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Senior student athletes are awarded the highest honor

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Two athletes stood out this year, earning them the highest award given by the athletic department.

Senior cross country and track and field runner Melissa Cerrillos and senior baseball player Chris Peres both won Athlete of the Year Awards last Tuesday at the Senior Blanket Award Ceremony for four-year student athletes.

The awards are named after Anthony P. and Jesse Iles Scafani, alumni who graduated from La Verne in 1939 and gave $1,000 each to start the Athlete of the Year Award in 1982.

Anthony played football and baseball while his future wife at the time was involved in intramural sports.

Cerillos, who is the third woman in ULV history to qualify for the NCAA National Race in cross country, said she felt honored and was thankful that all her hard work came together from all four years of her career.

“It was really cool how they announced all the accomplishments that I’ve had because it’s a reflection for me to remind myself as a senior to be proud of all that I’ve done,” Cerrillos said.

Cerrillos is waiting on word if she will participate in the 2019 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, where she will be competing in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Despite the fact that she is ranked 15th out of 22 qualifiers, she is hopeful that no one will pass her time in other qualifier meets currently going on around the country.

The national track meet will start May 23.

Peres finished his La Verne baseball career with 127 RBIs, five home runs, 27 doubles and a batting average of .356.

Defensively, he ended with a fielding percentage of .964. Peres was humbled by the high honor of the award, and thanked all who helped on his journey throughout his career leading him to win such a high honor.

“I feel like I won this award because of who helped me get here,” Peres said. “All of my coaches, teammates, alumni and Coach Durant helped me to get better as a player and as a man growing here.”

Cerillos and Peres, who are both business administration majors, have earned First Team All-SCIAC honors for the majority of their careers in their respective sports while also earning All-West Region honors.

—Dominic Honoré

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