The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

The academic athlete

Courtesy of the University of Texas

The hitter stood at the plate and clutched the bat between his fingers waiting for a chance to succeed. Patiently focused on the task at hand, his stance was studied and measured.
His steady gaze was focused on a ball that might be soon sliding, cutting or curving as it made its way toward him. There was a slight pause just before the piercing crack of the bat. A base hit!

Catcher Lucas Kephart, the 2009-10 City College scholar-athlete of the year, reached base as he had many times in his baseball career.

Since he was a boy, Kephart has worked hard, striving to achieve success in baseball, academics, and life.

He grew up in Arroyo Grande, a small coastal town on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo. The son of a deputy prison warden, Kephart’s mother home-schooled him for much of his early childhood.

“She helped me to become the student that I am,” Kephart says of his mother’s early teachings.

While his mother was his first teacher, his father assumed the role as Kephart’s first coach. “My dad would come home from work and the first thing we would do is go in the backyard and do hitting drills.”

Kephart says he still holds his parents’ early teachings close to him.

Solid high school and summer workout successes gave Kephart the opportunity to play in City College’s baseball program. While at City College,
his coaches and teachers respected his work ethic and dedication to both school and baseball.

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Linda Blair, Kephart’s former teacher and counselor, says she admires Kephart’s humble manner.

“He was grateful for the opportunity that he got here…he wasn’t a person that felt entitled,” says Blair.

Maintaining a high grade point average while playing a demanding skill position is daunting enough. Add a near-fatal case of pneumonia that hospitalized Kephart at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, and the task at hand becomes more difficult. Kephart spent eight days in the hospital with pneumonia, six of which were in the intensive care unit.

“It was brutal,” recalls outfielder Matt Marzinski, Kephart’s teammate. “It took a toll on him.”

After his eight-day stay in the hospital, Kephart fully recovered, jumping right back into his demanding schedule. Despite the early setback, Kephart went on to receive the scholar-athlete of the year award, carrying a 3.8 grade point average while finding success on the baseball diamond.

Kephart’s upbringing, preparation, and consistent approach has helped him triumph in tough times and led to his brightest ones, most recently receiving a partial athletic scholarship to the University of Texas starting this year. Marzinski believes his buddy’s success may also be due in part to a certain performance enhancer: milk.

“He drinks more milk than anybody I know,” says Marzinski. “He was telling me he goes through two or three gallons a week.”

Kephart is still getting used to his new life at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. “It’s definitely a lot hotter here,” he admits.

In reaching another milestone in his young life, Kephart is quick to say that despite being in Texas now, he is “a Panther for life.”

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