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Daschian, Giguere Honored as Big West Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Daschian, Giguere Honored as Big West Scholar-Athletes of the Year

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Cal Poly seniors Miranda Daschian and Michael Giguere were announced as the Mustangs' Big West Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year on Wednesday.

Alongside 16 fellow recipients representing eight peer universities (chosen from a total of nearly 2,500 student-athletes throughout the Big West), Daschian and Giguere — each from Cal Poly's cross country and track programs — will be presented the awards at a banquet hosted by Marriott Suites in Garden Grove Thursday, March 14.

Daschian won the 2018 Big West individual cross country championship, earning the medalist plaque with a victorious 6-kilometer performance of 21 minutes, 23.1 seconds at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea. While crossing first at the Conference Finals, she also led the Mustangs to the team trophy upon scoring 33 points.

Named the 2018 Big West Athlete of the Year (after collecting conference athlete-of-the-week awards on both Sept. 4 and Oct. 2), Daschian went on to advance to the NCAA Championships in Wisconsin thanks to her All-Regional honors-earning 18th-place finish at the Western Championships in Sacramento. In addition to making the Big West All-Academic Team, Daschian also garnered USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete accolades.

A Psychology major with a minor in Ethnic Studies, Daschian (who has earned Dean's List honors every quarter at Cal Poly) is scheduled to graduate Summa cum laude this upcoming December.

Her research positions are with Dr. Julie Rodgers (a psychology instructor) and Dr. Sarah Keadle (kinesiology), while interning with Not Your Average Nutritionist under Libby Parker, R.D.

Meanwhile in track & field season, Daschian scored a combined 14 points at the 2018 Big West Championships, making the all-conference team in two events (the 10,000 meters, with a time of 37:11.15), and the 5,000m (in which she posted a season-best of 16:48.88).

"Miranda is truly deserving of this honor. When she first approached us about joining the program as a high school senior, she did not yet meet our team standards. Three short years later, she has excelled in the sport, winning the Big West Cross Country Championship and qualifying to the NCAA Championships — all while excelling in the classroom," said Priscilla Bayley, Mustang Women's Cross Country Head Coach. "She sets the standard for her teammates inside and outside of practice and has earned their admiration and respect as team captain. She is someone you can always count on to compete well. She is a coach's dream."

Daschian currently volunteers for New Life K9s after volunteering for the SLO County Animal Shelter for two years. A 2015 grad of Atascadero High School, Daschian went on to letter in track at Cuesta College, where she also received the Warren Hansen Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

"Miranda is a great example of community and development. Her path to Cal Poly was preceded by successful mentoring at nearby Atascadero High School, which prepared her for Cuesta College, where the coaching and academic environment allowed her to thrive and come to Cal Poly well-prepared for the next level," said Mark Conover, Mustang Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. "Her academic and athletic accolades speak for themselves, and are the byproduct of a path that many student-athletes should consider."

In the future, Daschian plans to attend grad school in either clinical or health psychology, and ultimately aspires to work with athletes who have eating disorders and other mental health obstacles.

Giguere, an alum of Westlake High School, won a trio of consecutive cross country conference championship rings (2016-18) to close out his career, in addition to winning the 2017 Big West Track & Field 5,000-meter title.

His top performances include 14:19.18 in the 5,000m and 30:34.40 for the 10,000m, as well as 24:12.4 on an 8-kilometer course along with 30:48.1 for a 10k.

"Since arriving at Cal Poly, Mikey has been a key member of our Big West Conference Championship teams," Conover commented. "His consistency as a runner is evident with conference titles and several all-conference accolades in both track and cross country."

Giguere graduated in June 2018 in Business Administration, and is currently in the Master's in Accounting Program, set to graduate in June.

A Dean's List honoree and member of the Cal Poly Accounting Club, Giguere has interned the last two summers at Ernst & Young, in addition to volunteering at athletic events every year.

