Trio named “Athletes of the Year”

By Joe Moreno | Staff Writer

Three Citrus athletes stood out in 2013-2014, elevating their games to new levels, shattering records, setting personal bests, and earning coveted positions in post-season play.

Chris Reyes is the 2014 Citrus College Male Athlete of the Year, while Sara Moore and Paramee Suwantanma shared the honor of being named 2014 Female Athlete of the Year at the 51st annual academic achievement awards celebration on May 22.

“Part of the great thing about Citrus is to of course celebrate the success of students,” said Chris Victor, men’s basketball head coach. “But it’s also fun at this level to be able to watch your students after they matriculate, to witness their success, to feel proud of them and part of that as well.”

A 6-foot-8-inch forward, Reyes had one of the most successful seasons in Citrus College basketball history, leading the state with 3.7 blocks per game and ranking 2nd in state with 12 rebounds per game, both program records. He shot 59.7 percent from the field, second in the state, while posting 18.7 points per game, third overall in program history.

He stuffed the stat sheet all year, tallying 18 double-doubles, while recording a double-double in eight of the 12 conference contests.

Reyes, 20, who was named the  2014 Western State Conference South Division Player of the Year and was also an All-State Selection, led the Owls to the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs.

Reyes set a single game program record for rebounds with 24 against Santa Monica on Jan. 8. He also set a single game program record for blocks with 9 at Bakersfield on Jan. 15, cementing his position as “definitely one of the best, maybe the best single season in program history,” Victor said. “We are very fortunate to have him and are very proud of him.”

Reyes received a full-ride scholarship in April to play for the University of Utah and Coach Larry Krystkowiak next fall. He plans to major in marketing.

“Citrus allowed me the chance to get back into game shape and provided me a lot of support academically, and now I’m in a position to succeed in that area,” Reyes said. “It’s been a good experience for me.”

Moore pieced together her own masterpiece of a season, helping the Owls softball team to a 27-13 overall mark and a 17-4 record in conference play, earning a share of the Western State Blue Division title, Citrus’ first since 2007.

Moore was one of the top community college players in the country and a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American. Moore was unanimously selected as WSC Blue Player of the Year and named a CCCFCA All-State selection as one of the top 15 players in the state.

“This is one girl that I would love to be able to play for four years. She’s just awesome,” said head softball coach Jackie Boxley. “We’re really incredibly proud of what she did this year. There were times when Sara basically took abuse for us. People didn’t want to pitch to her so they hit her.”

It is clear to see why opposing pitchers feared Moore at the plate in 2014. The infielder was one of the top offensive players in the state, batting .543 on the year, the third highest average in California, with a .605 on-base percentage and .915 slugging percentage. She also hammered 11 home runs, 42 RBI’s, 11 doubles, and scored 41 runs.

Moore finished her Citrus career with a .491 batting average, 16 home runs and 84 RBI’s in 77 games played, earning back-to-back 1st team All-WSC Blue Division honors.

Moore, 21, aspires to find a career in the medical field and will continue the EMT training program at Citrus in the fall.

Sharing the honor of Female Athlete of the Year with Moore is golfer Suwantanma, 20.

The freshman golfer became just the second Citrus College Women’s Golfer in program history to advance to the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships.

Suwantanma finished in the top 10 in the WSC conference, the top 12 at Southern California regionals and top 20 at state. She finished 2nd place overall at the 2013 WSC Championships, posting a first round 78 and a second round 80, for a two-day total of 158.

Suwantanma began the two-day State Championship event at Tracy Golf and Country Club with an 86. She was able to improve her second day score, posting an 84, putting her with a two-day total of 170 which earned her 20th place in the event.

“I’m looking forward to coaching her next season, too,” said head golf coach Julian “Trip” Horton. “It’s a pleasure for me to have an Athlete of the Year actually get to return and have another year here at Citrus.”

Suwantanma emigrated with her family from Bangkok, Thailand, two years ago. She said participating in her first event in America at the Desert Classic Invitational in Palm Springs is something she will always remember.

Coach Horton has helped Suwantanma develop her game since she enrolled at Citrus College.

“He taught me about the game mentally, how to handle situations on the course to where I feel like I can have a chance to make every shot,” Suwantanma said.