Former Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars basketball star Mia San Nicolas is not done adding to her collection of athletic accolades, winning the MVP award for Geneva College Golden Tornadoes women’s basketball program, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

The 2019 AOLG graduate and two-time Guam high school MVP was named to the All-PAC (Presidents' Athletic Conference) second team. She led her team in points, rebounding and blocked shots. This season, in her junior year, she averaged 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

“I am blessed and humbled to win an individual MVP award, but I am also mindful that this award was not possible without the guidance of my coaches, past and present, and the support of my teammates, past and present, and my parents (John and Yvonne),” said San Nicolas, who recently returned home for the summer. “My focus has always been: team first. And although I enjoy winning the individual award, I play within the team mission and focus on the success of the team at all times.”

The grind

San Nicolas was born into the sport as both parents excelled on the hard courts. First stepping onto the hardwood at age 7, San Nicolas, since her middle-school years, dreamed of playing college hoops.

“Pursuing my dream of playing college basketball has been rooted in me as a goal since I was very young,” San Nicolas said. “When I hit middle school, I knew that I wanted to play in college. I was blessed during middle school and high school to have coaches that helped me improve my skills and mindset to play (at) a very competitive level.”

After starring in basketball and soccer at Academy, San Nicolas’ first collegiate stop, in the Northwest Athletic Conference, was with the Wenatchee Valley College Knights.

“The NWAC was a very competitive conference and the Knights were the defending champions,” San Nicolas said. “Right away, I noticed significant similarities and differences between my experiences on Guam and at WVC. The similarities were all the basic fundamentals that I learned on Guam that also helped me in my transition to college ball.”

For San Nicolas, the differences, though, were eye-opening.

San Nicolas transitioned to Geneva College in 2021 to play for coach Michael Grinder. She earned a starting spot early in the season and has remained there since.

Heading into her senior season, Grinder has already named San Nicolas the team captain for next season.

“I know he has a lot of expectations and I hope I can deliver,” San Nicolas said.

Home for the summer

San Nicolas is home for the summer where she will take in the much-needed island life, possibly playing for team Guam in a tournament on Saipan.

She has one year left in school and plans to continue playing at Geneva College, using her fifth year of eligibility while pursuing her end goal of becoming a doctor of physical therapy.