Mt. San Antonio College swimmer Jonathan Olvera and El Camino College softball player Mina Nakawake are the South Coast Conference Don MacKenzie Scholarship winners for the 2019-2020 school year. The SCC will award the two student-athletes $1,000 each.
The MacKenzie Scholarships annually go to sophomore student-athletes who exhibit strong academics and high performance on the field of play. In some cases, the student-athletes chosen are ones who also have overcome obstacles and involve themselves in community service. The awards honor the memory of MacKenzie, the long-time SCC commissioner from 1979 until his passing in 2004.
Olvera is the second straight Mounties swimmer to win the award and the 15th Mt. SAC student-athlete overall to be chosen in the 14-year existence of the scholarships that go to one male and one female each season. Nakawake is just the third El Camino athlete to be selected after the other two occured together in 2016-2017.
Olvera, who carried a 3.59 grade point average, picked up an associate arts degree in psychology and plans on majoring in that area after earning a scholarship to attend and continue his swimming career at the University of La Verne. A member of Mt. SAC's honors program, the Glendora High graduate volunteered at the Mountie Fresh Food Pantry. Olvera's first language is Spanish as he is the first of his family to attend college.
In the shortened 2020 Spring sports season ended due to the Covid-19 health crisis, Olvera posted the state's top time in the 200-yard butterfly (1:57.49) and was third best in the 400 individual medley. In 2019, Olvera was a double conference champion, winning the 1,650 freestyle event and the 200 butterfly. He helped the Mounties win the SCC team title and finish third overall at the CCCAA State Championships. He was coached at Mt. SAC by Marc Ruh.
Nakawake, a sophomore centerfielder, was batting .475, fourth in the SCC, when the El Camino softball season abruptly ended in March after 20 games played. As a freshman, Nakawake made the 3CFCA All-SoCal Region and All-SCC First Teams when she hit .358 with 24 stolen bases. It was her game-winning RBI hit v. San Diego Mesa that propelled the Warriors into making the Super Regionals.
A 4.0 GPA student and a member of the 3CFCA All-Academic Team, Nakawake has chosen to end her collegiate playing career as she concentrates on her studies by transferring to Long Beach State University. A communications major, she worked as an intern at UCLA softball games. She also worked previously at Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals, an organization that helped serve pediatric cancer patients. Before ECC, Nakawake attended North Torrance High. She played at ECC for head coach Jessica Rapoza.