Two-sport racer Daniel Abdala, softball slugger Lafu Malepeai tabbed '21-22 SIA State Athletes of the Year

Two-sport racer Daniel Abdala, softball slugger Lafu Malepeai tabbed '21-22 SIA State Athletes of the Year

PASADENA -- Mt. San Antonio College distance racing extraordinaire Daniel Abdala and College of San Mateo's star softball outfielder Lafu Malepeai were selected the 2021-2022 California Community College Sports Information Association State Athletes of the Year.

CCCSIA 2021-2022 MEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Daniel Abdala, Sophomore, Mt. San Antonio College/Cross Country, Track and Field (Alta Loma High, Rancho Cucamonga)

Abdala became the second Mountie to ever win the Men's AOTY after eclipsing a Fresno Woodward Park 4-mile course record in winning the 2021 CCCAA State Cross Country meet in a time of 19:52.4. Abdala's individual race title helped Mt. SAC place state runner-up to team champion San Diego Mesa. The sophomore harrier won the Triple Crown in the sport as he also captured the South Coast Conference and Southern California Regional titles. 

His Mounties earned a perfect score--15 points--in winning the program's eighth consecutive conference championship. Abdala placed conference runner-up as a freshman in 2019 and stayed with the program throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The talented racer continued his success in the '22 track and field season. At the CCCAA State Championships last month, Abdala was awarded Men's Outstanding Track Athlete of the Meet in achieving a pair of gold medals in the 10,000 meters (30:20.39) and 5,000 meters (14:38.37). Abdala, who performed the same feat at the SoCal Championships, helped Mt. SAC score the most points ever in a state meet with 224.5 as the Mounties won the program's 13th state crown fittingly on its home refurbished track.

Abdala's accomplishments places him as one of the greatest distance runners in state community college history. 

CCCSIA 2021-2022 WOMEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Lafu Malepeai, Freshman, College of San Mateo/Softball (South San Francisco High)

Malepeai became the first softball player to win the Women's AOTY award. She lost most of her senior season of high school at South San Francisco due to COVID-19 in 2020, but two years later she impressed the state with a blend of power and speed.

Malepeai was not just the NorCal Player of the Year but added to the mantel her MVP performance in helping San Mateo win the 2022 CCCAA state title last month. CSM finished an incredible season at 44-4 overall. 

As the Bulldogs leftfielder, Malepeai batted 2-for-3, launching a tape-measure home run and scoring three runs in the championship final victory over Sierra. In the state tourney in Bakersfield, she totaled 11 hits, eight RBI, a .611 batting average, two home runs, one triple, and a double. In 10 total postseason games, Malepeai hit .563 with five homers, 15 RBI and nine stolen bases. 

A leadoff hitter, Malepeai led the state in home runs with 18, was second in both runs (60) and slugging percentage (1.062), third in RBI (55), sixth in hits (69), seventh in on-base percentage (.556), and eighth in steals with 27. She was honored as a NFCA All-American.

The SIA Athlete of the Year Awards began in 2011-2012 and this is the 10th sports year for selections.

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA Executive Board/State AOTY Coordinator