San Diego City College women’s volleyball player Josephine “Phina” Bustos, left, reacts to receiving the James Swinson Scholar-Athlete Award from Dean Aaron Detty, right, at the Knights Awards Dinner at the Marina Village Conference Center, Thursday, May 16, 2024. Phina will complete 75 academic units and has a 4.00 GPA. Photo by Vince Outlaw/City Times Media
San Diego City College women’s volleyball player Josephine “Phina” Bustos, left, reacts to receiving the James Swinson Scholar-Athlete Award from Dean Aaron Detty, right, at the Knights Awards Dinner at the Marina Village Conference Center, Thursday, May 16, 2024. Phina will complete 75 academic units and has a 4.00 GPA. Photo by Vince Outlaw/City Times Media

City College student-athletes, athletics staff honored at Knights Awards Dinner (with gallery)

Academic, in-competition achievements celebrated at Mission Bay venue

San Diego City College student-athlete Josephine “Phina” Bustos was “a little surprised” to learn she would receive a James Swinson Scholar award.

And that’s considering her 4.0 GPA and full schedule of classes while playing two sports (volleyball and beach volleyball).

It was also the realization of a goal, Bustos said.

“I really wanted to get an achievement and I spent a lot of time making sure that I never slacked, that I always put my academics first,” she told City Times Media during the annual Knights Awards Dinner where she received the award. “I really wanted to prove to myself that I can do it and better my future.”

Bustos and her fellow student-athletes’ academic and in-competition achievements were celebrated during the Knights Awards Dinner, May 16, at the Marina Village Conference Center in Mission Bay.  

The event included recognition of over 40 individuals for achievements including scholar and graduating athletes, City College Athletic Department Awards, and all-conference individual and team awards. The full list of award winners is at the bottom of this article.

After a buffet dinner, Dean of Health, Exercise Science, and Athletics Aaron Detty, the master of ceremonies for the event, introduced City College’s Vice President of Instruction Matilda “Tillie” Chavez.

“Our athletes have shown unwavering determination, resilience and sportsmanship throughout the season,” Chavez said. “They have exemplified the true essence of being a Knight: valiant, noble and committed to excellence.”

The first honorees of the evening were 41 student-athletes who achieved the title of Scholar-Athlete by maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA during their studies at City College. The honorees were invited to the front of the venue for the first of many awardee group photos. 

25 Knights were given graduation sashes embroidered with “Student” and “Athlete” with a Knights logo. These will be worn over their gowns during City College commencement ceremonies on May 23.

After acknowledging the integral roles of Head Athletics Trainer Jayme Jenkins and her assistant Kayleigh Scott in the success of teams this year, Detty announced the City College Athletics Department Awards and invited the honorees to the event podium for photos.  

The 2023-24 City College Athletics Department Awards included:

  • James Swinson Scholar: awards of $1,000 to one female and one male student-athlete with a minimum 3.3 GPA and 24 units earned during competition seasons.
  • Harry West Scholarship: awards of $1,000 to one female and one male student-athlete. Requirements include two years of athletic participation at City College, an all-conference award, matriculation to a 4-year university, and community/volunteer service. 
  • Ed Ruffa Outstanding Sophomore: award for one male and one female student-athlete with an academic and athletic sophomore status (academic/athletic) and achieving an all-conference award. 

Ed Ruffa Outstanding Sophomore awardee Sanaia Haskal, who was voted Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Tennis Player of the Year, reflected on what she’ll take away from her time as a student-athlete at City.

“The friends that I made,” Haskal said. “Figuring out how to balance the time commitment of being on a team and also taking all the classes that I had to take is definitely going to help me in the future.”

Haskal will attend the University of California San Diego in the fall to study psychology.

Knights men’s basketball head coach Mitch Charlens and women’s tennis head coach Jami Jones received special recognition for their team’s PCAC championships and coach of the year honors.

“It’s kind of silly to get an individual award when it’s a group project,” Charlens said during his remarks at the podium. 

Each team’s all-conference honorees were introduced and the respective head coaches related their experiences with those student-athletes.

The coaches also shared with the audience the roles that the staff of the Knights athletics program played in their team’s successes during the year.

“Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart,” softball coach AJ Hull said. 

City College President Dr. Ricky Shabazz and Vice President of Administrative Services Dr. John Parker were also in attendance. 

“We are so proud of everything you do,” Shabazz said.

Detty concluded the formal part of the evening by highlighting upcoming athletics projects, special events and a focus on the future. 

“We are doing things differently here. We do them intentionally,” Detty said

Full List of Awards

City College Athletics Department Awards:

  • James Swinson Scholar: Josephine “Phina” Bustos (volleyball), Porter Niccum (tennis)
  • Ed Ruffa Outstanding Sophomore Athlete: Kjay Bradley (basketball), Sinaia Haskal (tennis)
  • Harry West Scholarship: Lucia Farmer (tennis), Isaiah Hilke (baseball)

Team Awards:

  • Men’s Soccer:
    • Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Goal Keeper of the Year: Sebastian Guillen
    • PCAC Offensive Player of the Year: Isaac Velazquez
    • All PCAC First Team: Sebastian Guillen, Isaac Velazquez, Brett Woodworth
    • PCAC Player of the Week (PoW): Isaac Velazquez (Sept. 25, Oct. 24)
  • Women’s Soccer
    • All PCAC First Team: Mia Martinez
  • Women’s Basketball
    • All PCAC First Team: Cerina Nguyen, Elissa St. Julien
    • All PCAC Second Team: Cusha Landry
    • All PCAC Honorable Mention: D’Ajanae Lewis, A’sontee Jackson, Christina Bowen
    • PCAC PoW: Cerina Nguyen (Dec. 12)
  • Men’s Basketball
    • PCAC Champion
    • PCAC Most Valuable Player: KJay Bradley
    • PCAC Coach of the Year: Mitch Charlens
    • All PCAC First Team: KJay Bradley, Alex Crawford, Al Green
    • All PCAC Second Team: Keavie Love
    • All PCAC Honorable Mention: Kenny Gonzalez, Kevin Moore, Dexter Stratton
    • PCAC PoW: KJay Bradley (Jan. 17), Alex Crawford (Feb. 7)
  • Men’s Tennis
    • Inland Empire Athletic Conference, Singles: Porter Niccum, Jonathan Pham
    • IEAC, Doubles: Miguel Yngson / Jonathan Pham
  • Women’s Tennis
    • PCAC Champion
    • PCAC Athlete of the Year: Sinaia Haskal
    • PCAC Coach of the Year: Jami Jones
    • PCAC First Team: Lucia Farmer, Sinaia Haskal, Jessica Hoffpauir, Anya Villanueva
    • PCAC PoW: Sinaia Haskal (March 26)
  • Badminton
    • South Coast Athletic Conference State Individual Qualifiers, Singles: Nicona Maruyama, Isabella Bejarano
    • SCAC Doubles: Nicona Maruyama / Cecilia Naranjo
  • Baseball
    • All PCAC First Team: Alejandro Gonzalez, Isaiah Hilke, Bobby Perebzak, Jacob Pfitzner
    • All PCAC Honorable Mention: Avery Laine, Erik Radder
    • PCAC PoW: Jacob Pfitzner (April 29)
  • Softball
    • All PCAC Second Team: Ari Mallari
    • All PCAC Honorable Mention: Shyann Beddow, Cadence Krisell
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Women’s Beach Volleyball
    • All PCAC First Team: Sydney Bishop, Allison Wygal
  • Women’s Cross Country
    • All PCAC First Team: Diandra Jara, Isabelle Dalton
  • Men’s Cross Country
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