Editor’s note: Undergraduate classes began at Stanford University for approximately 7,000 students late last month. Athletes Lauren Bertoy and Keaton Subjeck were among the freshmen class. Under the watchful eye of many in the community, the recent Oak Ridge High graduates enjoyed stellar four-year varsity careers in their respective sports and now turn their sights on making a similar impact in Palo Alto.
In the just-completed spring 2013 season, the Oak Ridge Trojan softball team elevated to new heights — not as high as it wanted — but still improved by 12 more wins from the 2012 season.
Front and center of that renaissance was senior shortstop Lauren Bertoy who muscled-up for a league-leading 10 home runs for the Lady Trojans, second best in the section.
In 2011 the Trojans moved over to the Division-I Delta River League housing perennial powers Sheldon and Pleasant Grove — struggling to win 14 games that year and only six in 2012. But last spring, the Trojans hit the ground running thanks to Bertoy’s power surge and played well throughout the year to rack up 18 victories.
“I just think that this year’s team was much more of a team. Everyone got along and picked each other up. Going into the season we all expected to win more, and as we started to get more wins our confidence increased,” said Bertoy who slugged five home runs as a junior.
The Oak Ridge captain was a starter as a freshman in 2010 when the Trojans went 12-0 in the Sierra Valley Conference (27-5 overall) en route to winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship.
Bertoy, whose played since the third grade, excelled in the classroom as well. While posting a .538 batting average with 31 runs batted in on the field, she compiled an impressive 4.3 weighted grade point average at Oak Ridge.
“School always comes first, and colleges won’t have any interest with you unless you have good grades. I think it’s just about managing time well, because it is huge sacrifice, balancing sports and academics,” Bertoy said.
Her grades and play helped her land a scholarship to Stanford, joining wrestler Keaton Subjeck and tennis player Brandon Sutter as the only Trojans headed to ‘The Farm.’
For Bertoy, the choice was easy.
“Academics are the No. 1 thing for me, and to be able to go to a school with strong academics and strong athletics as well just made perfect sense for me,” Bertoy said.
While many athletes in sports such as softball opt to play solely club rather than play for their high school team, Bertoy has worn the school colors with pride.
“Putting on the Trojan uniform is such an honor, with the tradition of the program, it’s really a well-respected team, and it was great to be able to play for Oak Ridge,” said Bertoy. “A nd as far as next year, there are some juniors that will be seniors that are great, so I think next year’s team will pick up where we left off.
“(Coach Sam Kloczko) is the kind of coach that truly believes in us. He was always there telling us he was confident in us, and I think that really makes a big difference as far as the team dynamic, because it gives you confidence and that’s so important going out there.”
Bertoy, a First Team All-League and All-Metro pick and played in the Optimist All-Star Game, led a senior class that helped the Trojans stay in contention.
“We won’t be able to replace what they brought on the field, but even more so at practice and their leadership. Definitely as good a group of seniors as I’ve ever had at Oak Ridge,” Kloczko said.
EL DORADO HILLS — Every once in a while a prep athlete comes along who leaves their mark on their school’s program and grabs the attention of the community and state.
Oak Ridge wrestler Keaton Subjeck can now be placed in that category along with alumni Seji Ajirotutu (NFL), Austin Collie (NFL), Ryan Anderson (NBA), Sara James (Stanford women’s basketball) and Subjeck’s former teammate, Vince Waldhauser (University of Virginia).
Subjeck prepared this summer for Division-1 college wrestling, where he’ll compete on scholarship at Stanford.
Subjeck didn’t grow up in a wrestling family, saying he was introduced by a family friend.
“I’ve been wrestling since fourth grade, so that’s nine years.” said Subjeck who also played football at Oak Ridge. “I played my freshman and sophomore year then I quit. Just wanted to give myself more time to focus on wrestling, and to avoid any possible injuries.”
While student-athletes don’t usually start the recruitment process until midway through their junior year, Subjeck received attention early and often. Stanford, among others, was one of the schools clamoring for the young wrestler’s commitment.
“They started recruiting me my sophomore year,” Subjeck said. “After the State tournament that year is when we started talking, and all throughout my junior year we kept in contact. At first they could only just email me, so we emailed back and forth and talked about little things, like getting my SAT’s done and getting my scores above an 1,800 … just little things like that.
“My first big trip was a recruiting trip near the end of junior year, and that’s when I met the coach and saw the campus for the first time,” Subjeck continued. “When I stepped on the campus, I knew I wanted to go there; it felt like my home. The atmosphere was unbelievable, academics are top-notch, and the athletics have been really good, so it was the perfect fit for me.”
A four-year varsity career that included an eighth place finish in Bakersfield as sophomore at 145 pounds followed by a fifth place finish his junior year at 160 pounds, Subjeck was primed for a successful senior finish and on track (40-5 record) until an injury cut that short.
“The week before State at Masters in the semis, I broke my elbow,” said Subjeck who wrestled his finals match essentially one-armed.
After surgery and rehab he’s now healed. Despite the setback — he was in line to tie Waldhauser as Trojans who medaled three times at state — Subjeck was First Team All-League for the Delta River League, In addition, he was also First Team All-Metro selection and named Oak Ridge’s Outstanding Senior Male Career Athlete.
Looking back on his high school career and ahead to college at Stanford, Subjeck says he’s learned things from Trojan coach Casey Rhyan and the Oak Ridge program he’ll take with him.
“I definitely had a lot of personal growth in high school, and I learned a lot about staying tough and being able to overcome adversity,” Subjeck said. “If you’re tough and focus on overcoming the obstacle you face, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”