BY BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
Marty Davis stood at the podium at last week’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon and boldly proclaimed that his UCSB men’s tennis team would win the Big West tournament despite being seeded fourth.
Lesson: Don’t doubt Marty Davis.
The Gauchos won the tourney with a 4-2 win over No. 2 seed UC Irvine Sunday morning, becoming back-to-back-to-back-to-back conference champs and earn another NCAA bid. The Gauchos had lost to Irvine 6-1 earlier in the season.
“I don’t anyone in the conference except me and a couple of the guys on the team thought we’d win it this year,” said Davis.
More impressive than the win in the finals was the team’s semifinal victory over top-seeded Pacific. UCSB lost the first set of every singles match, but somehow rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win it, 4-3. Davis said he’s never seen a college match where a team loses every first set in singles and pulls of a win.
Along with the coach was lone senior Max Taylor, a senior who is a stellar 9-0 in Big West tourney play over his 4-year career.
“It’s his first Round Table luncheon. I probably should have brought him earlier,” said Davis.
Better late than never.
SBCC: The Vaquero men hosted the Western State Conference tournament over the weekend and saw four players advance to the SoCal Regionals. The doubles teams of Elliot Markowitz-Ryan Sweeney and Alex Zazove-Zack Scott made it through, and Sweeney received an at-large bid to advance in singles competition.
SAN MARCOS: Life is full of surprises, and the San Marcos baseball team is one of them. Last year, the Royals suffered a 17-game losing streak and won just one Channel League game — their first league victory in three years.
Well, first-year head coach Rob Crawford has come in and changed all that, as the Royals are 12-8 overall and in contention for a league title at 3-3. As of Monday afternoon, they were also in the lead in PresidioSports.com’s reader poll asking which team will win the conference.
“I’m not even pleased where we’re at,” said Crawford. “I think we can be a little bit better and I think we’re gonna get better.”
The coach was accompanied by sidearm hurler Doug Caesar as well as JV standout Payton Moore, who was so ill earlier this season that he lost 30 pounds and thought he’d never play baseball again.
Moore, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, has gained 27 of those pounds back and is hoping to get back out on the field again at some point in the future.
DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers beat Ventura last Tuesday 2-0 to improve to 3-2 in the Channel League, but coach Nate Mendoza had concerns considering his team was averaging under four runs per conference matchup.
The San Luis Obispo Tournament, which began Wednesday and included four games in five days, provided an opportunity for the Charger bats to charge up for the second half of the league season. DP went 3-1 in the tourney and Robert Vickers’ bat went ballistic.
The Male Athlete of the Week hit .625 with and on-base percentage of .733. He hit two grand slams, walked six times and scored eight runs. He also didn’t commit an error at shortstop the entire week.
“For the talent that he has, I’ve never seen a kid practice as hard as he does,” said Mendoza of Vickers, who will play for Cal State Northridge next year.
Teammate Steven Reveles also had a big tournament, going 7-for-13 with eight runs scored, and closer Ryan Ventura went the distance in a tournament win after not having pitched more than three innings before. He also closed a game the next day, and his arm is somehow still attached to the rest of his body.
SANTA BARBARA: They may be extremely young, but don’t count out the Dons, who are currently 2-2 in the Channel League and 8-7 overall after a 2-2 mark in miserable conditions at the Righetti Tournament over the weekend.
Venerable hitting coach George Rempe has been with the program for 25 years, and thus has seen a lot of great players roll through. Jack Crummer, the varsity team’s only returner, is “in the same vein” as current Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs as a hitter, according to Rempe.
Sophomore Colin Dewell has star potential and made two big plays over the past week. He stole third in the eighth inning, eventually scoring the winning run in a come-from-behind 10-9 win against Righetti. He hit also had a grand slam on the week.
Joey Gonzales, a catcher-turned-shortstop, was also at the luncheon and Rempe praised him for his consistency on both offense and defense.
Rempe, who prides himself as “old school,” also said he was proud that all of his players put on matching collared shirts and stay clean-cut for the season without being told to.
