Clair (Baseball)                                                Majida Fazal (Cross Country)

2009            Miles Wallace (Wrestling)                                    Chloe Redman (Tennis)

2010            Demian Nelson (Diving)                                    Alex Ramirez (Softball)

2011            Nic Lalanne (Water Polo                                    Kaysea Woods (Soccer)

2012            Malte Kramer (Basketball)                                    Ensley Allmon (Volleyball)

2013            Spencer Silva (Water Polo)                                    Julia Mills (Cross Country)

2014            Geoff Merker (Wrestling)                                    Karissa Sternfels (Swimming)

George Silveria Career Award Winners

Riley Cooks


SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 13, 2014) -- Cuesta College honored its 2014 George Silveria Career Student/Athlete Award winner is two-sport Star Riley Cooks (Coarsegold).

            In 1966, the Cuesta Athletic Booster Club Board of Directors established the George Silveria Student/Athlete Career Award.  

This award honors and serves as a memorial for George Silveria.  Mr Silveria was a graduate of the original San Luis Obispo District Junior College in 1948.  He was the captain of the championship football team in 1947, an executive member of the student body, a dedicated student and extensively involved in the community.  The World War II veteran was well respected by his teammates, coaches, teachers and peers.   He truly exemplified the meaning of student/athlete.  Mr Silveria past away in 1961, after battle with leukemia.

The award takes into consideration a student-athletes’ career as an athlete, their involvement in the college and community, sportsmanship, citizenship, coachability and leadership on and off the field.  In a sense, this award exemplifies type of athlete Cuesta College strives to mold.

Cooks is one of the most decorated track & field athletes and has qualified for the 2014 CCCAA State Championships, for the second straight year, this weekend.  She was the state runner-up in the heptathlon in 2013 and is one of the favorites this year.  She has been the team’s most valuable athlete each of the past two years and owns three Cuesta records, while also holding Top 10 All Time Cuesta marks in four other events. Coach Brian Locher said, “Extremely coachable and eager to learn.  Leads by example for the team and quietly guides her peers.  She is willing to do whatever it takes on meet day to help her team and beat the competition.  A good sportsman, though very competitive.  That’s the way we like them!”

             Cooks has been the volleyball team MVP for each of the past two seasons and a two-time All Western State Conference First Team selection as an outside hitter.   She led the 2013 team to a 14-9 record and third place in the Western State Conference.  Cooks was the Cougars’ top offensive threat and paced the team with 278 kills. Coach Roche Nystrom says, “Riley is a dynamic, explosive volleyball player.  Great team leader and player.  Always hard working and striving to improve her performance.”

Cooks, who also won the 2014 Cuesta Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award at today’s banquet, easily qualified for the award on all points.  She is a two-time all-conference academic selection and has compiled a 3.39 GPA, while competing every semester at Cuesta.   She will transfer and compete at Long Beach State next year. 


George Silveria Career Award

1966                                                 Ray Sayler (FB, MBB, BB)           

1967                                                Mark Anderson (MXC, MTF)                       

1968                                                Jim Sunderland (Wrest)                       

1969                                                Richard Abney (FB, Wrest)                       

1970                                                Steve Mowrey (Golf)                       

1971                                                Larry Ramos (FB, Wrest)                                   

1972                                                George Palmer (Wrest)           

1973                                                Camillo Alarcio (FB, Wrest)                       

1974                                                Paul Kinne (FB, BB)                       

1975                                                Rusty Kuntz (FB, MBB, BB)           

                                                & Dave Rusco (MBB, BB)                       

1976                                                Kevin Hunstad (FB, Wrest)                       

1977                                                Randy Roeder (FB, BB)           

            Male                                                                        Female           

1978            Edmund Alarcio (FB, MTF)                                    Laura McCarthy (WXC, WTF)

1979            Shawn Kuhn (MBB, Golf)                                                Celeste Martyn (WXC, WTF)

1980            Steve Mitchell (MBB, MTF)                                    Catherine Belcher (WXC, WTF, SB)

1981            Gregg Fambrough (MWP, MSD)                                    Joanne Cooper (VB)

1982            Tom McKeown (MXC, MTF)                                    Heidi Hausner (VB, WSD)

1983            Matt Armbruster (MXC, MTF)                                    Karen Canfield (SB)

1984            Bill Lucia (MWP, MSD)                                                Toni Venturini (VB)           

1985            Sean Chambers (MBB, MTF)                                    Kelly Buzza (WXC, WTF)

1986            Hank Peterson (MWP, MSD)                                    Tracey Ross (WXC, WTF)

1987            Karl Blum (MWP, MSD)                                                Cathy Jones (WXC, WTF)

1988            Todd Bates (MWP, MSD)                                                Jennifer Bland (WSD)           

            & Kelly Porter (MWP, MSD)

