Italy had Leonardo da Vinci, England had Isaac Newton, colonial America had Benjamin Franklin, and now UCSB can lay claim to its own resident Renaissance Man: Jake Staahl of the men’s volleyball team.
Staahl – a redshirt sophomore middle blocker – has displayed unparalleled excellence in a trio of fields during his time in Santa Barbara: athletics, arts, and academia.
A budding middle hitter on Rick McLaughlin’s squad – as a freshman, he hit an outstanding .444, which would have ranked best on the team had he played the required amount of sets to qualify – Staahl has also found the time to succeed in his computer science major as well as on the piano bench.
For Staahl, the three passions are inextricably linked.
“I get the same feeling after a loss as I do when I perform poorly on a test or interview, or if I play poorly during a gig,” Staahl said.
The skill to excel in all of these areas did not exactly come naturally. Jake’s evolution into a Renaissance Man can be traced back to when he was still a toddler.
“I first started playing piano at age four,” he recalled. “In middle school, I really got into jazz piano, which carried on into high school, where I got the chance to perform at different jazz clubs.”
The fledgling virtuoso also discovered his passion for computers during his time at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.Video has no source Url