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Summer 2013 Issue

Conquering Cancer Michelle’s Story

Dreams of Division I

GateWay’s baseball players move on to play out-of-state.


Baseball, softball reviews + soccer previews

Where Are They Now? See what our alumni are up to after graduating from GateWay..


Geckos on the Move

Summer 2013

EDITORIAL Writer/Designer/ Photographer: Thania A. Betancourt Design Editor: Meryl Pritchett

Features: 6

Conquering Cancer

Sophomore Michelle Trillo recounts her last year at GateWay when she found out she had cancer.

Arizona’s Softball 11 Raising Players

Arizona Softball Foundation is a huge influence in Arizona’s softball community. Find out how they impact GateWay.

Sam 12 Mama Freshman Sam Ansell balances

life, school and softball, but most importantly — her daughter.


Copy Editors: Jennifer Gunther Natalie Miranda

of Divison I 20 Dreams Two GateWay baseball players


Softball Review


Baseball Review

Journey to Jamestown


Tatro will move 1,500 miles away from home to be Jamestown’s new member of the women’s soccer team.

Triple Threat: ACCAC’s Pitchers of the Week


Fall Preview: Men’s and Women’s Soccer


Meet GateWay’s Coaches

set out to New Mexico this fall to start their Division I careers.

26 Sophomore defender Amanda

Are They Now? 28 Where From playing in university divisions to coaching — see what GateWay Athletics alumni are up to now.

Letter from the Athletic Director Hello Geckos, Welcome to the 2013 Summer edition of GateWay Geckos: On the Move. This is our first ever digital edition of On the Move. We decided to go digital this year in order to reach more of our Geck Nation as compared to our regular, in-print edition. In this edition we have stories about student-athletes going through trials and tribulations to reach their goals. We also have “Where are they now?” stories about alumni sharing their twoyear college experience and what they miss about GateWay. We also have a feature article on the Arizona Softball Foundation and how it has funded our program through generous scholarships. We know softball may have suffered a losing season and baseball didn’t make it all the way to the World Series in Oklahoma, but we are keeping our heads up and working harder than ever before. We are confident our athletes will continue to flourish in academics and sports in order to be the best they can be. Please continue to attend our games, participate in our fundraisers and root on your fellow Geckos to make GateWay’s athletics department thrive. You can always stay updated on our latest news by checking out our official website, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Overall, we would like to thank alumni, families, coaches, fans and faculty for supporting our department. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Go, Geck Nation!

Jaime Long GateWay Athleltic Director 3

SOFTBALL ‘12-’13


ateWay’s softball team had a strong start at the beginning of the season in January, beating Santa Monica and Oxnard at the Winter Blast — Glendale College Softball Classic in Glendale, Calif. However, due to several injuries and players dropping from the team, it left the Lady Geckos with only 11 softball players. Head softball


coach Jaime Long said it did not break their spirits. “The team persevered throughout the season and never gave up,� she said. She said she is proud of her players moving on to universities. Sophomores Regina Ramirez and Salina Soto will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Lili Flores will attend Grand Canyon University in the fall.


Conquering Can I

n spite of everything, utility player Michelle Trillo never let cancer bench her from playing softball — she benched cancer instead. For the 23-year-old sophomore, coming back to play at GateWay Community College last fall after a four-year hiatus was the highlight of her year. Trillo had dreams like every other student-athlete: To be successful in school, transfer to a four-year university and continue to play sports. Trillo said becoming a social worker and playing softball at a four-year university were dreams she would never put on hold. In October 2012, doctors told Trillo the benign tumor detected in her brain a month earlier became cancerous. Trillo was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer, the most malignant type of brain cancer. >> 6



“The doctors told me I should stop playing softball,” she said. She had a 58 percent chance of living, and softball season started in a few months. “Why would I give that up?” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I told coach I couldn’t play because I’m sick.” This season was her last chance to play for the Geckos and last opportunity to transfer to a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics league at a fouryear university. “I couldn’t think of just not playing, especially because I just had given everything up,” she said. Trillo had quit her job as a special education instructional aide, and she also left coaching softball at Cortez High 8

School in Phoenix to play softball for GateWay. When doctors first told her she had cancer, Trillo said she was in denial. She said she knew there was something wrong. She started having intense migraines, her body was sore and she bruised easily. She continued to attend softball practices and start in games despite her pain. It wasn’t until one night when Trillo was with her friend in his car and she experienced the worst migraine she ever had. “I remember going to sleep and waking up in the hospital,” she said. At first, Trillo said she sensed doctors avoided notifying her that the results of

