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Royal Recognition program highlights LAKHSHL players’ academic accolades

 

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Ever since the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League started, it has placed a heavy emphasis on academic achievement, calling attention to students who excel not only on the ice, but also in the classroom.

That’s why the Royal Recognition program means so much to league administrators, coaches and players. The program recognizes players who compile a grade-point average of 3.8 or higher each semester, and this fall, players from across the league were honored with a sticker on their helmets and special recognition.

“When I took over this position, I made it a priority to focus on academics,” said Emma Tani, the Kings’ coordinator of league and rinks in the hockey development division. “Sometimes we get caught up on things, like on-ice performance and statistics, but I think it’s important that we also recognize those who excel in the classroom.”

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Those recognized for the fall semester included: Newbury Park Panthers players Ben Grooms, Roman Murray and Ashton Goerner; Burbank Cougars players Anton Wagner, Jake Kovinsky, Eli Dayen, Garabed Simitian, Felix Goldwasser and Devon Dunn; Valencia Vikings players Alex Chon and Brandon Iles; East County Outlaws players Joseph DeMartino, Nick Polydoros, Ethan Kim and Dylan Freed; Kern County Knights players Chaz Catallo; Branden Bernotas, Nikolas Friedenberg, Cade Moxham, Tyler Smith and Enrique Galvin; West Ranch Wildcats players Alex Duforest, Noah Duforest, Dylan Litwak, Josh Xie, Jack McNamara, Dominick Husted and Logan Resendez; South Bay Stingrays players Ethan Gauvreau, Alex Cruz and Brendan Campbell; Santa Barbara Royals players Shea Rousseau, Andrew Salentine, Alyssa Dixon, Jonathan Weakliem, Henry Bleasdale and Dylan Lawrence; and Bishop Union Broncos player Michael Boothe.

The Knights’ Catallo and the Royals’ Rousseau logged the two highest GPAs – they each registered a 4.5. Both said that they were honored to be recognized and appreciate the emphasis that the Kings league places on academics.

Catallo, a junior defenseman who attends Frontier High School in Bakersfield, grew up playing hockey and joined the Knights during his sophomore year. He said he is self-motivated to achieve in the classroom.

“My parents really helped me when I was younger, but when I got to high school, I became a lot more independent and took on that responsibility myself,” Catallo said. “Growing up, you start to think about where you want to be when you grow up. I love hockey and I want to play in college, and if I can get the grades I want, I can go to the college I want and still play. I have worked really hard.”

Catallo hopes to attend UCLA or San Diego State and play club hockey while majoring in biology, with the goal of becoming a pediatric neurologist. He’s currently taking engineering, advanced placement English and U.S. history as well as honors classes in math analysis, physics and Spanish 3.

“I think it’s great that the Kings league’s priorities are with academics,” Catallo said.

Rousseau is a junior at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara and plays left wing for the Royals. He said he’s always been focused on academic achievement and challenging himself in the classroom.

“I’ve learned how to study well and use my time wisely,” said Rousseau, who is currently taking advanced placement biology, Spanish 103 and pre-calculus. His school features longer class periods and fewer subjects each semester than other schools. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

Rousseau wants to study science at UC Berkeley, UCLA or UC Santa Cruz. He said that he appreciates how the Kings league supports its players and what they’re doing as students, not just as athletes.

“You really want to focus on academics as much as possible,” he said. “If you’re not going to go to college to play a sport, it makes sense to focus on your schoolwork so you can have success in college and later in life.”

— Greg Ball

(Feb. 23, 2018)