Trainers and a pitcher’s inspirational story highlight luncheon

Like a car without a mechanic, an athlete just can’t keep going without the help of an athletic trainer every now and then. Trainers sit on the sidelines dutifully in anticipation of an injury, major or minor, and they’re always there before and after games and practices to ice, tape and stretch.

Local trainers just don’t get the recognition they deserve, so the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table did its part to support this deserving bunch by inviting them to Monday’s press luncheon at Harry’s.

Wendy Whitehead, Christy Lash, Dr. Mark Brisby, Brian Linden, Kelly Walsh, Nathan Donnelly, Susan Houlihan-Davis, Charlene “Char” Vandaele and Corey Blick were all on hand to grab a meal and be recognized for their efforts before heading back to the training room for the afternoon’s practices, workouts and games.

“When I first started at the high school close to 15 years ago we didn’t all have trainers and you were kind of on your own,” said Santa Barbara High swimming coach Mark Walsh. “Now it’s just such a nice thing, because as soon as a kid comes up and says ‘my shoulder’s starting to’, before they finish their sentence you just say ‘go see Char.’

“So thank you to all the trainers for what you do.”

There are some ailments, however, that are simply beyond a trainer’s scope. San Marcos baseball coaches Rob Crawford and Tony Vanetti shared an inspirational story about such an ailment and JV player Peyton Moore.

Moore, a pitcher and third baseman for the Royals, had been losing weight lately and was suffering from severe fatigue. After missing Wednesday’s practice for a doctor’s visit, Moore showed up Thursday and told Vanetti that he would be playing his last baseball game Friday.

Doctors initially thought Moore was suffering from Epstein Barr Syndrome, but are currently unable to put a finger on exactly what is ailing the youngster.

At Thursday’s practice, Moore became so fatigued that he had to lay down in the dugout, looking very pale, and have his father come pick him up. It didn’t appear that he would be able to take the hill as Friday’s starter.

“He showed up Friday and told me he’d give me as much as he had for as long as he could,” said Vanetti.

He started with two straight strikeouts, and at the end of the game he was still throwing. He finished off the complete game having given up just three singles and a homer, striking out six and walking none.

“He gave one of the most courageous performances I’ve seen in my time in athletics,” said Vanetti.

His mother said in an e-mail that while he made it through the game, it left him bed-ridden all day Saturday.

With the heart he showed Friday, you’ve gotta think that Peyton Moore’s going to be ready to overcome whatever diagnosis comes his way.

It was a great week for Dos Pueblos’ track team, and two sophomores turned in outstanding performances to earn Athlete of the Week honors.

Female honoree Erin Ristig led the Charger girls over San Marcos for the first time in five years. Ristig, who also plays volleyball and soccer, won the 200-meter race by just .001 seconds over San Marcos’ Elysia Hodges, then also won the 400 and anchored both winning relay teams.

Sophomore Nick Scarvelis won the discus and shot put for the Chargers, but saved his best for Saturday’s Camarillo Invitational. It was there that he broke a 34-year school record in the discus, throwing 157 feet, five inches.

Both Scarvelis’ and Ristig’s parents were on hand to see their children receive their plaques.

DP coach Dave Kuderka called his team’s sweep of the awards “a huge honor” before thanking the community as a whole for its support of local track and field.

“There are just so many wonderful people in the community and I thank them for all that they do,” said Kuderka.

Freshman Matthew Grimes has done a lot in the Bishop Diego community in his first year as a Cardinal. The tennis standout has cured lunchtime boredom on campus by starting a dodgeball league which even Athletic Director Dan Peeters plays in.

It’s not too often that high schoolers can throw a ball at an administrator’s face and get away with it.

On the court, Grimes is expected to contend for a league title this year, while sophomore teammate Nick Mathis is one of the Cardinals’ top doubles players.

The San Marcos netters have been on fire in doubles play, having not lost a tandem set in a week. The Royals, who start six sophomores, have won four of their last five matches.

“It’s really been a breath of fresh air how coachable they are,” said coach Jarrod Bradley.

Bradley brought along sophomore lefty Parker Funk, who has a “phenomenal” backhand, as well as Scott Messier, who is 13-2 in doubles play this year. Both players have GPAs above 4.0.

