First CCAA Male Scholar Athlete of the Year

A Milestone for California State University, East Bay

Mandy Chen, Staff Writer

A Milestone for CSUEB
Alumni Mark Woinarowicz was recently named the first male recipient of the 2022 California Collegiate Athletic Association Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He was a pitcher for CSUEB’s Men’s Baseball team and graduated during the Spring 2022 semester with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Woinarowicz’s immense contribution to the team and his dedication towards perfection is said to have earned him second team honors in the CCAA this past season, going 7-3 in 2022 with a 3.75 ERA (Earned Run Average) and an impressive total of 81 strikeouts. 

“Mark’s impact as a leader and mentor inspired every single one of his teammates to be a better athlete, better student — and most of all — a better human being,” said Mike Cummins, CSUEB’s head baseball coach. 

Dr. David Larson, CSUEB’s Faculty Athletic Representative, noted that Woinarowicz followed his older brother — also a baseball player — to CSUEB.  Woinarowicz’s nomination makes him the fourth CSUEB athlete to receive the prestigious title in the past five years, a record that “no other school in our conference can match,” Larson stated. This year’s award was especially memorable considering, “the past three awards have been won exclusively by women, making this award, “a game-changer,” Larson added. 

Woinarowicz grew up in Orange County and his dad — a former professional baseball player — encouraged him to pursue the sport by taking him to Los Angeles Angels games during his youth. Woinarowicz said that he initially did not do well in baseball due to being, “somewhat uncoordinated,” though he eventually matured into the sport. 

Woinarowicz is of the Roman Catholic faith, which, as he recalls, pushed him to do well in his sports and studies. While off the field, the athlete devoted his time to practice his religion. Notably, Woinarowicz acted as the President of the Catholic Club on campus. 

The club helped give him the motivation to excel at whatever he put his heart into. Woinarowicz frequently sought guidance and mentorship from the campus Minister, Eunice Park, who taught him how to put God first, which he claims, was crucial to his success. 

Woinarowicz expressed his astonishment at winning the award, citing steep competition and stating that it was “surprising, since there were a lot of good athletes [and smart candidates] in the conference.” 

“Overall, it was a cool experience and I am very humbled,” Woinarowicz said, as it was nice to be recognized and make his family proud. To him, the award is a token of gratitude to his parents for the support that they have provided.

In a moment of personal reflection, Woinarowicz admitted that, “there wasn’t a lot of success with [our] baseball team. It would’ve been nice to win a championship. However, we grew from the failure and struggled together. There was a lot of perseverance.” Through sheer resilience, the team was able to bounce back with a winning spree after a losing streak. “We would lose 10 games but then win 9 or 11 games in a row,” he added.

According to the star player, the relationships he has built with others — whether it be teammates, students, or faculty — made all the difference to his baseball success. He especially attributed his success to his Kinesiology professors, whom he believes have helped him earn the CCAA Male Scholar-Athlete title.

By attaining the honor of the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Woinarowicz wants to set a good example to the incoming freshman on his team. 

“It’s all about building relationships, putting the sport into perspective, being a good teammate and improving your craft. I want my teammates to be well-rounded people even after they’re no longer college athletes,” Woinarowic concluded. As a graduate of CSUEB, he seeks to continue his education by attending a 3-year physical therapy doctorate program at Loma Linda University.