“I couldn’t think of just think ofespecially just not not playing, “ I couldn’t playing, especially because I because I just had given just had given everything up. ” everything up.” tests on her tumor were malignant. “I really needed to know what was going on,” she said. Trillo said she pleaded with the doctor to give her the serious diagnosis. “I’m a strong person. I can take anything you are about to tell me,” she said. Once the doctor diagnosed her, Trillo started treatments, but continued to go to classes and attend practices. “For three hours, I would shut out my sickness to focus on softball,” she said. Trillo said she feels she is still in denial that she has cancer, but she said it hits her in the oddest times. “I start crying, and I say, ‘What am I crying about?’” Trillo said. “I’m doing what I want to do. I would be sad if I tore my ACL.”

Trillo said she hid her illness from head softball coach Jaime Long and her teammates for as long as she could. “I was scared for my teammates to see me that way,” she said. She finally mustered the courage to tell Coach Long and eventually her teammates. Trillo said her cancer never interfered with playing softball throughout the season until the end of the season game against Central Arizona. She said her intense migraines started to act up, and she was “slam dunking” the ball into the ground. Her vision was fading, and she couldn’t see at all. It was the first time in the season she had to sit out of a game. >> 9

Head softball coach Jaime Long said she was more concerned about Trillo’s health than the game. “Obviously she is a talented player and (this is) an important game for any team, but her health is more important than any game,” she said. When Trillo first approached her about continuing softball, Long said she was always OK with Trillo playing as long she felt well enough to play. “I didn’t have any doubts she wouldn’t be able to do it,” Long said. By the end of the season, Trillo had a .334 overall batting average and lead in RBIs. Long saw Trillo’s determination progress throughout the years she had coached her. “She is a really tough, tough person — she has a lot of drive and perseverance in her,” Long said. Trillo said she admires the faith her teammates and Coach Long have in her. “Sometimes I feel they have more faith in me than I have in myself,” she said. “I think Coach Long’s faith is a lot stronger than mine.” She said her teammates have inspired her to play harder. Although the Lady Geckos had a losing streak throughout the season, Trillo said she always saw her teammates wanting to 10

hit harder and play harder. Trillo said there was something about telling them about her illness that brought them together. “In 10 years of softball, I have never been so close to a group of girls,” Trillo said. At the end of the spring semester, Trillo graduated and received the Most Valuable Player Award at the annual Athletics banquet with a 2.9 GPA. Trillo said her softball career doesn’t stop at GateWay. She will play at St. Mary’s University in Leavenworth, Kan., in the fall. She said her doctors say she is progressing and that she is getting better with each visit. “I know there is a long way as far as my health is concerned,” she said, “but I have come a long way.” Trillo said after graduating from GateWay her goals are to play NAIA softball and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. “I never felt like my softball story or softball chapter was done. There is still story left in that book.”


hen it comes to helping fund GateWay Community College’s softball program, no group deserves more thanks than the Arizona Softball Foundation (ASF). Since GateWay started its softball program in 2005, ASF has given scholarships to two exemplary softball players. The foundation also donated $500 for the Geckos to travel to Glendale, Calif., to play in the Glendale College Softball Classic earlier this season. Head softball coach Jaime Long said she is grateful for everything ASF has done to assist student-athletes at GateWay. “I appreciate their support to aid the young ladies to continue their education,” she said. Long said the ASF Scholarship breaks down barriers and brings down tuition costs for student-athletes, encouraging them to continue their education past high school. “Community college isn’t much money compared to a university, but money is

still a reason not to go,” she said. Long said she always encourages her softball players to apply for the ASF scholarship to alleviate tuition costs. ASF Vice President Karen Mischlispy said the scholarship program gives around $4,000 in scholarship funds to four good-standing softball players who are pursuing a two-year college degree. “The scholarships are a vehicle to help young ladies pursue their career,” she said. According to the ASF website, the ASF Scholarship Program has helped over 20 community college studentathletes with tuition costs, including textbooks and lab fees, since its start in 2003. “We want them to know there is a strong softball community to care for them,” Mischlispy said. To learn more about the ASF Scholarship Program, visit www.




