SDSU Athletics Hosts Third Annual A.C.E. Awards


SAN DIEGO – The spirit of excellence shone brightly at the third annual Aztecs Celebrating Excellence (A.C.E.) Awards, held last week and hosted by the dedicated athletics staff and members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) of San Diego State University. This special event honored student-athletes who have not only excelled in their respective sports but have also demonstrated exceptional growth and achievement in the classroom and beyond.
"In recognizing the holistic success of our student-athletes, we take great pride not only in their accomplishments in their respective sport but also in their remarkable growth and achievements beyond athletic endeavors. Their dedication to excellence in academics, their commitment to personal development, and their contributions to our community stand as shining examples of what it truly means to be an Aztec student-athlete," said Danielle Kelly, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Support Services.
The evening was a celebration of academic prowess and team success, as multiple student-athletes were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements. Teams that exhibited exceptional academic performances were also honored, with Men's Soccer and Swim and Dive standing out for achieving the highest team GPAs.
Among the highlights of the evening were the Athlete of the Year awards, presented to Swim and Dive's Alex Roberts and Men's Basketball standout Jaedon LeDee. These exceptional student-athletes exemplify the dedication and skill that define Aztec athletics. 
The All-Aztecs Going Pro Award, a prestigious honor, was presented to seniors Sarah Barcello of Women's Basketball and Elliot Pavis of Men's Soccer. This award recognizes individuals who have shown remarkable personal growth, career development, and civic engagement during their time at SDSU.
Additionally, the department recognized Jordyn Goldsmith of Volleyball and Mekhi Shaw from Football with the Aztecs Going Pro Resilience Award. This award is given to student-athletes who have demonstrated exceptional resilience and commitment to personal and academic growth throughout their time at San Diego State.
"Aztecs Going Pro is committed to holistic student-athlete development and celebrating every single win. Our AGP award winners are leaders in the community, active participants in experiential learning, and contribute to their team's athletic success. Collectively, these student-athletes represent the ethos of AGP: purpose is undefeated. Each of their stories are inspirational and their leadership is contagious. We are honored to recognize these athletes during A.C.E. Awards and look forward to commemorating their future success," said Timothy F. Bryson, Assistant Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Development.
Aji Mbye from Track and Field and Reid Fisher from Men's Soccer were named Newcomer of the Year, showcasing the promising talent that continues to join the Aztec family.
A total of 38 Aztec student-athletes were honored with the Malik award, recognizing those who achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA over a semester at San Diego State. Additionally, 366 student-athletes earned the scholar-athlete designation, which is awarded to those who achieved either a 3.2 semester GPA or a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
To cap off the night, Courtney Anderson of Lacrosse and Jordan Korbus of Men's Soccer were named Scholar-Athletes of the Year, exemplifying the commitment to excellence that defines the Aztec student-athlete.
The program also took a moment to honor two distinguished staff members who play pivotal roles in the success and experience of San Diego State's student-athletes: Dr. Sara Gombatto, Intercollegiate Athletic Council Member and Associate Professor, and Lesley Long, Associate Athletic Director of Operations, Special Events, and Projects. They were recognized for their exceptional contributions.

"It was great to see Sara and Lesley honored. Lesley is a superstar in our department, handling a multitude of different jobs to benefit our students, athletes, coaches, and staff.  If you've been to any NCAA, conference, or special event, then you've had the chance to experience Lesley's great work. Sara is the chair of Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and is an advocate for the athletic department and our student-athletes. The recognition for both is well deserved,"  said JD Wicker, Director of Athletics. 
The A.C.E. Awards serve as a testament to the unwavering commitment to excellence that is at the core of San Diego State University Athletics. Congratulations to all the honorees for their remarkable achievements and commitment to excellence both on and off the field.
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Department Award Recipients
366 Scholar-Athletes (earned either a 3.2 semester GPA or a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher)
Highest Team GPA (Average of Spring and Fall 2023 Semesters)

  • Swim and Dive - 3.51
  • Men's Soccer - 3.27 

Athlete of the Year (student-athletes who have exemplified exceptional athletic achievement)

Scholar-Athlete of the Year (student-athletes who excel in athletics, academics, and leadership)

Newcomer of the Year (student-athletes in their first year of competition at SDSU who have exemplified exceptional athletic achievement)

All-Aztecs Going Pro (seniors who have exemplified personal growth, career development, and civic engagement throughout their time at SDSU)

Aztecs Going Pro Resilience (student-athletes who have improved academically and personally through continuous effort, resilience, and commitment)

Dr. James Kitchen Distinguished Service Award (campus faculty or staff member who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to developing student-athletes athletically, academically, and/or professionally)

  • Dr. Sara Gombatto - Intercollegiate Athletic Council, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Associate Professor

Aztec Staff Distinguished Service Award (athletics department staff member who has gone above and beyond the scope of their position to enhance the success of SDSU Athletics)

  • Lesley Long - Associate Athletic Director, Operations, Special Events and Projects

Malik Award Recipients (semester GPA of a 4.0)
Caden Miller - Baseball
Vanessa Cabello - Cross Country 
Bailey Watts - Cross Country 
Wyatt Draeger - Football 
Courtney Anderson - Lacrosse
Sloane Benshoof - Lacrosse
Jenna McDermott - Lacrosse 
Henry Smith-Hastie - Men's Soccer
Jordan Korbus - Men's Soccer
Noah Cretier - Men's Soccer
Owen Zaldivar - Men's Soccer
Makena Brocki - Softball
Moa Bergdahl - Swim and Dive
Kristina Murphy - Swim and Dive
Summer Westmoreland - Swim and Dive
Olivia Zamudio - Swim and Dive
Taylor Konopacke - Swim and Dive
Alina Skrocki - Swim and Dive
Christiana Williams - Swim and Dive
Lizzie Menzmer - Swim and Dive
Jeannette King - Swim and Dive
Alexus Alexander - Track and Field 
Elizabeth Anigbogu - Track and Field 
Danae Dyer - Track and Field 
Jenna Fee Feyerabend - Track and Field 
Alexandria Von Tersch Pohrer - Women's Tennis
Sydney Gish - Water Polo
Brooke Lee - Water Polo
Amanda Chambers - Water Polo
Ellie Chen - Women's Basketball
Sarah Barcello - Women's Basketball
Abby Prohaska - Women's Basketball
Mercedes Staples - Women's Basketball
Emma Fuller - Women's Soccer
Charlie Gerson - Women's Soccer
Emily Lowe - Women's Soccer
Dori Savage - Women's Soccer
Kali Trevithick - Women's Soccer