By: Taylor Browne/Mack Drake/GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Club Sports program is pleased to introduce a brand-new monthly award to be given out during the 2019-20 school year. The award, named the GCU Club Sports Student-Athlete of the Month, will honor and recognize a male and female club sports student-athlete for exceptional performances on and off the field.
Claiming the first-ever Athlete of the Month award are GCU Flag Football player-coach Justice Guerrero and GCU Club Women’s Volleyball star Olivia Brunt.
Women’s Club Volleyball: Olivia Brunt
Behind every athlete at Grand Canyon University is a student.
As a returning senior standout for GCU Women’s Club Volleyball, Olivia Brunt helped the Lopes win a National Club Volleyball Federation National Championship last year en route to being named the NCVF 2019 National Player of the Year.
Brunt, who organized and began the program with a couple of friends three years ago, is set to earn her degree next April in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
As a student at GCU, one of the most notable qualities Brunt holds is her ability to lead others on campus and on the court.
Brunt served as an on-campus Life Leader her sophomore year. Life Leaders are student leaders who come alongside residents to serve as a support system for their dorm hall. Brunt led small groups on campus called Life Groups, where she shared her faith with other residents.
Brunt later took her leadership role in Spiritual Life to the Club Sports side as a student-leader for Club Volleyball.
“I am really passionate about building connections,” said Brunt. “Being a life leader led me to take on the leadership role as a student-athlete for Club Volleyball.”
GCU Club Sports’ mission of developing good Christian role models follows Brunt on the court.
“I found that building relationships on and off the court with my teammates was my way of sharing my faith,” said Brunt. “That was my way of showing God’s love; by getting to know them on a true teammate and friendship level outside of volleyball.”
Men’s Flag Football: Justice Guerrero
Guerrero’s experience on and off the field makes him the ideal leader for GCU’s flag football program. Guerrero’s football pedigree includes a stint at North Monterey County High School in Castroville, California, where he coached at all three levels during his six-year tenure at the school. The experience taught him how to lead and motivate young athletes.
“It was truly rewarding,” said Guerrero. “The relationships I built during those years are ones I cherish today, and some of my former athletes still contact me on life and football advice. It’s been a fun process learning from them and being able to be a positive role model in their lives.”
Guerrero’s leadership style is molded by his time in the Army as an Infantry Gunner in an Airborne Unit stationed out of Ft. Richardson, Alaska. Guerrero served for 2 ½ years, reaching private first class in the airborne infantry division.
“I learned how to work hard as a team, and discovered what camaraderie really meant,” Guerrero said. “I knew that the dudes to my left and right were willing to go to any lengths to make sure the job got done, and we would keep going until it did.”
Guerrero began taking classes at GCU last fall. One day early in the fall semester, he saw the flag football team practicing, and decided to introduce himself.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Guerrero went on to lead the fall flag football team to a successful season as a player before taking over the program in the spring as a player-coach. He spearheaded the spring team to its first-ever postseason berth.
Guerrero expects another big fall season from this year’s flag football team, which plays in a men’s league in Scottsdale.
“There were times last year where we were overpowered and undersized, but I know my teammates don’t give up regardless of the situation and it’s just an awesome thing to see,” Guerrero said. “I spoke with a few of the guys over the summer, and we’re all looking forward to this upcoming season.”
On top of his flag football duties, Guerrero holds a 3.68 GPA as a psychology major with an emphasis in sports psychology. He is expected to graduate in the fall of 2020.
Interested in joining GCU club sports? Click here to learn more!