reshman Samantha Ansell steps onto the mound. Her teammates in the dugout chant, “Mama Sam, Mama Sam, Mama Sam” while her daughter watches in the stands. “It’s nice to have her there,” Ansell said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” For the 20-year-old GateWay pitcher, life revolves around school, softball and most importantly her 9-month-old Leila. >>


“I want to be successful for her,” she said. “Leila is more of my motivation than inspiration.” From the very beginning, Ansell said she knew balancing motherhood, school and softball would be an obstacle, but it was never going to stop her. “I don’t ever think there was a point where I wanted to give it up.” she said. “I don’t want to be a person who works at a fast-food restaurant for the rest of my life, living paycheck-to-paycheck to support my daughter.” In order to provide a good life for her daughter, Ansell said she works hard everyday and schedules her time down to the minute. “It’s a lot of planning,” she said. She wakes up at the crack of dawn to feed Leila. She prepares her for the day before she leaves her with Leila’s grandparents. She then commutes for half an hour to her classes at GateWay, where she takes back-to-back classes for six hours. Ansell finishes her day with five-hour softball practices. Games are also another part of her busy schedule. She said it’s not until 6 p.m. that she is able to see Leila, and by 9:30 p.m. she tucks her in for bed. “Even when she is in bed, I’m planning for the next day,” she said. Ansell said she hopes her hard work pays off when she reaches her goals of playing softball at a four-year university and becoming a pediatrician or pediatric surgeon. “I have to consider what’s best for her,” she said. “I want to go to a university with a program for pre-med that’s not only going to benefit me in the athletic way, but in my career.” As for getting through school financially, Ansell said she has applied for scholarships from GateWay such as 14

the PROSPER program to fully fund her education. “I make sure to fill them all out to give myself the best possibilities,” she said. Head Softball Coach Jaime Long said she admired Ansell’s ability to tackle all the aspects of her life. “Mothers usually get tired when they get home,” she said. “But, she was still able to succeed and prosper.” Long said she always told Ansell to make every minute in school and softball count.

Ansell ended the semester and season with straight A’s and a cummulative GPA of 3.2. She has one more year at GateWay before transferring to a fouryear university. “I would tell her that not only are you doing this for yourself, but you are doing this for Leila,” Long said. “Not everyone else has something so important to fight for, especially at this age.”


BASEBALL ‘12-’13



n hopes of returning to the NJCAA World Series in Enid, Okla., the Geckos were determined to give it their all in the 2013 season. They started off strong with a six-game winning streak, defeating College of Southern Nevada and College of Eastern Utah in January and February. They managed to stay in the top 20 schools in the NJCAA Division II rankings. Ending the regular season, they defeated the Phoenix College Bears in the Arizona Community College Conference Division II Regionals. They were one step closer to going to the World Series, unfortunately the Scottsdale Artichokes defeated the Geckos on the last day of the series. Despite the loss, the Geckos look forward to another season.



ateWay’s triple-threat pitchers Mike Ebersole, Trent Keefer and Tyler Clancy were deservedly named the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference’s Pitchers of the Week this past season. Sophomore left-hander Keefer was given the honor for his 1-0 win over Eastern Arizona in April. He managed to strike out seven batters and allowed three hits in a complete game shutout. Keefer was 6-for-3 with a 3.08 ERA (Earned Run Average) at the end of the season. Keefer will attend North Dakota State in the fall. Sophomore right-hander Ebersole and freshman left-hander 18

Clancy were named Pitchers of Week on the same week of April 26. Ebersole picked up a win and two saves in that week. Since receiving the recognition in April he has broke the GateWay singleseason record in saves with 14. Ebersole ended the season with a 1.67 ERA. Clancy pitched seven scoreless innings during a game against Phoenix College in mid-April. He struck out five hitters, allowing no runs on six hits. Clancy had a 4.37 ERA that week.