1989            Brad Dodge (MT)                                                Vanessa Hornbuckle (VB, WBB)

                                                                                    & Kathryn Krieger (WXC, WTF)

1990            Steve Long (MWP, MSD)                                                Monica Castro (WT)

1991            Dean Jefferis (MWP, MSD)                                    Melissa McCormick (WSD)

                                                                                    & Cee Cee Yancy (WBB)           

1992            Geoff Bradshaw (MTF)                                                Alyssa Van Schmus (WTF)

1993             Kipp Ortenberger (MXC, MTF)                                    Erin Breeze (VB, WBB)

1994            Kipp Ortenberger (MXC, MTF)                                    Wendy Ward (VB, WBB)           

1995            Mike Barrow (MWP, MSD)                                    Courtney Peters (WT)

1996            Shannon Lamb (MWP, MSD)                                    Carrie Musolff (VB, WBB, WT)

1997            Marco Hanlon (BB)                                                Anicia Bonds (WBB, WTF)

1998            Mark Merlo (MWP, MSD)                                    Ashley Messer (VB, WBB)

1999            Chris Lund (MWP, MSD)                                                Ashley Messer (VB, WBB)

2000            Sergio Reyes (MXC, MTF)                                    Mary Benson (WWP, WSD)

2001            Patrick Furelos (MWP, MSD)                                    Melinda Flores (WXC, WTF)           

2002            Doug Leach (MWP, MSD)                                    Courtney Christy (WWP, WSD)

2003                                                Katie Dacus (WWP, WSD)

2004                                                Christina Reyes (WXC, WTF)

2005                                                Bryan Etnrye (MWP, MSD)

2006                                                Chris Stehula (MXC, MTF, MSD)

2007                                                Becca Reyes (WXC, WTF)

2008                                                Ian Starkie (MWP, MSD)

2009                                                Tammy Barksdale (WWP, WSD)

2010                                                Kayla Cribbs (VB, WBB)

2011                                                Evan Norton (MWP, MSD)

2012                                                Alexandria Bernard (WWP, WSD)

2013                                                Erin Casey (WWP, WSD)

                                                & Matt Giancanelli (MWP, MSD)

2014                                                Riley Cooks (VB, WTF)


Dansby Named Coach of the Year, Again

SAN LUIS OBISPO (May 21, 2014)- Cuesta Wrestling Coach Joe Dansby has been recognized as the 2013-14 Cuesta College Coach of the Year. He is the first two-time winner of the award.  Dansby led his grapplers to the 2014 SouthEast Conference title and sixth place at the CCCAA State Wrestling Championships. The Cougars did not finish lower than 6th place in any of their seven tournaments and posted a 10-3 record in dual meets, including a perfect 4-0 against the SEC.  Coach Joe Dansby was named 2013 SEC Coach of the Year, marking the third time he has received the honor.  Five members of the team earned All-SEC First Team and six placed at the state meet, including three All America selections.  This year’s team also set a school record with 270 individual wins, easily surpassing the previous program record of 242 set in 2003.


This award recognizes the highest level of coaching achieved at Cuesta College during a year of competition.  It was first officially presented in 2009.  The award is based on a mathematical formula that weighs a coach’s individual performance as well as the on-field success of his/her team.   Coach Joe Dansby amassed 50 points this year to edge 2010 winner Rusty Blair (40 points).


