A do-it-all crowd packs Ranchero Room

Versatility is a great quality to possess, and John Bustillos is a prime example of a do-it-all person.

The Carpinteria football player and Phil Womble Ethics Award winner — who has a 4.14 GPA — plays both offense and defense for the Warriors before moving on to basketball and track season, where he competes as a discus thrower and shot-putter.

Not to toot Bustillos’ horn, but he can do that too — at halftime of the football games, he stays on the field and plays with the marching band.

“Wherever we need him, he does a great job. If I need to go to battle, this is the guy I want next to me,” said Carpinteria assistant coach Mike Carey.

Bustillos wasn’t the only versatile person at Harry’s Plaza Cafe for Monday’s jam-packed Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon.

His teammate, Justin Alvarado, played receiver and running back for the Warriors while also returning punts and playing on defense. He never took a play off in Carpinteria’s much-needed win over a tough Nordhoff team Friday night, and the fact that he was responsible for most of the team’s yardage earned him Athlete of the Week honors.

Warriors coach John Hazelton also introduced defensive end Jacob Blackwell and junior linebacker/fullback Nick Razo along with assistant coaches Carey and Steve Murrillo and principal Gerardo Cornejo. The Warriors will hope to carry some momentum from Friday’s win into this Friday’s matchup in the “Little Big Game” against rival Bishop Diego.

The Cardinals are going to need a lot of their young men to show some versatility in the game, with just over 20 players ready to suit up (a predicament the Warriors are also dealing with). Bishop Diego lost more than just the game Friday night against Santa Clara.

When quarterback Anthony Martinez went down with a collarbone injury early in the game, coach Tom Crawford found himself in a tough situation, as he had no players suited up that had taken any snaps under center before. Well, he turned to Art Gonzalez, who came in until he got injured in the third quarter. Then it was Art’s freshman brother, Brandon Gonzalez, who stepped in to take the reins.

At one point, the PA announcer addressed the crowd regarding a prize giveaway to the person who found Crawford’s autograph on the In-N-Out ad in the game program. Assistant coach Matt Capritto had an idea for the prize-winner that he told Crawford through his headset:

“Head down to the sidelines, because you’re the next quarterback in line!”

Even fans have to be versatile.

There are plenty of big games on tap this week, and the local volleyball scene will have more than its share. On Tuesday evening, the Santa Barbara Dons square off against San Marcos at the Thunderhut. The Dons then move on to what will likely be the Channel League championship game against Dos Pueblos at J.R. Richards Gym on Thursday.

“The level of volleyball in this town is the highest I’ve seen in 10 years at Santa Barbara High,” said Dons coach John Gannon, whose team is 20-6 overall and 5-1 in league.

This week, Gannon will need solid pay from a pair of juniors who have already seen plenty of action for the green and gold: returning all-league libero Katherine Keller and three-year starter Maddison Hamilton.

Dos Pueblos has already beaten the Dons, and barring an upset Tuesday by San Marcos will need to do so again Thursday to take the Channel League title outright. Recently, the Chargers played the nation’s No. 2 team — Archbishop Mitty — in the Tournament of Champions and lost, but were called “the most physical team” the Monarchs had ever seen by their coaches.

Coach Tina Brown brought along two of her team’s most versatile players in senior middle blocker Laura Penner and utility player Sophie Harris, who were both sporting evening wear — it was pajama day at DP.

Santa Barbara High’s football squad had a game against a big team Friday, hosting powerhouse St. Bonaventure. The Dons scored more points against the Seraphs than any other team has this year, but still succumbed 51-21.

“They are loaded, but I’m proud of my kids for playing them tough and playing them the whole way through,” said coach Will Gonzales.

The Dons will participate in what is arguably the biggest annual local athletic event in Santa Barbara this week, as the Dons take on San Marcos at 5 p.m. Friday at Peabody Stadium in “The Big Game.”

There’s a former Santa Barbara High coach who has found sudden success at the next level.

SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos’ Vaquero team started the year at 0-4 and is now 4-4 after defeating West L.A. 28-21 at La Playa Stadium on Saturday.

Ken Dorset had 12 tackles and two key interceptions in the victory, and Tristan Carter had a big 46-yard run that helped seal the game. The Vaqs are in contention for a conference title, and their quest will hinge on Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against L.A. Valley.

Athletic Director Mike Warren would later stand up and proclaim that “it’s a great time to be a Vaquero,” which is certainly true as the Vaqueros are conference-leaders in men’s soccer and women’s golf and are contending for the top spot in women’s volleyball and women’s soccer.

Laguna Blanca’s 8-man team is also in contention for a league title after defeating Ojai Valley 40-25 on the road on Saturday, and will need to hop over the Thacher Toads in Hope Ranch at 1 p.m. Saturday to have a shot at the postseason.

Coach Ray Robitaille brought along a versatile athlete in Nik Hodsy-Brander, who just picked up the sport this year as a senior and also plays two other sports. The coach also introduced young Fletcher Sipple, a sophomore who provided some tough running for the Owls against OVS.

Cross country had its county championships this past week, and schools from Santa Barbara brought home plenty of accolades.

Coach Leslie Wiggins-Roth’s DP girls won their second consecutive title and hope to keep their hold on second place in the Channel League heading down the stretch of the season. Wiggins-Roth brought along sophomore Emily Foster, “the team clown”, and junior Alexa Canova-Parker.

