Thomas Testini smiles when people say his last name like someone who just tasted an Italian dish and puts a hand in the air, fingers bunched together.
The Corona del Mar High senior sprinter is Italian, but he is more like a character from Italy than some food.
I guess you can call him, "The Italian Stallion." He's like Rocky.
He showed a fighting spirit recently at the Pacific Coast League finals and he continued to throw some vicious jabs Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Division 3 preliminaries.
His fight started May 4 at the PCL finals and he never backed down. He ran the third leg of the 4x100-meter relay. As he handed off the baton he felt a sharp pain in his chest. Before he went on to compete in the 100 and 200, a physical trainer told him one of his ribs popped out of place and he had suffered from a back spasm.
"The pain was like nothing I ever felt before," Testini said.
With his next two events coming, he didn't want to throw in the towel. As CdM's top sprinter, he had been undefeated in the 100 and 200 during league meets all season.
"All throughout the season I was excited," he said. "I had a new sprint coach and everything seemed to be going well. I worked too hard to quit. I just paid respect to all the hard work and just kept going."
Testini's story didn't have the happiest of endings at the PCL finals. He said he competed with the rib out of place. He finished second in both the 100 and 200. He was disappointed, yet pleased he advanced to CIF in both events.
The league meet wasn't all that bad. In the 4x100 relay, Testini, along with Nick Willard, Cole Cottrell and John Swigert broke a 40-year-old school record, finishing in 42.69 seconds.
Following the meet, he said he later had a chiropractor push the rib back into its place.
But in the next round at the CIF Division 3 prelims, Testini felt the pain again during the 4x100 relay when he helped the team qualify sixth for the CIF finals.
But he kept going.
He was 19th in the 100, crossing the finish line in 11.13. He had one more race. He made it count.
Testini qualified seventh in the 200, finishing in 22.04, a school record. No one else from the PCL qualified for the CIF finals in the event.
He didn't end as the league champ on May 4, but at the CIF Division 3 prelims at Jim Scott Stadium he showed he was the PCL's best.
Testini is set to compete in the 200 and the 4x100 relay at the CIF finals Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College.
"He's had a pretty good season," CdM Coach Bill Sumner said. "He's a gutsy little guy."
He's a fighter.