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C.B. West's Peyton Traina shares inspirational story

"She's been a rock for us," Terry Rakowsky says. The words carry a lot of weight when the coach of the Central Bucks West girls' basketball team talks about senior Peyton Traina.

Central Bucks West's Peyton Traina. (Bradley C. Bower/For The Inquirer)
Central Bucks West's Peyton Traina. (Bradley C. Bower/For The Inquirer)Read more

"She's been a rock for us," Terry Rakowsky says.

The words carry a lot of weight when the coach of the Central Bucks West girls' basketball team talks about senior Peyton Traina.

The sentence takes on a whole new significance when one learns what the guard has been through.

It started in July. The Trainas - Mike, Julie, and their five children, Peyton, Jack, Luke, Casey, and Abby - were on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mike, an active 44-year-old former basketball player at Brown, suffered a stroke on the beach.

Peyton was the one who called 911.

Frantic, pacing and unsure of what to do, her next call was to her best friend and teammate, Corrinne Godshall.

"It's one of those things you can't prepare for," Peyton said. "Every possible thing was going through my mind at the time."

There were moments when the Trainas thought they lost Mike. There were surgeries and major setbacks.

The right side of Mike Traina's body is fully functional, but doctors are unsure if he will ever regain movement in his left arm. He is working on speaking and Peyton is optimistic that he will be able to walk and see again.

Mike Traina shuttles back and forth between Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Bryn Mawr Rehab Center. Julie visits daily, and her father, John, spent 24 hours a day with Mike when he was in rehab. Peyton makes sure she gets to see her father at least once every two weeks, but with basketball and helping to take care of her siblings, it can be hard.

"My mom has been unbelievable," Peyton Traina said. "I think she's missed a total of two of all of our games combined. I don't know how she does it. She's the most unbelievable person in the world. She's always back and forth, back and forth, and she's always here, always supportive."

Peyton, who has remained personable, thoughtful and talkative, does not sulk about her family's situation. A big smile often consumes her face - a bright and cheery one that she inherited from her mother and shares with her brother, Jack. "I'm so incredibly proud of her," Rakowsky said. "I don't know how she handles it."

Her approach to life is similar to her approach on the court.

With three Division I recruits on the Bucks (31-1), Traina doesn't always get the recognition, but her impact on the program is immense. A cocaptain, she plays great defense and always hustles.

"On any other team in our conference she's a star, a key to that offense, scoring 20 points a game," Rakowsky said.

When Peyton Traina thought she was going to lose her father, it was the big things she thought she would miss. He'd never walk her down the aisle or hold his grandchildren. She knew those moments were far away, but they still crossed her mind. Then it was the little things, like playing volleyball with him in the pool. She'd miss those, too.

"He is the life of our family," she said. "It has been tough without him but we've been getting through, and I think it has made our family a lot stronger."

C.B. West plays Palmyra on Tuesday in the PIAA Class AAAA state semifinals - a program first.

"I wish he could be here to see our success this season," Traina said. "I think he'd be really proud of our team and proud of me. But I know that he is getting better. It is more important to me to have him in the future, not necessarily right now."

The morning of the state quarterfinals last week, Mike Traina was in surgery, undergoing a cranioplasty. That night, his daughter scored 13 points in a win over Archbishop Carroll, tying her season high.

She has been a rock for the Bucks. She has been a stalwart leader. But what she has learned most from the last eight months is to enjoy life. So when the seniors exited the game with just over 36 seconds remaining, no one smiled more than Peyton Traina.

You get the sense that C.B. West basketball has been her rock, too.