MONTEBELLO - Spartan quarterback Aaron Cantu was named Schurr High's male athlete of the year while basketball player Kiana Kayoda was named the school's female athlete of the year for the 2010-11 school year.
Cantu was thrilled with receiving the award.
"It feels great," he said. "Now, I feel like my work has paid off."
Cantu will be playing football next year at East Los Angeles College and plans to study architecture. However, he said his main goal is to make it to NCAA Div. I.
"Education is tops," Cantu said. "You got to have something to fall back on."
Cantu added he is going to miss the high school football atmosphere.
"I'm going to miss this," he said. "From game days at school, the build up to the game until you finally play, that's one thing I really will miss. It's a different atmosphere in college."
His coach, Ben Negrete, said he enjoyed coaching Cantu for three years on the varsity squad.
"Aaron is one of the outstanding kids I've had the opportunity to coach," Negrete said. "His character and leadership abilites are just one of the things that made him special. From my standpoint it was a pleasure having him. It makes a high standard for all those who follow."
Kayoda said she'll be going to UC Davis where she will study exercise biology and hopes to walk on to the Aggie squad. She was also very happy to be honored.
"It's pretty exciting," she said. "It's great to be recognized for something other than academics."
She added her biggest highlight was beating rival Mark Keppel High her junior year.
And what will she miss?
"I'm probably going to miss hanging out with all off the girls I grew up with," Kayoda said. "I've known some of them since elementary school.
Her coach, Paul Chavez, said she is "an exceptional athlete."
"She's a very hard-nosed, gritty player," Chavez said of Kayoda. "She's talented. She's the type of player every coach would want leading the team. It was nice having her on the team for four years. She led in points and steals. She did it all very well."
And what about playing in the Big West Conference?
"I think she is definitely the player any coach would want," he said. "She works hard. She doesn't back down. She can come in and create steals. She just reads where the ball is going. She's a very crafty defensive player."
(Shel Segal can be reached at