The Athletes of the Week Award has returned.
Student athletes from high school and collegiate varsity teams are eligible for the honors.
The awards are voted on by members of the Santa Barbara area media from a ballot of candidates selected by Noozhawk. Coaches are encouraged to nominate top performers each week. The nominations must be emailed to Sports@noozhawk.com by Sunday at 10 a.m.
This week’s winners are JaQuori McLaughlin of the UCSB men’s basketball team and San Marcos girls water polo player Zosia Amberger.
McLaughlin led UCSB to the Big West regular season and tournament championships, and the basketball program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade.
The senior guard scored 22 points, 16 in the second half, to help the Gauchos beat defending champion UC Irvine to win the Big West Tournament title in Las Vegas.
In a tough 63-62 NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Creighton, McLaughlin scored 13 points and had seven assists.
McLaughlin last week was named an honorable mention choice on the Associated Press All-America Team. He is the first Gaucho to earn All-American honors since Alan Williams in 2013-14, and the eighth player overall in UCSB program history.
The male AOW honorable mention choices include Buddy Melgoza (Bishop Diego football), Ryan Drake (Santa Barbara High water polo), Jordan Harris (Santa Barbara High baseball) and Marcos Castanon (UCSB baseball).
Amberger was the defensive leader as the goalkeeper for a San Marcos water polo team that won all eight of its games in a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She made a total of 33 saves in wins over Dos Pueblos (9), Westlake (15) and Arroyo Grande (9)
The female honorable mention selections were Iyree Jarrett (Westmont basketball), Avery Ball (Dos Pueblos lacrosse) and Mila Speer (Santa Barbara High track & field).