BY BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
The Rick Wilson era came to a close at Monday’s final Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Luncheon, the last of the year.
For two years Wilson has dutifully served as the SBART’s President, which is a job that takes up huge chunks of one’s time, with of course no pay.
If Wilson is anything, he is dedicated.
Earlier this year he emceed a luncheon despite suffering from a horrendous two-week flu, and thoughtfully replaced his traditional handshake with each speaker to a fist-bump to keep the germs away.
He also genuinely believes in the Round Table’s purpose — to highlight and support youngsters in our storied athletic community.
Take, for example, his thoughts on Carpinteria baseball players Diego Carrillo and Omar Lopez. Coach Pat Cooney brought both of them along to highlight more than just their success on the field. Lopez, a senior, has an “astronomical GPA” and has held down a job throughout his high school career. Next year, he will attend UCSB and become the first member of his family to go to college.
Carrillo is a standout catcher for the Warriors, who are still in the hunt for the postseason, and after next year will likely become the second member of his family to go to college.
“I hear stats and everything all the time, and those go over my head most of the time,” said Wilson after Cooney finished. “But stories like those are what we’re all about… Good luck to you both.”
SAN MARCOS: First-year head coach Rob Crawford’s Round Table-goal was to bring all 15 of his players at least once during the baseball season. He did it in the nick of time with Nick Stathopoulos, Scott Behlman and Brandon Atelian.
Stathopoulos is a junior pitcher and first baseman who leads the team in homers and RBIs. Behlman is a utility player who “always has a smile on his face,” and Atelian is a senior who recetnly had two hits and scored the only run of a 1-0 win over Buena.
Despite a pair of losses to DP last week, the Royals are still in the hunt for the Channel League crown.
DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers’ two wins over the Royals were bookends to an extra-inning loss at Ventura, but DP is the first team in the Channel League to reach six wins, sitting at 6-4 with two games to go.
“We can be anywhere from league champs to not making the playoffs with how crazy our league is this year,” said coach Nate Mendoza.
Bradley Tirador was outstanding in both San Marcos games, amazingly pitching five innings to start each, giving up a total of five hits and one earned run with just three walks. Mendoza said he “wasn’t even thinking about letting him pitch” in the second San Marcos game, but that Tirador’s persistence convinced the coach and obviously paid off for the team.
Mendoza also brought sophomore Johnny Corazza, who has had a breakthrough stretch in the last four league games, going 6-for-11 with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs.
SANTA BARBARA: The young Dons must win all of their final four games (two against DP, two against San Marcos) to have a shot at the postseason.
“If they win all four they’ll make the playoffs and have a winning season. If they don’t, we get ready for next year,” said longtime hitting coach George Rempe.
Along with the coach was senior Tim Scanlon, who isn’t a starter but puts as much time and effort as anyone on the squad.
“Tim is not a starter, but he’s the type of person that every coach wants in his program… He’s one of those players that you’ll always remember long after the home runs and wins are forgotten,” said Rempe.
Trey Barrett is a junior first baseman with a long reach at 6-foot-6. Rempe said he always ribs Barrett by pretending he is the brother of 7-3 UCSB men’s basketball center Greg Somogyi. Sophomore Pepe Gil, “one of the nicest kids you’ll ever coach,” has come back from shoulder surgery on Thanksgiving to step in as an effective designated hitter for the Dons.
More importantly, said Rempe, is the fact that his father is the owner of El Sitio — one of the best Mexican restaurants in town.
SBCC: At 6-6 and 235 pounds, Vaquero ace Blake McFarland would probably be pretty effective in an El Sitio burrito-eating contest. But he’s more effective on the mound, as the big hurler picked up a key save for the Vaqs before pitching a 7-hitter with 11 strikeouts the next day. Unfortunately, the team finished two spots out of the postseason at 20th in Southern California, according to Sports Information SpecialistDave Loveton.
WESTMONT: The Warriors went a dismal 3-20 to start this season but bounced back with a 13-11 clip in the second half. They also received their first nod for the all-GSAC team in many years, as catcher Sam Wiley was named to the team.
Sports Information Director Ron Smith, fresh off of an appearance on “Wheel of Fortune” last week, announced that Scott Deck will not be returning as the head baseball coach while Chris Ellwood has also stepped down from the men’s tennis coaching job. Replacements will be announced soon.
SANTA BARBARA: Mark Walsh wouldn’t necessarily be rich if he had a dollar for every prolific aquatic athlete he’s coached in his decade with the Dons, but he’d probably be able to buy a few tortas at El Sitio.
He proudly announced that ex-Dons Cortney Collyer and Sarah Frost recently became Big West champions as members of the UC Irvine water polo team. Also, Olympic silver-medalist and ex-Don Kami Craig was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women’s water polo Player of the Year at USC.
Jeff Cole, who now plays water polo at Princeton, was named as an All-American and member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s All-Academic Team, and water polo player-turned track star Stenn Parton has become USC’s top javelin thrower in his senior season, earning Sportsman of the Year honors for the Trojans.
Most importantly, however, was Walsh’s announcement that girls volleyball coach John Gannon and his wife Stacy welcomed a healthy baby daughter into the world on Monday morning.
As far as the current swimmers go, last week’s loss to mighty DP did not come as a surprise to Walsh.
