BY BLAKE DORFMAN – PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
Smiles are a dime a dozen in the Ranchero Room at Harry’s for the weekly Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon, but there was one smiling face that was particularly good to see this Monday.
Ex-SBART President Rick Wilson seemed like his old self just a couple of weeks after logging some time in the Intensive Care Unit with a blocked artery. He’ll be returning to work, as well as the golf course, shortly.
— DOS PUEBLOS: Chargers coach Jeff Uyesaka had plenty to smile about when he stepped to the podium, as DP picked up a 17-0 shutout of Cabrillo on Friday night. It was the team’s first-ever win at Scott O’Leary Stadium, the Chargers’ own on-campus facility, which they began playing on partially last year.
Uyesaka said that his offense has been a little slow in developing, but that his defense has been fun to watch.
“These guys run around. They’re pretty intense, they can hit and they’re fast,” he said, adding that this year’s defense reminds him of the unit on the Chargers’ 2001 CIF finalist squad.
He brought two defensive standouts who come from strong local football bloodlines.
Senior Captain Shane Taylor is the grandson of legendary football coach Carmen DiPoalo, while senior defensive end Cody Bidlow is the brother ex-DP star Shane Lopes.
Uyesaka also mentioned that ex-Charger Matt Houston got in the game on Saturday for the University of Washington as the Huskies stunned the No. 3 USC Trojans up in Seattle.
— SAN MARCOS: Jeff Hesselmeyer, who coached for decades at DP, got his first win as a San Marcos Royal with a 7-0 victory over Lompoc at Huyck Stadium on Friday. With both offenses struggling to get in the end zone (Kyle Miller’s first half run accounted for the only points), it came down to the defense.
Thus, Hesselmeyer brought along defensive back Derrick Dallmeyer and lineman Jeff Ramirez. Dallmeyer had an interception on Friday while Ramirez had numerous key tackles for the 1-1 Royals.
“Without their play and the play of the rest of our defense, we’d be looking at 0-2,” said the coach.
His team faces undefeated Hueneme in its home opener on Friday.
SBCC: The Vaqueros suffered a letdown one week after a huge upset of No. 5 Canyons, falling to Ventura 35-7 at La Playa Stadium Saturday night.
“Ventura College just physically beat us up,” said coach Craig Moropoulos.
While the SBCC offense was stagnant the whole night, the longtime local coach was pleased with the tenacity of his defense.
LaMont Dupree had a monster game with 13 tackles, an interception and a 28-yard punt return for the Vaqueros’ only score. Captain Matt Rachowski, meanwhile, had 11 tackles and partially blocked the punt that Dupree returned to the house.
The Vaqueros, now 1-2, play at Antelope Valley on Saturday night.
— BISHOP DIEGO: The youthful Cardinals fell to 0-3 after losing a heartbreaker to Fillmore at La Playa Stadium on Friday, 27-25.
Bishop has only five seniors on this year’s team, so breakout performances like the one Brandon Gonzalez turned in on Friday will be crucial. Gonzalez, a sophomore, ran for three touchdowns and threw for another to go along with 179 rushing yards. Coach Tom Crawford also introduced senior lineman Paul Ortega, who is “the heart and soul” of the team and has returned strong after dislocation his hip last season.
— CARPINTERIA: The Warriors are currently 2-0-1… In the second half, that is.
“We just need to put two halves together and we’re gonna get a win here,” said coach Ben Hallock.
The Warriors shold have a good chance playing at Grace Brethren this week, and the two captains that Hallock brought along with him, junior quarterback Paul Aguilar and senior lineman John Bustillos, will have to lead the way.
— SANTA BARBARA HIGH: Jaime Melgoza is still looking for his first win as head coach for the Dons after the Beverly Hills Normans picked up a hard-fought 17-15 win at Peabody Stadium on Thursday night.
“After looking at the film over and over I can see we’re a lot better than we were in the first week,” said Melgoza. “We’re climbing the ladder and getting better.”
Melgoza used the word “tremendous” to describe the play of two-way starters Chase Chandler and Kenny Foster, both seniors, who joined him at Harry’s.
