Virgen's View: Several highlights at awards breakfast

Powerful messages were delivered as each achievement was read by Mike Zimmerman and Don Grable Thursday morning at Balboa Pavilion.

The one message that spoke loudest was the major impact a community can make on a child.

These weren't children, mind you. But many people at the 51st Athletics Awards Breakfast have seen the maturation of the 30 student-athletes honored by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. The coaches, teachers and parents at the breakfast helped shape the lives of the remarkable young men and women from Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools.

When Misty May-Treanor was asked who was the most influential person in her life, the former Newport Harbor High standout said it was several people who helped her become a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Community, family, the power of unity, those were the fascinating aspects coming through at the awards ceremony.

Each athletic director, Zimmerman for Newport Harbor, and Grable for CdM, beamed with pride as they pronounced each amazing feat about the student-athletes.

May-Treanor said she experienced a surreal feeling as the guest speaker because she once sat where the young athletes sat Thursday morning.

She spoke of the importance of giving back and coming back to their respective high school.

May-Treanor is setting out to win a third straight gold medal in beach volleyball with Kerri Walsh at the London Olympics this summer. To reach that goal in her final Olympics, Misty has returned to her roots. She said she has been training for the Olympics at Newport Harbor. She also works out at Long Beach State.

At Newport Harbor, the beach volleyball legend trains with Maryn Ciarelli, an elite weightlifter who is the daughter of Tony Ciarelli, one of the top track and field throwing coaches in the nation.

"It was very important to involve the community and involve the people who gave so much to me," May-Treanor said. "I wanted to make the students-athletes and the people at the school feel involved with this journey. I do the same at Long Beach State. They think it's the coolest thing, to see me working out. Maybe it's because I'm going to pass out.

"It was important for me to get everyone involved who has been so special to me. You have to bridge the gap. When you leave, remember to come back. The gym will always be open. You will always have a home."

May-Treanor, who desires to be a coach after the Olympics, offered great advice throughout her presentation, but that might've been her greatest recommendation.

She knows the impact former athletes can make.

April Ross, who is also a Newport Harbor alumna competing in the Olympics for beach volleyball, continues to support the school.

Several members of the community attended Thursday's event and many sponsors remain eager to be a part of the Athletics Awards Breakfast to help honor the shaping of the high school seniors.

May-Treanor stressed a few points to the student-athletes

•Dedication. You must also be dedicated to the work you put in the classroom.


•Being responsible for your own actions. You must make the right decisions and realize how it will effect others.

•Time management.

May-Treanor also talked about the importance of preparation and offered more advice of how to become successful.

"It's important to have a goal and to do everything you can to make that happen," May-Treanor said. "How badly do you want something? There's going to be sacrifice. There's going to pain. There's going to be hurt. A lot of times there's failure before you can get better. Each time you do something, learn from it so you see what improvements to make to get better. Take this time to prepare before college. Take this summer to prepare so you're not catching up when you get there."

Corona del Mar swim standout Jared Namba provided a stirring moment during the breakfast. For the first time at the annual awards breakfast, the athletes were asked to speak. Namba talked about the most inspirational person in his life, Wataru Namba, his grandfather, who sat at the table with the Nambas and CdM principal Tim Bryan.

Jared, named the Orange County Swimmer of the Year by the Orange County Register, said Wataru is a survivor of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima in 1945.

Jared will continue to compete as a swimmer at Columbia University. He was one of the 30 honored and featured in Thursday's Daily Pilot.

CdM water polo standout Ben Zepfel said he was grateful that he had the opportunity to learn from Ryan Bailey, an assistant coach for the Sea Kings. Bailey is also a top player for the U.S. men's water polo team and is preparing to play in his fourth Olympics.

The event was presented byDick's Sporting Goodswith official sponsor Velocity Sports Performance.

CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod attended the event.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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