Mike McKinney - PCAC Honorable Mention Selection

Mike McKinney
Mike McKinney


Men's AOTW honors to Palomar's Semon, Mesa's Arroyo

The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference has selected Palomar College baseball pitcher Ryan Semon and high jumper Tyler Arroyo from San Diego Mesa's track & field team as Men's Athletes of the Week for March 20-26.

Semon, a freshman left-hander out of Valley Center High School, retired all 11 batters he faced in relief, striking out eight, in a 19-1 win over Imperial Valley as the Comets swept the teams' three-game series three games to none.

He struck out the side in the fourth inning and also retired the Arabs in order in the fifth and sixth, in both innings with two strikeouts and a fly ball.

Semon combined with four other pitchers to throw a three-hitter and picked up the pitching win, advancing to 6-0 on the season which ties him for third among California community colleges pitchers. He also lowered his ERA to 0.80, fourth-best in the state.

Palomar and defending champion Grossmont are tied for first place in the PCAC halfway through the conference season.

Mesa's Arroyo, a freshman out of Westview High School, has dominated among PCAC track & field athletes since the beginning in February. On Thursday of last week, he cleared 2.07 meters (6 feet, 9.5 inches) in the high jump to place second behind Taira Omata from Team Mizuno in the 39th Aztec Invitational hosed by San Diego State University.

Arroyo, facing a field of four-year college and club jumpers, was the top community college finisher in the event.

He ranks first in the high jump in the PCAC and Southern California and No. 3 among California community college high jumpers behind College of San Mateo's Jack Phillips (6 feet, 9.75 inches) and City College of San Francisco's Morgan Bailey (also 6 feet, 9.75 inches).

Arroyo also ranks fourth nationally behind leader Samuel Shultz from Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., who has cleared 2.15 meters (7 feet, .05 inches). Phillips and Bailey are tied for second in the nation, just ahead of Arroyo.

Honorable mention selections for the week are Mesa diver Mike McKinney and baseball players Grant Buck of Palomar, Anthony Garcia from Mt. San Jacinto and Frank Lopez of San Diego City College.

McKinney, a 63-year-old freshman who last competed at Madison High School (Class of 1971), picked up diving again in Fall 2016 when he took a class and was motivated to return to competition this season. During the week, McKinney won both the 1-meter (139.20 points) and 3-meter (132.10) events against Palomar as the Olympians won 210.5 to 72.5 to capture its third straight undefeated PCAC dual-meet championship. He also took a key first place in a combined 1- and 3-meter diving event against Mt. SAC on Saturday, solidifying a 147-134 Mesa victory over the South Coast Conference powerhouse. McKinney has a BA from UC San Diego in art/music and an MA from Portland State University in Education.

Buck, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound first baseman from Carlsbad High School who signed early with NCAA Division I Houston Baptist University, went 6-for-9 for the week as Palomar swept Imperial Valley 24-4, 19-1 and 14-2. Buck went 2-for-2 with 2 runs scored, a walk and an RBI in game 1. He added a double, a run scored and an RBI in game 2, then went 3-for-3 with a home run, 3 runs scored and an RBI in game 3. This came after he went 8-for-12 as the Comets swept 3 games from San Diego City College the previous week and was named Southern California Player of the Week by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.

Garcia, a sophomore infielder from Tahquitz High in Hemet, led Mt. San Jac to a stunning 18-7 upset win over Grossmont, which came into the game unbeaten in conference play, by going 4-for-6 with 3 runs scored, a double and 2 RBIs.

Lopez, a sophomore right-hander from Point Loma High School, pitched a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 10, as the San Diego City Knights defeated rival Mesa 7-1 to win the teams' three-game series 2-1. Lopez advanced to 4-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.61.