In his long career in track and field, Len Miller has coached such top distance runners as U.S. Olympian Steve Scott and 1970s prep sensation Eric Hulst.
At Dos Pueblos, Miller is excited about coaching sophomore standout Addi Zerrenner, who last weekend set meet records in the 1600 and 3200 at the Santa Barbara County Track and Field Championships.
One of the qualities that makes Zerrenner special, Miller noted, is her mental toughness.
“In my mind, I put her in the same class for mental strength and mental toughness with Eric Hulst and Steve Scott, one of America’s greatest milers, who are two guys I coached in the past and two of the toughest kids that ever competed in track and field,” Miller said at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.
Miller coached Hulst at Laguna Beach High and Scott at Arizona State.
Miller was filling in for head coach Leslie Wiggins Roth, who “was due imminently with her second child,” he reported.
Zerrenner broke Jamie Park’s 1988 county meet record in the 3200 by 10 seconds, winning in 10:44.18. Her time of 5:05.78 in the 1600 eclipsed the record of Anne Kennedy by five seconds.
“Addi has a tremendous career ahead for herself,” Miller said. “As great as she is as an athlete, she’s an even better person. She’s reached out to Uganda to help the kids over there get shoes and clothes and so forth. She’s a caring person and handles the attention she’s been getting very well.”
Miller also recognized the DP athletes who scored points to help the Chargers win the sweepstakes team title at the county meet.
“Those kids came in with lifetime bests, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, and that was enough for us to win,” he said.
It’s a big week for local baseball teams.
SBCC coach Jeff Walker reported that his team is two games out of first place and one out of second in the Western State Conference with three games left.
“In our conference, there is only one game that separates each team: Cuesta has six losses, Moorpark has seven, we have eight and Hancock has nine,” he said. “We can either finish in first place next week, or I’ll be up here talking that we finished in last place.”
The Vaqueros play host to Cuesta on Tuesday, Oxnard on Thursday and travel to Oxnard on Friday.
Westmont plays its final four-game GSAC series this week against Vanguard. The Warriors were swept by fourth-ranked Azusa Pacific last week.
“Going into this final four-game series, our destiny is still in our hands,” coach Robert Ruiz said. “If we win the series, we make the playoffs for the first time in a long time.”
The final two games of the series are Saturday at Westmont.
In prep baseball, Bishop Diego is riding a five-game winning streak, is in first place in the Frontier League with a 7-1 record and is ranked third in CIF Division 6 with an overall mark of 12-3.
Athletic director Dan Peeters brought speedy leadoff hitter and shortstop Sam Kwock and freshman utility player and designated hitter R.J. Cordero.
Speaking for coach Dan Yokubaitis, Peeters said Kwock “has only played two years of high school baseball but his lack of experience is not a factor because he’s an excellent athlete, has good speed, a good glove and a strong arm.”
On Cordero, Peeters said he’s made an “instant impact on the team” and “plays with the composure of a senior.”
Longtime Santa Barbara High assistant George Rempe said the Dons posted a nice 5-0 win against Verdugo Hills on a hot Saturday afternoon in the San Fernando Valley.
“When you win 5-0, it’s a lot easier to deal with the heat,” said Rempe.
Rempe introduced Peter Ghersen, Tyler Nichoson and Carlos Gonzalez.
Dons had their Monday game against Buena rained out. They’re scheduled to play Tuesday and Friday against Dos Pueblos.
San Marcos last week experienced what assistant coach Michael Sandford described as “a recipe for disaster: a combination of baseball and teenage boys.”
On Tuesday, the Royals lost 19-2 at Santa Barbara and allowed just six hits. But, they walked 16, hit five batters and committed five errors. Three days later, they played errorless baseball, walked only three and beat the Dons 9-4.
“A different set of teenagers showed up,” said Sandford.
Sandford brought first baseman Travis Tibbitts, third baseman Mike Guzzardi and utility player Will Lorenzen. Tibbitts carries a 4.5 grade point average and is planning to attend UC San Diego, where he’ll compete on the fencing team. Guzzardi, a 3.9 student-athlete, is going to SBCC. Lorenzen, who has a 4.5 GPA, is headed to Tufts University in Massachusetts.
“We’re happy to have them on our team, raising our GPA and batting averages,” said Sandford.
The Channel League diving finals are a week away, and San Marcos coach Cassie Tenase introduced four divers who will be contending for titles: freshman Cassie Colegrove and sophomores Emilie Mahoney, Austin Howard and Burke McComb.
McComb, who also plays tennis and competes in track, qualified for CIF for the second straight year and Howard is seeking his second straight trip to CIF. Mahoney won all the dual meets this season and Colegrove has prepared for all 11 dives for the league finals.
Dos Pueblos boys volleyball assistant Chris Jones said the team has had to deal with some off-the-court issues this season, and through it all the team has grown closer and stronger.
It’s “given us the privilege to sit down as a team and really talk about what the most important thing is in life — family,” he said. “Family is really important for our athletes.”
Jones introduced two key players in the Charger attack, setter and team captain Keaton Arutian and high-flying middle blocker Mansai Conner.
The Chargers (4-1 in Channel League) play two big matches this week against Ventura on Tuesday and league-leading Santa Barbara on Thursday.