Torres labors through quick luncheon speech

BY BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM

It’s a time of rebirth in Santa Barbara.

Pretty soon vegetation will start to peek through in areas that were burned in the Tea Fire.

It’s a time of rebirth for the Westmont community, as classes began again on the partially-burned campus Monday.

It’s also a time for rebirth in the athletic community, with the last of fall sports seasons officially completed and the winter sports just starting up.

Monday was also a time for, well, birth.

Carpinteria High boys soccer coach Daniel Torres kept his stint at the podium brief during this week’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon, and for good reason: His wife had just delivered a baby.

You’ve gotta admire his dedication to making the luncheon, but everyone also seemed anxious to throw him out the door so he could get to the darn hospital.

Anyway, prep soccer has arrived, and Torres is excited to have all 20 of his players eligible for the season, which begins at Buena on Tuesday. The new dad brought along Jose Mejia, Marcelino Ramirez and Efrain Alvarez to be recognized as key contributors this year.

Maynard Pilapil didn’t have a baby on Monday, but he does have plenty of youngsters on his Dos Pueblos girls basketball team.

“We’ve got four freshman on varsity and we graduated seven players from last year,” he said. “Coaches always talk about how young their team is. Well, I only have one player that drives to practice.”

That would be senior Meghan Murphy, who was at the luncheon along with the team’s other captain, Sarah Crane. Hopefully Murphy has a big car for all of her teammates.

Pilapil also spoke on behalf of boys coach Joe Zamora, who apologized for not being able to attend, writing in a note that he had a fifth-period class and that “our district won’t pay for class coverage.”

Robert Vickers knows all about coverage, considering the fact that his coach calls him the Chargers’ best defender. Vickers recently signed to play baseball for Cal State Northridge. Senior post-player Evan Munoz, who hopes to attend Fresno State, was also at Harry’s.

Mary Moore knows a thing or two about birth… She has quadruplets.

She sat in the back of the Ranchero Room to support one of the four, Shane, who plays for Jarrod Bradley’s San Marcos boys basketball team.

“He hates to lose,” said Bradley of Moore, who is one of the team’s best shooters. Also present was Bryant Koopmans, who recently made 250 free throws in just 261 attempts at practice for a 96% average.

Santa Barbara High’s girls volleyball squad had a high average in winning this year, finishing with a CIF title and a 26-8 record. The team went 15-1 in sets during the playoffs, and returns eight players along with a group from this year’s 8-0 JV team for next year.

Coaches John Gannon and Lee Carlander brought along the whole team (and the CIF trophy) to be recognized for the fantastic season.

Michael Schlesselmann is another person who knows a thing or two about high averages, because his GPA is 4.43 in classes that include AP Calculus, AP Government and AP English.

The cross country, basketball and volleyball player for Bishop Diego was presented with the Round Table’s Scholar Athlete of the Year award for the Cardinals on Monday. He is a National Merit Scholar, and Eagle Scout and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity along with a host of other honors and activities. He hopes to attend Notre Dame next year, and the only thing more bogus than keeping Charlie Weis as the head football coach would be to turn down Schlesselmann’s application.

Another young man from Bishop Diego was honored Monday, as Ted Sleep received the Phil Womble Award for ethics.

Sleep is also a three-sport athlete, and cross-country coach Ray Vazquez chose three words to describe him: selfless, character and integrity.

Sleep was more than willing to give up his starting spot at third base last season so a player off the bench could get a chance to play, and he’s recently pulled double-duty to practice for cross country and basketball on the same day. He carries a 3.44 GPA and is a Bishop Ambassador as well as a member of Kids for Christ.

Coach Vazquez also came up to talk about the Bishop boys hoops team, which is young and includes four freshmen.

Connor McGillivray and Scott Kohler are seniors, however, and will be looked to for a lot of leadership this season.

“It’s a blessing, but there’s also going to be some mistakes made,” said Vazquez of his team’s youth.

