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Women's volleyball and beach volleyball player Emily Reinking and men's tennis player Sam Cohen were honored last week by the Exchange Club of Irvine for being Irvine Valley's scholar athletes of the year.
Reinking definitely made her mark for the Irvine Valley women's volleyball and women's sand volleyball programs – both on and off the court.
Most recently, Reinking was named to the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association Scholar Athlete Team for the fall season of 2015. To be named, players had to complete at least one season of competition with a minimum of 24 units accumulated from the beginning of the first season of competition along with a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average in those accumulated units.
Reinking, who played the libero position for IVC, finished fourth in the Orange Empire Conference in digs per set at 4.41 during the 2015 season. She averaged 4.18 digs per set overall. Reinking had 18 matches with double figure digs, including four matches with 20 digs or more. She had a season-high 25 digs in Irvine Valley's four-set win over Cypress at home. Reinking was named a first team all-conference player.
She helped Irvine Valley to a record of 16-6 overall and back-to-back Orange Empire Conference titles. The two years she was a part of the indoor program at IVC, the team had a record of 43-6. She was a key part of the 2014 team that went 27-0 and won the program's first ever state title. As good as she was indoors, Reinking was even better on the sand. She helped Irvine Valley win consecutive conference titles, the inaugural CCCAA sand volleyball title in 2015 and earn a second-place finish this year.
Reinking teamed with star Annie Mitchem to win a pairs state title in 2015 and then did it again in 2016 against even tougher odds.
With all of the top pairs teams from the state in one bracket in 2016, Reinking and teammate Hailee Earnest, who were seeded third, won five matches over two days to take the title. The duo defeated the second-seeded Cabrillo team of Morgan Ehritt and Erin Mitchell, 21-12, 21-16, in the semifinals.
The IVC pair defeated MiraCosta's team of Brianna Sizemore and Cady Francis, 21-15, 21-18, for the title.
Reinking and Earnest proved to be the dominant team over the state championship weekend going 8-0 without dropping a set in individual and team play. Reinking and Earnest also won the conference pairs title and were named the players of the year in the conference.
Reinking, a scholar athlete for two years at Irvine Valley, is headed to Grand Canyon University to play beach volleyball.
Cohen made quite an impact in his lone season with the Irvine Valley men's tennis team. After transferring in from College of the Desert, Cohen played No. 1 singles for the Lasers for much of the season.
Cohen helped Irvine Valley to its second straight California Community College Athletic Association State Championship. Irvine Valley defeated American River, 5-1, in the final in Ventura in late April.
Irvine Valley ended with a record of 21-2 with its only two losses coming against four-year schools. The Lasers also won their third straight conference title, going undefeated once again with the help from the big groundstroke shots and witty play of Cohen.
Cohen racked up a record of 13-3 in singles (one of the losses was a default in the Orange Empire Conference Tournament). He went 5-0 in singles in dual matches during the conference season and was named the OEC player of the year.
Cohen reached the semifinals of the state singles event. He won his first three matches in straight sets and then rallied to defeat Mt. SAC's Ron Kang, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Cohen lost in a tough semifinal, falling to IVC teammate Javier Callejo, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0. Callejo went on to capture the title.
Cohen was also an impressive doubles player. He finished with a record of 15-2 in doubles action. He played in the No. 1 position for the team with Callejo.
The duo, which was seeded first, made a notable run in the doubles bracket at the state tournament, reaching the final before losing in the final to IVC teammates Bruno Figlia and Scott Paz, 10-4, in a third-set super-tiebreaker.
It was the second straight year that two IVC teams faced off for the state doubles title. Cohen went to high school in Nevada.
Off the court, he was a scholar athlete for the Lasers and a team leader. He is weighing his options for the fall and next school year.
This was the 16th year that the Irvine Valley athletics department has recognized male and female scholar athletes of the year.
The full list of athletes to receive awards is listed below.
2015 Marisa Doran (Women's Volleyball/Sand Volleyball), Cole Murray (Men's Volleyball)
2014 Becky Moodie (Women's Volleyball/Sand Volleball), Steven Le (Men's Tennis)
2013 Sally Kim (Women's Golf), Rafael Da Luz (Men's Tennis)
2012 Kevin Ringuette (Men's Volleyball), Melanie Kashanchi (Women's Basketball)
2011 Nick Black (Men's Soccer), Chris Popke (Men's Soccer)
2010 Chad Sigler (Men's Tennis), Erika Garcia (Women's Basketball)
2009 Corey Thibault (Baseball), Felicia Titus (Women's Golf)
2008 Peter Johnson (Men's Volleyball), Chelsea Pavlik (Women's Volleyball)
2007 Kirk Barnard (Baseball), Ailam Truong (Women's Golf)
2006 Matt Johnson (Men's Soccer), Tiffany Hess (Women's Volleyball)
2005 Manny Maceira (Men's Basketball), Audrey Sipkovich (Women's Volleyball)
2004 Matt Burson (Baseball), Erin Imhof (Women's Tennis)
2003 Michael Lee (Men's Tennis), Amanda Smith (Women's Volleyball)
2002 Bobby Pearce (Baseball), Amanda Smith (Women's Volleyball)
2001 Nima Farhadi, Lyndsi Johnson, Dawn Regan, Myles Weinstein
2000 Mika Kinoshita, Nicholas Navarro, Craig Rice, Christian Spaulding