Former Nipomo High football standout Kevin Britt was set to be a key contributor to the Cal Poly defensive backfield this season.
Instead, the 6-foot sophomore seems destined to become the Mustangs’ second cornerback lost for the year with an injury.
Britt is set to meet with doctors and have MRI results on his lower back evaluated today, but with diagnosed nerve damage in his spine, he and Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh are already anticipating Britt missing the upcoming season, which opens with a 4 p.m. game against San Diego at Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Saturday.
“It looks like it’s going to be rough to comeback for this season,” Britt said, “but you never know. There might be a thing where I can do a cortisone shot to make me feel better because it’s just a lot of nerve pain.”
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The cortisone option and the surgery route both leave Britt open to either worsening or reinjuring his lower back, he said, results that could prematurely end his career. The preferred option would be to rest the injury and build up the muscles that support the spine.
Britt said he first tweaked his back doing an Olympic style weight-lifting exercise called “hang snaps” before the start of spring practice. Two weeks into spring drills, Britt said his left leg and toes “felt funny” after making a tackle.
He was held out and rested the rest of the offseason, but after the first week of fall camp, the pain returned during a one-on-one drill.
Senior cornerback Bijon Samoodi was previously ruled out for the year with a hip injury. Britt’s absence further shortens the bench for a defensive backfield already looking to replace three starters from last season.
Senior Nico Molino and junior Vante Smith-Johnson are the remaining cornerbacks with game experience. Even if he wasn’t going to start, Britt was sure to be a key reserve and a special teams contributor.
Walsh said Britt’s height was an asset and that he had made strides improving his strength in the offseason. A leading sprinter in the area when he was with the Titans, Britt had also shown improved quickness to go along with his top end speed.
“I don’t know if in the coaches’ eyes I was a starter,” Britt said, “but I was approaching it as I’m trying to be a starter this year. It’s a disappointment, and it’s frustrating dealing with this back injury.”
WOMEN’S SOCCERThe Mustangs have Friday showdown with Cal
With victories over LMU, CSU Bakersfield and Sacramento State, the Cal Poly women’s soccer team takes a 3-0-1 record into a nonconference match against visiting Cal at 6 p.m. at Spanos Stadium on Friday.
The Golden Bears (2-3-0) represent one of the biggest challenges on the Mustangs’ schedule this season. Cal comes in as one of the top teams in the others receiving votes category of the NSCAA top 25 coaches’ poll.
Cal Poly hosts Oregon State in September and Cal State Northridge in October, two other teams also receiving votes.
With a victory, could the Mustangs begin to gain consideration?
“We have a good start,” Cal Poly head coach Alex Crozier said. “We’ve played some good teams but not notably recognizable teams, but still we’re playing well and getting results. I’m not too worried about it right now. We’ve had years past where we’ve gone into the conference season ranked top 20 and just tanked it. High rankings now are nice for publicity. We just need to focus on getting better and using this game to get better.”
VOLLEYBALLMustangs licking wounds after 0-3 start
With All-America middle blocker Jennifer Keddy out for the season with a shoulder injury, the Cal Poly volleyball team had a rough opening weekend.
The Mustangs were swept handily 3-0 in separate matches against San Diego, Texas and LSU in a tournament in Austin, Texas. Cal Poly opens its home schedule Thursday at 5 p.m. in Mott Gym against Idaho before playing a neutral-court match against Northeastern at UC Santa Barbara on Sunday with first-year head coach Sam Crosson looking for his first victory.
“Overall challenging? Yes,” Crosson said about the recent defeats. “Would we have liked to have a better outcome? Yes. But at the same time, our girls are motivated inside to get back to continue and get ready for Idaho on Thursday. So it was a good experience for us overall.
“When conference starts, we’re certainly going to be battle-tested in a lot of ways.”
CUESTA COLLEGECougars announce television schedule
Cuesta College announced six live sports broadcasts scheduled for the upcoming fall to go along with a monthly interview show.
The Cuesta TV Project, led by Cuesta broadcast students, will produce a wrestling match against Fresno City (Sept. 26), a volleyball match against Allan Hancock (Oct. 19), a men’s and women’s water polo doubleheader against Citrus (Oct. 24) and men’s (Nov. 9) and women’s (Nov. 29) basketball games against opponents to be determined to air on Charter Cable Channel 19.
In addition, video of the contests will be streamed live online at www.network1sports.com.
The monthly studio shows are set to run Sept. 25, Oct. 23 and Nov. 13.