Cuesta Coaches Award

Cuesta College Coach of the Year (est. 2009)


2013-14 Joe Dansby, Wrestling (Conf. Champs/ 6th State)

2012-13 John Marsh, Men’s Swim & Dive (Conf. Champs, 4th State)

2011-12 Brian Locher, Women’s Cross Country (3rd Conf/ 4th State)

2010-11 Joe Dansby, Wrestling (Conf. Champs/ 5th State)

2009-10 Rusty Blair, Men’s Basketball (Conf. Champs/ Playoffs)

2008-09 Mike Napoli, Women’s Tennis (Conf. Champs/ 4th State)






SAN LUIS OBISPO (January 15, 2015)-- Cuesta has compiled the names of 70 individuals who have risen to the top of Cuesta College’s 2014 fall scholar-athlete list, including several repeat honorees.  The success of Cuesta student-athletes is significant, as is the fact that 60% of Cuesta College athletes made the honor roll and earned 2014 All Western State Conference Academic Team status.

The Cuesta Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll recognizes the student-athletes who have completed 12 units during the past semester with a grade point average of at least a 3.0 and finished in good standing with their respective team. This year the honor roll has representatives from each of the seven fall sports and both basketball teams.  The women’s cross country team led the way with a combined 3.380 grade point average, while wrestling led the men’s teams with a 3.078 GPA. Both teams, along with women’s water polo and women’s soccer, qualify as nominees for both the Western State Conference and CCCAA/Pepsi State scholar teams awards.  The 2013 men’s water polo team became the 21st Cuesta team to earn a CCCAA/Pepsi Scholar Team award since 1999. 

The Cougars also expect to reap some individual honors at the state level; seven Cuesta student-athletes earned straight “A’s” during the semester.  Four members of the women’s soccer team posted perfect grades led by Taylor Broom (Towson, MD), who did it for the second straight year.  Broom was joined by teammates Annie Mae Bohnsack (Templeton HS), Keiley Hansen (San Luis Obispo: California Virtual Academy) and Sara Madsen (Trabuco Canyon).  Women’s volleyball player Whitney Meyer (King City HS), a UCLA graduate, also posted perfect grades for the second straight year, and Poloist Molly Casey (Coarsegold) also posted a 4.0 grade-point average this year.  Wrestler Marvin Apreza (Oceano: Arroyo Grande HS) was the only male to post a 4.0 on the semester.  Cuesta has had more CCCAA Scholar Award winners over the past 15 years than any other community college

Cuesta also had 21 sophomores make their second appearance on the fall honor roll and nine athletes combined great academic prowess with superior athleticism to also earn 2014 All Western State Conference First Team as athletes.  The nine double winners represented four of the seven fall sports (basketball's all-conference teams will not be announced until March)- women’s poloists Rachel Gruetzmacher (Atascadero HS), Shanae Lauridsen (Nipomo HS), Marti-Rae Grois (Paso Robles HS) and Emily Crane (Hemet HS), grapplers Amir Bakhshi (Cupertino HS) and Jonny Callas (Nevada City), men’s harriers Alex Hascall (Nipomo HS) and Connor Fisher (Lake Isabella) and men’s poloist Alexander Kuykendall (Hanford).  Sophomores Gruetzmacher and Callas both completed the double for the second straight year.            Cuesta athletes traditionally excel in the classroom and this semester was no exception.  Cuesta’s athletes combined to complete 92.5% of their classes for a 3.004 GPA.

The honor roll was also well represented by local athletes: NIPOMO (5): Alex Hascall (MXC), Kevin Stater (MWP), Ashley Codorniz (WWP), Shanae Lauridsen (WWP), Harvey Bickmore (Wrest); TEMPLETON (4): Serena Hughes (Soc), Annie Mae Bohnsack (Soc), Carly Roth (WVB), Haylee Mariucci (WWP); ATASCADERO (3): Rachel Gruetzmacher (WWP), Jack Robinett (Wrest), Melody Ayers (WBB); PASO ROBLES (2): Noah Norton (MWP), Marti-Rae Grois (WWP); MORRO BAY (1): Jerrica Crosby (WBB); SAN LUIS OBISPO (1): Keiley Hansen (Soc); OCEANO (1): Marvin Apreza (Wrest); ARROYO GRANDE (1): Sam Baker (WWP); LOS OSOS (1): Daniel Van Beurden (MXC);  KING CITY (1): Whitney Meyer (WVB);  SANTA MARIA (1): Oscar Velasco (Wrest);


