BY BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
An old face and a brand-spankin’ new one made it to Harry’s on Monday for the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon.
Local superfan, author, community inspiration and Round Table-regular Phil Womble made it to his first luncheon of the year to see a presentation of the award named after him, and local coaches Brian and Leslie Roth were there with their one-week old son, Indiana.
Brian is the girls water polo and swimming coach at San Marcos while Leslie is the cross-country and swimming coach at Dos Pueblos. High school is about 14 years away, but the question of which high school “Indy” will attend is already on people’s minds.
“I’m very happy the baby was wearing blue instead of red,” said DP Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus.
DOS PUEBLOS: Tovi Eliasen described his team’s run to the CIF Division II Semifinals as “an amazing time for our program.”
After not even making the playoffs for the past five years, the Chargers have made it through the first three rounds and will host Bell Gardens at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Santa Barbara will be hosting its semifinal game at the same time, and should both teams win they will meet in the title game.
Male Athlete of the Week Eduardo Cortez almost single-handedly got the Chargers through the second round, scoring all four goals in a 4-1 home win against Valley View. He mixed it up, too, scoring with his left foot, right foot and head in the contest. He also scored two goals in the first round of the playoffs.
Eliasen also brought along Kenny Lara, who assisted both of Branden Tangel’s goals in DP’s quarterfinal overtime win against Corona.
“He always wants to stay after practice and work on stuff,” said Eliasen, also noting that Lara has an infectious smile similar to superstar Ronaldinho’s.
WESTMONT MEN: Coach John Moore opened his remarks by acknowledging Womble.
“I have a lot of heroes in this town, and Phil is one of them,” he said.
At 21-7, 13-6, the Warriors were on the eve of perhaps their biggest game of the season — Monday night’s home match-up with Azusa Pacific. If the Warriors win, they’re “pretty much guaranteed” a berth in the NAIA Tournament.
Moore also announced that Dan Rasp has earned all-conference honors in the GSAC.
WESTMONT WOMEN: Coach Kirsten Moore was gearing up for Senior Night, and the Warrior women certainly have some standout seniors.
Dos Pueblos graduate Amber Stevens “pretty much holds every record in the book at Westmont,” according to Moore, and is also an all-conference selection and might also be named an All-American in a few weeks.
Four-year starter Jessica Case joins Stevens on the all-conference squad and is Westmont’s career-leader in points per game. Alisha Heglund is the career blocks leader and Kelsey Hardeman defied the odds by going from team manager to team captain in her four years with the program.
Moore said that a first-round game at Point Loma in the first round of the GSAC tourney is set in stone. She has never beaten the Sea Lions in her career.
UCSB: After winning 39 Big West titles in his career, Gregg Wilson isn’t fond of finishing second. His teams did just that a couple of weeks ago at the Big West Championships.
“If you’re the defending champions and you’re favored to win and you come in second, you’ve lost,” he said.
Then he went on to discuss the athlete accompanying him (described as “my gift”) and the second-place finish faded away.
“She literally came out of the grandstands her freshman year,” he said of Anne Marie May, who left the water polo team during her freshman year and has since become Wilson’s first nationally top-ranked swimmer (She was the No. 1 50-meter freestyle swimmer in the nation for much of the season).
She was also a semifinalist in the Olympic Trials, eventually losing out to Dara Torres.
“She’s enthusiastic, effervescent and a physical specimen,” said Wilson of May, who is currently 12th in the country heading into the NCAAs at Purdue University in two weeks.
DOS PUEBLOS: New-mom Roth is also the new girls swimming coach at DP this year.
“Our main goal is to take it from a good program to a great program,” she said.
The season will open up at the Channel League Relays at Santa Barbara High on Friday.
The Chargers have a big girls diving team this year with 10 on the roster. Bia Ledbetter, the team’s top diver, was at Harry’s along with Fresno State-bound swimmer Michelle Dockendorf, who took it upon herself to design the team’s new swimsuits.
SAN MARCOS: New-dad Roth brought a couple of San Marcos’ brightest students with him. Emilia Wakamatsu carries a 4.8 GPA while Flo Chardon carries a 4.9.
“A coach couldn’t ask for anything more than what Emilia brings to the table… She works hard when nobody is looking,” he said.
Chardon, who missed last season because she was in France, is back and will be one of the team leaders.
