Thacher up for ESPN honors

Star tennis player Ryan Thacher ’08 has been nominated for high school male athlete of the year at the 710 ESPN Southern California Sports Awards on April 3. Ranked first in the nation in the 18-under age group by the U.S. Tennis Association, Thacher was still surprised by his nomination.

“Wow! Really?” Thacher said of his initial reaction to the news. “I was pretty shocked. There are so many amazing athletes in Southern California and to be considered was an amazing honor.”

The winner of the award is selected by an online ballot on 710 ESPN’s website. The online poll closed last Friday, and the winner will be announced at the award show at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim. San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson and ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd will host the show.

Thacher is facing off against stiff competition for the award in Mater Dei’s football player Matt Barkley and Chatsworth’s baseball player Mike Moustakas. Barkley, a junior quarterback, won the 2007 Gatorade player of the year award. Moustakas won the magazine Baseball America’s player of the year award and was drafted second overall by the Kansas City Royals.

“It is nice to see a tennis player like Ryan get the respect and reward for his accomplishments and be selected as one of three athletes of the year,” said Chris Simpson, head coach of the tennis team. “All three nominees are special individuals, and we hope Ryan gets the nod.”

Representatives of 710 ESPN spoke to the Prefect Council when the nominees were first announced and asked the school to encourage the community to vote for Thacher. The Prefect Council posted a link to the online poll on the school’s athletic website, on Facebook and through an email to the student body.

“We tried to get as many people, including friends and family to vote for him and raise school spirit against Mater Dei and Chatsworth,” prefect Brandon Levin ’09 said.