Bishop’s girls basketball team is also young, but coach Jeff Burich said it’s also the strongest all-around group he’s had in his three years at the helm. The entire program has only 15 girls, so the Cardinals will have an interesting task in trying to run varsity and JV teams. Junior Janelle Kohler has been on varsity since she was a freshman and will play center this season, while classmate Ariel Perez will run the show at the point-guard position.

The young took down the old at the Thunderhut last week in San Marcos’ girls basketball alumni game, which the varsity squad won.

“A couple of girls on the team have older sisters that have graduated, so this group that’s on varsity now has been playing somewhat under their older sisters’ shadows and their friends’ shadows,” said coach Kristyn Moore. “It was great to see them come out from under those shadows.”

The Royals have a stretch of five games in six days coming up. Jeanette Mendoza will be the team’s emotional leader according to her coach, while Kelsey Brown will look to out-do the legacy left by her sister, Jenny, who was a starting guard for the Royals.

Carpinteria’s girls basketball program features a mix of veterans and newbies this year, and coach Dan Mercer is excited to get them on the court and see what they can do.

Nalani Evans-Gonda is a senior from Hawaii whom Mercer said has “an incredible sense of humor,” while forward Jaclyn Guerrero returns for her fourth varsity season and will be one of the team’s top players.

The Warrior boys have a pair of “instants” on their team, according to coach John Ward. Nathan Saito provides “instant offense” and James Kono stirs up “instant defense” for Ward’s team, which recently hosted a 5-way scrimmage that the coach said was very beneficial. The team doesn’t kick things off until next week.

SBCC soccer is one of the fall seasons recently put to bed, and the Vaquero men certainly had a season for the history books, going 20-5. Star forward Mark Knight scored in 18 of those 25 matches and led the state in scoring for the second consecutive year. The team’s offense was tops in Southern California, and the year ended with a 3-1 loss to top-ranked Mt. SAC this past week.

Sports Information Director Dave Loveton also spoke about a similarly successful women’s soccer season before moving on top basketball.

The Vaquero women are off to a 5-3 start under head coach Sandrine Krul, while the men have found a new weapon in David Lane. Lane, a freshman, missed the season’s first seven games due to a broken ankle but made his debut over the weekend in the Oxnard Tournament and averaged 20 points.

Loveton also congratulated SBCC defensive line coach Chris Joseph a former star lineman at Santa Ynez High and UCLA who was recently honored as a Rhodes Scholar. Joseph had a 3.95 GPA as geography major in Westwood.

This week’s male Athlete of the Week was Laguna Blanca’s Kevin Lunn, the reigning cross-country Athlete of the Year. Lunn capped of a stellar senior season by finishing third in the state meet in Fresno over the weekend, which is quite a finish considering the race consisted of 169 of California’s best runners.

Westmont’s “Moore Duo” was saved for last. Women’s basketball coach Kirsten McKnight was recently married and is now Kirsten Moore, while men’s coach John Moore is still his good ol’ self.

The women are off to a 7-0 start, with much thanks due to female Athlete of the Week Amber Stevens, a Dos Pueblos graduate. Steven, a point guard, had 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and a pair of steals in a win over Occidental last week. She then went on to tally 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals in a win over Menlo.

The women’s team was hit hard by the fire, as two players lost their dorm rooms and all the possessions inside. The team was on a road trip at the time, and defeated the No. 9 team in the nation on the night of the blaze.

Both coaches had attended Monday morning’s Westmont chapel service, which was held as an opportunity for the community to come back together as classes re-convened.

“What you saw this morning was Warriors rising out of ashes,” said John Moore. “We have a lot to be grateful for.”

His team’s only losses on the young season have come to nationally-ranked opponents, and he’s excited to see what they can do. Powerhouse Concordia heads to Murchison Gym on Saturday for the home-opener, which should be a tough test for the program.

Moore also expressed regret that Loveton, a longtime Westmont beat writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press, is not able to cover the Warriors for the paper anymore.

“He’s one of the greatest writers to have written in this city,” said Moore.

Loveton will, however, be providing PresidioSports.com with a season preview of Warrior hoops which will be posted before Saturday’s opener.

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