“We swam outstanding. We probably couldn’t have swam much better but we just got killed. They almost doubled us in points,” said Walsh. “We had guys qualifying for CIF and getting last place in their events.”
Walsh brought along Chloe Brooks, Jeff Churchman, Leah Gonzales, USC-bound Lindsay Parrish and Pepperdine-bound Parker Peterson.
SAN MARCOS: The Royals recently competed in the 35-school Walnut Invitational, and coach Jeff Ashton reported that all 10 members of his boys team recorded personal bests there. Freshman Abbi Frandsenhas dropped around 10 seconds in his 500 freestyle time in each of the last two meets. Fellow freshman Ben Battles has been competing with Frandsen in the 500 free and also swims the 100 breaststroke.
The girls team had a fantastic meet despite suffering a loss at Ventura Friday. Jade Wentz Fitzgerald swam the 100 free in 25.56 seconds to earn San Marcos’ first CIF consideration time in an individual event for the Royals in over a decade. She also swam on the 200 and 400 free relay teams. Both earned CIF consideration times, and the 200 team broke a school record, which hasn’t been done in the program for many years.
The Channel League prelims — which are set for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday — will be hosted by the Royals this week.
BISHOP DIEGO: Shannon Slaught is the only member of the Cardinals’ swim program, but she trains with the best of ’em, practicing six times a week and earning CIF automatic times on four events so far this year. She is coached by her mom, Kelly, who was present along with her dad, Jim.
SANTA BARBARA: The Dons will have to beat San Marcos and Dos Pueblos this week to complete their fifth consecutive unbeaten season in the Channel League. Coach Chad Arneson brought along three players who shine in the classroom. Blake Crowe, who will attend Stanford next year, has a 4.7 GPA, while Tristan Cronshaw has a 4.1 and Alec Smythe carries a 4.6.
“San Marcos has some good talent, and I know their boys are going to play well,” said Arneson.
SAN MARCOS: Coach Roger Kuntz knows that an upset of the Dons is a longshot, but the Royals are going to have to win on Tuesday or else take Thursday’s showdown against Ventura in order to have a shot at the postseason.
The Royals’ roster includes a lot of seniors, but Kuntz brought along a couple of budding sophomores, including starting outside hitter Jackson Kunz.
“Although he’s not related to me because his last name is K-U-N-Z, I would claim him any day of the week… He’s an outstanding young man,” said the coach.
Also in attendance was 6-1 sophomore opposite Johnny Manzo.
BISHOP DIEGO: Athletic Director Dan Peeters represented the Cardinals’ boys volleyball team, introducing next year’s starting setter, James Fazio, and outside hitter Johnny Brand, who is expected to be one of the team’s strongest players next year.
UCSB: The Gauchos’ season is over, but assistant coach Lee “The Tree” Nelson was at Harry’s to wrap things up. This year’s Final Four in the NCAA title hunt includes USC and UC Irvine, both teams which needed five hard-fought games to take down the Gauchos.
“While we paid some dues this year, we have a bright future,” said Nelson of the program, which is loaded with talented sophomores.
SBCC ROUNDUP: Loveton also reported on the Vaquero track and golf programs. In track, Carina Celiomade the SoCal Regionals for the triple jump while Paige Colijn qualified in the 5,000.
In golf, Santa Barbara High alumnus Andrew Perez led the Vaqueros to their first WSC title in nine years under coach Chuck Melendez. Perez earned the conference’s Player of the Year Award for his 70.3 stroke average. Teammate Matt Siporin was also honored by making the WSC’s first team.
BREAKERS: Coach Butch Breeden reported that the Breakers have continued their hot start, coming back from a 7-point deficit to defeat the visiting Orange County Gladiators on Saturday. The team will continue its Saturday home games for five more weeks, with 7:05 p.m. tip-offs at the SBCC Sports Pavilion.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Dos Pueblos’ Tynan Daniels hadn’t shot under par all season long, but he shot a magical Dos Pueblos record 64 (7-under par) at Glen Annie Golf Course against Santa Barbara last week. He was just one final putt away from tying the Channel League record. The only problem for DP was that mighty Santa Barbara shot a sparkling 4-under as a team to win the match, 351-364.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: UCSB’s Krista Cobb pitched a perfect game in her first collegiate start this season, and the freshman went on to tie the school’s single-season wins record by recording her 18th in a mercy-rule win over UC Davis on Sunday. She pitched five innings and allowed just one hit in the game.
SPORTSPERSON OF THE MONTH: Sheri Davis has donated countless hours to make this year’s High-Five Tennis Tournament a success, working the phones and drumming up participants, which in turn helps the Round Table donate more money to local high school athletic programs.
Davis, a Santa Barbara native, also works with numerous charities supporting children and has run the Santa Barbara High concession stand at Peabody Stadium in the past.
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Monica Beltran will leave Laguna Blanca to attend Princeton next year, and it’s no surprise that such a prestigious university accepted her. The four-year varsity soccer and volleyball standout carries a 4.52 GPA with courses such as AP Calculus BC, AP Latin, AP Environmental Sciences, AP English Literature and Spanish Literature.
She is a National Hispanic Scholar and a member of the Cum Laude Society, and also received this year’s AP Scholar with Distinction Award.
She was the defensive anchor and captain of this year’s girls soccer team, which is considered the best in the school’s history after making it all the way to the CIF semifinals. She also won a CIF title with the volleyball team as a sophomore.