Sports Banquet Celebrates Athletics First Season

Soccer ball at the center of a banquet table.
Henry Travland and Rebecca A. Eckland

On Monday, Oct. 21, TMCC once again made history by hosting the first athletics banquet in celebration of the inaugural TMCC soccer season.  With a few hundred guests in attendance, administrators, faculty, players, and coaches shared their thoughts, memories and praises from the 2019 soccer season.  Additionally, each student-athlete was recognized for their important contribution to the Athletics Program, and awards were given for specific instances of excellence.  

The season, which began on July 29, required that each student-athlete adjusted to college life, became acclimated to taking college courses while balancing practices, traveling to and from games and, of course, competing in the matches themselves.

“TMCC athletics has taught me not only the importance of what it means to be a student-athlete, but it has also introduced me to a new world of commitments, accomplishments, and failures,” said Shelby Shaffer, who served as Team Captain to the women’s squad. “No matter the outcome of the game, I was surrounded by amazing people on and off the field. I am grateful for the places we got to see, and for the friendships we made... I think it’s safe to say between the two teams that we had fun. I hope everyone is excited for what is yet to come.” 

NSHE Vice Chancellor Nate Mackinnon was the emcee for the event, and applauded the athletes for completing their first season, both “on and off the field.” The men’s soccer squad finished the year 9-5-3 overall and 3-5-2 in conference play. The women’s squad finished the season with a 6-9 overall record and 2-8 record in conference play.

TMCC President Dr. Karin Hilgersom and Vice President of Student Services and Diversity Estela Gutierrez would emphasize the success of the men’s and women’s teams and extended her recognition to the families in attendance. “You have supported your student-athlete, you have attended games to cheer us on, and we are grateful for you,” said Gutierrez. 

The event shared notable season highlights including the following impressive stats: 

  • The women’s team scored a total of 58 goals this season, and the men’s team scored a total of 46 goals;
  • Both teams performed a total of 68 corner kicks;
  • Christopher Bramasco scored the season-high, of 5 goals, in a match against CNCC;
  • Lizards Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mendoza recorded the season-high of 9 saves in the match against Snow College, and;
  • Both teams had a midweek sweep of games on the road against Napa Valley and Yuba.

To honor the accomplishments of every athlete, a representative from the office of United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Kerry Anne Durmick, presented each athlete with a certificate of recognition. Each also received a commemorative white jersey.

“Being a part of college athletics is truly a learning experience and life lessons are learned daily. I hope you have grown this season as students and as athletes, and I can’t wait to see how much more you grow as people after two years here at TMCC,” said Athletic Director Dr. Tina Ruff, who would also recognize the contributions of TMCC staff who made the Athletics program possible, most notably Arkaitz Aldecoaotalora, Tara Connolly and Andy Hughes who formed the compliance and eligibility team. “[They are] my circle of support and guidance,” said Ruff. “They are on the front lines, working to make this program possible.”

At the end of the evening, Coach Brian Slusser and Coach Gonzalo Lopez took the stage to announce the team awards, recognizing certain individuals based on their outstanding performance on the field. For the men’s team, Joel Sanchez was named Offensive Player of the Year, Brendin Lane was Defensive Player of the Year, Christopher Bramasco was the Playmaker of the Year and Erick Ceja Gonzalez was named Most Valuable Player. 

On the women’s team, Yalison Espinoza was the Offensive Player of the Year, Isabel Gonzalez was named Defensive Player of the Year, Kaitlyn Medoza was named Playmaker of the Year and Shelby Shaffer was named Most Valuable Player.

Director Tina Ruff, along with the coaching staff, also implemented a new award that would recognize excellent sportsmanship and quality of character of one athlete. The Mighty Lizard Award was given to Forward Daisy De La Torre Jimenez. “This is a separate award for one student-athlete who stepped it up,” said Ruff. “This athlete went to all the games, and she did everything we asked her to do.”

Team Captains from each squad also offered thanks to those in attendance. “Thank you to Tina Ruff who has been encouraging us throughout the season, your support has been vital,” said Team Captain Arturo Carrasco Jr. of the men’s team. “And lastly I’d like to say thank you... to each of my teammates. I will have each of your backs both on and off the field. Vamos Verdes!” 

In addition to TMCC Leadership, student-athletes and their families,  NSHE Vice Chancellor Nate Mackinnon, NSHE Regents Carol Del Carlo and Cathy McAdoo, Kerry Anne Durmick representing the office of United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto,  representatives from CORE Construction and donors were in attendance in support of TMCC Athletics.

We’d like to thank everyone who supported the Truckee Meadows Lizards in their inaugural campaign. We will be sure to keep you updated with news surrounding the program during the offseason!

For more information about TMCC Athletics, contact the department at 775-673-7135.