LEONARD, CHILES, JACKSON HONORED AS BREITBARD STARS OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH
16 pro, amateur and high school athletes honored by the San Diego Hall of Champions
Former San Diego State All-American Kawhi Leonard, now with the San Antonio Spurs, San Diego Sockers MVP Kraig Chiles and triathlete Heather Jackson were selected as professional Stars of the Month for March by the San Diego Hall of Champions.
Additionally, seven amateur and six high school standouts were recognized for their accomplishments.
Leonard was a key reason the Spurs went on a 9-2 run in March as the second-year pro averaged 14.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game.
Chiles is making a habit now of garnering all of the top honors available for indoor soccer as he was selected MVP of the PASL after leading the San Diego Sockers to another championship, setting single-season scoring records along the way.
Jackson, a part-time Carlsbad resident, improved more than eight minutes to capture the Accenture Ironman 70.3 triathlon held in Oceanside and Camp Pendleton after earlier in the month winning the grueling Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin was among seven amateur athletes who were cited.
Joining the Aztec junior who averaged 17 points and 9.5 rebounds was UCSD record-setting and NCAA champion swimmer Dane Stassi; SDSU’s Patrice Jackson (softball) and Sanieka Thomas (track); USD’s Clark Spinoza (tennis) and Kris Bryant (baseball) and Point Loma Nazarene’s Jonathan Tiggs (track).
High school athletes who were recognized included St. Augustine’s Trey Kell and Horizon’s Darren Carrington, members of state basketball championship teams; Cathedral Catholic’s Stephen Gonsalves (baseball); Carlsbad’s Ricky DeSantis (golf), West Hills’ Brenden Song (track) and Torrey Pines’ Rachel Nasland (softball).
Each month the Hall of Champions, in conjunction with the Union-Tribune, honors professional, amateur and high school standouts with ties to San Diego. This is a program started by Hall founder Bob Breitbard in 1946 and has honored tens of thousands of local athletes over the past 67 years.
PROFESSIONAL STARS OF THE MONTH
KAWHI LEONARD, Basketball, San Antonio Spurs, SDSU grad—The Spurs went 9-2 and the former Aztec was a big reason as he averaged 14.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. His most impressive performance was a 24-point, 13-rebound double-double against Cleveland in a 119-113 victory.
KRAIG CHILES, Soccer, San Diego Sockers, Poway High grad—Chiles led the Sockers to their fourth straight PASL championship. He scored a pair of goals in the 6-5 overtime victory over Las Vegas, then scored twice with an assist in the 8-6 win over the Detroit Waza Flo in the Ron Newman Cup. Chiles was named the playoff MVP for the second time in his career.
HEATHER JACKSON, Triathlon—After two frustrating runner-up finishes in the Accenture Ironman 70.3, Jackson finally captured the gold medal in winning the event held on Camp Pendleton and Oceanside. She improved by more than 8 minutes to finish in 4-hours, 13:48-minutes. Earlier in the month she won the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
AMATEUR STARS OF THE MONTH
JAMAAL FRANKLIN, Basketball, San Diego State—There was no doubt who was the leader on this year’s Aztecs team as Franklin led SDSU to an NCAA Playoff victory and 23-11 record. Franklin averaged 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds with a high game of 28 in a win over UCLA. He also led the team in assists and steals.
PATRICE JACKSON, Softball, San Diego State—A junior, Jackson hit a team-high .422 as the Aztecs went 10-5. She also led the team in home runs (4) and on-base percentage (.491), while also adding 10 runs, four doubles, 13 RBIs and six walks.
CLARK SPINOZA, Tennis, USD—The Toreros bolted out to a 5-1 with Spinoza leading the way at No. 2 singles. The junior had a 6-match singles win streak, outscoring his opponents 73-20, sweeping all six matches. Overall he was 6-3 in singles and 6-2 in doubles, teaming with Thibaut Visy.
JONATHAN TIGGS, Track, Point Loma Nazarene—Just a freshman, Tiggs has already become one of the best sprinters in Sea Lions history. Tiggs helped the 4x100 relay team win the San Diego Collegiate Challenge at 42.79 seconds. He now ranks seventh all-time in the 100-meters at 10.71 and fifth in the 200 with a time of 21.57.
SHANIEKA THOMAS, Track, San Diego State—Thomas finished second in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a leap of 45 feet, 4 ½ inches. The mark earned her first-team All-America honors. Thomas had led the nation for most of the season with her Aztec and Mountain West record mark of 46-02 ½, the sixth-best indoor mark in NCAA history.
KRIS BRYANT, Baseball, USD—Bryant helped pace the Toreros to a 10-3 record as he went 30-for-73 (.411) with six doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 30 RBI and was slugging at a 1.055 clip, while bolstering an on base percentage of .561. He also drew 24 walks. All together, Bryant had nine multi-hit games, and hit at least one home run in 10 games.
DANE STASSI, Men’s Swimming, UCSD—‘Unbeatable’ described Stassi as the Tritons sophomore captured the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Division II Championships. Trailing at the halfway mark, Stassi exploded over the final 100 yards, breaking his own school record to win by two seconds at 1:45.12. He was a four-time All-American for the four-day meet.
HIGH SCHOOL STARS OF THE MONTH
STEPHEN GONSALVES, Baseball, Cathedral Catholic—The senior left-handed pitcher, outfielder/first baseman went 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA, striking out 22 batters while walking eight. At the plate, Gonsalves batted a healthy .394 with 12 RBI, 12 runs scored, a pair of doubles, a triple and a home run against El Capitan.
TREY KELL, Boys Basketball, St. Augustine—Faced with having to hit three throws to send the game into overtime, Kell calmly buried all three and led the Saints to a 59-52 victory against Sacred Heart Cathedral to capture the State Division III title. The junior finished with a game-high 30 points.
DARREN CARRINGTON, Boys Basketball, Horizon Christian—Headed to Oregon for football, Carrington grabbed a rebound and tossed the ball to teammate Ethan Underwood who buried a three to give the Panthers a 47-46 win over St. Joseph Notre Dame in the State Division V championship. He finished with 17 points and 14 boards.
BRENDEN SONG, Track, West Hills—It took the Wolf Pack senior just one big throw and he quickly became the state leader in the discus. Song, who finished second in the state a year ago, reached 188-feet, 5-inches in a dual meet and has been beyond 180 feet in every meet.
RICKY DeSANTIS, Golf, Carlsbad—You don’t want to face the SDSU-bound senior on his home course—The Crossings. On three occasions he fired a 1-under 35 on that course. Additionally, DeSantis shot a fine 73 on the second day of the Orange Glen Tourney at Eagle Crest.
RACHEL NASLAND, Softball, Torrey Pines—Scoring against the senior pitcher was almost impossible as she allowed just two earned runs in 58.2 innings. During that time she fashioned a 5-1 record with a miniscule 0.24 ERA, striking out 103 batters as compared to issuing just six walks.