The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table held a moment of silence for the legendary Phil Womble at its press luncheon on Monday at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.
Womble, whom Round Table president Cara Gamberdella called “a treasured, well-loved board member and community member,” passed away early Monday at the age of 80.
He was an inspiration to anyone who met him. Born with cerebral palsy, Womble lived an active life in Santa Barbara and was a fixture in the sports community. He often attended the press luncheon and had an award named in his honor.
“He was an inspiration to many of us,” said his friend Dave Pintard, who each month during the school year presents the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award to a high school junior student-athlete who demonstrates great character, leadership, respect for others and always does the right thing on and off the playing field. “He was an individual that would make your day. It was like you were making his day every time you saw him. It was like balloons and confetti would fly from the sky. He just had that infectious, warm, loving, gracious personality that I’ve never witnessed before. I’ve never known a man that is such an inspiration to so many in the community.”
Womble was a long-time Round Table board member and the organization’s historian. He’s inducted into the Round Table and UCSB Halls of Fame.
“I’m deeply, deeply honored to have him part of my life, as many people are, and to call him one of my best friends,” said Pintard.
Coaches offered their tributes to Womble.
Said Westmont women’s basketball coach Kirsten Moore: “Phil is a testament of don’t let anything come in the way of what you want to accomplish, overcoming what life may throw at you and finding a way to unbelievably have a positive impact on all the people he came in contact with.
Westmont men’s basketball coach John Moore said he always looked forward to seeing Womble at the Round Table luncheons.
“I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that Phil Womble is in heaven looking down on this event right now and saying, ‘I wish I can be there with you.’
“My words to Phil: ‘I love you. I thank you for all you’ve done in our community.’”
Westmont women: Kirsten Moore’s team is coming off a superb defensive performance, a 67-25 win against San Diego Christian.
“We played the kind of defense I was hopeful for,” said Moore. “We played a team that averaged a little over 70 points a game and scored over 100 a couple of times this year, and we held them to 25 points, which is pretty unbelievable.”
The Warriors are 8-0 in the GSAC, 18-1 overall and No. 3 in the NAIA.
Westmont men: John Moore said the school celebrated 75 years of basketball and brought back coaching legends like Chet Kammerer and Randy Pfund, who together won NBA championship rings with the Miami Heat. Pfund also coached the Lakers.
He also noted that Dave Bregante was outstanding player for the Warriors and was an assistant coach of a Westmont team that stunned the college basketball world in 1972, beating a Hawaii team that was ranked 12th in NCAA Division 1.
Moore introduced Olisa Nwachi, a transfer from St. John’s in New York, where he played for Moore’s brother-in-law, Steve Lavin. He came to Westmont after Lavin was dismissed as coach.
“He’s one of the finest athletes we’ve ever had,” said Moore of Nwachi “His name you’re going to hear a lot for the next 2 1/2 years.”
SBCC Men: The Vaqueros are down to seven players. “No one has fouled out and we hope to keep it that way,” cracked Dave Loveton, sports information specialists.
Robert Hutchens is averaging 20.5 points per game, which leads the WSC and is eighth best in the state.
UCSB Men: Assistant coach Brandon Veltri said the team has struggled shooting from outside.
“We’re working on making shots as opposed to shooting shots and passing up good shots and get great shots for our teammates,” he said,
The Gauchos play host to Cal State Northridge before heading to Hawaii for a Saturday game.
UCSB: Coach Matt Macedo said his teams have one more dual meet at Cal Poly before the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at East L.A. College, Feb. 15-18.
The women’s team recently snapped a 17-meet conference win streak by UC Davis.
Last weekend, the Gaucho teams made the long bus trip to Las Vegas and beat the Rebels on Friday. They followed up on Saturday with wins over UNLV and a victory by the men’s team over the Air Force Academy. It was the first loss by the Falcons.
Dos Pueblos: The Chargers are 16-3 and 3-0 in the Channel League after wins over Ventura and Santa Barbara. Marcellous Gossett grabbed 17 rebounds against the Dons. Junior Cyrus Wallace had 25 points in the Ventura win and followed with a17-point, 14-rebound effort against Santa Barbara.