ms of Division I


ophomores Aaron Siple and Ben Slater are moving to rival universities in New Mexico, fulfilling their dreams of playing at NCAA Division I schools. Outfielder Siple and first baseman Slater are the one of the few sophomores to sign with a Division I school this year. In the fall, Siple will join the University of New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque, and Slater will join the New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces. Head Coach Rob Shabansky said he is proud to see Siple and Slater go on to play and finish their degree. “(They) are some of the few guys to move on to a four-year university and can handle it athletically and academically,� he said. >>



ophomore infielder Ben Slater was never going to let anything get in the way of playing baseball. The 22-year-old first baseman had a minor setback at the beginning of the season when he tore his ACL, but fortunately he already signed a contract with the New Mexico State Aggies. “I was very fortunate to sign in fall,” Slater said. He was also offered 75 percent of his tuition paid for through academic and athletic scholarships. The bad news was he had to recover for a few months, meaning he wouldn’t be able to play for GateWay his last season. Slater decided to moved back to his hometown of Glencoe, Minn., where he started his rehab and began his New Mexico State classes online. “It worked out for the best, but I wish I would have played my last year,” he said. After months of rehab, Slater said he is ready to join the Aggies in the fall. 22

“I’m excited to play Division I baseball and give it a go,” he said. Slater said he is looking forward to the opportunity of going to NCAA regionals and hopefully the World Series in Omaha. “As long as I can contribute and help the team win, that’s my goal,” he said. The business and accounting sophomore said he wouldn’t turn down the chance to be in the MLB, but if he doesn’t get drafted he still has a plan B. Slater said he would join his dad in selling outdoor sporting goods. “If baseball doesn’t work out,” he said. “I’d get in the family business.” He said he has a long way to go before knowing where he will be in life. In the meantime, Slater said he will give it his all in academics and athletics. “I just have to keep working and go as far as I can go,” he said.

Photo courtsey of Ben Slater.

Ben Slater | New Mexico State

Aaron Siple | New Mexico


or the 20-year-old center fielder, playing baseball and obtaining his degree have always been his lifelong dreams. “I have been working so hard my whole life, and to come to this has been surreal,” he said. Siple finished his sophomore year helping the Geckos advance to the Arizona Community College Conference Division II Regionals, and he won the prestigious American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and NJCAA Rawlings Gold Glove Award. However, the communications sophomore did more than be successful on the field. He managed to keep a 3.8 GPA at end of the semester. He aspires to be a sports reporter after he graduates. “It’s tough to push yourself academically as well as on the field,” Siple said. “I think it was all worth it in the end.” Siple said that thanks to academic and athletic scholarships, he has 90 percent

of his tuition covered at New Mexico. The Tempe native also said New Mexico is a perfect school because he didn’t want to stray too far away from home. Siple said he will leave with many fond memories of his teammates and head coach, especially his favorite memory of beating Phoenix College in the regionals this season. “It showed we were all together, and we all wanted to win,” he said. Siple said he will miss his teammates, who he considers “brothers,” and Coach Shabansky. “I don’t think I will ever have a coach like Rob,” he said. He said his time at GateWay was the best two years of his life, but it’s time to move forward. “I wish I could stay longer, but I have to move on,” he said. Siple will be the third GateWay alumnus to join the Lobos and is expected to fill in for former center fielder Josh Melendez. 23


ast season men’s and women’s soccer were polar opposites when it came to performance. Women’s soccer went 2-for-16 in the season, one of its least-performing seasons, and men’s soccer had the best seasons in GateWay history. However, head men’s and women’s soccer coach Greg


Johnson said he has high hopes for the women’s team. “I’m excited to get the team back to the level of play we demonstrated the first four years of the program.” Also, he said he has faith the men’s team is one step closer to playoffs due to their previous outstanding season.


Journey to Jamest A ttending an out-ofstate college can be nerve wracking for any student-athlete, but sophomore defender Amanda Tatro is more than up for the challenge. “I want to prove to myself I can do it,” she said. The 19-year-old Tucson native will move 1,500 miles to study kinesiology and exercise science at Jamestown University in Jamestown, N.D., in the fall. Tatro signed with the Jamestown Jimmies women’s soccer team in April. The kinesiology sophomore is the only graduating player from GateWay’s women’s team to sign with a university this year. Tatro said she has been playing soccer since she was four years old and that her lifelong goal has been to play soccer at the university level. “I want to become the best player I can be and be pushed to the limits,” she said. Tatro started playing at GateWay her freshman year in 2011.


She said her hard work in academics and athletics has paid off. “If I gave up in the season, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. Tatro said she received around $12,000 in academic and athletic scholarships to go to Jamestown. She said she is looking forward to living in a new town and to travel with her team. “It’s something completely different, which is something I wanted and to get away from the hot weather,” she said. “It’s the chance to go explore.” Tatro said above all is she is very fortunate to have played at GateWay because it gave her the chance to move on to a fouryear university. “(After you’ve played here), GateWay doesn’t have to be your last stop.”




