By Mya Castro
After over a year off due to the pandemic, the Riverside City College Athletic program faced and defeated tough teams all throughout the fall 2021 season.
The crowd went wild Dec. 4 as the RCC men’s football team beat the Golden West College Rustlers 27-23. Defensive Player of the Year Noa Purcell put an end to the Rustlers playoff run with a game-winning tackle on the 1-yard line.
The Tigers are now two-time Southern California Football Association Champions with a 10-2 overall record. The team is aiming for one more win as they get ready to compete in the State Championship game against City College of San Francisco on Dec. 11.
With a season record of 16-10, the RCC women’s water polo team placed second in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC). Players Lauren Nelson and Amber Neilson were awarded First Team All Conference for their impact on the team.
Nelson had a total of 50 goals this season while Neilson scored a total of 65, the highest on the team. Teammate Lauren Loffelmacher also made meaningful contributions toward the team and was awarded Second Team All Conference with a total of 39 goals.
The men’s water polo team also worked hard in the water, earning third place in the OEC with a record of 11-16.
Key playmaker Louis Grandi, a French foreign exchange student, was awarded First Team All Conference, All American and All Southern-California. Tommy Dempsey was awarded Second Team All conference and All Southern-California. The team worked hard this season to make it to the Southern Regional Quarterfinals along with the women’s team.
The men and women’s cross country teams ended their season with high placings at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships at Fresno’s famous Woodward Park.
The women’s team earned a spot on the podium coming in at third place with lead runner and OEC Female Runner of the Year Briana Rodriguez who led the way for her team finishing at 14th place. Helena Valdez and Elani Huntley, recipients of the First Team All Conference award, came in at 23rd and 24th place, respectively.
The men’s team fell short of the podium and came in at fourth place in the State Championships. OEC Male Runner of the Year Abel Ramos finished in seventh and following him was Mario Tavares at 10th and Gavyn Condit coming in at 23rd. Both teams earned spots on the podium five times this season and kept it together all the way to the State Championships earning a higher placing than the year before.
The women’s volleyball team ended their season with an overall record of 7-16. Freshman outside hitter Maggie Aburto earned OEC First Team All Conference while teammate Keeley Hober was awarded Second Team All Conference.
Aburto was a key player for the team, earning multiple career highs throughout the season and averaging 3.31 kills per set with 222 kills overall. Hober was equally as pivotal on the defensive front, earning at least one block per set with a season total of 86 blocks.
Daniel Hernandez contributed to this story.