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Member Spotlight

Devin Roland

Devin Roland


Devin Rowland loves to play basketball and he is very good at it! Devin recently won the 2017 Cal Coast Credit Union Slam Dunk Contest at this year’s annual ARC ‘til DARK. Typically, he enjoys playing pick-up basketball on the courts, competing in the Intramural Sports basketball leagues and lifting in the ARC Weight Room. He has been coming to the ARC at least six times a week ever since he started at SDSU last year as a freshman. Devin is a business marketing major in his sophomore year. Although his home state is Texas, he loves San Diego weather and the people at SDSU. More than anything, he loves studying business at SDSU and confirms that — while he loves Aztec Recreation and playing ball — he’s here to get his degree.



June 2017 - Katie Koach

Katie Koach

Katie Koach


Katie Koach is known by members and Aztec Adventures staff as a great rock climbing athlete and a regular participant in anything related to climbing at SDSU! Katie brings positive energy to the ARC Wall, is encouraging to everyone, has taken climbing courses with Aztec Adventures, and also serves as an officer for the SDSU Climbing Club. Katie started climbing as a freshman in Fall 2013. Having come from competitive tennis in high school, she did not have experience with most of the equipment at the ARC but she thought climbing looked fun and signed up for the climbing orientation class in the first week of school. After taking the class, she stayed at the wall, climbing and meeting people for hours! She says, “I felt strong for the first time in my life - like I could take on the world.” In other words, she was hooked!

She quickly learned that it is okay to go to the ARC Wall alone because there is always someone who will give you a belay and everyone is really friendly. Katie climbs several times per week now, both indoors and out. At first, she would go running after a climbing session to ensure she was balancing the conditioning of her upper and lower body, but after becoming a better climber, she found she uses her whole body with every climbing session.

Her first foray into outdoor climbing was while she was studying abroad at the University of Stirling in Scotland. There, naturally, she joined the mountaineering club. The club climbs and goes on “hill walking” trips (what we refer to as hiking). In Scotland she experienced bouldering, which is climbing low to the ground without a rope or a harness. That experience got her very excited so that when she returned to SDSU she began to explore outdoor climbing here in Southern California.

Once Katie caught the outdoor climbing bug, she took the Aztec Adventures ENS climbing intermediate course with the specific goal of learning her anchors and knots. These skills enable a person to lead a climbing group outdoors, which is where the SDSU Climbing Club fits in. The club is not intended to teach students to climb (that’s what Aztec Adventures does!), but rather is a social club of people who already know how to climb safely and enjoy the great outdoors together. Katie says she climbs with friends from the club every weekend and sometimes several times per week to climb.

Katie says that despite the fact that climbing is an intense fitness activity, she is really not there for the workout. “I’m there for the community.” Her advice for any new student coming to SDSU is to do something with Aztec Adventures! She also suggests,

“Find your community and then be a part of it as fully as you can.”

Katie is studying Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations at SDSU and is pursuing minors in Women’s Studies and Recreation & Tourism Management. She has one semester remaining and plans to spend the summer working at Adventure 16.


March 2017 - João Vitor de Oliveira

João Vitor de Oliveira

João Vitor de Oliveira


This month, we are shining a spotlight on an Aztec Recreation member who is an international track star: Brazilian 110 Meter Olympic hurdler, João de Oliveira. Famous for his dramatic finish line dives, he was able to qualify for the semi-finals in the 110m hurdles to at the Rio Olympics using his world-renown technique. While most track athletes run and lean forward through the line in order to shave a few milliseconds off their times, de Oliveira’s technique shaves off more time, but diving on a track has its risks; in the World Championships in Beijing, he broke his ribs.

After his success in the Rio Olympics, João visited San Diego with a friend and found that Aztec Recreation could provide the world class facilities that he needed to train at a level that he did not have back in Brazil. He works out several hours every day at the ARC, on the Sports Deck, and at the Aquaplex as he prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Olympic 110 meter hurdlers are some of the fastest athletes in the world, so those members with whom he plays an occasional pick up basketball game with know who he is! But, João isn’t always working out. He enjoys being social and meeting new people everywhere he travels and, being a professional athlete, he has the opportunity to travel around the globe, having been to every continent except Antarctica. His memories from traveling are always about the people and the culture. He says some of the best experiences have been right here at SDSU! He loves the diversity of the campus and of San Diego as a whole.  

