Long Beach State was put on the map this year as this semester alone gained athletics nationwide recognition and broke records for the 49ers. The Daily 49er went through each spring team to find the five most impressive standouts to don the black and gold this past semester.
Gabe Levin, Men’s Basketball
The senior power forward finished his tenure at Long Beach State averaging 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, a career high. Levin made the First Team All-Big West and was chosen out of ten athletes to represent the west coast in the Reese’s College All-Star game. He ends his career as the 12th player in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in just three years. Levin set the single-season record for free throws made with 180 this season, and tied Ed Ratleff’s 1970 school record for most points in a game, scoring 45 against UC Davis.
Cielo Meza, Softball
Meza had a breakout season, earning Big West Pitcher of the Year after she lead the conference in all major pitching categories. The sophomore finished the regular season with 22 wins, 217 strikeouts and a 1.48 ERA. Meza dominated from the mound, pitching two no hitters that broke the Long Beach State single-game record, with 17 strikeouts against Hawaii March 30. Her leadership paced the 49ers to a 42-12 season and a bid in the NCAA tournament.
Track & Field, Women’s Team
This one goes out to the whole Long Beach State women’s track and field team. It took home its first ever Big West Championship after defeating UC Santa Barbara 122-120. The 49ers trailed by two events going down the stretch of the meet, but rallied back by scoring 10 points in the high jump and winning the 4x400m relay to take out the Gauchos. The women’s sprinters set the tone at the beginning of the meet by breaking a the school record with a winning time of 44.63 seconds. Courtne’ Davis won the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.73 and Anaya Alexander won the 400-meter dash with a new PR of 53.79 seconds.
Josh Tuaniga, Men’s Volleyball
Tuaniga was a force to reckon with for the men’s volleyball team this season, leading the 49ers to a .379 attacking percentage with four new starters on the floor. He was named the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Player of the Year after racking up a hitting percentage of .517 and dishing out 10.5 assists per set. Tuaniga became the X-factor in the championship round by making multiple winning plays in crucial moments of the game. The junior is set to come back and lead the team next year to another championship run.
Nele Barber, Beach Volleyball
The senior ended her run at Long Beach State by receiving an honorable mention from the Beach Volleyball All-Americans and the AVCA. She finished the season with a 24-10 overall record and went 21-9 in the top flight, partnering with Rachel Nieto and Sasha Karelov over the course of the season. She closes her career with 52 wins in flight one, the most in Long Beach State history.