Dominating distance runner, record-breaking swimmer named '22-23 State Athletes of Year

Dominating distance runner, record-breaking swimmer named '22-23 State Athletes of Year

Orange Coast College swimming phenom Ethan Smith and College of the Redwoods cross country/track and field star Hannah Hartwell have been selected as the 2022-2023 California Community College Sports Information Association State Athletes of the Year for all sports.

Hannah Hartwell, Sophomore, College of the Redwoods/Cross Country, Track and Field (Carlsbad High)

Few distance runners have been as dominating in two sports than what Hannah Hartwell performed in cross country and track and field this past season. 

Hartwell started her collegiate career at Humboldt State in 2019 and after the pandemic found herself a new home at Redwoods in 2022. After winning the 5,000 meter gold at the '22 state meet, she made a giant impact as the SIA Athlete of the Month for October. 

Hartwell put on a clinic that month, winning three meets and placing a remarkable second place against a 4-year university field at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Oregon. Hartwell captured the individual titles at the Butte Invitational (18:29), the Santa Rosa Pat Ryan Invitational (18:14), and then the Golden Valley Conference Finals where she raced a 21:18.6 over a 3-mile course. At the Willamette meet, the Redwoods racer finished just four seconds behind Portland State's Bara Styblova with a sparkling 17:35.9 mark over that 5-kilometer course.

Hartwell went on to complete the Triple Crown of cross country racing as she won the Northern California title as the only racer to beat 20 minutes at 19:52, and then became 3C2A state champion with the third fastest time in state meet history at 17:20.9 over the Fresno Woodward Park's 3.1 mile course. 

Turning her sights back on track and field in the spring, Hartwell continued her brilliance. At the 3C2A Championships at Modesto Junior College, she roared to victory in the 1,500 meters in 4:32.26, taking the lead in lap two and winning by almost six seconds. In the 800 meters, Hartwell grabbed the gold, taking the lead in the gun lap to win in 2:14.24. She then repeated as 5,000 meters champion near the end of the day in 17:12.83. She took the lead from 10K champ Sage Holter of Santa Barbara with just over two laps to go and won by a convincing 11 seconds.

Hartwell was named the Track Athlete of the Meet. As of this month, she was the national leader in both the 1,500 (4:29.63) and 5,000 (16:28 flat). Hartwell is CR's school record holder in the three track distance events. 

Ethan Smith, Sophomore, Orange Coast College/Swimming (Fusion Academy South Bay, Hermosa Beach)

In the history of men's swimming, Pirate Ethan Smith has forever etched his name in the community college record books. 

As a freshman in 2022, Smith put on a show when he was named the Co-Swimmer of the State Meet and Men's Top Performance with three event victories, including a speedy victory in the 200 butterfly. 

Returning to the 3C2A championships at East Los Angeles College's Swim Stadium as a sophomore, Smith was electrifying with a number of record-breaking swims. 

He started by breaking the 20-second mark with a blistering 19.81 time to win the 50-yard freestyle sprint. Smith came up just .23 of a second short of the record but his time is one of only a handful of swimmers to ever reach the wall below 20 ticks of the clock. He then was part of Orange Coast's state record-breaking gold in the 400 medley relay. His 46.51 butterfly leg helped the team snap an 8-year-old record in the event. 

On day 2, Smith was part of a state meet record in the 200 medley relay first-place swim in 1:29.79, following that with his second individual event win in the 100 butterfly.

Then on the final day, he really came out firing. Smith smashed a 17-year-old state record in the 200 butterfly in a 1:44.45, beating the old mark by 1.19. Finally, he did something no athlete had ever done in state history by being a part of two state meet records during the same swim in the meet's final event. Smith and teammates Dane Howell, Matthew Simpson, and Mason Parker became the first squad to ever break the 3-minute mark in a 2:59.94 to win the 400 freestyle relay. Smith then learned his opening 100 freestyle of 43.58 broke the state record set in 2018 of 43.83.

In all, Smith became the Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season, won six gold medals, and was a part of five state meet records, all of those performed at the '23 championships. OCC finished state team runner-up in both of his seasons.  


Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA Executive Board/State AOTY Coordinator