Hoops & Hearts: An SDSU alumni engagement

Jorgen Tonne (‘14) and Ashley Mathews (‘14) got engaged on March 1, 2024, during the Men’s Basketball Mountain West Conference Championships.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Photo of Jorgen Tonne and Ashley Mathews
Tonne and Mathews met in 2022 at the steps in front of the UNLV Thomas and Mack Center. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Mathews)

While many SDSU alumni gathered in Las Vegas to cheer on the Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships, one alumnus had something even more special planned.

SDSU alumni Jorgen Tonne (‘14) and Ashley Mathews (‘14) have been attending Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships with their families for the past few years. Before the first game, it’s a tradition for the couple to take a few photos to commemorate the experience.

This year, however, taking photos was not just any ordinary moment. To Mathews’ surprise, Tonne had been planning on proposing. As Tonne’s parents took pictures on their phones, Tonne’s sister was hiding in the parking lot with a long-lens camera to capture the whole thing.

So, as the couple posed for photos outside the UNLV Thomas and Mack Center, Tonne got on one knee and asked Mathews to marry him. Shocked and excited, she eagerly said yes.

While Tonne and Mathews will forever remember this staircase as the place where they got engaged, it also holds another incredible significance for the couple: it is the spot where they first met.

‘Instant Connection’

Flashback to 2022—the Aztecs had just made it into the semifinal round of the men’s basketball Mountain West Conference Championships.

Mathews and her friends flew to Vegas that weekend to cheer on their alma mater. One friend had connections to carpool the group back to San Diego, so on the day of the semifinal round, Mathews met up with the carpool group.

That is where she saw Tonne for the first time on the staircase of the UNLV Thomas and Mack Center.

“I noticed he had an SDSU Rugby jacket on,” said Mathews. “I asked him what year he graduated from State, and he shared that he was in the class of 2014. I was shocked because I was too, and we had never met!”

After the Aztecs' unfortunate loss in the final game, Tonne and Mathews began the car ride back to San Diego. The pair spent hours talking and instantly connected, finding themselves building a newfound friendship.

That newfound friendship eventually turned into something more as the pair continued to blossom their relationship once they returned to San Diego.

“For our first date, we met for dinner at Belmont Park in Mission Beach and walked along the beach,” said Tonne. “Our first date lasted five hours despite being chased off by a startled seal.”

Little did they know that those five hours would soon turn into lifetime.

‘Aztecs for Life’

Even though both graduated from SDSU in 2014, the couple never crossed paths on campus. However, coincidentally, their favorite place to eat remains the same: Trujillos.

“While Jorgen and I did not know each other in college, we both loved the Sigma Pi burrito from Trujillos, and it was always our go-to order,” said Mathews.

Tonne earned his degree in Kinesiology, while Mathews earned hers in Business Administration, Marketing. Both student-athletes, Mathews and Tonne, traveled extensively with the SDSU Dance Team and played for the SDSU rugby team.

As alumni, the pair enjoy reconnecting to their athletic roots by participating in alumni activities and helping their respective teams train for important competitions.

“Ashley gets to perform as an SDSU Dance alumna annually, and I try to make SDSU Rugby matches and participate in alumni days,” said Tonne.

In addition to supporting their own sports, the couple are big Aztec sports fans and try to attend any game they can. Last year, they even traveled to Houston to watch the Aztecs’ historic run to the final four.

As season ticket holders for basketball and football, Mathews and Tonne look forward to many more exciting games together in the future, but this time as a married couple.

“Go Aztecs!”

Categorized As