CARPINTERIA: The Warriors are on a roll, having won 10 of their last 11 games and three of their last four in the cutthroat Tri-Valley League.
Coach Pat Cooney was accompanied by a pair of multi-sports standouts. First baseman Tony Sanchez, the team’s No. 3 hitter, is also a standout football player, and Isacc Cervantes plays football and hoops. Cervantes is the clean-up hitter for the Warriors, who have a pair of games against rival Bishop Diego this week.
“It’ll be very spirited to say the least,” said Cooney.
UCSB: Following Crawford’s report that Payton Moore had gained back 27 pounds, Gaucho coach Bob Brontsema noted that he too has put on that weight.
“I can’t quite figure out what it is. The Burger King coupons in my pocket might have something to do with it,” joked Brontsema, who, in all honesty, is still pretty slim and trim.
His Gauchos dropped a weekend series to San Jose State, 1-2, but currently stand at 21-12 and in third place in the Big West with five weeks to play. A shot at the postseason will require some big wins down the stretch for the Gauchos.
WESTMONT: Just like San Marcos, the Warriors have been a surprise team, at least in the second half of the season. After a 3-20 start, Westmont has won 11 of its last 20 with four games to go. Sports Information Director Ron Smith reported that the Warriors went 2-2 last week, including a slug-fest loss against rival Biola in Wednesday’s wind storm. The teams combined for eight homers in the game, which took place in a power outage.
SBCC: The Vaqueros are still hopeful to make the SoCal Regionals for the fourth time in five years, but they’ll have to win all six of their remaining games to do so. Corey Krupp’s speed on the bases will certainly help, as he is just three robberies away from the school record.
DOS PUEBLOS: Freshman Hannah Harris was all about composure in last week’s win over Ventura, a big victory for the Chargers, who are in the middle of a heated race for the Channel League title. The Female Athlete of the Week had the bases loaded in the second, third and fourth innings against the Cougars, twice with no outs. She didn’t panic, however, and got out of the jam each time in the 4-0 shutout.
SBCC: Kelly Venturi had a 3-run triple in the Vaqueros’ 6-1 win over Hancock last week, and Amanda Sharp had a grand slam in a loss to Cuesta on Thursday. The season wraps up with a doubleheader against visiting Ventura on Tuesday.
SANTA BARBARA: Former SBART president Dave Pintard was pinch-hitting for Rick Wilson on Monday as Wilson was at the High-Five tennis tourney, which benefits local high school athletic programs.
After hearing that it was Dons coach Mark Walsh’s birthday, Pintard asked how old he was. Walsh said 29 with a guilty look on his face. Considering he’s been at the helm for Santa Barbara aquatics for over a decade, that would have made him a high-schooler when he started coaching in high school.
Nice try, coach.
Regardless, Santa Barbara’s swimmers are top-notch as usual. Junior Karl Boscacci is undefeated on the year and set the school record in the 500 freestyle against Buena.
“He trains with the (Santa Barbara) Swim Club, so I can’t take any credit for him. All I can take credit for is taking his times and clapping for him,” said Walsh.
Sam Foley has become one of the team’s top backstrokers and freestylers, and Amanda Wilson has been useful as she is able to swim multiple events. Montana Marshall is undefeated in her first year of diving, and her performance on the board against Buena was the difference in the Dons’ 68-60 win.
SAN MARCOS: Brian “Chucky” Roth introduced the JV coach at San Marcos, whose qualifications are suitable to say the least. San Marcos alum Mark Warkentin — who competed in the Beijing Olympics as an open-water swimmer — has blessed the Royal swimmers with his presence as he intends to go into coaching full-time.
“He’s done a great job, and it’s just such an asset to have him back at San Marcos,” said Roth.
Roth brought along Shannon Orr, a junior whose shoulders are so bad that she needs regular physical therapy and can only participate in the breaststroke. Nonetheless, she keeps working hard and dropped over a second off of her time in the 100 breast last week.
“I want to say how proud I am of her for sticking it out,” said Roth.
Then there’s 10-syllable wonder Parinda Sukavivatanachai, whom Roth called “the closest thing I’ve ever had to perfect as an athlete.”
