Com­mu­nity mourns coach

The Signal - - SPORTS - By Ha­ley Sawyer Sig­nal Staff Writer

The Golden Val­ley High School am­phithe­ater was filled Thurs­day night with peo­ple whose lives were touched by the late Griz­zlies cheer­lead­ing coach Ed San­tos.

Cur­rent and for­mer cheer­lead­ers, par­ents, foot­ball play­ers, fam­ily mem­bers and others were all in at­ten­dance for the can­dle­light vigil, which be­gan at 7 p.m.

It was a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the unity that San­tos – who died on Wed­nes­day morn­ing at age 48 af­ter suf­fer­ing a stroke ear­lier in the week – sought to

build in his life.

“Be­fore Coach Ed came in, it was this whole cheer and dance ri­valry where cheer­lead­ing is cheer, dance is dance. Who does every­body pre­fer more,” said 2015 GV grad and for­mer dance team mem­ber Kim­berly Ros­ales.

“Even­tu­ally things started to change and peo­ple started to (see) cheer dif­fer­ently. … When Coach Ed came, he made it a whole big fam­ily and he would al­ways ded­i­cate not only his time to cheer but he would ded­i­cate his time to the dance team as much as he could.”

San­tos was liv­ing proof that any goal can be achieved.

“He showed me that this sport doesn’t have to be all fem­i­nine or the idea of be­ing man or a woman or what­ever you may be is just com­pletely vague and any­one can do any­thing they want,” said John Guardado, San­tos’ part­ner for nearly four years.

Those who spoke at the open-mic vigil shared anec­dotes of San­tos’ larg­erthan-life per­son­al­ity and ded­i­ca­tion to cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere through the thing he loved most.

“He wanted cheer­lead­ers to have that re­spect for (others) … and be­cause of that, I would say all peo­ple, re­spected them as well,” Guardado said.

Ser­vices for San­tos will be at Mis­sion San Fer­nando Rey de Es­paña in Mis­sion Hills at 9 a.m. on Wed­nes­day.

Katharine Lotze/The Sig­nal

Golden Val­ley cheer ad­vi­sor Melissa Brewer, right, hugs cheer­leader Julissa Yuhasz af­ter Yuhasz spoke about cheer coach Ed San­tos at a can­dle­light vigil at the high school on Thurs­day.

Katharine Lotze/The Sig­nal

Golden Val­ley cheer­lead­ers lis­ten as peo­ple share mem­o­ries of coach Ed San­tos, who died of a stroke at age 48, dur­ing a can­dle­light vigil at the school on Thurs­day.

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