Two freshmen, Anterio “Taz” Bateman of Long Beach City College’s (LBCC) football team and Chantel Dunson of the Track and Field team have been named the LBCC Male and Female Athletes of the Year for the 2014-15 sports season. The college’s head coaches and a panel of local media selected both winners.
According to the announcement, Bateman and Dunson are the first athletes in their sports to receive the honor in the eight-year history of the award.
“We are extremely proud of Anterio and Chantel for their achievements this season,” said LBCC Dean of Student Affairs and Athletics Connie Sears in a statement. “It is quite an accomplishment to be recognized as athletes of the year for such a strong athletic program. They are two very deserving individuals that represent all of our outstanding student-athletes.”
The running back became LBCC’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004 after collecting 1,135 yards on 158 carries over 11 games, which ranked him second in Southern California and sixth among state leaders. Bateman also accumulated 1,779 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns, 36 passes caught for 452 yards, 16 punt returns for 130 yards and three returned kickoffs for 62 yards.
Bateman was a first-team SCFA All-Central League pick at both the running back and all-purpose positions. He was also named Beach Bowl Offensive Player of the Game after rushing for 215 yards and two touchdowns in his final contest as a Viking, according to the release.
“There is nothing that Taz Bateman can't do on the field, his stats and accolades demonstrate that,” said LBCC Football Head Coach Brett Peabody in a statement, “He is also one of the most intelligent players we've ever coached. Leader, class, character, great work ethic, great player, better person – that is Taz Bateman.”
Bateman will leave LBCC after just one season to continue his academic and athletic career at Georgia State University in the fall.
Dunson finished off a strong first season by winning a state championship in the triple jump, which she dedicated to her sick father, who is in the hospital, as well as her supportive family, said LBCC Women’s Track and Field Head Coach Karen Vigilant-Goodman.
She surpassed her previous season-best mark of 11.47 meters she had set at the Southern California Championships preliminaries with an 11.59-meter effort that won her the gold and 10 points for state. Dunson told her coach she plans on jumping 40 feet next year.
“It was very nice to finally have a champion after a long drought,” Vigilant-Goodman told the Post. “Chantel is a fighter; she told me the night before the state meet that she was planning on being one of the top three in her event, and do I think that she can do it. I told her no, I think that she can win it, so go out there and do what she practiced."
Dunson is LBCC's first track and field state champion since Jonathan Sanders captured a state title in the 400-meter hurdles in 2011 and the first female to win a state championship since Angela Wells took the long jump in 2006. She also advanced to the Southern California Championships in the 200 meters and was a member of the qualifying 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay teams.
She will return to LBCC next year as a sophomore and defending state champion.
Previous LBCC Athletes of the Year:
2013-14: Lazar Andric (Water Polo), Abbey Goodsell (Basketball)
2012-13: Michael Carrillo (Water Polo/Swimming & Diving), Talia Rayford (Basketball)
2011-12: Rob McLean (Volleyball), Christine MacLennan (Swimming & Diving/Water Polo)
2010-11: Scott Butler (Water Polo/Swimming & Diving), Sarah Agopian (Water Polo)
2009-10: Dusan Ivanovski (Water Polo), Kimmy Morrison (Water Polo)
2008-09: Antwain Aguillard (Volleyball), Vanessa Samudio (Softball)
2007-08: Vannie Prudhomme (Track & Field), Sadie Barton (Softball)