Her grades, effort and attendance are all flawless, according to Roth, who called her “a leader in every sense of the word.”
Jeff Ashton’s San Marcos boys are 2-3 over their last five meets, but more importantly won the CIF Academic Team Championship and will head down to an Angels game Wednesday to be honored.
Ashton brought along a pair of sophomores from the team. Jorge Flores specializes in the individual medley and the butterfly, while Christian Sloan competes in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly for the young Royals.
DOS PUEBLOS: Both the Dos Pueblos boys and girls swim teams are a perfect 5-0 this season and the boys have qualified for the postseason in every event listed.
On the girls side, water poloist Sienna Van Alphen shines in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle while Michelle Dockendorf (who wanted Parrish to mention that she is single) is a star on all of the relay teams.
Darrell Eacret is the boys team’s lone backstroker, and sophomore Josh Pighetti is a CIF qualifier in just his second year.
A big meet against Santa Barbara is on the horizon for the Chargers.
“It’s the biggest meet of the year for sure… It’s going to be an epic meet,” said coach Chris Parrish.
UCSB: The Gauchos have concluded another successful season under coach Gregg Wilson, winning the Big West yet again. The Gauchos sent five female swimmers to the NCAA championships, and Anne Marie Mayand Katy Freeman were both named All-Americans. Wilson introduced Katie Ur, an Olympic qualifier in the 100 butterfly, and Naomi Javanifard, another Olympic qualifier who will soon head to Israel to compete in the Maccabee Games.
The men finished up with a last-event win over UC Davis in which they automatically started with a 145 point deficit due to having no divers.
Kevin Kuhn is one of the best sprinters for the Gaucho men, and junior Scott Vogelgesang is an Olympic trials qualifier. He is set to head for Marine boot camp in the summer, but recently tore a knee ligament while playing ultimate frisbee and will have to see if he is able to.
SAN MARCOS: Aaron Solis reported that this year’s Channel League is the most competitive he’s seen since he began coaching for the Royals in 2000. The team beat Buena last week thanks to emerging standoutsJohn Etsell, who recently shot 72 against Ventura, and freshman Thayer White, whom Solis pointed out is also single (no word on whether Dockendorf and Etsell exchanged phone numbers after the luncheon).
The Royals have a huge match against Dos Pueblos at Glen Annie on Thursday.
SBCC: Loveton reported that the Vaqueros are still in first place in the WSC, and that Andrew Perez keeps hanging below 70, firing a 69 to earn co-medalist honors in a match last week.
UCSB: The UCSB women’s team used a hat trick by Claire Buchanan to pick up a key overtime victory at Long Beach over the weekend, which was good enough to earn the Gauchos the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament.
“Hopefully we can make something magical happen in the tournament,” said coach Wolf Wigo.
BREAKERS: Santa Barbara’s semi-pro hoopsters, the Breakers, are back for their third season and former longtime coach at Carpinteria Butch Breeden has been added to the coaching staff.
The Breakers have won 30 of their last 31 games after beating a Chinese pro team from Beijing last week . The team has its home opener this Saturday at the SBCC Sports Pavilion with another matchup against the Beijing squad. The roster this year will feature four local products — ex-Gaucho Josh Merrill, former Santa Barbara High/Washington State star Taylor Rochestie, Santa Barbara High/Westmont big man Santiago Aguirre and Dos Pueblos/Cal/Fresno State guard Shantay Legans.
SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Serbian star Milos Golic is only a sophomore, but he has had a huge impact on the UCSB men’s water polo team already, serving as the leading scorer this past season. He won the European Championship with the Serbian National Team and said that he will help bring a national title to UCSB by the time he graduates.
He carries a 3.8 GPA in business economics at UCSB and hopes to move on to Harvard Business School someday. He serves as a volunteer coach for local youth water polo players.
“I couldn’t be any more pleased with Milos as a person, a player or a student,” said Wigo.
Golic said that it was a pleasure to be at the luncheon before promising the NCAA crown.
Let’s hope he has the same foresight as Marty Davis.