Leifheit Receives Honor

by staff Aug 15, 2018

Gavilan, CA – Five years ago, the Gavilan College volleyball coaching staff traveled down to Salinas to watch a high school volleyball match between San Benito High School and Salinas high School. One of the moments that stand out from that match occurred when a young, talented sophomore name Haley Leifheit playing for San Benito, fell to the floor after enduring a severe injury to her knee. Flash forward a few years, not only did Haley get back up to continue playing volleyball, but last night she stood in front of the college president, the college’s board of trustees, members of her family as the Department of Kinesiology & Athletics named her as the recipient of the 2017-18 Gavilan College Student-Athlete of the Year Award presented by Togo’s Eatery on 1st Street in Gilroy. 

Since 2008, the Rams Athletic Department has recognized and honored its student-athletes for their accomplishments on and off the field.  In 2015, we teamed up with Togo’s Eatery on 1st Street in Gilroy and Articulate Solutions to celebrate our students’ successes.

This is the second consecutive year that a member of the women’s volleyball and beach volleyball teams has won this coveted award. (Erica Chapa, 2016-17). She is the fourth volleyball player to win the award, the other two winners are Emily Tonascia in 2011-2012 and Tessa Fischer who won the award in 2009-2010. Leifheit, Chapa and Tonascia are all from Hollister, and graduated from San Benito High, while Fisher a Gilroy native graduated from Mount Madonna School (Watsonville).  Taking it a step further, there have been six different winners from San Benito High School, the previously mentioned trio as well as Tyler Provost in 2010-2011, Paige Miguel in 2013-2014 and Robbie Skinner in 2015-2016.

As part of the selection process, special attention was paid specifically to four areas: academic achievement, leadership; athletic contributions; and involvement in the community.  Over the course of the 2017-18 academic year, 28 individual student-athletes were recognized for their accomplishments as student-athletes of the month.  As a result, each were honored with a certificate of recognition, compliments of Articulate Solutions, and a complimentary lunch gift certificate from Togo’s.  Their names were also added to a perpetual plaque that will be proudly displayed in the foyer of the Bud & Jean Ottmar Memorial Gymnasium.

Leifheit successfully completed 34 out of 34 attempted units this past year. She also earned both President’s and Scholar-Athlete honors twice during the academic year, while posting a 3.98 cumulative grade point average for the year. She also walked the graduation stage in May after earning her AA-T degree in English

As a competitor, Leifheit leaves with an impressive list of accomplishments on the court and beach, which include the following:


    2017 1st Team All Coast Conference Selection

    2017 CCCWVCA Scholar-Athlete

    2017 Coast Conference Champion (Back to Back)

    2017 CCCAA State Regional Playoff appearance (Back to Back)

    Team leader in kills: 163

    Team leader in kills per set: 2.06

    2017 Team Captain


    Leifheit and her partner (Mikeila Banda) finished the 2018 season 4th in the CCCAA NorCal Pairs Championship (Out of 44 teams)

    Qualified for 2018 CCCAA State Beach Volleyball Championships

    Played in every beach volleyball match this past season as Gavilan’s #1 pair.

As an active member in the community, Leifheit has been involved in coaching both indoor and beach volleyball to young people from within our area for the past two years.  She has coached players ranging from 14-16 years old serving as an assistant coach for the Rush Volleyball Club.

As a result of her hard work and determination, Leifheit will continue her education at the University of California, Santa Barbara this fall.