As the 2011-12 school year comes to a close, the Menlo College Athletic Department reflects on another fantastic year in the books at the annual All-Athlete Banquet. The department flourished in 2011-12 under fourth year Athletic Director Keith Spataro. The mind popping numbers speak for themselves. 11 student-athletes were recognized as All-Americans, and 37 as All-Conference recipients including two Conference Player of the Year awards, four Conference Newcomer of the Year honors, and two Conference Coach of the Year awards. From a team standpoint, Menlo won a record three conference championships and seven teams qualified for the postseason, including a record six on the national stage.
Off the fields, courts, and diamonds the numbers were just as staggering as the department took home 16 NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors, 93 student-athletes made the Dean's List, and 15 graduated with honors, including baseball player and Valedictorian Will Ireton.
The tremendous year unofficially concluded at the All-Athlete Banquet as the department's best were honored for their fabulous on-and-off the field performances. The two most coveted awards, the Don Baike Male and Female Athlete of the Year were presented to Alex Palomarez of the men's soccer team and Erika Garcia of the women's basketball team.
Palomarez propelled the Oaks to their best season in program history as the squad's goalie in the 2011 campaign. With eight shutouts, 71 saves, and a sparkling .845 save percentage, Palomarez was an All-American Honorable Mention, the California Pacific Conference Player of the Year, and a five-time Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week recipient. Menlo ran the table to an undefeated, 10-0 conference season and advanced to their first ever NAIA National Tournament.
Garcia wasn't too shabby herself in leading the Lady Oaks to a regular season and postseason tournament Cal Pac championship. The Garden Grove native led the team with 12.9 points game during conference play and was recognized on the All-Conference 1st team.
Palomarez and Garcia weren't the only student-athletes who took home some serious hardware. Senior football player Chris Tosello earned the Glen E. Dorst Award, presented each year to a senior student-athlete who most personifies the standards of sportsmanship.
The F. Philler Curtis Award, handed each year to a senior female athlete who by scholarship, leadership, and athletic ability has made an outstanding contribution to campus life was presented to softball player Jessica Cobb.
Men's basketball player Tim Tatum and women's soccer player Mallory Todd took home the prestigious Don W. Baer Award, given to two seniors who show the greatest leadership qualities. The Servant Leadership Award, presented each year to a senior whose contributions to the athletic department are immeasurable, and their assistance in the areas of scholarship, service, and student-life resonate throughout the entire campus was awarded to men's basketball manager Sean Meyer.
The aforementioned Will Ireton and women's basketball player Corie Thompson won the department's two Scholar Athlete Awards with the highest GPA's among senior student-athletes.