The 2019 state championship College of the Canyons women’s golf team has been named a 2019-20 California Community College Athletic Association Scholar Team Award winner.
The Scholar Team Award is the highest academic team achievement given annually by the CCCAA. It emphasizes the academic achievement of all members of one specific team.
Only one team is selected for each CCCAA sport, with a total of 22 men’s and women’s teams honored for the 2019-20 school year.
To be eligible, all team members must have excelled academically with a total GPA of 3.0 or higher. The team should also have demonstrated better than average accomplishments in intercollegiate athletic competition.
“To be honored with a Scholar Team Award is a tremendous accomplishment, but an especially noteworthy feat for a team that captured back-to-back state championships,” said COC women’s golf head coach Gary Peterson. “To be able to succeed at such high levels both on the course and in the classroom is truly outstanding.”
Featuring a mix of both local and international players, the six-member 2019 women’s golf team posted a combined team GPA of 3.35.
“Even more impressive is the fact that two of our golfers were international student-athletes who also had to navigate through language barriers and cultural differences,” said Peterson, whose team included players hailing from Japan and Taiwan.
“To achieve success like that, both in your sport and in the classroom, is truly outstanding,” added Peterson.
Canyons won its second consecutive CCCAA Women’s Golf State Championship in 2019 (the program’s fourth overall) after capping a two-year run that also saw the Cougars win 25 straight tournaments dating back to the start of the 2018 season.
The women’s golf team now holds the distinction of being the first COC athletic program to win back-to-back state championships.
COC finished the 2019 season a perfect 94-0 through 13 events, having also won the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championship (the program’s fourth overall) and the Western State Conference title (the program’s 10th overall).
Sophomore Haruka Koda also won the 2019 CCCAA individual state, regional and Western State Conference championships. Koda and sophomores Jessie Lin and Paige Heuer were each named to the 2019 CCCAA All-State team. Additionally, Koda, Lin, Heuer and fellow sophomore Shabana Poswal were each named All-WSC honorees.
Canyons got another bundle of exciting news after clinching the state title when sophomore Fredeliza Lieberman revealed to coaches and teammates that she had played the 2019 season while pregnant.
At season’s end Koda (CSU, Fullerton) and Lin (Washington State University) both transferred to join four-year programs.
Delaney Young, the lone freshman on the 2019 state championship team, retains a year of eligibility with the Cougars.
“Our players worked hard in the classroom and on the course, and it paid off,” said Peterson. “I’m very proud of all of them.”
The team will be celebrated during the annual CCCAA Convention, being held virtually March 30 to April 2.