First published in the Jan. 6 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
Though she is just a semester into her collegiate experience, Kenzie Tokuchi, who graduated from San Marino High School in 2021, gives her soccer and educational experiences at the Illinois Institute of Technology two enthusiastic thumbs up. Tokuchi started in 11 of Scarlet Hawks’ games and played in all 22 as the squad finished the season with a fine 15-6-1 record.
Last Wednesday, Feb. 3 marked the 35th acknowledgement of Girls and Women in Sports Day. San Marino High School director of athletics David Irie was quick to point out the significance of that anniversary as the school celebrated two of its student-athletes who were signing letters of intent to continue their careers at the next level.
“It’s fitting that the two who are signing today are both girls,” Irie said.
A gathering of about a dozen assembled in an otherwise empty quad at SMHS to celebrate Kenzie Tokuchi and Kinu Takasugi, who are both graduating in May. Tokuchi will continue her stellar soccer career at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and Takasugi will take her dynamic softball talents to UMass Dartmouth.
Given the current status of amateur athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, San Marino High School soccer star Kenzie Tokuchi doesn’t know if she will ever play another game for the Titans.
But the senior midfielder has a pretty good backup plan, courtesy of Illinois Tech, which has invited her to join its program in the fall.
“Illinois Tech has everything I ever dreamed of in a school,” said Tokuchi. “The perfect location in Chicago, a competitive soccer team, and a rigorous architecture program.”
Tokuchi first became aware of the school while attending a soccer camp before her junior year. She began communicating with coach Roshane Ellison, and that contact led to her agreement last week to play for the Scarlet Hawks, who are in NCAA Division III and are a member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
“We are really going to miss her,” said Jaime Acuna, SMHS’ veteran girls’ soccer coach. “Kenzie has very good technical skills, great vision on the field and incredible passion for the game. We don’t get players like her too often at San Marino High School.”
Tokuchi began playing soccer in AYSO at age 5 before moving on to the club level at 10. She has played for four clubs, including the Los Angeles Soccer Club, for which she currently competes. At SMHS, she was named to the all-Rio Hondo League first