Meet these star students: San Diego Unified student athletes making a mark on and off the field

Posted: Thursday, October 10th 2019


Every school year, hundreds of San Diego teens take the field, step on the court, dive into the pool, and tee off for the very first time as a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) student athlete.

As they join their more experienced teammates, the hundreds more who are returning to their sport from the previous school year, they bring with them hopes, dreams, and determination.

In all sixteen of San Diego Unified’s CIF-competitive high schools, students enhance their education and sense of citizenship through scholarship-level athletic performance. Through their dedication to sportsmanship and fair play, the development of individual and team skills, the exertion of best effort, keeping the will to win, and overall good conduct, these student athletes bring credit to their schools and are a source of pride and enthusiasm for the entire San Diego community.

Here are some of this year’s truly inspiring San Diego student athletes making us proud through their actions on and off the field:

Jesse Grigolite, Mission Bay High School

Jesse is a three-sport athlete with a 4.54 weighted GPA, making her mark in volleyball, water polo, and swim. “Jesse is an invaluable athlete to her team,” water polo coach Lyndsay Sutterley told SD News. “Her teammates can rely on her offensively and defensively. Teammates know they can count on her, in and out of the pool. She knows how to bring the team up and motivate those around her.”

As an intern in the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program and member of the Mission Bay surf team, Jesse has a passion for the water that extends beyond her excellence in the pool. She helps run Mission Bay’s Climate Kids club and is involved with Eco Club, working to reduce single-use plastics in the Pacific Beach community, and recently took the lead in organizing her school’s Climate Walkout event.

Byaombe Mloko, Crawford High School

Byaombe is making news as a member of Crawford’s cross country and track & field teams, and was recently featured as the NBC 7 Inspirational Student Athlete of the Month. As an AP and Honors student with a 3.9 GPA he is excelling in the classroom as well, but it’s his personal story that’s most inspiring.

After his parents fled civil war in Congo, Byaombe was born in Tanzania, where he spent his entire life living as a refugee before coming to San Diego in 2016. He joined Crawford track after only being in the U.S. for 5 months, finding camaraderie and friendship on the team. Crawford’s athletic director calls Byaombe “a strong, compassionate leader” fellow students can look up to.

Michael Malauulu, Morse High School

Michael is a standout student leader and Senior Class President who has been called one of the most hardworking members of the Morse Tigers football team. If that’s not enough, he has recently had to take on additional responsibility helping lead and take care of his family.

Michael’s enthusiasm and spirit has garnered the admiration and high hopes of his team, and found him extra recognition from KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report.

Amare Ary, San Diego High School

Amare is only a freshman, but has already made headlines for his incredible performances on the football field this year. In the Cavers’ game against El Capitan High School, Amare scored four touchdowns including a kickoff return and boosted his team to a big victory. “If given the opportunity, and the coach trusts you enough, you can make an impact,” Amare told the Union-Tribune after the game.

Despite only being in ninth grade, Amare was recently offered a full ride scholarship by Brigham Young University. With most of his high school experience still to go, Amare will likely have many potential pathways to continue his education and athletic career after high school.

Kathleen Keomahavong, Scripps Ranch High School

Kathleen is one of the region’s top junior golfers and has been a mainstay of the championship-winning Lady Falcons team since her freshman year, helping lead them to an undefeated 22-0 season for the first time in the school’s history. Kathleen has been recognized as a strong captain and top scorer on her team, which is loaded with talent.

Scripps Ranch High’s athletic director described Kathleen as “a good person, always positive, always working hard academically, focused and driven.”

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