The Royals have a big crosstown showdown with Dos Pueblos on Tuesday afternoon. Chargers coach Liz Frech and her team were en route to Ojai, where they would beat Thacher 10-8, so Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus got up and quickly spoke about the Chargers, who are 5-1.

Feldhaus also thanked Whitehead — DP’s trainer — for all of her efforts… She’s even taken care of Feldhaus’ kids when they’ve had sports injuries.

Jeff Ashton’s San Marcos boys swim team can’t afford any injuries, as there are only 10 competitors on the squad (technically, you need 12 to fill out a swim-meet roster). Of that 10, only five have high school swimming experience. 

Ashton, however, is a glass-full kind of guy.

“Every time they swim it’s a new best time,” he pointed out.

The team’s top breast-stroker Andre Rivera, and Russian import George Viccia stood and were recognized.

Walsh has plenty of swimmers in his Santa Barbara HIgh program, but he only had one female swimmer — sophomore Samantha King — available to come to Harry’s.

“She’s got a class right next to where I am during fourth period, so she got a late call-up,” he joked.

It’s not as if King isn’t deserving of the trip — she’s the Dons’ top competitor in the 50 and 100 freestyle and was a first-team all-Channel League pick in water polo this year.

Walsh was also accompanied by two of his boys swimmers who also compete with the Santa Barbara Swim Club and train by swimming 10,000 meters each day. Karl Boscacci is close to the school record in the 500 freestyle, while Matt Wissman is an all-around contributor capable of scoring points in many different events. The Dons host Westlake on Tuesday.

Walsh’s best friend, San Marcos girls coach Brian Roth, posted a nice win at Oxnard with his team this past week. The Royals are having ” a tremendous season” according to Roth.

He brought along Emily Wheeler, who swam a personal-best time of 5:43.89 to win the 500 freestyle against the Yellowjackets, and Emilia Wakamatsu, who won the 200 IM with a personal-best of 2:36.71.

The Bishop Diego baseball team is loaded with seniors this year and is hoping to contend for a Tri-Valley League title, beginning with a pair of games against Oaks Christian this week.

Helping that cause will be Portland State-bound senior Matt Yokubaitis, whom coach Brian Moulton called “a coach’s dream” particularly because he enjoys taking care of the field. Also a big contributor is the Cardinals’ quarterback from the fall, Anthony Martinez.

Don’t look now, but the once-struggling Westmont baseball team is on a roll having won six of its last seven games. Sports Information Director Ron Smith first thanked Crawford and Vanetti for sharing the inspirational story of Peyton Moore before talking about this past week for the Warriors. Westmont beat rival Biola 10-6 before downing Principia 12-0. Next up was a sweep in a double-header against Concordia, and the Warriors will look to keep it rolling at Point Loma on Tuesday. 

Smith also thanked UCSB Assistant Sports Information Director Scott Flanders for his assistance at Westmont while Smith was with the women’s basketball team in Tennessee for the NAIA Tournament.

UCSB men’s tennis coach Marty Davis spoke about his team’s 5-2 win over Dartmouth, which was aided by a group of three-dozen youth players who showed up for a clinic before the match and stayed to cheer on the Gauchos. The Gauchos are 2-1 in the Big West and are hoping to defend their conference title this season.

SBCC Sports Information Specialist Dave Loveton stepped to the podium to provide his weekly potpourri of Vaquero athletics. The golf team has won five of seven tournaments with Matt Sapporin leading the way as of late. The baseball team pulled itself up by the bootstraps and snapped an 8-game losing streak last week, and the track team fared well in last weekend’s 70th annual Easter Relays.

—SPORTSPERSON OF THE MONTH: John Kinsella has been the Tennis Director at La Cumbre Country Club for over 30 years and has been on the board of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons for nearly that long. The Bishop Diego and Loyola Marymount graduate has two daughters — Katie at UCLA and Amy at San Marcos — and was joined by his wife, Kristen.

Kinsella’s most notable local contributions have been in youth tennis, as he has organized numerous programs and tournaments fr young players in town. Award presenter Roxanne Nomura called him “the absolute core of tennis in Santa Barbara.”