W X-Country (WXC)            3.380

W Soccer (Soc)                        3.275

W Water Polo (WWP)            3.140

Wrestling (Wrest)            3.078

W Volleyball (WVB)            2.983

M Basketball (MBB)            2.925

M Water Polo (MWP)            2.895

M X-Country (MXC)            2.750

W Basketball (WBB)            2.714



Fall Semester

Athletic Honor Roll

Haley Anderson- Volleyball

Marvin Apreza- Wrestling

Melody Ayers- Basketball

Sam Baker- Water Polo

Amir Bakhshi- Wrestling

Jossi Beutler- Cross Country

Harvey Bickmore- Wrestling

Annie Mae Bohnsack- Soccer

Michael Bronze- Wrestling

Taylor Broom- Soccer

Falecia Cabral- Basketball

Jonny Callas- Wrestling

Rafael Casanova- Basketball

Brenna Castro- Volleyball

Molly Casey- Water Polo

Nakoa Chun- Wrestling

Ashley Codorniz- Water Polo

Rhys Couser- Cross Country

Emily Crane- Water Polo

Jerrica Crosby- Basketball

Gabby David- Volleyball

Danielle deJong- Cross Country

Casey DeLeuw- Water Polo

Rafail Eleftheriou- Basketball

Joe Else- Wrestling

Hali Evans- Soccer

Danny Fennessy- Water Polo

Connor Fisher- Cross Country

Leah Fowler- Cross Country

Oliviah Gemperle- Basketball

Alyssa Goodman- Soccer

Cody Griffith- Cross Country

Marti-Rae Grois- Water Polo

Rachel Gruetzmacher- Water Polo

Keiley Hansen- Soccer

Clayton Hartwell- Wrestling

Alex Hascall- Cross Country

Benat Hevia- Basketball

Serena Hughes- Soccer

Jonathan Kim- Wrestling

Alexander Kuykendall- Water Polo

Matt Lalanne- Water Polo

Shanae Lauridsen- Water Polo

Keshawn Liggins- Basketball

Tarryn Macon- Volleyball

Sara Madsen- Soccer

Haylee Mariucci- Water Polo

Nate Mesa- Wrestling

Whitney Meyer- Volleyball

Kate Nestingen- Wrestling

Noah Norton- Water Polo

Nicole Peterson- Cross Country

Colton Privett- Water Polo

Megan Prott- Soccer

Samantha Rachal- Cross Country

Jack Robinett- Wrestling

Carly Roth- Volleyball

Anika Rovig- Basketball

Jeffrey Sanchez- Wrestling

Josie Schneider- Soccer

John Sinclair- Wrestling

Gillian Stargensky- Soccer

Kevin Stater- Water Polo

Lawrence Stokes- Cross Country

Mia Taapken- Water Polo

Tayler Thompson- Basketball

Daniel Van Beurden- Cross Country

Oscar Velasco- Wrestling

Ashley Voll- Soccer

Ryan Welsh- Basketball

Cuesta Athletics-

Cuesta TV Project Announces Spring Schedule

SAN LUIS OBISPO (January 7, 2014)- The Cuesta TV Project has announced its schedule for spring 2014.  The project, an inter-disciplinary undertaking in its fourth year, will feature six live broadcasts of Cuesta athletic contests and three episodes of the monthly interview show ‘Cuesta Sports Monthly’.   SLOCOE will feature all of the broadcasts on Charter Cable- Channel 19.  Cuesta College content is scheduled to air on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 PM and during the week beginning at 5 PM.   In addition all contests are scheduled for live streaming at

Cuesta TV Live Game Schedule (Play-by-Play Randy Scovil)

February 19 Women’s Basketball v. Moorpark 5 PM

February 19 Men’s Basketball v. Moorpark 7 PM

April 1 Baseball v. Pierce 2:30

April 10 Softball v. Santa Barbara 2:30

May 3 Baseball/Softball Playoffs TBA

May 13 Athlete of the Year Banquet 11:30

Cuesta Sports Monthly (with Peter Schuler)

February 4 Men’s Basketball/Women’s Basketball/Athletic Director

February 25 Baseball/Softball/PASS Representative

March 25 Swimming/Track/TBA


Cuesta Broadcast Communication Professor John Arno, and his students, produces all of the shows and leads the Cuesta TV Project.   SLOCOE Media Operations Specialist Pat Renshaw, Cuesta Computer Science Professor Randy Scovil, Cuesta Marketing Coordinator Jay Thompson and Cuesta’s Peter Schuler round out the project team.