Column: Mira Costa Setter Tread Rosenthal is a unique combination of size and athleticism

Looking out the top floor window of the Manhattan Beach family home, 6-foot-8 volleyball star Tread Rosenthal can see the ocean. If he walks two blocks, he can touch the sand and listen to the waves.

When asked how often he thanks his parents for moving from Austin, Texas, Rosenthal said, “I would say every day.”

He went from soccer-mad Texas to volleyball-mad Southern California, and the rest is history. He was named the Pan American Games MVP for the US Under-19 team that won the gold medal earlier this month.

He is a 16-year-old junior setter at Volleyball Power Mira Costa High preparing to experience his first Loyola-Mira Costa match Friday night at the Loyola Marymount.

“The intensity is higher than any game I’ve ever played in and just the crowd was crazy,” he said of last season’s games.

He was benched and unable to play because he had already played in Texas in the fall, making him unsuitable for his second season at Mira Costa. Now he’s ready to take on some of his good friends like Loyola’s Sean Kelly, his U19 teammates.

Rosenthal’s father is Mira Costa athletic director Mike Rosenthal, who was an All-American offensive lineman at Notre Dame and played nine seasons in the NFL. His mother, Lindsay, played volleyball at Notre Dame. Family genes have resulted in three girls and one boy of height and athleticism. And Tread has finally overtaken his 6-7 father in height.

“It’s pretty good, but he can still spank me if he wants to,” Tread said.

Tread Rosenthal by Mira Costa is a 6ft 8 junior setter.

(Craig Weston)

Except that neither sibling is a soccer player. Tread said there was never any pressure to play football. At 205 pounds, he’s not exactly tall enough to be a lineman like his dad. Growing up, he played five sports and followed his two older sisters into volleyball, as did his younger sister.

He was a libero at age 12, then an outside hitter after injuries to teammates forced him to learn other positions. This versatility has given him unique abilities for his size.

“All my life I’ve played every position except middle,” he said. “I understand every position.”

His size alone makes it odd to see him play in the setter position, which is usually dominated by 5-10 players.

“That’s rare,” said Loyola coach Michael Böhle about Rosenthal. “It’s a huge advantage to have someone so tall and athletic. Usually these 6-8 players are in the middle or on the right flank as outside hitters.”

Avery Drost, Mira Costa coach said: “Tread is really unique. There aren’t too many guys as tall as him with that soft touch. I think of him like LeBron James of the Lakers. First and foremost a distributor and playmaker, he has the physical tools to be mad offensively. As a blocker, he just keeps getting better. He’s come a long way as a batsman and as a server.”

Rosenthal is committed to Hawaii and is still learning volleyball, and moving to Southern California helped open doors and lead to better competition that can only improve his game.

His father was a high school football coach in Texas before the family decided to relocate with no secure job prospects. Then he became sports director of Mira Costa.

“I was having a weird day, searched the internet and it was there,” Mike said. “A wing and a prayer. I was ready for something new.”

The family used to have a sand volleyball court in their backyard in Texas. Now the beach serves as their dish.

Much has been written about it People moving from California to Texas. The relocation left the Rosenthals very pleased.

“We went across the street and have no complaints,” Tread said.

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