Sequim’s Nate DeSpain and Atticus Wickert were among the winners of the 2019-20 Peninsula College athletic awards, as announced Monday at a Pirate Athletics End-of-Year Awards event held on Zoom.
DeSpain, a freshman guard who helped the men’s basketball team to a third-place finish in the North Division before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, joined Casandra White, of Modesto, CA, as the male and female winners of the Art Feiro Award. White was the captain of the women’s basketball team and also served as student body president. The Pirate women placed second in the North.
Wickert served as team captain of Peninsula’s League of Legends esports team that placed third in their junior college league. He recently achieved the grandmaster ranking, which makes him one of the top 1,000 players in North America.
Sam Oliveira, women’s soccer captain and student body vice president, was named to the Wally Sigmar Award, along with Mason Haubrich, who represented the men’s team. Oliveira, of Porterville, CA, led the women’s team to their 10th straight North title and a second-place finish in the Northwest Athletic Conference. Haubrich, of Gig Harbor, led the men to their 10th league title in 12 years and their fifth NWAC championship.
“Our five major award winners were part of a pretty special group of athletes,” said Rick Ross, associate dean for athletics and student life. “Our coaches do a great job of bringing in high-character student athletes and I think Art Feiro and Wally Sigmar would have been especially proud of these young men and women. The things they accomplished on and off the field set a very high standard for their returning teammates and future Pirates to follow.”
The criteria for the five major sports awards calls for student athletes who best exemplified leadership, athleticism, academics and citizenship.
Oliveira, Peninsula’s second all-time leading scorer, will continue her soccer career at Portland State, while Haubrich is bound for Cal State San Diego. White will continue her basketball career at Western Oregon, where her coach Alison Crumb of Port Angeles finished out her collegiate career.
DeSpain, who was a freshman in eligibility, but a sophomore via the Running Start program, is transferring to Utah Valley University and then plans to enter chiropractic school. Wickert, who also finished his freshman year, will be back in a Pirate uniform in the fall.
The PC athletic program also recognized the two William and Annie McMullen Award winners, Hana Scott of Bozeman, MT, and Quinlyn Ontiveros, of Burley, ID. The award goes to two freshman female athletes who best exemplified inspiration, dedication, accomplishment and ambassadorship.
The virtual ceremony concluded with recognition of awards previously announced, including the North Region sportsmanship award winners, Chloe Keenan-Merlo, of Reno, NV, and Matt Wilkinson, of Shoreline, along with the many North Region all-stars from soccer and basketball.
“It was sad to end the year virtually, but that’s the world we’re living in right now,” Ross said. “Our athletes remained positive throughout the pandemic, but I think it’s safe to say they’re hungry to compete again. We wish the sophomores all best as they move on with their higher education and athletic careers and we’re looking forward to seeing our freshman back on campus soon.”