Lopes impact team success in multiple facets
The passion for success fosters a winning culture for their teams.
Jimmy Vasquez and LeAnne Kommenich have been named the May 2021 GCU Club Sports Student-Athletes of the Month. These athletes have been integral in their respective teams’ accomplishments in recent seasons.
Jimmy Vasquez: Powerlifting Club
“When I came in, I immediately wanted to change the direction of the program and turn it into one of the most valuable clubs on campus,” said Vasquez. “I wanted people to know who we were and recognize us as a top-tier program.”
Vasquez accomplished his goal of expanding the powerlifting club, nearly doubling the number of lifters by adding nine new recruits. Visibility for the team improved as did its social media following, jumping 27% after Vasquez’s first year at the helm.
Vasquez fostered immediate success for the club on the platform as well. This year, in every meet that they competed in, the Lopes’ lifters took home first place in their division. As a part of the Lopes’ dominant season, Vasquez broke multiple lifting records in the Desert Alpha and secured a bid to the United States Powerlifting Association Non-Drug Tested Worlds Meet.
“I’ve built trust in these athletes, and they have built trust in me and themselves,” said Vasquez. “I’m glad we were able to have so much success this past season. I give them a lot of credit for that.”
Next season, Vasquez will continue his visions of expanding the program.
“We have a lot of exciting things planned for the future,” said Vasquez. “I’m pumped to bring even more attention and growth to the program next season.”
Vasquez graduated from GCU in 2021 with his bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. He now works as a behavioral health specialist at the Arizona Youth and Family Services, offering patient observation and intervention.
LeAnne Kommenich: Club Bowling
Her story has come full circle.
Lopes’ senior LeAnne Kommenich started bowling in the third grade. She continued bowling in leagues and had an impressive high school career before she joined the Grand Canyon University Women’s Bowling team.
“At first, I was scared moving from Illinois to Arizona, but that’s why I decided to join the team,” said Kommenich. “It was an incredible experience between making so many new friends and getting to travel around the United States.”
Kommenich started her Lopes’ career by leading them to a third-place finish at the Collegiate Club Championships. During her junior year, she placed second in the Antelope Shootout and third in the Devil’s Duel. Although her senior season was anything but ordinary, she posted the highest individual score for the women’s team in the Arizona Cup.
Kommenich’s hard work culminated in her postseason accolades, including the Arizona Bowling All-Star Award, she received a National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete Award for the fourth year in a row, and was even a finalist for the Club Team Bowling Coaches Association Club All American honor.
“LeAnne is our women’s team captain and has done a lot for the program,” said Lopes’ Head Bowling Coach Ben Canfield. “She is the first woman in the (history of the) program to bowl all four years and has been able to accomplish everything this year while student teaching.”
Even with all that Kommenich has done for the Lopes’ program, she sees just as many lessons headed in her direction from it.
“Being a part of this team has impacted me by helping me open up, get to know everyone and push me to venture out and try new things,” said Kommenich. “I have gained many leadership skills this year that will help me in my classroom.”
Kommenich graduates from GCU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and is set to teach a 3rd grade class of her own next school year.
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