LOS ANGELES (AP) – Julia Scoles and Peter Andrews have faced much adversity throughout their college careers but both are hoping their journeys to overcome it will help others.
Scoles, a beach volleyball player at Southern California, and Andrews, who plays baseball for Butte College, have been named the first finalists for the CalHOPE Courage Award.
The CalHOPE Courage Award is presented by the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) and CalHOPE, a crisis support resource for communities impacted by public health emergencies or national disasters, operated by the California Department of Health Care Services. The award recognizes student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have overcome the stress, anxiety and mental trauma associated with personal hardships, injury or life circumstances.
The new award will be presented to one male and one female athlete. Four more finalists will be named in March and April before this year winner is selected. Athletes will then be nominated for the 2023 award monthly beginning in September.
The winners will be selected by CoSIDA and an Associated Press panel.
Scoles, a grad transfer in her last year of eligibility, has used her experiences overcoming concussions to mentor others. In 2017, Scoles suffered three serious concussions while playing indoor volleyball at North Carolina. She quit playing indoor volleyball due to post-concussion syndrome ailments before transferring to Hawaii to play beach volleyball and posted a 36-8 record in 2019 and ’20.
Schools would earn her degree in communications at Hawaii before transferring to USC. Last year, she was 25-4 as the Trojans won the 2021 NCAA championship. Scoles is a mentor with the Concussion Legacy Foundation and uses her experiences to educate others about concussions and the mental health challenges resulting from head injuries.
“I’ve been very open about my experience with what I went through and just shared a lot about the dark sides of everything,” Scoles said. “I feel like I have connected with so many people within the volleyball community as well as other sports. I have been able to kind of speak hope and courage into the situation they’re walking through, having been through it and being on the other side. “
Andrews, a sophomore catcher and outfielder, saw his father pass away one week before last season started due to complications from a brain tumor. Stephen Andrews, a captain for the City of Chino Fire and Rescue Department, had also been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Peter Andrews also battled several nagging injuries and posted a .303 batting average with 17 RBIs during a COVID-shortened season. If Andrews was not in the batting cage or caring for his family, he was studying. He took 49.5 units during his freshman year, nearly doubled the typical class load, and posted a 3.66 GPA.
This season, Andrews is off to another strong start with a .393 batting average, three home runs, and 11 RBIs through 18 games.
“I’ve had teammates come and ask me how to work through the stress and how did I perform with all that was happening,” Andrews said. “I just kept to the grind and kept my mind going positively. I see where I was in that deep dark hole and where I’ve come. That’s what keeps me going. ”
Scoles and Andrews will be recognized on March 10 at a virtual ceremony by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well Being. CalHOPE Courage Award ambassador Ronnie Lott will also attend.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports