Kordell Pillans

Photo Courtesy of Kordell Pillans

Mesa Community College’s Kordell Pillans sits in the locker room before a 2016 football game. 

Kordell Pillans and the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds picked up where they left off last season. 

Mesa, ranked 10th in the National Junior College Athletic Association, opened the 2017 football campaign with a resounding 40-10 victory over Phoenix College on Saturday in Arizona. 

After winning last year’s Valley of the Sun Bowl, the Thunderbirds finished fifth in the NJCAA rankings. 

Pillans, a 2016 Kodiak High School graduate, is in his second season at Mesa. The 6-foot-6, 316-pound sophomore finished last year as Mesa’s starting right guard.

Mesa, a premier team in the Western States Football League, logged 463 yards of offense — 161 on the ground — against Phoenix. Up next for the Thunderbirds: A showdown against No. 19 Eastern Arizona, which opened the season by upsetting No. 1 Arizona Western 21-14. 

As a senior at KHS, Pillans was a first-team offensive tackle in the medium-schools classification. He was also a star on the track and field team, establishing a school record in the shot put (54 feet, 6 inches) and ending his career with four state titles — two each in the discus and shot put — and a pair of team titles. 

Volleyball

Four former Kodiak High School volleyball players are playing at the next level — Kalameli Matautia, Ryana Recustodio, and Mica and Izzy Riina. 

“We are just really proud that we have so many girls out playing ball,” said Kodiak coach Amy Willis last week. 

Matautia, the only Kodiak player to play in four state tournaments, officially begins her sophomore season at Columbia Basin College (Washington) on Thursday against Clark College. 

The 2016 KHS grad finished her rookie campaign with a flurry, producing a season-high 17 kills in the team’s final match against Wenatchee Valley. She recorded 128 kills in 63 sets last season. 

Recustodio, a 2017 KHS graduate, is joining Matautia in the Northwest Athletic Association as a freshman at Big Bend Community College (Washington). Recustodio, a first-team Northern Lights Conference performer last season with Kodiak, will see her first action today against Grays Harbor College. 

Matautia and Recustodio will square off twice during the NWAC regular season — Oct. 4 at Big Bend and Nov. 1 at Columbia Basin. 

The sister duo of Izzy and Mica Riina enter their second seasons at Providence Christian College in California. 

Izzy, a defensive specialist, is a junior transfer from NCAA Division II George Fox University, while Mica is a sophomore defensive specialist. The two sisters played together, along with Matautia, on the 2014 Kodiak team that placed fifth at the state tournament.  

Providence is 1-6 to start to the season. 

Cross country

Levi Thomet, a 2015 KHS graduate, will have to wait a bit longer to make his sophomore debut for the University of Oregon cross country team. 

The Ducks’ season opener, the Oregon XC Preview on Thursday, was canceled due to poor air quality in the Eugene and Springfield areas.

Oregon’s next meet is the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Sept. 29 in Springfield. 

Swimming

A trio of Kodiak High School swimmers — Tahna Lindquist, Blake James and Dan Lambert — will begin their college seasons in October. 

Lindquist is a junior at the University of Hawaii, James is a junior at Whitworth University (Washington) and Lambert is a freshman at Cuesta College (California).

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