CLEVELAND, Ohio – Senior Isaac Atencio of the Cleveland State University lacrosse team was honored with the College Champion Award at the Our Lady of the Wayside Champions in the Community banquet Tuesday evening.
Atencio was the male recipient in the collegiate champion category, which is awarded to those athletes who have championed philanthropic causes throughout the community. Two local high school athletes and two local collegiate athletes were honored with champion awards along with a player from each of Cleveland's three major professional teams.
The event was held at the Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland as local radio personalities Jerod Cherry, from ESPN Cleveland, and Bill Wills, from WTAM, served as the emcee's. Cleveland State Director of Athletics Scott Garrett and head lacrosse coach Andy German were among those on hand to witness Atencio earn the honor.
"It is fitting that Isaac was selected to receive this award tonight, as he has represented Cleveland State and our lacrosse program in ways that make us all very proud," German said. "Tonight is about his work in the community, but his work in the classroom and on the field is just as impressive."
Wayside's sports-themed celebration of the impact that athletes can have when they give back to the community that's cheering them on is billed is 'Not Your Average Sports Banquet.'
Atencio serves as the Community Engagement chair for the Viking lacrosse program and has played a significant role in the multitude of community service that the program has performed in recent years.
For the third straight year, Cleveland State is running a learn-to-play lacrosse academy at the Urban Community School during the fall, providing the school that caters to low-income children with a once-a-week 'class' in lacrosse. CSU players and coaches travel to the school weekly during the fall semester to teach the basics of the game and interact with the kids while serving as role models for the younger generation.
Every fall, Atencio has helped the Viking lacrosse program at the St. Jude Walk/Run as the team helps set up the event as well as providing encouragement for the participants. Atencio has also been involved with cleanup efforts at Cleveland Metroparks and with projects with the Habitat for Humanity organization.
The Cleveland State lacrosse program has also put on a number of free youth clinics over the years, including after its annual Community Day game which features special benefits and programming for all children.
"I want to thank Our Lady of the Wayside for recognizing Isaac for the work he, along with his teammates, has done in the community," German said. "Isaac has set the bar very high for future Vikings, and to have him recognized tonight as a Champion in the Community is a very special day in our program's young history."
Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Chris Hubbard, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. and Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco also received champion awards Tuesday evening.
Proceeds from the event help fund Our Lady of the Wayside's Nursing Program.
Our Lady of the Wayside provides services for nearly 1,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities through residential, transportation and day programming. The largest agency of its kind in the State of Ohio, Wayside provides individuals and their families pathways to healthy and productive personal growth through professional care, support and guidance.