Jaguars' left fielder determined to play one more season before graduating

Michael Prestera

Two seasons ago, the University of Houston-Victoria started its athletics program, and Michael Prestera became one of the original members of the Jaguars baseball team.

“It was fun coming to a university that never had any baseball program,” the left fielder said. “The community embraced baseball and was behind us from the start.”

But last season, Prestera endured a knee injury that left him on the bench, watching as the Jaguars won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Association of Independent Institutions Baseball Championship and advanced to the NAIA playoffs. Prestera was eagerly awaiting this season when tragedy struck again.

During the season-opening doubleheader against Northwood University Jan. 29, he suffered a similar injury to his other knee and now faces an additional surgery and another lost season. But he’s not letting that keep him from the game he loves.

“I was really looking forward to this season and getting to play again,” he said. “As soon as I get back from surgery and start walking again, I plan to be in the dugout with the team. Going out to practice and attending games will help me cope with the loss of being out for the entire season. As of right now, I plan on coming back next school year and playing my last season of collegiate baseball. I just can’t see myself walking away from the game that I love on such a bad note.”

Prestera, who is working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in management, also is interning at the UHV Small Business Development Center. Since October, he’s helped small businesses in Victoria and 11 surrounding counties with business plans, expansion, marketing and financial advice.

“As an intern, I do a lot of research that our clients need to help their business in different areas,” he said. “I get to sit in on client meetings and attend events like the Texas Wide Open for Business seminar and the Victoria Chamber of Commerce banquet. It’s been great for me because I didn’t really have any experience in the field of business, and what I’ve learned will help me in the future.”

When he graduates in May of 2011, Prestera, who is from Katy, would like to continue working with the SBDC while he pursues a Master of Business Administration at UHV.

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler  or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.