The College of the Desert spring sports season was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and because of it, many were left disappointed and worried about what this could mean for the athletes.
One COD coach and five athletes have continued to show that their passion and hard work has not gone unrecognized.
Men’s basketball coach Trent Skinner, as reported by the COD’s Athletic page, was selected by Silver Waves Media as one of the 50 impactful coaches in men’s community college basketball in the nation. Skinner coached at Mt. San Jacinto College for nine seasons before becoming head coach for the Roadrunners in 2018.
In the article for Silver Waves Media, they praised Skinner’s hard work to improve the basketball program, which had been going through a tough period before he took over, mentioning his achievement of leading the team into a .500 record for the first time in six years.
Also reported by COD Athletics, Skinner said the following on this accomplishment, “I would like to thank Silver Waves Media for including me on the list with such great coaches from all around the country. This recognition is more about the COD men’s basketball players and coaches along with the entire athletic support staff.”
COD athletes are also showing how all their dedication to the sport they love has paid off.
Sophomore baseball player Harrison Nation recently signed a letter of intent with Colorado Christian University (CCU) in Lakewood, Co. Nation, who plays right-handed relief pitcher and catcher, played at Fullerton College during his freshman year but eventually came back to the valley after Fullerton’s coaching staff changed.
During his time at COD Harrison showed great passion as he recovered from some injuries, “I was competing for a starting spot behind the plate until I got hit in the eye with a fastball in our first fall game. I sustained a couple of injuries that forced me to miss a month of play in our fall season,” he continued, “When I came back, I fought even harder for the spot and ended up being the backup catcher.”
Eventually, Nation would also take on pitching for the team as he was encouraged by assistant coach Casey Dill. He was able to practice as a closing pitcher while also being allowed to catch and hit on off days.
Nation, who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and hoping to move to grad school for a doctorate in sports medicine with a focus in physical therapy, is excited about this new chapter in his life, “They [CCU] showed how much they wanted me and I was more than excited to sign for them as a pitcher only.”
Other athletes who are pursuing their dreams are Lucas Rosales and Vincenzo Costaglolia from the COD men’s soccer team.
Rosales, who plays midfielder for the team, signed a letter of intent to California State University, Los Angeles, while Costaglolia signed to Hope International University.
Rosales has been playing since a very young age and in a previous interview with The Chaparral said this about himself as a player, “It’s just a matter of aiming to get better every day and be a good teammate, training hard, eating healthy and recovering are things that I practice regularly to make sure my game is on point and prepared.”
Costaglolia, who is a defender, was named second-team all-Inland Empire Athletic Conference or IEAC and started in 19 games during the soccer season. And as reported by the COD athletics page, Hope University’s soccer head coach Joe Lurker said the following about Costaglolia joining his team, “We had the pleasure of bringing Vini in the spring of 2020 and had a little time to work with him before the University went online. He brings maturity and leadership to our backline with three more years of eligibility.”
Also from the men’s soccer team, midfielder Jose Reyes and forward Alejandro Pimentel both signed letters of intent to California State University, Fullerton.
Reyes was named first-team all-IEAC and started on 17 games on their last season. While Pimentel won the IEAC Most Valuable Player award for the 2019 season and was 5th in the state in shots taken, with 54 shots.
Pimentel will be the first person in his family to graduate from college and says he always keep in mind those who believe in him, “Especially my nieces and nephews, they look up to me as well as many people from around the valley so I try to set a good example.”
As Reyes and Pimentel moved towards new adventures as players and students, Pimentel is looking forward to his future, “I will give it my all at Fullerton because I carry with me the big responsibility of not letting down all the people who have supported me throughout the years,” he added, “A way to give something back to the program is to go out there and represent COD the way it should be. This will open more doors for younger athletes who are working their way up.”
College sports are still unable to come back due to the pandemic, but athletes continue to work and improve themselves while waiting for the time to finally start playing again.
Congratulations to coach Skinner and all the athletes in all of their achievements.