SportStars Magazine

For Our Friend

Putting together our Yearbook retrospective is always refreshing.

To be honest, we may enjoy going back through our year’s worth of coverage as much as you enjoy thumbing through it once we’re done. Nothing but fun memories and good honest feels. As it should be.

The stars of all of our Yearbook issues — besides the athletes themselves — are the photographers we worth with each season. As much as writers like myself like to pretend, we know not many people are picking up a sports magazine if its just going to be pages of text. Our photographers — and the design work provided on the back end by Production Manager, Mike DeCicco — are what really makes SportStars sing with each publication we put out.

We don’t put individual photo credits on each photo in this edition, just because we use so many, but here are the names who deserve applause for this issue: Berry Evans III, Doug Guler, Jim Johnson, James K. Leash, Dennis Lee, Samuel Stringer and Phillip Walton

And one more, who we’re dedicating this Yearbook issue to with heavy hearts. It’s the first issue we’ve ever dedicated.

Norbert Von der Groeben became our primary South Bay and Peninsula photographer in May of 2011, just toward the end of our first full school year of producing the magazine. His first cover was of former Mt. Pleasant-San Jose track standout Shanique Walker on the Bay Area Edition of Issue #24. And somewhat eerily, his last cover came exactly 100 issues later — a joyful shot of St. Ignatius-S.F. volleyball player Keeley McCarthy on the front of the NorCal Edition of Issue #124 this past November.

We lost Norbert to a sudden heart attack in mid-December, not long after he provided us with a great preseason photo shoot of the Archbishop Mitty girls basketball team. I, along with many of the writers who freelance for SportStars, worked alongside Norbert on newspaper assignments that predated this magazine for several years. He was a gentle and endearingly odd soul who was an ace at drawing smiles from prep athletes who never like to smile, and capturing the emotion of the games.

We’ll miss him. But here’s one last round of applause for his work. We hope he hears it. 

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