Coaches get emotional in season’s final luncheon

It was an emotional final press luncheon of the school year for the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table on Monday.

The afternoon started out with SBART president Rich Hanna expressing his condolences to Westmont College women’s basketball coach Kirsten Moore, who lost her husband last week. Alex Moore, an assistant professor in kinesiology at Westmont, died May 9 from complications following surgery for Crohn’s disease. He was 31.

San Marcos softball coach Jeff Swann gave heartfelt thanks to his parents for their tremendous support.

“They’ve been active in this community forever,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here today — not just biologically — without their mentoring, inspiration and the guidance that I’ve received from them my whole life. They never miss a game. They’re fantastic role models. I love you very much.”

San Marcos track and field coach Marilyn Hantgin got choked up talking about seniors Annie Thwing and Kaylin Koopmans, who are members of the Royals’ 4×400 relay team that qualified for the CIF Division Finals. She also brought sophomore member Jill Fisher.

UCSB softball assistant Christine Ramos also became emotional talking about the team’s strong finish (a seven-game winning streak) and the prospects of a bright future.

“I’m excited about the future of the program. We have a lot of talent coming,” said Ramos, fighting back tears.

Dos Pueblos softball coach Lee Harris expressed pride in his daughter, Hannah, and all she’s accomplished in her career.

“She had some goals that she put together in her softball life and I think she accomplished them all: play hard and be the best she could be, help the team win and receive a scholarship to play softball at a Division 1 school,” said coach Harris.

The Chargers are seeking their second straight CIF title and Hannah Harris has a scholarship to Fresno State.

“As a coach, I couldn’t be prouder of her,” he said. “As a dad, even more. Her character speaks volumes.”

UCSB track and field assistant Rob Beamer shared his excitement about the Gaucho men’s team winning its first Big West title in program history.

“Coach (Pete) Dolan has been at the helm for 27 years,” he said. “There’s been silent tributes for his dedication. This is really the first time that we’ve had such collective success. It’s such a special time.”

Other luncheon notes:

Longtime Santa Barbara baseball assistant George Rempe announced that the Dons received an at-large berth in the CIF playoffs and will play at Arcadia on Tuesday in a wild-card game.

It’s the 14th straight year the Dons (15-10) have made the postseason.

Dos Pueblos assistant coach John Ramsdale said the Chargers will host a first-round playoff game on Thursday. He introduced the captains of the Channel League championship squad, Gabe Speier and Joe Huthsing.

Ramsdale said Speier hasn’t pitched much this season. He’s been used as a designated hitter.

“He’s had to deal with some adversity but he’s dealt with it well. He’ll be back at full strength next year as a senior.” said Ramsdale, who added that Speier made a verbal commitment to UCSB.

Huthsing is DP’s all-time home run leader with 14. Ramsdale said the Azusa Pacific commit has “really put his heart and soul into Dos Pueblos baseball.”

Coach Harris also introduced senior Courtney Linhares. “She leads the team in spirit on and off the field,” he said. “She has a big, vocal voice. I can’t stand behind her in the dugout because I’’d have headache by the end of the game. She knows exactly where she fits in the dynamics of the team. I really appreciate it.”

Swann introduced pitcher Kristen Berlo and senior center fielder and two-year captain Emily Dietz. Besides being an outstanding pitcher, Berlo shines in the classroom with a 4.25 GPA. Dietz, a strong leader and communicator, is headed to San Francisco State.

The Royals play at Covina in a wild-card playoff game on Tuesday.

UCSB baseball assistant Zach Etheredge said three losses at UC Irvine and two against Cal State Fullerton knocked the Gauchos out of the Big West race.

“It was a hard blow for us, but we still have some season left.”

The Gauchos suffered another blow when senior Ryan Palermo got hit in the face by an errant baseball and suffered a broken jaw. He’ll miss the rest of the season.

“Keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” said Etheredge.

Dos Pueblos tennis coach Liz Frech said the Chargers finished one of their best seasons with a 13-4 record.

She introduced Caleb Franzen, who with No. 1 doubles partner Jake Roberts went 33-10, and the freshman combo of Joshua Lang and Patrick Corpus, who reached the Channel League semifinals.

Bishop Diego baseball assistant Kai Solin brought fleet-footed junior outfielder Jack Gregson and senior pitcher JD Yonke.

“He’s our rock on the hill,” Solin said of Yonke, who is 7-0 with a 0.50 ERA.

On Gregson, Solin said he gets timely hits and plays a great center field.

The Frontier League-champion Cardinals (18-3, 11-1) play either Desert Mountain or Windward in a first-round game on Thursday at home.

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