ARC athletic department hosts fall season preview event

"The Beaver," American River College's new mascot, high fives a scholar athlete at the fall sports preview on August 26, 2016. (Photo by Kyle Elsasser)

The athletic department gave its second annual fall season preview in the main gym on Friday, where they announced their goals for the upcoming season, honored exceptional student athletes and had former olympic coach and American River College faculty member Al Beta provide a motivational speech to all in attendance.

After serving as the ARC track and field coach from 1964-1992, Beta became a coach for the 1992 United States Olympic track team, and eventually the head manager of the 1996 US Olympic track team.

As Beta took the floor, he refused to use a microphone and assured the organizers that everyone would be able to hear him.

“What I’m going to share with you is of value,” he said in front of a hushed audience. “Being an athlete will take you many places others will never know.”

Beta then went on to explain to the student athletes in attendance the importance of a good education, saying “the academics at American River College are exceptional for whatever it is you want to do. I’ve always felt that strongly about American River College. It was a great stepping stone for many of our student athletes.”

He stressed the importance of finding internal motivation to reach one’s goals, and ignoring expectations set by others, as they would leave a person unable to reach happiness for themselves.

He also mentioned that many of his former students called their experience at ARC “the best days of their lives” and that a student’s time should be spent as wisely as possible in order to feel the same way.

After the preview was given for the upcoming season, 19 student athletes were honored for having 4.0 GPAs while playing collegiate sports. 171 athletes were also honored for having GPAs over 3.0.

Women’s water polo coach Tyson Frenn, who served as emcee, went over each team’s plan coming into the fall season.

Football:

  • The ARC football team is currently ranked 20th in the county in pre-season polls with their opening game at nationally ranked Diablo Valley College on Sept. 2. Their first home game of the season will come on Sept. 10 against Modesto, with linebacker Lonny Powell predicting that Beaver’s defense “is going to be the best in the whole league.”

Basketball:

  • The men’s basketball team will be composed of an almost entirely new set of faces with only two returners and 13 incoming freshmen. According to Frenn, the team will focus heavily on a pressure style defense and open style offense with “hard work and chemistry” being key to any accomplishments for the season.
  • The women’s basketball team hopes to relive its past success, coming off of a playoff berth last season. They are currently ranked No. 10 in the Northern California Coaches Poll. All Conference player Haleigh Filer and Academic All State selection Breanne Richins hope to lead the team back to the playoffs.

Tennis:

  • Frenn called the men’s tennis team “strong”  and said they could “potentially exceed last year’s performance”. The men’s tennis team won the Big 8 North Conference for the fourth consecutive time and finished third in the state last season, with players Alex Meliuk and Cody Duong receiving All-American honors and Duong being named as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Player to Watch Award.

Track and Field:

  • The men’s track and field team managed to finish its season with the highest GPA of any team at ARC with a 3.2 overall and had seven out of eight sophomores receive scholarships.

Cross Country:

  • The women’s cross country team has four returning sophomores, with 10 freshmen making it the largest female cross country squad in Northern California. They hope to make it to their third consecutive Big 8 Conference title and finish in the top three for Northern California for the fifth time in a row.
  • With their last loss to a Northern California school coming in November of 2009, the men’s cross country team hopes to keep its long-running success alive this semester after winning four of the last five state titles, six straight Northern California titles, and 10 straight conference titles. The team will attend the NorCal Preview at Sierra College on Sept. 2, the conference championships at home on Oct. 28, and the Northern California Championships at Sierra College on Nov. 4.

Golf:

  • The women’s golf season tees off on Thursday with a tournament at Tracy Country Club, with two returners ready to represent the Beavers this season.

Soccer:

  • In men’s soccer, the Beavers have 13 returning players and a group of freshmen, who all hope to earn a playoff spot in the Big 8 Conference to celebrate their new stadium. Coach Paul Hansen called his group of incoming freshman players “talented.”
  • The women’s soccer team welcomes back 10 sophomores and 17 freshmen. They hope to break into the playoffs this season after finishing one spot out in their last run.

Volleyball:

  • The women’s volleyball team hopes to return to the top of the Big 8 Conference. They have pre-season games coming up against top-ranked Los Angeles Pierce College and returning state champion Cabrillo College. Their first game was on Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the small gym.

Water Polo:

  • The men’s water polo team is led by returning All-American attacker Richard Szepesi and goalkeeper Benedek Molnar. Fenn said that the addition of two left-handed players would provide the team with a more well balanced perimeter attack.
  • Frenn said that his women’s water polo team would be in good position with the help of returning center Hannah Zari and utility players Haley Dutton and Ansley Yarnell. Their first game will be on Sept. 8 against Golden West College.
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About the Author

Luis Gael Jimenez
Luis Gael Jimenez is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist. Jimenez is currently in his fourth semester on the American River Current, where he serves as co-editor-in-chief of the paper. He has acted as managing editor and arts and culture editor in the past. Jimenez has had articles and photographs published in the Sacramento News and Review as well as the American River Review.

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