Also individually, Giguere took fourth at the 2017 Cross Country Finals en route to advancing to one of his three straight NCAA regional postseason appearances, and from his sophomore year on, he closed his track & field career earning spots on three consecutive all-conference teams.

Meanwhile combined between cross country and track, he graduates having qualified for seven consecutive Big West All-Academic Teams.

"Academic success in the College of Business as an undergrad and now as an MBA student while winning conference titles is due to Mikey's consistency, discipline, focus and belief in himself," Conover added. "He never wavered during his career, and overcame any obstacle in order to race well for the team."

After graduating, Giguere will begin working full-time as an Assurance Staff 1 at Ernst & Young in San Francisco.

Cal Poly's All-Time Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year
1997 — Jason Novi (Baseball, Sr./Business) • Lori Wagner (Soccer, Sr./Business)
1998 — Eric Wyles (Swimming, Jr./Computer Engineering) • Louella Lipana (Volleyball, Sr./History)
1999 — Eric Wyles (Swimming, Sr./Computer Engineering) • Jessica Roden (Volleyball, Jr./Journalism)
2000 — David Beals (Cross Country and Track, Sr./Mathematics) • Melanie Hathaway (Volleyball, Sr./Graphic Design)
2001 — Jeremiah Mayes (Basketball, Sr./Business) • Carolyn Schifftner (Soccer, Jr./Biological Sciences)
2002 — Matt Merritt (Football*, Sr./Civil Engineering) • Carly O'Halloran (Volleyball, Jr./Liberal Studies)
2003 — Jon Takahashi (Track & Field, Jr./Electrical Engineering) • Carly O'Halloran (Volleyball, Sr./Biological Sciences)
2004 — Jonathan Young (Soccer, Jr./Business) • Katie Collins (Soccer, Jr./History)
2005 — Andy Coughlin (Cross Country and Track, Jr./Civil Engineering) • Samantha Waller (Tennis, Jr./Kinesiology)
2006 — Nate Williams (Swimming, Sr./Civil Engineering) • Kayla Mulder (Volleyball, Sr./Kinesiology)
2007 — K.J. Lenehan (Soccer, Jr./Biological Sciences) • Jessica Eggleston (Basketball, Sr./Industrial Engineering)
2008 — K.J. Lenehan (Soccer, Sr./Biological Sciences) • Chelsea Hayes (Volleyball, Sr./Kinesiology)
2009 — Ryan Lee (Baseball, Sr./Business) • Steffi Wong (Tennis, Jr./Biomedical Sciences)
2010 — Leif Anderson (Cross Country and Track, Sr./Biomedical Engineering) • Carissa Voegele (Soccer, Sr./Kinesiology)
2011 — Wes Feighner (Soccer, Jr./Kinesiology) • Rachel Clancy (Basketball, Sr./Biological Sciences)
2012 — Matt Titchenal (Basketball, Sr./Mechanical Engineering) • Molly Pon (Volleyball, Jr./Political Science)
2013 — Tommy Pluschkell (Baseball, So./General Engineering) • Jenna Davis (Track, So./Communication)
2014 — John Guerrero (Track, Sr./Civil Engineering) • Mariah Cochiolo (Softball, Sr./Graphic Communications)
2015 — Chase Minter (Soccer, Jr./Graphic Communications) • Ashley Windsor (Cross Country and Track, Jr./Psychology)
2016 — Al Gamez Jr. (Cross Country and Track, Sr./Kinesiology) • Robin Mertens (Soccer, Sr./Kinesiology)
2017 — Jesse Yap (Golf, Sr./Industrial Engineering) • Molly Haar (Cross Country and Track, Sr./Business)
2018 — Alex Merder (Cross Country and Track, Jr./Biological Sciences) • Chelsea Convissar (Softball, Sr./Kinesiology)
2019 — Michael Giguere (Cross Country and Track, Sr./Business) • Miranda Daschian (Cross Country and Track, RJr./Psychology)