RIVERSIDE - Women’s water polo’s Tina Bell of Cuesta College and football’s DJ Whitmill from Allan Hancock College have been selected as the California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) Athletes of the Month for October after strong performances in their respective sports. Both student-athletes are first-time honorees. Listed below are short recaps for the month for both winners and honorable mention selections.
TINA BELL l CUESTA COLLEGE l WOMEN'S WATER POLO l SOPHOMORE
Bell has dominated the state during her sophomore campaign. She leads the state with 346 saves and was 25th in the state with 43 steals for nearly 400 stops on the season. She is also fourth in the state with 18 wins and sixth with a 62.1 save percentage, despite playing behind a defense that leads the state in exclusions. Tina never makes her way past half-tank, yet has had a great impact on the Cougar’s offense. She is second on the team, and 25th in the State, with 31 assists. Tina posted a career-high 20 saves in a triple overtime win over Merced in September, but her back-to-back 18 and 16 save performances against Ventura and Orange Coast, respectively, during October’s Battle at the Beach secured a playoff berth for the Cougars.
DJ WHITMILL l ALLAN HANCOCK l FOOTBALL l SOPHOMORE
DJ Whitmill earned three-consecutive school student-athlete of the week awards following his performances in the month of October. Whitmill amassed 505 yards on 63 carries for just over an eight-yard per carry average and four touchdowns. Whitmill currently sits at fifth in the state in yards per game and total yards gained this season. He leads the Bulldog's running offense that boasts the most yards and highest average yards per game in the state, as well as most rushing TDs.
EMILY PEREIRA (Women’s Volleyball, De Anza)
7-2 Overall in October - Both losses to ranked Nor-Cal opponents, 14 Aces, 107 Kills - 3.57 Kills Per Set - .366 Hitting Percentage, 25 Total Blocks - .83 Blocks Per Set, 96 Assists, 71 Digs
LUKE BOTTARI (Football, College of San Mateo)
Luke Bottari, a true freshman and All-San Francisco Metro Region QB out of Tom Brady’s alma mater Serra (San Mateo) High School, led the Bulldogs in October to top ranking in the state as Northern California’s only undefeated National Division team. He posted the top passer efficiency rating (166) among those teams. Behind a state-leading defense (allowing only eight points a game), Bottari directed a well-balanced offense, completing 63 per cent of his passes (95 of 151) for 1,421 yards and 12 TDs. He also ran for 177 yards (1,598 total offense) and a lucky 13th score.
(Nicho DellaValle, Riverside City)