With the fall season over for UCLA's Olympic sports, we focus on individual Bruin student-athletes.
----Sam Mewis was named the winner of the Honda Sports Award for Soccer. Honda names a winner in each of twelve NCAA women's sports. And from these twelve, a Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year is selected. Mewis is now a finalist for the Woman Athlete of the Year. Well done, Sam. Mewis is the 2nd consecutive winner of the Honda Award for Soccer from UCLA, following 2014 winner Abby Dahlkemper. Mewis was also a 1st team All-American, and the Pac-12 Player of the Year- (note this is not the other kind of football, where Butkus winners don't make 1st team). And to top it all off, Mewis was an Academic All-American. She was a core member of the phenomenal senior class, which won UCLA's first national title in 2013 and steamrolled through the regular season in 2014. Here is the Honda announcement.
----In Women's Golf, Bruin Alison Lee won her pro card in the LPGA qualifying tournament in Florida. This is great news for Alison. It would also be great news for UCLA is Alison was an alum. Unfortunately, she was a sophomore. So the Bruins lose their premier player for the upcoming season. Ouch. Lee won the Pac-12 individual title last year, and helped push the Bruins to a 3rd place finish in last year's NCAA tournament. She won her last tournament as a member of the UCLA team in the November Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii. Lee had the low score each day for the Bruins, who finished 2nd in the tournament. To show the potential impact on the upcoming season, if you throw out Lee's scores, and include the high scores each day which were discarded, UCLA drops from 2nd to 7th. It won't be that simple once the season starts, because the Bruins will be able to add an additional member to the tournament rosters, who can hopefully mitigate the loss. In any event, hats off to Alison. We will miss you.
---In Baseball, three Bruins were named to the Preseason All-American team, as selected by Collegiate Baseball. Closer David Berg was a first team selection (thank you David for not turning pro after the 2014 draft). Friday night starter James Kaprielian was a second team selection. And third baseman Kevin Kramer was a third team selection. Kramer missed last year due to injury. All three were integral members of the 2013 National Champions. And all three will hopefully be playing in Omaha for the Bruins again this year. Defending national champion Vanderbilt is the only school with four players named to the Preseason All-American teams. Three other teams join UCLA with three players named, including fellow Pac-12 team Arizona State. 55 schools had at least one player named, so the talent is widely disbursed in collegiate baseball. Three doesn't sound like many, but it is definitely all relative. And when UCLA's three include the best closer in baseball and one of the best Friday night starting pitchers, we get a jump start for every series.
Next up, winter sports. That means baseball and gymnastics. Again, we are talking Olympic Sports. So the fast becoming non-revenue sport of Men's Basketball will be ignored here (and gladly).
Go Bruins !!