Casey wins prestigious Cuesta College award

Brian WilkinsonMay 29, 2013 

Yosemite High School graduate Erin Casey has been honored with the George Silveria Student-Athlete Career Award at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.

In 1966, the Cuesta Athletic Booster Club Board of Directors established the award that honors and serves as a memorial for George Silveria, a graduate of the original San Luis Obispo District Junior College in 1948. Silveria was captain of the championship football team in 1947, an executive member of the student body, a dedicated student, extensively involved in the community and he exemplified the meaning of student/athlete. Silveria succumbed to Leukemia in 1961.

The award honors the characteristics of George Silveria and takes into consideration a student-athletes' career as an athlete, their involvement in the college and community, sportsmanship, citizenship, coachability and leadership on and off the field.

Casey, a 2010 Yosemite High graduate, participated on the women's water polo (16-16) and swim teams the past two years and was a leader and captain of both teams. She is a two-time all Western State Conference selection (honorable mention as a freshman and second team as a sophomore) for water polo. Casey scored 41 goals and was No. 2 on the team with 25 assists this past season.

Her specialities in swimming were the 100 yard butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 freestyle and the 100 individual medley. She was a member of three all-conference relay teams during the 2013 swim season.

Casey said she was extremely honored to win the award that is based on the athlete's accumulated two-year career at Cuesta. More than 150 Cuesta athletes were considered for the award.

"I was honored that my name was in the running for the award, but actually winning it was unbelievable," Casey said.

This year, for only the sixth time and first time since 1991, the school named two winners of the award -- Casey and Matt Giancanelli of Sacramento.

Giancanelli, one of the most accomplished aquatics athletes in Cuesta history, is a two-time all-state water polo selection and his 145 career goals rank No. 11 all time at Cuesta. He also led the Cougars to a pair of Western State Conference titles.

Casey started her college career red-shirting in water polo at California State University East Bay in Hayward, but transferred to Cuesta after her first year.

"I just felt the bay area wasn't quite for me," Casey said. "Transferring to Cuesta was the best decision I've ever made. Cuesta has a great academic program, the coaches are fantastic and very supportive of all the athletes at the school."

Casey worked her way through school at both the Cuesta Bookstore and Costco, yet still fond time to volunteer for events like the Special Olympics.

In the classroom she posted a 3.7 grade-point average and is a two-time All-Western States Conference Academic Team selection.

She will transfer to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in the fall, majoring in kinesiology with plans on becoming a physical therapist.

"Erin Casey is a great citizen, student and leader," said her water polo coach, Peter Schuler. "She has been an important part of the water polo and swim teams the past two years. She brings a lot of enthusiasm to the pool every day and her teammates love her. In her two years, Erin has worked hard and gotten stronger, faster and better and also developed a wicked no-look shot on our power play. I wish her well as she moves on to Cal Poly -- she will be missed here at Cuesta."

Casey will play water polo for Cal Poly's club team -- a team that will play Cuesta College in the fall -- and pit Casey against her sister, Molly, who will be a freshman at Cuesta after her successful water polo and swimming Yosemite High career.

"Playing against my former coach and little sister is going to be so much fun for so many reasons," said Erin. "Including the chance to beat up my little sister again."

Yosemite graduate Kortney Yoder was also a member of the Cuesta water polo team this year and won the Spirit of the Game award for her play in the team's eighth game of the season.

Casey is the daughter of Matt and Kathy Casey of Yosemite Lakes Park.

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