The Charger boys took second behind a Cabrillo team which has won the championship four years running (pardon the pun). Coach Wiggins-Roth brought junior Nathaniel Block and senior Matt Bailey from the boys side of the roster. Block improved his time by 2:30 in this year’s county race, and Bailey has come back from a pair of ACL reconstructive surgeries and is still running hard.

Wiggins-Roth had a special message for female Athlete of the Week Danielle Gemberling of San Marcos cross country:

“Girl, you are runnin’ fast!”

Gemberling clocked in at 18:52 to win the county title, and it was a personal-best by about 15 seconds. San Marcos’ girls finished second in the county behind DP and the Royals’ sophomore girls finished first out of 29 teams at last week’s Mt. SAC Invitational. The boys team also took second at the county meet.

Coach Lawrence Stehmeier was accompanied by Gemberling, Caitlin Rheinschild, Shannon Lowell and Phillip David.

Another San Marcos squad that had a good week was Roger Kuntz’s volleyball team, which has proven that it is at its best in tournament play. The Royals made it all the way to the finals of this weekend’s Redondo Power Tournament, and also made the semis earlier this year in the second division of the Dave Mohs Tournament as well as the Royal Tournament.

The Royals would love to play spoiler Tuesday night against Santa Barbara, and will need continued contributions of Grace Conner, Kristen Kuntz and Kristin Schroeder to do so. The Royals will play in the city’s other pivotal Channel League game on Thursday night as they take on Ventura in a matchup that will likely decide which team makes the playoffs.

The Royals and Chargers are the only two teams which have defeated Laguna Blanca this year, and first-year coach Jim Alzina and his players will be gunning for an undefeated season in the Condor League when they host the Dunn Earwigs on Friday night.

The 12-2 Owls defeated the Earwigs in “a hostile environment” up in Los Olivos last week, with the match being decided in a fourth game which ended at 30-28. Westmont cross country coach Russell Smelley would later announce his surprise that a team named the Earwigs could have a hostile environment, but such is apparently the case.

Amanda Schulenberg came in during the match and had three digs and four perfect passes, while Annie Varni and her “7.12 GPA” have been an aggressive and positive force for Alzina all year.

The Carpinteria cross country team will need to stay aggressive if its boys team is going to make the postseason. The boys team is currently tied with Fillmore for third place. Coach Angel Silva introduced three of his male runners — Eric Cruz, Michael Kuboda and Jordan Bleeker — who each carry a 4.0 GPA.

The Warriors’ girls volleyball team dropped a match to rival Bishop this week and ended up splitting the season series against the Cards with one win apiece. Coach Katie Dolge brought two players which were big contributors in both matches. Libero Yadira Saldana has been the team’s dig leader in every match this season, and Caitlin Wallace has filled in nicely at outside hitter for injured standout Kelci Jones.

Another Carpinteria resident was at Harry’s on Monday, and this one was there to receive the SBART Sportsperson of the Month Award. It was Santa Barbara Foresters manager Bill Pintard, the godfather of local baseball and a man who has brought two National Baseball Congress Championships to town in the last three years.

Pintard has an astounding 582-183 record in 15 years at the helm and has coached over 20 players who now compete in the major leagues. The Foresters also run the Hugs for Cubs charity which aids cancer-stricken children.

Making his first appearance of the year at the luncheon was another one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved local coaches, John Moore of Westmont men’s basketball. Moore had Pintard stand up to show the crowd how svelt the Foresters’ leader looked.

“He may be half the man he once was in terms of weight but he’s twice the man he ever was in terms of character,” said Moore.

Moore introduced Westmont’s new Director of Athletic Development, Alex Nizet, before discussing this year’s Warrior team, which is Moore’s smallest ever with only 11 players.

Moore said, however, that this team will play the most exciting brand of basketball of any team he’s coached. The Warriors open up on November 14th at the Robert Morris College Shootout in Las Vegas.

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters spoke about the Cardinal volleyball and cross country teams. He said that coach Joe Reiken called his spikers’ win over Carpinteria “a turning point in the season” with much credit due to junior Janelle Kohler and middle blocker Sophia Soto. In cross country, boys volleyball player Ray Novak has been staying in shape for the volleyball season for the boys runners, who are tied for second in the Frontier League. Basketball player Hayden Slaught has been doing the same, often taking a ball with him to dribble during his 3-mile runs.

First-year SBCC cross country coach Scott Fickerson has done a great job with limited numbers on his teams and is actively recruiting local prep talent to come and run for the Vaqueros. The women’s team has received an at-large bid into the Southern California Championships. The men have received a pair of individual entries in Conner Mellon and Matt Little.

Smelley’s men’s team is in a rebuilding year but has a bunch of “young pups” who are eager to excel, and the women’s team is ranked 20th in the country and are in the running for an at-large bid into the NAIA meet despite competing in an incredibly tough Golden State Athletic Conference.

Sports Information Director Ron Smith reminded the crowd that the women’s basketball team opens its season at home on Thursday and Friday. The women’s soccer team will be at home Tuesday at 2 p.m. in its GSAC opener, and the men play at Vanguard on Wednesday. Also, on December 13th, the new floor in the newly renovated Murchison Gym will be dedicated to legendary coach Chet Kammerer before the Warriors’ game against Cal State San Bernardino.