Justin Bricker named 2010 male State Scholar

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The fruits of Justin Bricker’s labor have mostly been more labor.

The former Camarillo High and Oxnard College pitcher now thrives on his 20-hour days at Stanford University, where he speeds around “The Farm” from electrical engineering class to baseball practice on a

bright orange mountain bike.

“Getting here was worth the effort,” said Bricker. “I love this place.” It was Bricker’s unrelenting endeavor at Oxnard College, from his 4.0 GPA in 115 units to his Western State Conference co-Pitcher of the Year award to his work with the Phi Theta Kappa honors society, Oxnard College math club and Ventura College’s Math Engineering Science

Achievement program, that allowed him to achieve his dream of attending the Palo Alto school.

“I tried to prepare myself as much as possible,” said Bricker.

It also earned him the California Community College Athletic Association’s highest honor Thursday, when Bricker was named the 2010 Male State Scholar.

“It’s an honor to have this achievement,” said Bricker as he studied for a computer science midterm. “This shows that

anything is possible, if you’re willing to use the resources available.”

An admittedly unmotivated student into his matriculation at Oxnard, Bricker was pushed to challenging himself academically by a family friend, Kathy Back.

“Going into college, I was in the same boat as the majority of people that go into a community college,” said Bricker. “I didn’t have a background of great academic success I was really lucky to have some amazing professors and mentors.”

Discovering an appreciation and aptitude for electric engineering, he developed into a scholar who, last summer, was one of just seven California Community College students to transfer to Stanford.

“To some students, it’s like a light bulb that comes on,” said Bricker’s physics professor, Dr. H. Paul Taouk, said in August. “There’s something there that excites him.”

Bricker, a walk-on pitcher who has already survived a series of cuts, will find out later this month if he has made the Stanford baseball team, which will trim a 39-man roster to 35 Feb. 17.

From the nearly 27,000 student-athletes who took part in CCCAA competition last year, Bricker and Los Medanos women’s soccer playe Michelle Lopez will be honored at a luncheon at the CCCAA Convention March 30 in San Mateo.

Bricker is the county’s fourth student athlete to win the award, joining Oxnard’s Pablo Brescia (1989) and Moorpark’s Cherisse Meichtry (2000) and Mary Haney (2006).

But his wasn’t the extent of the honors earned by county’s student-athletes last year. Of the 17 teams honored as State Scholar Teams Thursday, one for each sanctioned CCCAA sport, five were from the county.

The Moorpark College men’s track & field (3.04 team GPA), men’s volleyball (3.05) and women’s volleyball (3.09) teams were honored, as well as the Ventura College men’s and women’s water polo teams (3.28 and 3.56, respectively).

“They probably do study together,” said women’s water polo coach Mary Giles of the Pirates’ water polo teams. “We let them know that our goal is not just to win conference, it’s to win the Scholar Team Award. That’s our No. 1 goal.”

The Moorpark men’s volleyball team joins the 2002 Ventura College women’s basketball team and 2005 Ventura College men’s swimming team among the handful of teams to couple a state championship with a state scholar team honor.

“First of all, it’s phenomenal just to coach two teams at this level,” said Moorpark athletic director Howard Davis of Moorpark volleyball coach Steve Burkhart. “But to have the success that he’s had on the court and now this great success in the classroom, it’s really incredible.”

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