Small towns are known for many things. One of which is the pride we take in our high school sports teams.

As new Paso Robles High School Athletic Director Michael Sauret puts it, “There is nothing more local than our local high school sports teams.”

We couldn’t agree more. 

And there is nothing more local than Michael, a third-generation Bearcat athlete, stepping in as Paso Robles High School’s athletic director. Graduating in 2001 from PRHS, he follows his father and grandfather, who were both Bearcat athletes competing in swim, track, and more. For the last five years, Michael has served as the swim team’s head coach and as a special education teacher there. 

But it’s been a worldwide journey for Michael coming back to Paso Robles. 

Following graduation, Michael headed to Los Angeles, where he earned his teaching credentials and gained his first few years as an educator. Then life took him abroad to teach in China. From 2015 to 2016, Michael taught U.S. history and English in a city just outside of Hong Kong at a British National School.

“Teaching kids is the same everywhere,” says Michael of his experience. “Kids have their personal journeys that they are going on, and as adults, it’s our job to try to support them. Here in Paso, that journey takes a lot of different courses, and so too in China.”

Soon though, home was calling. 

“It was a wonderful experience, but I was ready to come home,” Michael says.

In June, Michael began his position as athletic director at PRHS, following his predecessor Tori Loney who will be taking on elementary athletics in the district. 

“It [athletic director] was definitely something that I always considered, that I had a desire to do,” says Michael of his new position. “I knew that Tori was doing a fantastic job, but when the opportunity arose, I couldn’t wait.”  

He adds, “You do get to support kids in their triumphs and when they are learning from the defeats that come up.”

Already the district has been gearing up for the upcoming sports seasons. War Memorial Stadium was treated with a new sound system in June and the district is moving to cashless ticket sales — a safer and hopefully more efficient method. The district will also be offering season passes and presale tickets sold online. 

August marks the start of fall sports. Friday night lights turn on this Aug. 11 with a football scrimmage against San Luis Obispo High School. On Sept. 1, the most anticipated rivalry game happens against the Atascadero Greyhounds. This season will bring six football home games, giving War Memorial Stadium plenty of play time.

Also this fall, fans can look forward to cheering on their cross country, girls golf, girls volleyball, boys water polo, girls tennis, and cheerleading athletes. 

In the winter, Michael says to watch for the women’s basketball team, which is sure to have another great season. And star athlete Peyton Bedrosian, who has been making her mark in the Paso Robles High School record book, is another athlete to watch for. In the spring, the district will be bringing back girls beach volleyball — a new and popular event.

Bearcat fans can show their support by purchasing spirit wear items at the games and online. Funds from these sales help pay for costs like referees. The Bearcat community and the Boosters have shown unwavering support for PRHS sports — another small-town perk.

Michael encourages everyone to come out to a game this season.

“I think when we stay local, we do show our kids the importance of having pride in their community,” he says. “Not only to comport themselves in a certain way but to also make sure that they want to be known for being known for being an upright member of society.”

As athletic director, Michael is hoping to pursue more kids to go out of their comfort zone by trying new sports, even if they haven’t tried one before. 

He emphasizes the differences sports make in his student’s lives — its ability to help them become more well-rounded adults and develop face-to-face social skills.

Michael is looking forward to supporting the Paso Robles High School students in their athletic careers and hanging his grandfather’s varsity letter on his office wall. “It definitely ties it all together,” he says. 

Keep up to date on all of Paso Robles High School athletics at prhs.pasoschools.org

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