King City High School’s Athletes of the Year and Scholar Athletes of the Year are (clockwise from top left) Jonah Mendez, Joshua Riley, Sarah Brewen and Brenna Owens. (Sean Roney/Staff)

KING CITY — King City High School recognized their top student athletes before graduation during an assembly on June 3.

Joshua Riley and Sarah Brewen were named Scholar Athletes of the Year, while Jonah Mendez and Brenna Owens were honored as Athletes of the Year.

“It was a wonderful group of individuals,” said Michael Gray, KCHS assistant principal.

According to Gray, scholar athletes must excel in varsity sports, preferably for more than one year and more than one sport.

“They needed to represent King City High School with pride and honor and also excel in the classroom,” Gray said.

Both Riley and Brewen had GPAs above 4.0 and played in multiple sports.

“I was fortunate enough to play varsity basketball for three years and also be a member of the high school rodeo team for District 4,” Brewen said.

Brewen plans to go to Cuesta College and major in ag business with a focus on finance.

“Being in sports was by far the best part of high school,” Riley said. “Being in cross country and track and field, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, all the ups and downs. It gave me a chance to improve myself and balance my schedule out.”

Riley plans to continue with sports while attending Hartnell College.

“Sports teaches you more than you expect, other than the fun in it,” said Owens, noting the added benefits of motivation and working toward goals.

Owens plans to attend Cypress College in Orange County to play volleyball and major in health science.

“I’m going to continue playing either at Hartnell or MPC and going to try playing as long as I can, with a focus on football,” Mendez said.

All four senior students had their last two academic years impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with interruptions to sports as well as their education.

“It’s just been crazy thinking we weren’t going to have a season,” said Mendez, giving thanks to everyone who came together to let the athletes have a final season. “It means a lot to us, getting the opportunity to play.”

Owens added, “I think I went into high school thinking it would be scary, but now looking back as a senior, I think I took a lot for granted, since it was taken away so fast.”

Brewen said since she didn’t live in King City, being able to attend school online was nice “for a little bit” as an alternative to long travels to and from school.

“I’m glad we got to come back,” she said. “It was nice to come back for the last couple months.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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