The Master’s University students Michael Sciarra and Bianca Cubello were recognized for their lasting impact in their respective sports at the 2017 Cliff Hamlow Champions of Character Award Ceremony among 18 Golden Sate Athletic Conference Student-Athletes.
The Cliff Hamlow Champion of Character Award is given to one male and one female student-athlete on each GSAC campus who demonstrates outstanding athletic achievement, campus and community leadership, future ambition and embraces the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character program (Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership). Student-athletes must be at least a junior academically and carry a 3.0 GPA.
As an additional honor, Sciarra was selected by the conference to give the keynote address in front of a packed audience of student-athletes, family members, coaches, and administration representing all nine GSAC institutions. With his parents and fiancée in attendance, Sciarra made mention of the influences his coaches have had on him in his time as a Mustang while clearly presenting the message of the Gospel and how Jesus Christ has transformed his life.
Comments from Coach Zack Schroeder regarding Michael:
Michael Sciarra has played a key role in leading both our cross country and track teams into the community. He was an original member of our summer outreach team that partnered with Powerhouse church in Watts, CA, to bring a track and field clinic to the local community.
He has led our team during TMU’s annual Outreach Week and other team service activities, including serving at Children’s Hunger Fund and putting together packages for Operation Christmas Child. He has also been instrumental in organizing a team sponsorship of an Orphan from Kenya through Christian Aid Ministries.
Finally, Michael has been leading worship at his local church, which demonstrates a commitment above and beyond that of the typical high performing student-athlete.
Michael is in a class of his own. The culture of our men’s team is the strongest it has ever been, which stems from the
internal leadership Michael has gifted to the team. Anyone can dwell on and see the worst in others, but leaders see the best in others and encourage them towards their best.
Athletically, Michael has left his mark on our program with six performances in the top five categories of our record book and holds two school records. In the 2016 cross country season, Michael was our most consistent No. 1 runner, and during the last track season, Michael was runner-up at the NAIA national championship in the steeple chase, posting the second fastest time ever by a TMU Mustang.
Win or lose, Michael has the attitude that is most fitting for our athletes here at The Master’s University. He is exemplary in his demeanor going above and beyond to represent his institution whenever possible.
Comments from Coach Dan Waldeck regarding Bianca Cubello:
Bianca embodies all that we look for in a student-athlete at TMU. Her dedication to her academics, local community, church, character development, and most importantly, her representation of the Lord Jesus.
Bianca is actively involved with her church in Santa Clarita, as well as her home church in Riverside. Bianca began her walk with Christ just before attending Master’s in 2012. The growth that we have all witnessed in her life for the gospel, her love for others, and her heart for the world would confound most; but we know it as truly the life-changing work of Jesus in her.
Besides her dedication to academic pursuits, she serves as a local youth basketball coach for 10-12 year old girls year-around. Her dedication to investing in these girls as young athletes, has instilled confidence and leadership in ways that cannot be measured. The director of the youth program has consistently mentioned how Bianca has displayed all the qualities that he had hoped for in his program, and she has set the bar high for the coaches that follow in her footsteps.
Although Bianca epitomizes the all core values of the NAIA, Integrity (in her studies and relationships), Servant Leadership (in athletics and local church ministry), Respect (in the way she communicates and listens to those around her and in leadership), Sportsmanship (in her athletic endeavors), and Responsibility (as she leads, works, and serves through athletics, community, and church), it is her humility that outshines them all! She does not seek the limelight, she looks for ways to lift others up (even doing laundry, carrying bags, and reaching out to those in need), and it is all motivated by her desire to be like Christ.
Bianca has also served as a team captain for our program for three seasons, and has represented herself and our program as an NAIA All-American since her sophomore year. Her excellence on the court is matched by her excellence off it. Bianca ranks in the top 30 of 7 different statistical categories nationally, and she will finish her career at TMU garnering over 1,200 points and 750 rebounds. She desires to pursue opportunities to continue playing basketball professionally when done with her collegiate degree.
About the Cliff Hamlow Champions of Character Award:
The Cliff Hamlow Champions of Character Award is named after former Commissioner Cliff Hamlow who served the conference from its inception in 1986 to 2012. Dr. Hamlow was also a key leader in the creation of the NAIA’s Champions of Character program. “I am pleased that we were able to develop an award like this that honors deserving student-athletes in regards to the character ideals that they hold as part of the NAIA and the GSAC”, said current GSAC Commissioner Mike Daniels.