This week, the Chargers play Buena and San Marcos.
Santa Barbara: Coach Dave Bregante said his team hasn’t shot the ball real well in recent games. “Marcellous should thank us,” he quipped about the DP player’s 17-rebound night against the Dons. “We gave them a lot of opportunities.”
Bregante praised the play of senior guard Ben Brown.
“I admire Ben Brown,” he said. “He draws the best defensive player on the opposing team, he gets double teamed, he gets triple teamed, and he’s still our guy. He’s the guy we go to. He’s having a phenomenal year.”
Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Antonio Bautista said Dylan Streett and Mitch Cota are getting it done for the Cardinals at the defensive end. They’ve led the team to wins over Carpinteria and Nordhoff in league play.
Carpinteria: Sophomores Chris Ramirez and Noah Nuño have made a big impact on the team. Ramirez is the point guard and Nuño the shooting guard who is averaging 15 points a game.
Dos Pueblos: The Chargers won their first tournament title this season, capturing the Milliken Tournament.
Sophomore Cade Uyesaka earned medals in two weight classes. He beat the only opponent at 113 pounds, competed at 120 and finished second.
Will Yamasaki, at 170 pounds, won his first varsity tournament.
The Chargers next wrestle against Ventura at home on Tuesday, Jan. 31. A victory will give them three straight league titles.
“We’re looking to three-peat,” said coach Anthony Califano.
San Marcos: Shyloh Almada, a 138-pounder, is a four-year wrestler who is looking to attend college at USC or Cal Poly. Anthony Hernandez came out for wrestling after earning all-league honors in football. He is currently 13-1.
The Royals host Santa Barbara on Thursday. Both teams will be looking for their first dual meet win in Channel League.
Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Lindsay Rooney said the team is in the middle of the pack in league and looking to make the playoffs.
She introduced Jill Gianinni, a solid forward and central midfielder who is headed to the next level at University of San Diego, and center back Claire Nielsen. “She is always there when we need her,” said Rooney.
Dos Pueblos: Fourth-year coach Hugh Hollis said this is “one of our most talented teams I’ve had the privilege to coach.”
The Chargers have a standout player in Kiara Pickett, but Hollis noted it’s the quality of the players around her that make her shine. Three of this players include seniors Anali Salazar (goalkeeper), Anya Schmitz and Raquel “Rocky” Uyesaka. “They are leaders on and off the field,” said Hollis.
DP (2-1 in Channel League) has two important games this week against Buena on Tuesday and San Marcos on Thursday.
Carpinteria: Assistant coach Lucy Carleton said Ava Gropper and goalkeeper Lara Valdez have helped the team to a 5-0 record in Frontier League play.
“From my vantage point, they make it look extremely easy,” she said of the team’s play.
The Warriors are looking for their first league title since 2008.
Bishop Diego: John Harris has scored five goals for the Cardinals and team captain David Alvarez is a player that can play any position on the field, reported athletic director Mike Cano.
Bishop (0-5-1) plays home games this week against Santa Clara and Thursday.
San Marcos: Athletic director and former boys soccer coach Abe Jahadhmy said the Royals are a fun and exciting team to watch.
Midfielders and co-captains Avi Ghitterman and Camilo Gonzagui make the team go. Gonzagui is a four-year player who controls the midfield.
Ghitterman is a multi-talented student-athlete. He is an accomplished violinist and was chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. His college choices are Duke and Michigan.
Carpinteria: Assistant coach Ryan Warner said Brian Garcia has done a great job making the switch from forward to goalkeeper. “This kid is basically Jorge Campos, referring to the former standout goalkeeper for Mexico’s national team. “It’s unbelievable to see some of these world-class saves he comes up with to keep us in games. I’m trying to send him to college to play it.”
Warner also brought Vincent Gonzalez, who has been on a goal-scoring tear as of late. He has five goals on the season. “He’s fast, strong, an opportunist in front of the goal,” said Warner.
The Warriors (2-2-1 in league) play host to Santa Paula on Wednesday in a key Tri-Valley League game.