When GateWay’s finest studentathletes graduate, they have a whole future ahead of them whether it’s continuing their education, athletics or plans to start a family. No matter where GateWay Athletics alumni end up, it’s the memories they had at GateWay they remember the most. Here are their stories. >>


SOCCER ALUMNI ROB THOME // CLASS OF ‘11 ince former GateWay defender Rob Thome graduated in spring 2011, he went on to attend Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind., where he continued playing as a defender. The 25-year-old Calumet defender will earn his bachelor’s degree in accounting and plans to move back to Arizona. He will pursue his Certified Public Accountant license and hopes to start coaching soccer. “I want to start coaching period, whether it’s toddlers or college kids,” he said. Thome said he has enjoyed his time studying and playing soccer in Indiana, but misses being on GateWay’s inaugural team, which debuted in 2009. “Granted, I didn’t score many goals, but it was special to be part of the men’s soccer team in its first two years,” he said. Thome said he looks forward to a future in Arizona, whether it’s his CPA license, coaching or starting a family. “If opportunities present themselves, I will pursue them,” he said.

PAIGE NORTHRUP // CLASS OF ‘10 ormer GateWay defender Paige Northrup will also be a graduate of Calumet College of St. Joseph, but she said is eager to come back home to Arizona. Come this December Northrup will have her bachelor’s degree in business management and will complete three years of playing defense for Calumet’s soccer team. She said she would like to thank Head Soccer Coach Greg Johnson for preparing her through soccer and academics. “GateWay helped me find out who I am, and Calumet made me mature so much,” she said. She plans to earn her license in coaching to continue in soccer and potentially coach GateWay’s soccer team. Northrup also aspires to go back to school to receive her master’s degree in human resources and be a human resources manager.

Photo courtsey of Paige Northrup.



Photo courtsey of Paige Northrup.



Photo courtsey of Mike Felton.


ormer infielder Mike Felton has had a long list of accomplishments since he left GateWay in 2011 and went on to play for Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. He has been named everything from Second Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America last June, to regional Player of the Week by College Baseball Insider in mid-May. Felton is also a nominee for TD Ameritrade Fan’s Choice Award, an honor given to college baseball players who demonstrate teamwork, leadership and integrity among their teammates and community. “I felt blessed just to be mentioned for this award,” he said. This is his last season playing at Campbell, and he is expected to graduate in Dec. 2013 and receive his bachelor’s degree in communications. “I’m reaching the end of something I have been a part of forever,” he said. He said his time as a studentathlete is near its end, but he has advice for current and future GateWay studentathletes. “At the end of day, if you don’t love what you are doing, it’s not worth your time,” Felton said.





Photo courtsey of Josh Melendez.


rom NJCAA College World Series to NCAA Regionals, former center fielder Josh Melendez has come a long way since being a Gecko. Yet, he still misses everything about it. “I loved every moment at GateWay, and I don’t regret anything I have done,” he said. Since he graduated from GateWay in 2011, he went on to major in chemical engineering and play outfield for the University of New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque. The Chandler native was named Mountain West’s Baseball Player of the Week twice throughout his two-year baseball career with the Lobos, including MVP at the Mountain West Tournament in 2012. Recently, he was also named the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team for his hard work in athletics and academics. In May, Melendez helped take his team to the NCAA regionals where his team played against heavy hitters like Arizona State and University of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, New Mexico fell to Columbia. This is Melendez’s last season playing for the Lobos. He said he decided to stop playing baseball

to focus on his last year on school. He also wants to dedicate himself to a chemical engineering internship at ProPetro Services in Texas. Melendez said he still misses his days at GateWay. His team and Head Baseball Coach Rob Shabansky were the first in GateWay history to go to the NJCAA World Series in Enid, Okla. “I miss playing for Chubby — he was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” he said.




fter graduating high school, former GateWay outfielder Nicole Lorenzi never expected to play softball in college. However, life had other plans for her. “If I never played for GateWay, I would have never played for Grand Canyon,” she said. Lorenzi ended her sophomore year as the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference’s Division II Outfielder of the Year in 2008. She decided to go to ASU to major in business at W. P. Carey School of Business, when she was offered to play outfield for Grand Canyon University, located in Phoenix. At GCU, she won the PacWest Softball Weekly Top 10 Honor Roll in 2009, batting .818 in six games, went 9-for-11 with nine runs and two RBI, according to a PacWest press release. Lorenzi said she doesn’t regret taking the chances thrown at her. “Be ready for everything and take advantage of every opportunity, no matter how unexpected they may be,” she said. The Scottsdale native is now a marketing assistant at Swiss America Trading Corp. She said she still coaches for club teams in town because she has always wanted softball to be a part of her life. “I never stopped being a part of it,” Lorenzi said.