— LAGUNA BLANCA: The Owls are low on numbers, even for a team that plays 8-man football. The numbers on the scoreboard were big, however, as Laguna was outmatched by Hillcrest Christian 61-12.
The game was played at John Elway Stadium in Granada Hills.
“You know you’re getting old when one of my younger players asked who John Elway was,” said coach Ray Robitaille.
The good news for the Owls is that sophomore quarterback Troy Ritter is looking better every week, and bruising lineman Chase McAdams, who came to Monday’s luncheon with Robitaille, is only a junior.
— SAN MARCOS: The Royals have eight senior runners this year, and only six of those have ever run cross-country before.
“The kids are doing great. A lot of them are right where they left off last year,” said coach Lawrence Stehmeier.
Actually, some of the Royals are much better than that. Sophomore Julia Roman ran 1:07 faster than her best on any course last year at the season-opening Lompoc Invitational, and junior Jake Elliott’s time was 1:09 faster.
Also introduced were senior captain Clare Moore and energetic junior captain Connor King.
Stehmeier became emotional when mentioning the recent passing of Richard Watkins, who was a longtime coach for the Royals and passed away from cancer two weeks ago.
— DOS PUEBLOS: You don’t just waltz into practice on the first day of school and jump into a top spot on the DP cross-country team. Coach Leslie Wiggins-Roth held seven practices each week over the summer and also took the team to Mammoth for six days to train at a higher altitude.
“We have everyone back on our varsity team this year, which means we’re really looking at contending for that top league finish,” said Wiggins-Roth.
DP’s No. 6 and seven runners came with their coach on Monday.
Camille “The Silent Assassin” Patterson is back for her sophomore campaign. Junior Mallory Meyer, meanwhile, is so in love with endurance sports that she’s running three cross-country races as well as doing the long course at this Sunday’s Carpinteria Triathlon within a little over a week.
Freshman Ben York is currently running in the seventh spot but has a shot at cracking the top five, and senior Nathaniel Block has been the main source of leadership for the younger runners on the boys team. Sophomore Richard Souleles was also in attendance.
— CARPINTERIA: Angel Silva’s Warriors will feature a lot of new runners this year, but he brought along four returners to his first luncheon. All of them have GPAs of 4.0 or higher and all are captains. They are Erick Cruz, Maritza Torres, Angela Magnusson and Michael Savano.
The Warriors will run against Bishop Diego and Cate Tuesday on the Carpinteria Bluffs at the Carpnteria Valley Invitational before hosting the first Tri-Valley League meet next Wednesday.
— WESTMONT: Over the weekend, the Warriors hosted the 29th Annual Westmont Cross-Country Invitational and won both the men’s and women’s competitions on a steep course that had to be altered this year due to major construction on campus.
Sean Adams showed the “Warrior competitive spirit” at the end of the men’s race. He was about to be passed at the finish line but found some reserve energy and mouthed the words “no way” as he held off his opponent.
Smith said that construction on the track is scheduled to be done by January and that the Warriors will be hosting three meets, including the GSAC Championships, in the spring.
— SBCC: The Vaqueros were the only community college running at the Westmont Invitational. The men’s team took sixth out of 10 teams and the women placed fourth out of five. Mark Moreno took sixth in the men’s 8K race while Seanie Rigney was sixth in the women’s race.
— UCSB: The Gaucho women recently placed fourth at the UC Riverside Invitational with Amanda Moreno and Katie Voigtlander leading the way.
“We practiced some team tactics and they came from far back in the pack because they were helping some other girls move up,” said coach Avery Blackwell of the two runners, who finished 12th and 13th respectively.
The men opened the season a couple of weeks ago by finishing second to No. 22 Cal Poly at the UCSB Lagoon Open, where Scott Smith and Julian deRubira led the way.
— UCSB: Matt Thobe attended Round Table luncheons as a player on the Gaucho men’s team over the years, but the recent graduate was at Harry’s this time around as an assistant coach for the women’s team.
The Gauchos are an impressive 8-2 to start the year, and had the honor of being the first team to play on the Thunderdome’s new floor.