To João, being a professional athlete is a dream come true and he appreciates every opportunity it brings. So he tries to use this good fortune to do his best in all things, whether it’s being an inspiration to aspiring young athletes or sharing his enthusiasm and making new friends in new places. João always puts in his full effort. He says “It comes from the heart.”


December 2016 - Jeff Ritter

Jeff Ritter

Jeff Ritter

“What’s stopping you?” Jeff constantly asks himself this question, and it motivates and empowers him daily. Jeff has been a member of Aztec Recreation since 2014. When he first came to SDSU he joined the Ultimate Frisbee Sport Club in order to make the most out of his membership. During one of the practices, he ended up falling down hard and spraining his arm, ending his season. “I couldn’t stand not participating in a sport so I started an Intramural Sports soccer team “UnReal Madrid” with some of my friends from my floor.” The team practiced and trained often, and ended their first season by winning one game: the last one. “Since then, as a team we’ve grown and made it to the playoffs every season.”

“I love the soccer leagues offered at SDSU,” he says. He loves that the fields are clean and in great shape. His favorite memory from his membership experience was placing third place in the indoor soccer playoff championships with a team made up of some of his closest friends.

Outside of Aztec Recreation, Jeff lives well by making his own smoothies. “I’m really big on smoothies. I keep my blender out so between classes I can bike home, cut some fruit and bananas into it, and have a healthy snack to refuel before biking back to campus.” He also bikes almost everywhere he goes, and he tries to go on runs at least 4 times a week to keep himself in shape and build up his stamina for soccer.

Jeff believes he is definitely an Aztec for life. He tries to make a positive impact on those around him and makes it a point to maintain a positive outlook on life. Congratulations, Jeff!


November 2016 - Curtis Williams

Curtis Williams

Curtis Williams

Curtis Williams has been an Aztec Recreation member since August of 2015. He came to SDSU all the way from New Zealand, never having been to San Diego before. He didn’t know a single person, but he didn’t let that dissuade him from getting involved. “I knew before I came here that I wanted to be a part of the Waterski and Wakeboard Sports Club, in fact it was a big part of my decision to come to school here,” he explained.

As soon as Curtis joined the club, he said it was like instantly gaining a tight knit group of friends. “The Sports Club program gave me the ability to continue training and competing in the sport I loved and grew up with, while still pursuing a higher education,” he says. “We have a fantastic boat at MBAC, and the ability to train as often as we want. I try and get out on the water 3-4 times a week. Being able to compete around the west coast and further afield has also been a great experience, within my first month of being a part of the Waterski and Wakeboard Club we travelled to Texas to compete at the National Championships.”

Curtis lives by the quote “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” His competitive drive got him a 3rd place victory in the NCWSA Collegiate All Stars competition, and, even though he knows it will be a lot of work, he’s extremely excited for this year’s Nationals. “I’m not sure where I would be without the fantastic opportunities that Aztec Recreation and the Sport Club program have provided me with here at SDSU – probably milking cows somewhere in New Zealand.” Congratulations, Curtis! We’re happy you chose to compete for SDSU instead of staying in New Zealand and milking cows!


October 2016 - Luqi Zhang

Luqi Zhang

Luqi Zhang
Business Accounting

Luqi Zhang has been a member with Aztec Recreation since 2013. She came to San Diego State as an international student, and is studying Business Accounting. Luqi initially joined Aztec Recreation because it was the cool thing to do. “In China, I never worked out. But when I came here, everyone had a gym membership. So I decided to follow the group and get one too.” And Luqi has been hooked ever since! Her favorite facilities are the rock climbing wall and the Aquaplex, and she loves the cardio and yoga classes that the Group Fitness program offers.

“Luqi is very involved in Aztec Recreation and I have known her for about two years now,” says Aimee Orozco, Member Services Supervisor, “She is always in the front of the Group Fitness classes with a smile on her face. She is one of the most enthusiastic people I have met with a great attitude and outlook on life.” Luqi’s personal motto is, “When nothing goes right, go left.” This embodies her happy and positive outlook on life.

Outside of Aztec Recreation, Luqi focuses on living well by eating healthy. She tries to get vegetables in daily, and avoids eating out at restaurants too often. When asked if she was an Aztec for life, she nodded and said, “Definitely.” She explained how great the international student program is with integrating the students with the SDSU student life and programs. Congratulations, Luqi!


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