YC Student-Athlete of the Year: Christian Encarnacion-Strand

20 April 2020   Brad Clifford
Encarnacion-Strand was also named the ACCAC Player of the Year...

Despite the shortened season, Roughrider baseball player Christian Encarnacion-Strand was named the Yavapai College Student-Athlete of the Year. The Pleasant Hill, California native was one of four finalists for the award: softball player Shaylee Alani, volleyball player Kennedy Wright and soccer player Kevyn Lo.

Christian had one of the greatest careers in Yavapai College baseball history. As a freshman, the sophomore infielder led the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference in home runs (22) and runs batted in (70) and was second in the league in batting average (.402). He was named the ACCAC Player of the Year, 1st Team All-ACCAC, 1st Team NJCAA All-Region I, 1st Team All-American and was a national Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winner, the first for a Yavapai College player. In the 2019 MLB draft, Encarnacion-Strand was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

Before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christian was leading the league in home runs (11), runs batted in (33) and was second in batting average (.430). 

For his career, Encarcnacion-Strand had a batting average of .410, 31 doubles, 33 home runs and 103 runs batted in in 81 games played.

Christian entered Yavapai as an NCAA non-qualifier and will leave YC with a grade point average above a 3.0 and scholarship to Oklahoma State University.  Head Coach Ryan Cougill said of Christian, “Christian is one of the best teammates I’ve coached here at Yavapai and will leave as one of the greatest two-year careers at YC.  He is one of the first people in his family to graduate from College. He has represented our athletic department and baseball program on a National level.”

Shaylee Alani – Softball

Shaylee Alani had a stellar career during her time at Yavapai College. As a freshman, the Hawaiian native hit .470 with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 80 runs batted in. For her efforts, Alani was named ACCAC First Team, NJCAA All-Region First Team and NJCAA First Team All-American.

During the 2020 season, Shaylee hit .506 with 3 home runs and 30 runs batted in.

Kennedy Wright – Volleyball

Kennedy had one of the best freshman seasons in YC volleyball history. In 26 matches, the Cactus Shadows High School product had 355 kills with a .230 hitting percentage. She also had 3.20 digs per set and 57 blocks. For her efforts, Wright was named to the First Team All-ACCAC and First Team All-NJCAA Region I. Moreover, she was named NJCAA 2nd Team-All-American.

Kevyn Lo – Soccer

Kevyn was enjoying a solid sophomore season for the storied Roughrider soccer program but the season was cut short for the Portland, Oregon due to injury. As a freshman, Kevyn was named 2nd Team All-ACCAC and 2nd Team All-NJCAA Region I. He had 7 goals and 8 assists. In 7 games during the 2019 season, Lo had 1 goal and 3 assists.