Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orcutt Academy senior Josiah DeBruno had a (very) abbreviated 2020 senior track season.

He is hoping to resume his track career at the NCAA Division l level at Cal Poly.

“I’m talking with coach Chris Baptista about walking on my freshman year,” said DeBruno.

“If there isn’t a spot on the team my freshman year I still plan on trying to make the team my sophomore year.“ DeBruno said. “Obviously, competing at the DI level is a goal for any high school athlete so if I could have that opportunity it would be a huge dream come true.”

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said the plan "adheres to guidance provided by the State of California, SB County, California Department of Education (CDE), National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)," and that "athletic directors will begin holding coaches meetings to review new rules with an implementation start date of July 6-17."

He was the Orcutt Academy nominee for the 2020 Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Male Athlete of the Year scholarship. DeBruno carries a 3.8 GPA at Orcutt Academy.

DeBruno holds the Orcutt Academy school record in the triple jump (44 feet, 5 inches), long jump (21-6) and is one of two Orcutt high jumpers to clear 5-10.

He was likely to attend Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and join the track team there. Then his plans changed.

“Cal Poly always interested me, but I never thought I’d get in so up until April I was probably going to Northwest Nazarene to do track,” he said.

“Once I got into Cal Poly, I knew I was going to go there because it was a better school academically and it being a big school really appealed to me.”

Besides, “I really like San Luis, and it’s near the beach,” said DeBruno.

Besides his track accomplishments, DeBruno was a prominent football and soccer player at Orcutt Academy.

Going without competitive sports since March because of the pandemic has been an adjustment, DeBruno said.

“I mean, sports has been everything to me throughout high school and before. For the last four years I’ve played three sports every year, with the exception of my sophomore year.”

DeBruno said, “I had to miss soccer season due to shoulder surgery from a football injury.”

Now that his time away from his studies is not constantly consumed by sports, DeBruno said, he has had some time to reflect.

“On one hand, I really do miss it. I miss the competitiveness of it the most, getting into the mindset for a big meet. and I really can’t believe I won’t be competing at Masters or state this year,” he said.

“On the other hand, it has been nice the last few days," he said at press time. "I’ve been looking back at everything I did in high school, especially athletically, and I’m OK with saying goodbye to it.”

When it comes to distance learning because of school closures, “I’m actually very familiar with at-home learning because I was home schooled up until high school,” said DeBruno.

“These past few weeks have been easier for me because I’m used to (online learning). But don’t get me wrong. I do miss the teachers and friends, and stuff that makes class fun.”

DeBruno will study kinesiology and hopes to become an athletic trainer or athletic director.

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See who our nominees are thus far.

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You can support the hard work of our local sports team by signing up for a News+ Membership


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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