While the football players in the 49th Ken Lantzy All-Star Classic game will be transitioning from high school, the game’s head athletic trainer has already made that move.
Texas A&M International University recently tabbed Kayla Zambanini as the new athletic trainer for the Dustdevils.
Zambanini heads to Laredo after being the athletic trainer at Conemaugh Township Area High School.
While there, she directed the athletic training efforts for all 12 sports, and worked with her father, Sam, who recently stepped down as the Indians football coach, but is serving as an assistant coach with the South squad this week.
“I love working with my dad, and this is kind of my last event with him,” Zambanini said on Monday at, Lantzy game practice. “We have been together for 10 years working with football and baseball at Conemaugh Township, so it’s really nice to get the opportunity to come back one more time and be able to work with him.”
Zambanini, whose brother Arek is a softball coach at Texas A&M International, graduated from Conemaugh Township and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in athletic training in 2010 at Liberty University, where she had the opportunity to work with the Flames’ NCAA Division I programs as a student athletic trainer.
“I loved working here (in Johnstown) and it was home to me, working at the high school that I grew up in and working with my dad,” Zambanini said. “It was always a great opportunity and my goal to work there, but I got this chance to advance into a higher level and not only work at a higher level, but run a program at a higher level.
“The athletes are pretty much the same, and I’m building the kind of relationships that I have had with the high school players. It’s definitely better weather down there, but it is a little hotter. I’m excited to kind of get in the swing of the first school year and be in charge of the athletic training program. I have an assistant under me, as well as some students.”
Zambanini has not slammed the door, however, on returning to the Lantzy game in the future.
“I may still come back to work with the Lantzy game in the summers because it is such an enjoyable experience,” Zambanini said.
“I love the atmosphere and the way the game is run. Eber Verhovsek and Ralph DeMarco do such a good job of running this game. It’s always a fun week. I’m not sure that I want to give that up yet. I may fly back and still work it. I may still come back and help out and use it as a connection to stay local, even though I am far away. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.”