SANTA BARBARA: Dons coach Mark Walsh thinks Leslie Roth is one tough lady for being at the luncheon with her team six days after giving birth.
“It’d be hard for her swimmers to miss practice. She could say ‘I’m here and a just had a baby. What’s your excuse?'” he joked.
He introduced swimmer Kristin Figone, who has battled injuries throughout her career but should be one of the team’s best back-strokers this year, as well as Camille Wissman, who is also one of Walsh’s best water polo players.
Only five of 22 boys swimmers return, and Arizona State-bound Karl Boscacci is the cream of this year’s crop. Cristian Bridley is a lanky freshman with star-potential in the distance freestyle and backstroke.
DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers’ annual tournament was rained out so they have yet to officially get under way. Second-year coach Donn Roberts, however, has high expectations already.
“We’re hoping we are going to be competitive, if not the team to beat, in the Channel League,” said Roberts.
He brought along the team’s lone senior, catcher Krista Martony, who is getting looks from various colleges to continue her career (her 4.3 GPA won’t hurt that cause). Also present was junior Jordan Roberts, who led the team in most offensive categories and made the all-County squad last year, and sure-handed outfielder Kristin Kolegraff.
SAN MARCOS: Administrator Aaron Solis had to pinch-hit for softball coach Alex Sheldon for an unfortunate reason. Sheldon, like so many other local teachers, has had his hours cut down to 2/3 of what they were due to the county budget crisis. He was offered to teach a class during the luncheon and had to take it.
“It’s getting really scary,” said Solis of the situation, adding that we should be prepared to see a lot more walk-on (off-campus) coaches in the near future due to teachers being cut.
This year’s Royals have eight seniors on an 11-player roster. Assisting Sheldon will be 2006 Team MVP Sonia Crawford, who went on to play two strong years at SBCC. Sheldon also wanted Solis to thank the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association for helping maintain the Royals’ field.
The player accompanying Solis was senior Kelly McKay, who started every game at first base last year and never made an error.
UCSB: The Gauchos are in their third week of the season and have already played the defending national champion (Washington) and the No. 4 team in the country (UCLA) twice.
“Now we’re gonna take it easy on ourselves and play a No. 7 team,” joked coach Brie Galicinao, referring to Thursday’s game at Arizona State.
She introduced pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto, a senior who recently picked up a win in the circle to help the Gauchos end a lengthy losing streak.
UCSB: The Gaucho spikers are fresh off of a 3-0 road trip and a win in the Morgan Classic in Massachusetts, where they beat Harvard to kick things off.
“It’s always fun to beat up on some smart kids,” said associate head coach Lee “The Tree” Nelson. Jeff Menzel was named MVP of the Morgan Classic.
The Gauchos, who have a big home match against defending national champ UC Irvine on Wednesday, also heat Ohio State on the weekend road trip. Oddly enough, the Gauchos are 1-4 at home and 5-1 on the road so far this season.
SAN MARCOS: The Royals graduated most of last year’s starters, but coach Roger Kuntz said he still has plenty of talent remaining on his team, which opens up the season against Oxnard on Tuesday.
He introduced junior captains Johnny Manzo and Zach Yinger and also pointed out that he has three big guys from the Channel League-champion basketball team who have come out to give the middle-blocker position a try.
“They’re still trying to figure out that there’s not a hoop up there,” said Kumtz.
BISHOP DIEGO: Speaking of big guys, Joe Reiken brought his two biggest to his first luncheon of the year. At 6-foot-7, former basketball player Spencer Shull has Reiken feeling grateful.
“I’m so glad he decided to move over to the right side,” he chided.
Outside hitter Johnny Brand will also be a force at the net, having apparently grown from 5-11 to 6-3 since last season. The Cardinals will be young with no seniors this season.
Reiken also publicly acknowledged Father Tom Elewaut, who will retire as principal after this school year.
UCSB: The Gauchos did nearly everything right in a 3-game series over the weekend, out-hitting, out-stealing and out-scoring San Jose State over the 3-game stretch.
“When you outscore them, that’s usually a pretty good stat,” said coach Bob Brontsema sarcastically.
Unfortunately, the Gauchos somehow lost two of the three games to the Spartans.
“Winning a baseball game is like telling a good joke. Timing is everything,” said Brontsema.
At 2-2, the Gauchos will play at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday before heading up to play a perennial power in Stanford.