Photo courtsey of Jennifer Lorenzi.





ormer outfielder Jennifer Lorenzi followed in her older sister Nicole’s footsteps and joined GateWay’s softball team in 2010. However, Jennifer’s path led her to playing outfield in Arizona Christian University’s first softball team. “I want to be as successful as she is, but in my own way,” she said. During her first season playing with Arizona Christian, Jennifer won the proclaimed Golden State Athletics Conference Player of the Week Award in March. She is the first player at Arizona Christian Athletics to win the award. Jennifer said she is growing as a softball player and feels a sense of accomplishment. “It’s all a growing experience,” she said. “I’m really enjoying it and I have become more confident.” Jennifer is a secondary education senior and will be graduating in Dec. 2014. “I can’t wait until I graduate for the fact that it will be over with and I can start a new chapter,” she said.

Photo courtsey of Jennifer Lorenzi.



very day coaches spend countless hours preparing for preseason, playoffs and eventually for the hopes of championships. Their efforts and dedication to GateWay Athletics extend further than the field — they prepare these young student-athletes for their futures. Meet GateWay’s coaches. >>


Rob Shabansky, Head Baseball Coach


ead baseball coach Rob Shabansky is on his ninth season coaching GateWay’s baseball team. The Las Vegas native was a pitcher for the University of Arizona Wildcats’ baseball team and played in Minor League Baseball into his adult years. He received his bachelor’s degree in communications. Shabansky said his favorite aspect of coaching is working with studentathletes. “I really enjoy being a part of their life and trying to prepare them for the next level of athletics and helping them earn a degree,” he said. “It’s a satisfying feeling to see student athletes succeed beyond GateWay.”

Joe Urtuzuastegui, Assistant Baseball Coach


ssistant baseball coach Joe Urtuzuastegui has been coaching at GateWay since spring 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree in general studies at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. Urtuzuastegui coaches infield, hitting and first base. He said the 2013 season was one of his favorite years coaching. “The whole season was memorable with the great group of guys we had this year, it will go a long way for us moving on in the years to come,” he said.


Jaime Long, Head Softball Coach


thletic Director and head softball coach Jaime Long started her coaching experience after she received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Bethune-Cookman University, in Dayton Beach, Fla., in 2003. She played softball for the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats for one year and then coached the team until she moved back to her native Arizona. Long also played NJCAA softball at Scottsdale Community College and South Mountain Community College. She has coached at GateWay for eight years. Her favorite part about coaching is to see players improve and move on to a university.

Alex Fajardo, Assistant Softball Coach


ssistant softball coach Alex Fajardo just finished his first year coaching at Gateway, but he has been coaching for nine years at elementary and highschool levels. He also coaches the Krazy Kats, a fastpitch club in the Valley. He said coaching at a college-level has been a dream come true for him. Fajardo said he was proud of the 11 softball players who stuck it through the season. “The girls played their hearts out for each other,” he said. “That’s a team.”



ead soccer coach Greg Johnson has a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and has 22 years of coaching experience. He is the first to coach the men’s and women’s soccer teams at GateWay and has been with the Geckos for five-and-a-half years. Johnson’s favorite part of coaching is helping players get to the highest level they can accomplish. Also, he enjoys helping players improve in all aspects of life, especially helping them become responsible members of the community. Johnson is a Chandler native and a diehard Los Angeles Kings fan.

Greg Johnson, Head Soccer Coach


ssistant coach Jason Berg has worked at GateWay Athletics since August 2009. Berg received his Bachelor of Arts in history and special education from Arizona State University and has lived in Tempe, Ariz., all his life. His coaching duties include everything from setting up games and practices to finding new recruits. Berg said his favorite moment coaching this year was sweeping Scottsdale Community College for the second-straight year. Also, he enjoyed watching players break last year’s soccer records. He said he hopes to break more records this upcoming season.

Jason Berg, Assistant Soccer Coach 38

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