SMC's finest athletes
"I'm never satisfied with where I am at." –Deshawn Stephens
Probably the biggest, or tallest, talent to come out of SMC in recent memory is one Deshawn Stephens. The six foot eight inch forward who, as a freshman, averaged 7.4 points and 7.3 rebounds last season has stepped up his game this season with current averages of 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
And though it's still early in the season, Stephens has driven his free throw percentage up 14% since last season to an impressive 85%. Further, Stephens leads his team in blocks and rebounds.
A native of Los Angeles, Stephens was born in Hollywood to an already gifted family of athletes, one of his cousins is a highly touted high school football prospect while another ran track for USC. So it's not surprising to find that Stephens didn't even start playing organized basketball until his senior year of high school.
Despite being blessed with physical gifts and talents, Stephens keeps a humble, if not critical, attitude. "If somebody tells me I'm a good rebounder, I tell myself I'm not a good rebounder so I can keep working on it," said Stephens.
In his last season with the Corsairs, Stephens is looking forward to playing his role as a veteran before he heads off to San Diego State, where he has committed to play for the Division-1 Aztecs.
"I still have another year of water polo to get better." –Julianne Allison
Freshman Julianne Allison has been playing water polo since she was 10 years old, including three years of varsity at El Segundo High School, and now as the star of the Corsair women's water polo team.
This past season Allison, who is affectionately known to her teammates as "Juju", led her team in scoring, assists, and steals which was good enough for second in the Western State Conference in goals, and fourth in both assists and steals.
Allison, who plans on majoring in biochemistry, plans to use water polo as a stepping-stone for her education with her top goal being USC. When it comes to studying, Allison feels that water polo has helped her manage and organize her time.
"Everything that happens in my life, it always goes back to basketball." -Haley Newell
The pink trimmed socks Haley Newell wears to basketball practice add a feminine touch to the otherwise competitive personality Newell developed growing up in a neighborhood full of boys.
Just short of 5 feet 3 inches, Newell is often times the shortest player on the court, and despite some looking to her height as a disadvantage, Newell had a productive year last season leading the women's basketball team in three pointers while shooting 73% from the free throw line and averaging 12.6 points per game.
Her short stature is the reason she admires former Los Angeles Sparks player Shannon Bobbit who, like her, is considered "short" in the basketball world at 5'2", "I'm always the smallest player on every team" she says "I just look up to her cause she is so short and she made it to the WNBA."
The 19-year-old first team all-conference guard is also looking to improve her game this upcoming season and the English majors goal would be to eventually transfer to schools like Arizona or Hawaii.
"I can't wait for the season to start," said Newell, "I'm so excited."
The best thing about running is that you make a lot of friends and a lot of connections, because that's what's most important in life.
One of the most exceptional bright spots on this season's SMC men's cross-country team was sophomore Spencer Hirahara. Qualifying for the Regional Championships, Hirahara was one of few this year to represent the Corsairs in Southern California competitions.
"We weren't the best team out there, but we were the most unified," said Hirahara. There was never any fighting or anything like that, which I really liked."
When asked about his future in the sport, Hirahara remains adamant about sticking to his running regime.
"I have no idea how I'll do next season because our league is crazy good, but I love to run and compete so I will still run throughout my life, regardless of how I do."
Hirahara first took a leadership position on a cross-country team in secondary school, with the help of his coaching influence.
"Only one coach really inspired me, my high school coach Bob Fish," he said. He taught me a lot, and after I was made captain I thought wow, I might get somewhere with this. "
Having established himself as a cornerstone on the team, Hirahara looks to keep performing as an example to incoming runners next fall.
"I just applied to all the UC's so hopefully I can contact to some coaches and get a spot on a squad, and if not I'll just keep playing club polo to stay in shape."
Sophomore Dayne Contarsy emerged as a dignified leader of the men's water polo team of SMC this year.
Conquering the chlorine at a young age, he has gradually become an elitist in the pool.
"My dad pushed me into swimming as an infant and forced me to stay in it as an adolescent, so that's how I got into it," he said.
Contarsy took an immediate liking to water polo short after, which developed rapidly with the help of his club team's coach.
"My club coach played over at USC for a few years and was a national champion. He made me the player I am today and showed me the ropes, and really turned me into a decent player," he said. "I have him to look up to and model my playing type after."
Though his talent, evident in his 44 goals and 43 assists on the season, stemmed from his coaching influences, Contarsy will remember this previous season for its camaraderie.
"SMC is a hard way to meet people and you have to go out of your way to find friends," he said. "The team brought a bunch of us together and they're all really great guys and hopefully longtime friends of mine."
"When I'm running I'm more focused, It forces me to set a goal and meet it."
This year MacKenzie Shea Lee posted a personal best time of 20 minutes and 55 seconds in a 5k race at the Foothill Cross-Country Invitational in Ontario while also qualifying for the Sothern California Community College Championship.
Not only has she found success while running but she also finds that it helps her in other parts of her life. "Running is something I need to do," says Lee, "when I'm not running I'm unorganized."
She explained, " When I'm running I'm more focused, It forces me to set a goal and meet it."
Now that she is running cross-country here at SMC she hopes to transfer and join a team at a university. "Wherever I go, I don't care if I'm the last person, as long as I make the team."
She is currently a freshman but will be returning to the cross-country team next year to continue running for SMC.
"Once you play it though, you can't think about anything else, which is what I love about it."
There's always that quiet, efficient teammate who will come through for the squad time after time. Earning the title of "Miss Consistency" was freshman Kelsey Keil, the leading middle blocker for the Corsair women's volleyball team.
As a six-foot co-captain of the team, Keil covered all bases last season, contributing with multiple kills and blocks that rounded out the ladies' in-game play.
That's not the way it started for Keil, however.
"Basketball was my first passion. When I switched to volleyball, it took me awhile to have the same love for it," she said. "Once you play it though, you can't think about anything else, which is what I love about it."
Although a promising up-and-coming athlete in the sport, Keil prefers to focus only on academics next year, given that she gets accepted to UCLA.
"I don't plan on playing at a higher level, I play more for fun," she said. "I would just try to pursue my degree in anthropology."
The returning Corsairs are most likely good-heartedly wishing her ill as far as acceptance to another school, as the team would be nothing less than graced by her presence on the roster next season.