Former Malibu High School student athletes Matt Nechak, Andrew Heric, Grant Thorne and John Caridad met last October in Annapolis, Md. at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to celebrate the stadium’s 50th anniversary and watch the Navy football team play and win a game against Wake Forest University.
Caridad and Heric both played football for MHS, while Thorne was a Sharks water polo player. Heric was Malibu’s all-time rushing leader, selected for the 2005 All-Conference team and was also a high school All-American lacrosse player. The 2005 graduate had in excess of 2,000 yards in rushing, putting him in the ranks of the best running backs in California in 2005.
Nechak committed himself to the Naval Academy for a total of five years, and spent his first year at the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, R.I. He will graduate the Naval Academy this year and become an officer in the Marines.
On the football field, Nechak started as an outside linebacker, but by his junior season was a defensive end. During one five-game span last fall, he recorded at least one sack in four contests. He also recovered a fourth quarter fumble in a game against the Air Force. To finish off Nechak’s senior year, Navy went on to play and win the 2009 Texas Bowl Game against Missouri.
As Nechak heads into the Marines, Thorne remains at the Naval Academy, Heric headed home to California to finish his bachelor’s degree at Whittier College and Caridad is starting his own business and finishing his degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
“It was then that I realized that we graduated Malibu as boys and who I met on this day were men,” Caridad said in a written statement.