Young stars are grabbing attention

Athlete of the Month nominees range from frosh to junior
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Three youthful athletes who haven’t even hit their sports peaks are leading the athletic pack at Del Oro High School. The April candidates for Loomis News Athlete of the Month range in years from freshman to junior, but are standouts when it comes to athletic prowess. They are Caitlin Devitt-Payne, track, Brett Bacharach, tennis, and Savannah Pingree, softball. At the ripe old age of 16, Savannah Pingree is the oldest candidate. The junior has played pitcher on the girls varsity softball team since she was a freshman. She attended Placer Elementary School and started playing softball at age four with Five Cities Girls Softball. The Newcastle resident recently pitched back-to-back shutouts in wins over Rocklin and Woodcreek and was a force in the team earning first place in the Sierra Foothill League girls softball. Her ERA is .89. “Before a game I strategize with my catcher Aspen Echelmier. I try to stay focused. On a bad day when I’m not focused my pitches are flat, no movement,” she said. Savannah also pitches for a year-round softball team and plans on playing in college. When not throwing strikes, she likes to hang out with her friends, go shopping and have fun. Sophomore Caitlin Devitt-Payne, 15, goes the distance for the Del Oro track team. The runner competes in the 1600 meters and 800 meters with best times of 5:21 in the 1600 and 2:27 for the 800. Caitlin was twice the winner in the recent Del Oro Invitational and helped power the girls varsity team to the title. Her best times earned her a first and second place in the races. The team is currently 4 wins and 1 loss in the league. “Cross country and track is so much fun. We’re like one big family,” Caitlin said. The teen said she started running in fifth grade, “just for fun” on the track at Newcastle Elementary School and now runs both cross country and track for the Lady Eagles. “Running is really addicting. It’s exciting.” She said, citing the “high” she gets after a run. Caitlin has goals for her running career. “I just want to keep getting better. I want to get into the low 19s for the 3-mile. For track I just want to keep improving,” she said. When she’s not running the track, Caitlin enjoys snow skiing, photography and having fun with her friends and family. Fresh-faced freshman Brett Bacharach, 14, is the youngest of the candidates, but his age hasn’t kept him from playing on the varsity tennis team and handily beating his opponents. “I’m stronger mentally than my opponents. Players lose focus because they get mad and frustrated. I try to stay positive,” Brett said. The Newcastle teen attended Franklin Elementary School and credits his dad, Cris, for his skillful tennis. Cris is the tennis pro at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville and has been working with his son since Brett was a 4-year-old. Brett is undefeated in varsity singles and also gives consistent play and remains undefeated on his junior United States Tennis Association team. Brett has big dreams for his future in tennis. “My main goal is to play college tennis at a good school,” he said. Brett can’t seem to get enough of tennis and plays tournaments on weekends and likes to volley with his two sisters. When he gets off the courts, he enjoys snow skiing and golf. To vote for the Loomis News April Athlete of the month go to Voting ends May 21.