“I think the girls expect a lot of themselves – certainly nothing less than a return to the NCAA Tournament,” said Thobe.
— WESTMONT: The Warriors went 2-1 over the past week and now stand at 10-4, ranked 25th in the country. To make the national tournament, the Warriors will have to beat one of the other six ranked teams in the GSAC.
They host San Diego Christian on Friday before hosting seventh-ranked Point Loma on Saturday.
— SBCC: The Vaqueros had an excellent week to say the least, beating L.A. Pierce in a 5-set match before going 2-0 against two top-10 teams in the SBCC Quad Tournament at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday. The team has now won seven consecutive matches.
Female Athlete of the Week Maria Mayer, a sophomore who played at San Marcos High, led the team with double-digit kill performances in each of the week’s three matches. She was joined at the luncheon by fellow San Marcos alum Jenn Waddill, who is a freshman middle blocker on the team.
— SANTA BARBARA HIGH: The Dons are 7-1 so far, including 4-0 in five-set matches. They defeated defending Division I-AA champion Santa Margarita on the road two weeks ago and placed third in the prestigious Archbishop Mitty Tournament over the weekend.
“The fact that our only loss of the year is to the No. 1 team in the nation (Archbishop Mitty) means that things are on the up-and-up at Santa Barbara high School,” said head coach John Gannon.
He brought along sophomore Dani Rottman, who was absolutely stellar in replacing her older sister, University of Virginia-bound senior Emily, over the weekend while Emily was sick.
Also at Harry’s was senior setter Rose Lewis, whom Gannon said had one of the best digs of all time at a critical point in the third-place match.
Gannon jokingly added one last thought on the tournament.
“It was a great weekend for us. We got third place, but the only problem was DP got second,” he said. “DP’s good. They’re No.4 in the nation, but we should be right up there and give them a run for their money.”
— SAN MARCOS: Marilyn Hantgin, who is the track coach for the Royals, is also the frosh/soph volleyball coach at San Marcos and was there to discuss the Royals’ varsity team.
The Royals are 3-3 so far, including a tough 5-set loss to Hart High School, and went down and had a solid showing at a tournament in Huntington Beach this weekend.
Hantgin introduced starting setter Casey Harding-Brown, front-row standout Holly Emerson and energetic defensive whiz Sam Flattery.
— LAGUNA BLANCA: The Owls are 9-0, including a perfect sweep to the title in the 15th edition of their own tournament, which they had never won before. The Owls are going for their eighth consecutive Condor league title.
Coach Jim Alzina introduced Heidi Vandenoever, who is averaging five kills and four blocks per game. Then there was senior Jackie Harvey, a 4-year varsity starter who has been to plenty of SBART luncheons in her career.
“She walks in and all the waiters and waitresses wave to her. She’s kind of like Norm in ‘Cheers’,” said Alzina.
Harvey, who was MVP of the tournament, is averaging 13 kills per game.
— BISHOP DIEGO: Joe Reiken’s Cardinals started the season off with a sweep of Villanova, then finished second in the Santa Paula Tournament after a 25-17 loss in the finals.
Reiken is returning all of his players from last year, and almost all of them are sophomores. Middle blocker Janelle Kohler is the exception as a senior, while sophomore Nicole Tetherow is also one of the leaders of the team.
“They run the show for me, and it allows me to coach,” said Reiken.
— CARPINTERIA: Coach Katie Dolge was happy to see her Warriors pull off a win over Nordhoff last week after struggling with the mental game in the season’s early stages.
Now it’s time for Carpinteria to jump into Tri-Valley League play this week, with matches against Oaks Christian and La Reina on tap. On Saturday, Carp will host a 14-team tournament beginning at 8 a.m. and going all day.
Dolge introduced 3-year varsity outside hitter Kelci Jones as well as right-side hitter Megan McMahon.
Brendan Kerwin-McElroy was this week’s Male Athlete of the Week for scoring nine goals in a 13-12 win for the Santa Barbara High boys water polo team. Coach Mark Walsh has been with the Dons since 1993 and said that this was only the second time a player has scored so many goals in a game. Kerwin-McElroy also led the Dons in scoring in a win over Servite earlier in the week.