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Local athletes honored by the San Diego Hall of Champions
SAN DIEGO—(Jan. 3, 2018)—While basketball dominated the amateur ranks, variety was the key word for the professional and high school standouts, all of whom were selected as Stars of the Month for December by the San Diego Hall of Champions.
Former Helix High and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, record-equaling Corey Tropp of the San Diego Sockers and Andrew Lorei  of the San Diego Gulls stepped up as the professional choices.
Smith led the Chiefs to the West championship by propelling the team to three straight wins before sitting out the finale. He was 87-of-137 passing for 1,167 yards and 7 touchdowns, tossing just one interception.
Tropp scored in eight consecutive games to close out the month, leaving him just one game shy of the club record. He had five goals and six assists.
A rookie, Lorei earned a call-up to the Gulls after scoring seven goals in two MASL 2 games, both wins.
All six amateur selections were basketball players.
On the men’s side, USD’s Isaiah attack—Isaiah Pineiro and Isaiah Wright—were joined by SDSU’s 6-10 freshman Jalen McDaniels and UC San Diego’s Christian Oshita. The two Isaiahs led the Toreros to their best-ever Division I start at 11-3. McDaniels averaged 11.4 points and 8.8 rebounds while Oshita tossed in 18.0 points and swept down 7.3 rebounds for the 4-2 Tritons.
UC San Diego’s Dalayna Sampton led the Tritons to a 6-0 mark, averaging 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds, while SDSU’s McKynzie Fort shot better than 50 percent from the field averaging 16.8 points.
For the high school athletes, Steele Canyon quarterback Thomas Fishburne led the Cougars to a state 3-A title; RBV wrestler Bernie Truax won a pair of invitationals going 12-0; West Hills’ Cameron Barry had a 53-point basketball game; Omar Nuristani of Santana averaged a goal a game in soccer; Mater Dei Catholic’s Chloe Webb averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds and LJCD freshman Alanna Butcher scored 16 goals in nine soccer games.
For additional information and pictures of the honorees please check the San Diego Hall of Champions website at, subscribe to the Hall’s email newsletter at, and follow on social media: twitter (@hallofchampions), facebook, and instagram (@sdhallofchampions).
COREY TROPP, Soccer, San Diego Gulls—In nine games, Tropp scored 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists). He set a new career high with points in eight consecutive games with the run going into January. Tropp surpassed his previous career high seven-game point streak set on two occasions last season and is one game shy of matching the all-time Gulls record of points in nine straight games.
ALEX SMITH, Football, Kansas City Chiefs, Helix High alumnus—When the Chiefs needed wins at the end of the year, Smith stepped up, completing 87 of 137 passes for 1,167 yards and 7 TDs against a lone interception, leading KC to a 3-1 mark and the West title before sitting out the final game to prepare for the playoffs.
ANDREW LOREI, Ice Hockey, San Diego Sockers—The rookie forward had an impressive month. In only two MASL 2 games, Lorei scored seven goals and had one assist. He had a hat-trick in both of the games leading the team to a 2-0 start. His accomplishments earned him a call-up to the first team and action in the Sockers-Turlock match.
JALEN McDANIELS, Men’s Basketball, SDSU—A 6-foot-10 red-shirt freshman out of Washington, McDaniels averaged 11.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, adding six assists, four steals and a blocked shot.  His 62.5 percent from the field led the Aztecs in shooting and he buried 84.2 percent of his free throws. McDaniels posted two double-doubles, including 15 points and 10 rebounds in an upset of Gonzaga.
DALAYNA SAMPTON, Women’s Basketball, UC San Diego—A senior, Sampton helped the Tritons go 6-0 in the month to keep UCSD in first place in the conference. She averaged a team-best 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. Sampton scored a career-high 27 points against Cal State L.A., tallied four double-doubles, shot 53.5 percent overall and notched nine steals including five against Stanislaus State.
ISAIAH PINEIRO, Men’s Basketball, USD—The 6-7 junior forward averaged 15.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, converting 49.4 percent from the field and 78.9 percent from the line. He chipped in 12 assists, 10 blocked shots and 7 steals. Pineiro scored in double-figures in seven of the eight games with a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) against UC Santa Barbara.
ISAIAH WRIGHT, Men’s Basketball, USD—A perfect complement to Piniero, the 6-1 guard was also pivotal as the Toreros opened West Coast Conference play 2-0 and posted a school-best 11-3 start. Wright averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 assists, converting 44.3 percent from the field and 76.3 from the line. He buried 13 treys, adding eight steals and a pair of blocked shots. He tallied 20 points versus Colorado.
CHRISTIAN OSHITA, Men’s Basketball, UC San Diego—Oshita led the Tritons to a 4-2 conference record.The junior guard averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds, both team-highs, while shooting 47.6 percent  overall and 37.6 from behind the three-point line. In a win at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Oshita recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. In that game, he shot 56.3  percent (9-16).
McKYNZIE FORT, Women’s Basketball, SDSU—Shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 71.4 from beyond the arc, Fort averaged 16.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals over six games. She scored a season-high 26 points in a 78-67 triumph at Arizona, helping the Aztecs snap a 5-game losing streak versus Pac-12 schools. She is now 7th on the Aztecs’ all-time scoring list with 1,430 points.
THOMAS FISHBURNE, Football, Steele Canyon—Once the Cougars got on a roll, there was no stopping them as Fishburne quarterbacked them to eight straight wins, including running and passing the team past Half Moon Bay 44-42 for the state Division 3-A title.
CHLOE WEBB, Girls Basketball, Mater Dei Catholic—Playing a rough schedule that included the Sweet Sixteen, Matador Classic and SoCal Holiday Classic, the junior guard stepped up her game by averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals a game.
CAMERON BARRY, Boys Basketball, West Hills—Just before taking off on a two-week vacation, the 6-1 senior guard poured in a season-high 53 points against Victory Christian to go along with a 46-point outing against San Ysidro, giving Barry a 36.6 average.
OMAR NURISTANI, Boys Soccer, Santana—Averaging a goal a game, the Sultans junior forward has led his team to a 6-4-3 mark. The 13 goals plus three assists included a 5-goal game against San Diego High Tech and a 3-goal hat trick versus Fallbrook.
ALANNA BUTCHER, Girls Soccer, La Jolla Country Day—Being just a freshman hasn’t made any noticeable difference as Butcher has scored a team-high 16 goals while contributing three assists for 35 points as the Torreys opened the season with a 7-1-1 record.
BERNIE TRUAX, Boys Wrestling, Rancho Buena Vista—Competing at 145 pounds, the senior has been unbeatable heading into the teeth of the Longhorns’ schedule. He was dominant in capturing both the Carlsbad and El Cajon Invitationals, posting a 12-0 record.