SBART Luncheon: Not your normal group of stragglers

With winter sports about to unfold in full force following Thanksgiving weekend, there were still several stragglers at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon from the fall season.

Straggling, however, might not be the best way to put it.

Male Athlete of the Week Bryan Fernandez

Both Athletes of the Week were from fall sports teams, as Bryan Fernandez and Cecilia Instebo were recognized for lightning-quick performances on the cross country course.

Each runner is coming off a spectacular effort in championship races on Saturday.

Fernandez won an individual CIF title – the first in Dos Pueblos’ history – in the Division 2 race at Mt. SAC. Running on a slightly shorter (2.96-mile) rain course, he won in 14:06, edging out Austin Goins of Canyon-Anaheim and Garrett Corcoran of Villa Park by two seconds. The Charger senior is 9-0 in races this season.

Instebo came through with her best race of the season for Santa Barbara City College at the State Championships, placing second overall.

“It was really great to see her, just every week as the competitions got better, raise her game and go after it,” said Vaqueros cross country coach Scott Fickerson.

Instebo covered the 5K course at Woodward Park in Fresno in a season-best 18:14.

“For me, it was really rewarding to see her cap off such an amazing season with another great performance and about a 15-second PR.”

Fernandez leads Dos Pueblos’ boys cross country team into this weekend’s State Championships in Fresno.

Female Athlete of the Week Cecilia Instebo

But the Chargers aren’t the only ones with title aspirations on the line this Thanksgiving weekend.

Bishop Diego’s football team, represented by players BJ Murillo, John Samson and assistant coach Aaron Skinner, have a CIF semifinal game at North Torrance on Friday.

The Cardinals are 12-0 on the season and have been winning lately with their defense. Their quarterfinal win was aided by three interceptions in the redzone.

UCSB’s men’s water polo team begins the MPSF Tournament on Friday against the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans. USC has won four straight national championships and are favored for a fifth.

“(USC) hasn’t lost a game in two years but the first one they’ll lose will be this Friday morning at 10 a.m. against UCSB,” half-joked Gaucho assistant John Abdou.

Brian Roth, Mark Walsh and Gregg Wilson provided more news from the local aquatics community.

Walsh is having a busy November. The Santa Barbara High aquatics director just led his boys water polo team to a CIF title match on Saturday while also preparing the girls team for the fast-approaching winter season.

What’s more, his wife gave birth to their second child two weeks ago.

“It’s been interesting,” Walsh said with a smile.

Walsh tabbed Roth to be his emergency step-in as coach had the delivery come during a game.

“Congratulations to (Walsh) and the boys – who are really good guys – you’re just a great role model,” Roth said before talking about his San Marcos Royals girls water polo team.

Wilson’s UCSB swimmers are in the middle of their season. Many of the Gauchos just competed at the Arena Invitational. Some were held out for a national meet coming up in Austin, Texas.

“We came away with what I felt was a pretty good performances,” Wilson said.

Erica Taylor, Carissa Metcalf and Tyler Jean came with Wilson.

John Moore’s Westmont Warriors will be spending Thanksgiving in Dallas. The No. 8 Warriors are off to a 5-1 start – their only loss coming by a single point at the buzzer.

It was the first time in a 25-year coaching career that Moore had lost just as the buzzer sounded.

The luncheon, which is open to the public, returns to Harry’s next Monday.


BJ Murillo, BD Football
John Samson, BD Football
Julia Pilkington, BD Cross Country
Andre Manriquez, BD Cross Country
Jenna Phraener, SM Water Polo
Halie Johnson, SM Water Polo
Claire Bergthold, SB Water Polo
Rocio Fesembeck, SB Water Polo
Erica Taylor, UCSB Swimming
Carissa Metcalf, UCSB Swimming
Tyler Jean, UCSB Swimming
Cecilia Instebo, SBCC Cross Country