New U Sports Winter Awards
Best Female Athlete
A true Most Valuable Player, Mikah Maly-Karros has been an offensive spark for the contending women’s basketball team. Sidelined since early February for undisclosed reasons, Maly-Karros’ absence has to have something to do with the team’s 2-4 record in that span. When she has been in the action, Maly-Karros has lit it up.
In 22 games, she’s averaged a team-high 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, knocking down 51.3 percent of her field goals and contributing about one block and one steal per game on the defensive end. Prior to being sidelined on Feb. 7, Maly-Karros ranked 10th nationally in double-doubles with 13, while proving herself as the 18th ranked scorer in the country. Her return to the Lady Anteaters will be crucial to any hopes of qualifying for the Big Dance.
Best Male Athlete
An opposite on the men’s volleyball team, junior Carson Clark has posted astounding statistics early in the No. 7 UC Irvine Anteaters’ season. At 11-10, the team has rebounded from a tough January to re-emerge as a potential contender. This success has been due in large part to Clark’s reliability.
Coming into last week’s action, Clark lead the team with 4.65 kills and 5.26 points per set, which ranked second among all MPSF players. He was also eighth in the country in service percentage, with a 0.35 average. Clark has totaled double-digit kills in all but one match this season, including the 10th best single match performance in UC Irvine history and a career-high 35 kills against Pepperdine on Jan. 21.
Spider-Man Darren Moore has done it all for the Anteaters, filling the void of oft-injured forward Eric Wise throughout a tough stretch for the men’s basketball team. Moore has disrupted the passing lanes, soared for rebounds and slashed to the basket to lead the team in several categories.
One of only three players on the Anteaters to play in each regular season game (Patrick Rembert and Derick Flowers also accomplished this feat), Moore entered the final matchup of the regular season at UC Riverside on March 5 with team highs in field goal percentage (50.5), total rebounds (180), points per game (17.3) and steals (56), while ranking second in assists (51).
When UCI needed to pull out two double-overtime victories late in the season against UC Davis and Pacific, Spider-Man came out to play, scoring 22 points with five rebounds against Davis and 21 points and six boards against Pacific.
The man behind the afro, sophomore Mike Wilder has been the glue that has held the inconsistent UCI men’s basketball team together. A 6-foot-2-inch guard with a background in volleyball, Wilder has been called upon to sky for rebounds in his new role as a small forward, while also logging crucial minutes at power forward in Coach Russell Turner’s undersized, up-tempo lineup. In the regular season, Wilder posted 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while nailing a team-high 39.4 percent of his three-point field goals.
After spending 10 months in prison for nearly taking the life of two University of North Carolina students while driving recklessly under the influence of alcohol, Chris Kearney has resurfaced on the tennis scene as a junior transfer from UNC. A former Atlantic Coast Conference and All-American Freshman of the Year, Kearney won his first six singles matches as an Anteater before losing 7-6, 7-6 to University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Mehdi Bouras.
He and doubles partner Steven Stege have raised eyebrows as well, as the tandem appears to potentially be the Big West’s best doubles weapon. His road back has been brutal, but since his release from prison, Kearney’s superb talent has made him one of the most promising tennis players the university has ever called its own.
In front of a crowd of 4,070 fans at the Bren Events Center on Jan. 22, the Anteaters created quite a stir from the Antourage in their 86-76 defeat of Long Beach State University.
With 11 minutes left in the second half, 6-foot guard Derick Flowers bolted down the center of half-court on a fast break. As a LBSU forward closed in on Flowers, he trickily but smoothly bounced the ball between his legs, sensing senior Darren Moore’s presence behind him. Moore grabbed the ball, elevated and finished strong as the arena erupted.
The 49ers took a timeout after the highlight reel finish which pushed UCI’s lead to 54-51. The roar continued through the timeout, prompting Head Coach Russell Turner to opportunistically strut to the center of the court and raise his open palms to the ceiling, inviting fans to raise the decibels and enjoy UCI basketball at its finest.