Bishop Diego football finally has its day to celebrate at Round Table luncheon

The Bishop Diego football was honored for winning the CIF Southern Section and State titles.

The Ranchero Room at Harry’s Plaza Cafe was washed in a sea of red Monday as the CIF Southern Section- and State-champion Bishop Diego football team came to the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon to be honored wearing red championship T-shirts.

The visit had been delayed by the school holiday break, the disastrous mud slides and flooding in Montecitio and scheduling conflicts.

The Cardinals made school and county history. They won the first CIF-Southern Section football title in program history and followed with the county’s first Southern California Regional and State championships. The regional and state title games were supposed to played at SBCC’s La Playa but moved to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks due to the poor air quality caused by the Thomas Fire.

“These young men persevered through a lot of adversity,” coach Tom Crawford said. “They dealt with the Thomas Fire and the uncertainties everybody faced in respect of  that, and showed a tremendous focus and determination that really made them kind of relentless when it came to winning the CIF Division 6 championship and the state championship.

“They epitomized the team-first mentality from Day 1. They just made each other better every time they went out on the field.”

WATER POLO

San Marcos Girls

The Royals qualified for the elite eight CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs and open at No. 2 seed Laguna Beach on Thursday.

In Division 1, the eight teams will play out to all eight places and the advance to the So Cal Regionals.

“We play three more weeks of postseason,” Roth said. “We’re going to enjoy the opportunity to compete; we’re really embracing it. We’re getting those weeks back we lost to the fire and the floods, so we’re excited.”

Roth introduced senior co-captain and UCSB-bound Sarah Owens and senior center defender and UC Irvine signee  Piper Smith.

On Owens: “Her left hand has really put us on the map,” said Roth. “She’s emerged as a great leader in our program and will be bringing great things to UCSB next year.”

He called Smith “arguably one of the best center defenders in the country. She’s as tough as they come.”

Roth said Smith introduced a team philosophy known as “Chain Reaction,” where the athletes pass positive words to each other until “there’s positivity all over the place and we’re going out to play better,” he explained. “I attribute a lot of our wins and success in our program that last few years to that concept.

“Great vision, Pipes. You’re going to be great in college.”

Dos Pueblos Girls

Thea Neushul and Anna Cable have been difference makers for Dos Pueblos the No. 1-ranked team in Division 1 at 27-1.

“Thea brings it to training and brings it to games every single time we show up at the pool,” coach Connor Levoff said of the UC San Diego-bound Neushul. “Her performance through the course of the season has been really, really powerful. Her ability to be clutch and timely for us has been a massive improvement from where we were as a program. And we count on her to be in that role.”

Cable has been huge for the Chargers in her sophomore year.

“Our team is able to play aggressive, pressing defense because we trust what Anna can do,” Levoff said. “As result, Anna has come out of the cage a little bit and has become a more aggressive, more engaged goalie. The team feeds off her energy and the consistent performances that’s she’s given us. She’s been stellar.”

The Chargers open the Division 1 elite eight playoffs against Orange Lutheran on Thursday.

UCSB Women

Coach Serela Kay said Natalie Selin played on two CIF championship teams at Laguna Beach and is “glad to have her because she’s grown up in a championship culture.”

Kay said Sarah Snyder is a fierce competitor.

The Gauchos are back in action in two weeks at the UC Irvine Tournament.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Santa Barbara High

The co-champions of the Channel League open the Division 1 playoffs at home against North Torrance on Thursday.

“They run, they press, they trap, so that will be exciting,” said Dons coach Andrew Butcher of what the Saxons will bring to J.R. Richards Gym.

Butcher introduced senior Alondra Jimenez and juniors Madison Miller and Grace deBruynkops. Jimenez averaged 7.5 assists in league play.

“She’s a tough kid. She’s had two ACL tears. I wish we could have a redshirt her a year like in college because next year she’d be amazing,” said Butcher.

Miller transferred from Big Bear. “She was a sponsored snow boarder. I don’t know if that carries over to basketball,” Butcher cracked.

He noted that she’s gotten adjusted to Santa Barbara High basketball and is excited about her future in the program.

He’s also excited about deBruynkops, who holds a 4.3 GPA.

“Those two are going to do big things next year,” Butcher said.

San Marcos

It’s been a breakthrough year for the Royals. Their 14-7 record is the most wins since 2007 and they made the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“The program is rebounding under coach Chris Hantgin,” said assistant coach Aaron Solis.

The Royals travel to Holy Martyrs in a 4AA Division first-round game.

“It’s a good first-round matchup,” said Solis.

SOCCER

Carpinteria Boys

Coach Leo Quintero brought the leaders of his defense: center back Abel Gutierrez and goalkeeper Christian Estrada.

The pair also excel in the classroom. Gutierrez carries a 4.2 GPA and is headed to USF after graduation. Estrada is a 4.0 student and plans to attend SBCC.

The Warriors play at Chadwick on Friday in the Division 6 playoffs.

Carpinteria Girls

After two straight wins on the road, assistant coach Lucy Carleton is hoping the Warriors carry those winning ways into a victory at Alverno Heights in a CIF Division 6 wild-card game on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping the experience of winning away will come through and get us to the first round,” she said.

Carleton said Aisha Duarte has a cannon of a leg at outside midfield and Abril Jimenez gets up and down the field on the other side of the midfield. Yovanna Ahed is a leader on the backline.

WRESTLING

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers won eight Channel League individual titles and qualified 12 wrestlers to the CIF Individual Finals.

Aidan Yamasaki won his third league title and his cousin Will Yamasaki was named the league’s upper weight MVP

Coach Anthony Califano also introduced Erick Nisich, who two weeks ago pinned his opponent from Pacifica to put the Chargers into the CIF Team Duals Final.

“It was awesome,” Califano said.

Nisich last week signed a letter of intent to play football at Cal. He is an All-CIF and All-State offensive lineman.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Westmont Women

Coach Kristen Moore is impressed how far her team has come this season.

“I think it’s the most improved team I’ve coached in my time at Westmont, which feels great,” she said. “Sometimes that feels a lot better as a coach than teams that are super talented and win, to know how far a team as come through the course of year.”

The Warriors can win the outright GSAC championship on Saturday with a victory against The Master’s in their last home game.

“It’d been great to do it at home,” she said. “Winning it on our home court, send our three seniors out with win and win a championship by ourselves.”

Westmont Men

The Warriors take records of 21-4 and 10-1 into a first-place showdown with The Master’s (25-1, 11-0) on Saturday. The Master’s is expected to be ranked No. 1 in the NAIA when the poll comes out on Tuesday.

SWIMMING

SBCC Women

Coach Chuckie Roth said Kelly Shimizu and Sarah Parson started the season by placing second and third, respectively, at the Western State Conference Pentathlon. He expects the Vaqueros to vie for a conference championship.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at {encode=”bpunzal(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)noozhawk.com” title=”bpunzal(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)noozhawk.com”}. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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