Standout Athlete of the Year: Dean Sakata

Joseph Park, Editor-in-Chief

Being ranked top 90 as a golfer in the nation is a rarity only a few can achieve. Let alone this feat, senior Dean Sakata will have the luxury of attending the United States Military Academy on a full ride scholarship at West Point next fall.

Sakata’s love for the sport is the motor for his never ending success. His passion for the sport kindled after his father introduced Sakata to golf and after watching notable athletes such as Tiger Woods. Sakata views golf differently than other ordinary sports. Golf is a sport that requires a myriad of talents that Sakata finds so interesting.

“I feel like golf is one of the few sports that really exemplifies all the character of a person. You really need high integrity on yourself and place penalties on your own game. It’s 90 percent mental at least. It really shows which players can play under pressure especially in higher events and I love that thrill,” Sakata said.

For anyone, it is important to learn from his or her mistake to improve and succeed. In Sakata’s case, whenever he hits a dry spell in his golfing game, he always has his supporting cast to thank, his parents.

“My parents are the greatest supporters. They back me up no matter how I play. There was a year I had a really bad spell but they still funded my tournaments and supported me 100 percent. I can’t thank them enough,” Sakata said.

As for West Point, it was love at first sight for the golfer. Declining offers from other prestigious universities such as Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Michigan, Sakata had to go with his heart.

“When I took my first visit to West Point, I knew it was the one for me. I feel like I would be able to be the best potential I can possibly can going to West Point,” Sataka said.

As Sakata’s high school days are coming to a close, he has a lot on his plate for next year. The future military academy student hopes to make the best out of his few years at West Point. Sakata admires how the academy refines teenagers not only into better students, but also better people.

“West Point really demands everything out of an individual and it really drills out character and discipline. That is why all of those kids are successful when they leave,” Sakata said.

Sakata views his captainship of Diamond Bar’s golf as successful but he also feels that things could have been better. However, this goes without saying from a top 90 ranked golfer, knowing that there is always room for improvement. As a leader, Sakata is proud of the guys on the team because he knows that they gave all their effort during each match.

Sakata has his future at West Point and beyond all planned out. Golf is not the only thing Sakata plans to take seriously, he has other plans he wants to make sure he gets done.

“In the short term, I really want to punch out of West Point and get my division in the army as military intelligence and serve in the army for five years to the best of my ability. Maybe after that I’ll get a masters in business but I’m not too sure,” Sakata said.