The votes are in and the winner of the Sun-Star Football Player of the Week is ...?

The race for the Merced Sun-Star Football Player of the Week was a tight race between El Capitan’s Dion Maselli and Le Grand’s Michael Dinkins.

When voting closed on Thursday, there were 41,161 votes cast.

Less than 2 percent of the total votes separated Maselli and Dinkins in the end as Maselli pulled out the victory with 40,467 votes which accounted for 44 percent of the votes.

Le Grand’s 19,687 votes would have made Dinkins a winner any of the previous three weeks.

Maselli rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns to help the Gauchos break an 18-game losing streak with a 37-36 win over Modesto Christian.

The other nominees this week were Golden Valley’s Jabari Phillips, Buhach Colony’s Youlas Dickson and Atwater’s Daniel De La Rosa.

We caught up with Maselli on Thursday evening. Let’s get to know our latest Sun-Star Player of the Week.

Dion Maselli, El Capitan Photo Submitted by Frank Solis

Question: You ended up with over 20,000 votes this week. What does getting that many votes mean to you?

Maselli: “I didn’t expect to get that many votes. I can’t believe that many people supported me. I had a lot of people helping me out, especially my offensive line. It feels great.”

Question: The win last week snapped an 18-game losing streak for El Capitan. Explain what that win meant to this group?

Maselli: “That was hard, for 18 games taking losses. It felt so good it’s hard to explain how it felt. It was a great feeling individually and as a team. After the game we just hung out and talked about the game, we talked about past seasons and we talked about what we have to do to get better.”

Question: When you’re not playing football, what would we find you doing?

Maselli: “When I’m not playing football I’m either training for track or doing my homework. I’m training for other sports or I’m helping coach youth football. I’m always doing something involving sports.”

Question: What is your favorite class at El Capitan?

Maselli: “My favorite class is Mrs. Ramirez’s English class. It’s just a fun experience in there.”

Question: If you were stranded on an island and could only eat one thing, what would it be?

Maselli: “The one thing I’d eat would probably be chicken fettuccine. That’s my favorite meal.”

Question: Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

Maselli: “I’d have to go with creamy. I can eat both, but creamy doesn’t mess with your tongue.”

Question: How were you getting updates on the poll during the week?

Maselli: “I was getting updates from everyone. My mom, my family, my friends and my teachers were giving me updates. I was always looking it up to see how I was doing. I also know all the other nominees personally so we were texting each other and wishing each other good luck.”