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By Kaelyn Turmer-Lee

Every team has that one person that stands out as motivational–that one person that pumps up the team and gets them ready for battle. While some may think this member of the team is a player, this is not the case for the boys varsity basketball team. Junior Mark Salamunovich has been the team manager ever since his eighth grade year at SBMS [Sunny Brae Middle School]. He enjoys basketball and being involved with the group of players.

“Some players at Arcata High run into me at lunch and remember me from when I was manager at Sunny Brae–they respect what I do,” Salamunovich said.

Mark enjoys seeing the players’ teamwork on the court, feeling proud of the team that he is a part of. As a team manager, he passes water out to the players, and always encourages good sportsmanship.

“I like to cheer on the team and treat them with good manners so they don’t say bad words when they lose a game,” Salamunovich proudly said.

Being a team manager is very time consuming, but Mark makes time in his day to be able support the basketball team and show his school spirit. Because Mark is staying at Arcata High until age 22, he has decided to continue to manage for the remainder of his high school career.

“The team is like my second family–all of them are my best friends. The best thing I do every year is give them nicknames for their ability on the court,” Salamunovich said as he smiled.

The basketball team enjoys having Mark around, and although he doesn’t play on the courts with them in a game, they can always count on him cheering them on. His positive mentality inspires the players and puts smiles on their faces.

“I like to give them pep talks right before a game–they like it. I’m nervous giving a pep talk because I don’t know what to say, but they say ‘good job Mark!’ ” Salamunovich said, “and they go out and play like they’re a bunch of tigers running towards a wild animal.”

Coach Ryan Bisio, who is on his second year coaching the varsity basketball team, is very fond of Mark, relying on him for his enthusiasm on the bench.

“Mark adds a lot of perspective to our team; he has really inspiring pre-game observations that we enjoy that he shares with us,” Bisio said, “the team loves him and we hope that he feels a part of this family that we have.”

The boys varsity basketball team is extremely lucky to have such a caring team manager that helps get the team prepared in any way possible, whether it be through encouragement or his infamous pep talks.

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