High up on the gym’s wall their pictures hang, but it is their legacy of succeeding excellence, now infused into the reputation the school, that was being honored.

The not-so-new gym at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School was finished in 1976 and now hosts 55 inductees.

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Started in 1996 by John Hamson, “The ‘Wall’ represents former graduates who excelled in their chosen sport and went on to compete in that sport in college,” said athletic director Ken Fredrickson.

Each candidate must also have earned a 4-year college degree from their university. Several of those honored on the Wall, also still walk the halls of Santa Ynez in the form of current teacher, coach or both. They include Josh McClurg (varsity football assistant coach), Jenele Poor-Martin (girls’ water polo coach and teacher), Jennifer Edell-Rasmussen (girls’ tennis coach and teacher, presently on maternity leave) and Will Hames (varsity football assistant coach).

But the evening was all about the five former Santa Ynez High School student-athletes who were honored in an Oct. 7 pre-game ceremony.

Tyler Ferrer, S.Y. class of 1989, attended Pepperdine University, where he graduated 1998. The former Santa Ynez athlete was represented by his father, Al Ferrer. Tyler was a shortstop for the baseball team and played point guard for the basketball team.

Tyler earned seven varsity letters while a Pirate and was twice named team MVP. He earned All-League honors three times and twice was All-CIF. He continues to hold Pirate baseball records in nine separate categories. During that time, he was also voted 1st team All-West Coast Conference in baseball.

Tyler graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in history and an MBA from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business. He is married to Yovita, has a son, Liam, and is the Director of Asset Administration for Colony Capital in Santa Monica. Also inducted was Tyler’s younger brother Simon Ferrer, Santa Ynez class of 1998 and Pepperdine University class of 2002. Simon also played shortstop as a Pirate baseball player and point guard for the basketball team. Like his brother, he was a 7-time letter winner, 2-time team MVP, 2-time all-conference, and 2-time All-CIF. He was the North-South All-Star Game MVP, and his name continues to appear in 13 categories in the Pirate baseball record book.

Simon played four seasons for Pepperdine University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he played two seasons with them before going on to play five seasons with the Colorado Rockies. Simon now works as an advance video scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is married to Ashley and they reside in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Joining the Ferrer brothers was Josh McClurg who was a Pirate football and basketball team member from the class of 1994, who went on to graduate from Chico State in 1999. In addition to his four years of each of those teams, he ran track for two years where he was a member of back to back 4 x 100 CIF relay teams.

In his senior year, McClurg was football team captain, 1st team all-league strong safety, 1st team all-area and a Santa Barbara County All-Star. His 1993 team was the LPL champion and a CIF semifinalist. McClurg was also an all-league point guard on the basketball team.

In 1995, at Allan Hancock College, McClurg was an all-conference honorable mention at strong safety. He was a starter both years there, and was a member of the first team in Hancock history to win a bowl game. At Chico State, McClurg was named defensive co-captain his senior year. McClurg lives in Los Alamos, teaches Physical Education at Nipomo High School and is an assistant coach on the Pirate varsity football staff.

But the Lady Pirates were also well represented. Dr. Allison Merrick was not able to attend. Standing in for her was Greg Pensa. While at Santa Ynez, Merrick was awarded 1st team LPL and team MVP of the girls’ soccer squad. After graduating in 1997, Merrick played soccer at Santa Barbara City College and then moved on to University of California Irvine where she graduated in 2001.

While at SBCC, she was twice awarded 1st team All-Western League and runner-up All-Western League MVP. At UC Irvine, she was twice selected 2nd team all-Big West, and in her senior year Merrick was awarded team MVP and was named a Big West scholar-athlete.

Merrick remains in the UC Irvine record books as one of the top 5 in all major goalkeeping categories. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Southampton, England. Currently, she is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Present for the ceremony was Heidi McQuitty, Santa Ynez class of 2003, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2008. As a freshman, McQuitty was on the varsity soccer team and, due to an injury, switched to playing basketball for the rest of her high school athletic career. In her senior season, she was team and Los Padres League MVP as well as all-area and 1st team all-CIF.

In 2003, McQuitty was named Santa Ynez High School Female Athlete of the Year. She received a soccer scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was a starter on the Mustang squad all four years. She helped her team to back-to-back Big West titles and NCAA tournament appearances in 2003 and 2004. She was 2nd team and Honorable Mention all-Big West in 2004 and 2005.

In 2006, McQuitty was named team captain, most outstanding defensive player and MVP of the Cal Poly team. She was 1st team All-Big West and named to the All-West Region 3rd team. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and currently lives and works in Ventura.

Mica Saferight was eligible to be added to the Wall, but elected to wait until she could be in attendance.

struax@syvjournal.com