There weren’t any pretenders at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. Only contenders.
CIF playoffs begin this week and a majority of the teams reporting at Harry’s Plaza Cafe had postseason thoughts on their minds.
Santa Barbara High has five teams competing in CIF, the most of any area school. Dos Pueblos, Bishop Diego and Cate have four teams still in the mix.
The Dons also led with three league crowns. The Channel League champion girls soccer and boys basketball teams were in attendance, as was the runner-up girls basketball team.
The Dons boys basketball team has won nine straight games, including two last week over rivals San Marcos and Dos Pueblos that earned junior forward Jack Baker the Male Athlete of the Week award.
“I think that’s what CIF playoffs is all about, who’s playing at their best,” said Dons assistant coach Andrew Gil. “I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. We keep getting better every game and this last week was a test to that.”
Baker recorded two double doubles, including 25 points and 12 rebounds against the Royals.
The Dons girls soccer team also won a Channel League title – the first for the program since 1986. After not winning a single game in league the season before, Santa Barbara went from last to first and unseated perennial league champion Buena in the process.
The Dons open playoffs on Thursday.
“We look forward to all the challenges that we face in the coming playoffs,” said assistant coach Brian “Ziggy” Ziegenhaggen.
Other recently crowned league champions in the room included Carpinteria boys soccer, Carpinteria girls water polo and Bishop Diego girls basketball.
Find a schedule of local CIF events HERE.
The college programs in attendance were thinking playoffs too; they just haven’t made it there yet.
Westmont’s women’s basketball team has just three home games remaining this season, including two this week. Warriors head coach Kirsten Moore urged the community to come see reigning NAIA Player of the Year Tugce Canitez, a Westmont senior that played in the Olympics last summer and is getting lots of attention from WNBA scouts.
“We’re undefeated in conference which for our conferene is really quit amazing and Tugce has been at the center,” Moore said. “Her numbers are just unbelievable.”
Prior to the coaches reports, Dos Pueblos’ Grant Schroeder was recognized as DP’s Student-Athlete of the Year.
Schroeder is a captain of the boys water polo and swim teams who has also participated in basketball and track. Schroeder carries a 4.83 GPA in the classroom and hopes to attend Stanford in the fall, but is considering UCLA, Harvard and Princeton as well.
Dos Pueblos aquatics coach Chris Parrish said a few words about Schroeder.
“Grant has been a fantastic athlete to coach,” Parrish said. “There has been in my 11 years of coaching no easier athlete to coach. He is literally a sponge. He absorbs information and goes out there with determination.”
The National Honor Society member and California Scholarship Federation member was also the school-wide top scorer on the AMC 12 Mathematics Exam.
Schroeder was accompanied to the luncheon by mother Dawn, his grandparents, Dos Pueblos principal Shawn Carey and Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus.
Schroeder thanked the Round Table for recognizing local student-athletes.
“It means a lot to us to be honored and recognized at these luncheons,” Schroeder said.
“Finally I’d like to thank the Dos Pueblos administrators who voted on the award. I know there are a lot of great student athletes at Dos Pueblos who are deserving of this award. I feel especially honored that I was selected for this award.”
Kimberly Williams was named Special Olympics Athlete of the Month.
The 14-year Special Olympics veteran is a standout on the soccer field and as a swimmer. She recently completed the Camarillo Triathlon in one hour and 28 minutes.
Williams graduated from San Marcos High School and works at the Food Bank.
“She’s not only a terrific player but she’s got a terrific attitude as well,” said coach Jerry Seigel.
There is no press luncheon next week because of Presidents Weekend. The meetings, which are open to the public, resume on Monday, February 25.
Brandon Burkhardt, Dos Pueblos Basketball
Curtis Rammdaa, Dos Pueblos Basketball
Michael Day, Santa Barbara Basketball
Louis Stanley, Carpinteria Soccer
Alexa Benitez, Carpinteria Soccer
John Salda, Bishop Diego Soccer
Jacob Brosnan, Bishop Diego Soccer
Eden Schmidt, Bishop Diego Soccer
Gabby Koepenick, Bishop Diego Soccer
Josie McCoy, Bishop Diego Basketball
Greer Shull, Bishop Diego Basketball
Emily Allen, San Marcos Soccer
Hannah Ball, San Marcos Soccer
Spenser Wyatt, Laguna Blanca Basketball
Maddie Brooks, Carpinteria Water Polo
Hope Grant, Carpinteria water Polo
Ricky Arroyo, Carpinteria Soccer
Luca Rigonati (Regis), Carpinteria Soccer
Grant Schroeder, Dos Pueblos Aquatics
Makayla Miller, Santa Barbara Basketball
Melissa Lemus, Santa Barbara Basketball
Deserea Coleman, Santa Barbara Basketball