As the spring sports season nears its end, it’s time to cherish the moments, especially for the senior student-athletes.
For Santa Barbara High aquatics coach Mark Walsh, the Channel League Swimming & Diving Championships is one of his favorite events because his whole team is involved and just about everyone swims a personal best.
“When I left, I felt like we’d won because when every single kid swims their best time, like how can you lose?” Walsh said.
The Dons boys finished third and the girls were second.
The five seniors Walsh brought to the luncheon have advanced to CIF Prelims on Thursday. Dana Sloan, Kelsey O’Brien and Sophie Trabucco on the girls team and Cristian Bridley and Tarry Burkhardt for the boys.
Dos Pueblos aquatics coach Chris Parrish was able to bring four athletes who competed in the league finals: Walker Bell, Graham Young, Paige Pighetti and Shannon Cleary.
“Like Coach Walsh was talking about, Even if you don’t place well and you’re posting those PRs, it’s a fantastic meet,” Parrish said.
San Marcos coach Brian Roth was in Honduras for a wedding while the finals were happening but stayed in communication with his team from the beach.
With Roth was Megan Bergthold and Kate Coski.
The baseball teams in the room were still busy with their regular seasons.
UCSB was coming off a dramatic win over UC Irvine that gave them their fourth series win in the past five tries. Joey Epperson delivered a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday.
“It’s amazing how one swing of the bat can change how your food tastes, how excited you are to get up in the morning the next day,” said Gauchos head coach Andrew Checketts.
Luke Coffey, Joel Corona and the Dos Pueblos Chargers need to win one of two games this week against Santa Barbara to win its second straight league championship.
Carpinteria will get playoff ready with its final two regular-season games coming against first-place Malibu. The Warriors are in second place but too far back to win a title. Duncan Gordon was at the luncheon a week after going 6-for-8 with a home run and two doubles. Mo Sanchez also made the trip.
Bishop Diego volleyball coach Jason Donnelly introduced his players Jose del Campo and Luca Jordano, and baseball players Jacob Salcedo and John Rios.
The Cardinals are competing in Division 2 this postseason alongside powerhouses Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos.
Royals head coach Roger Kuntz brought several players who are backups this year but big-time contributors: Joe Terre, Noah Shields, Nick Maynor and Jake Pighetti.
The boys volleyball teams begin playoffs tomorrow.
Erika Miller was named Special Olympics Athlete of the Month. Miller excels at bocce ball and won a gold medal recently in Santa Paula. Miller went to Foothill Community College and is a 12-year veteran of Special Olympics.
Rachel Nelson of UCSB was recognized as the Gauchos’ Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The water polo player holds a GPA of 3.92 as a three-time Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Nelson is a biological sciences major who plans to go to med school.
“Rachel I want to thank you for, No. 1, leaving the legacy for the players behind you – who are very young on our team – of work ethic, perseverance, loyalty, and unwavering commitment to excellence,” said Gauchos water polo coach Cathy Neushul. “And also thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life for the past four years. It was truly a pleasure.”
Next week is the final press luncheon of the school year. The end of the year Hall-of-Fame Banquet is Monday, May 20.