College of the Canyons sophomore dual-sport student-athlete Marissa “Mari” Kneisel has been named the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) & California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) 2015-16 Female Athlete of the Year.
Kneisel, who is a member of the college’s women’s soccer and track & field programs, becomes the first COC student-athlete to win the CCCAA/CCCSIA award since its inception in 2012. She is also the first soccer play to be honored.
In 2015, the standout forward registered 31 goals, 12 assists and 74 points to lead Canyons in all categories, while serving as a team co-captain and starting all 21 games for the Cougars.
Additionally, Kneisel led the state in goals, points, shots and shots on goal, while ranking 19th in assists. Included in her season totals were 11 game-winning scores.
In posting such numbers, Kneisel essentially rewrote the Canyons women’s soccer program’s record book, by establishing a new single season mark for goals scored and becoming the college’s all-time career leader with 51 career goals and 129 points in her two years as a Cougar.
As a result, Kneisel earned WSC, South Player of the Year Honors for a second straight year in 2015, and was later named to the CCCAA All-Region and All-State teams. She also helped Canyons (14-2-5, 11-0-3) clinch its fifth straight WSC South Championship.
“I am extremely proud of Mari for receiving this honor,” said COC women’s soccer head coach Justin Lundin. “She has demonstrated outstanding character from the first day she stepped on our campus and I can't think of a better representative of College of the Canyons Athletics.”
In the spring, Kneisel participated on the COC track & field team, where she displayed tremendous athleticism in the long jump, high jump, sprints and relay events.
Despite not participating in track during her freshman year, Kneisel went on to win the 2016 WSC title in the women's long jump with a mark of 5.37m. She was later crowned the 2016 CCCAA Southern California Champion in the same event with a leap of 5.64m. Those totals helped the COC women’s track & field team place second in the WSC and fifth in Southern California.
Not done yet, Kneisel concluded her Cougar career with a fifth place finish at the 2016 CCCAA State Championships after leaping a distance of 5.39m.
“Mari is an exceptional student-athlete with a tremendous work ethic,” said COC track & field/cross country head coach Lindie Kane. “She was an important contributing member to our women’s squad and a valuable teammate. I am so excited and proud of her many accomplishments.”
Kneisel, who attended nearby Canyon High School, graduated from COC this spring and will be transferring to Gonzaga University in the fall after accepting an athletic scholarship. The Bulldogs are an NCAA Division I program located in Spokane, Washington.
“Over the last two years Mari has established herself as one of the college’s premier student-athletes,” said Jesse Munoz, COC director of public relations & sports information. “It has been a pleasure to watch her achieve such tremendous success at College of the Canyons, and we look forward to following her career at the next level.”
The CCCAA/CCCSIA Athlete of the Year program recognizes one male and female student athlete each year based on their respective on-field accomplishments.
The CCCSIA is an affiliate organization of the California Community College Athletic Association. Its members consist of sports information professionals from California Community Colleges.
For more information about the CCCAA/CCCSIA Athlete of the Year program please visit www.cccaasports.org
For more information about the College of the Canyons Athletic department please visit www.COCathletics.com