Recognizing Athletes in a Paw-sitive Way at Spring Top Dog


Helena Hu

Spring Top Dog Award recipients: (top row from left): Garrett Lim, Thaha Afridi, Tyler Olsen, Justin Tam, Adrian Valerin, Nolan Nam, Kaveh Wojtowich, Jason Chen, Donia Maymoun, Jane Kim,Yarden Gilat, Kaelene Siribandan, Tiffany Wu, Logan Dang, Eden Yeh. and Maddie Vo

Priscilla Baek and Helena Hu

Staying true to tradition, hundreds of athletes gathered for the spring Top Dog award ceremony on May 17 in the Student Union to reflect on and celebrate the end of another year of athletics. With dinner provided, coaches, administrators and student athletes bonded over past hard work that distinguishes this elite breed of athletes from the rest.

Each coach gave a short talk about who he or she chose as  Top Dog and what makes that student a great student athlete. Award recipients included freshmen Jane Kim,Yarden Gilat, Tyler Olsen, Kaelene Siribandan and Maddie Vo and sophomores Thaha Afridi, Shadi Charara, Jason Chen, Logan Dang, Garrett Lim, Donia Maymoun, Nolan Nam, Kyle Sugita, Justin Tam, Kaveh Wojtowich, Tiffany Wu, Adrian Valerin and Eden Yeh.

“It really creates a bond between the coach and the player because the coach is recognizing them as an outstanding athlete. It allows for that bond to be even stronger,” head tennis coach Natasha Schottland said. “Each sport has their own banquet, but I think that Top Dog gives the opportunity to be formally recognized by all of the athletes, all of the coaches, [and] the administration.”

Like Top Dog award ceremonies in the past, a coach was invited to give a speech to attendees about the role athletics plays in his or her life. Track coach Victor Quiros highlighted the importance of hard work and drive within his own personal experiences as a runner turned triathlete. Through Quiros’ 24 ways to be successful in life, he pointed out that mentality in sports does not solely apply to the game, competition or race but can also be utilized to build important life skills that will aid students’ futures.

“Even though the people who get Top Dog are already hard workers, it is a further incentive for other people on the team to continue and work hard,” Sugita said. “I know for a fact that myself and my counterpart [Nolan Nam] got the Top Dog, and I think that most people know that Nolan is extremely dedicated, so I hope that [volleyball head coach Eric Graham] recognizes that in his other nominations.”