Chargers edge Royals at competitive County Championships

Rivalry fueled and ruled the day at Saturday’s Santa Barbara County Track and Field Championships, held at Carpinteria’s Memorial Stadium.

The Grand Sweepstakes were won by Dos Pueblos for the second straight year. The sweepstakes, which include total points for varsity and frosh/soph teams, wound up with Dos Pueblos at 517 and San Marcos at 438. The Chargers and Royals — who dominated the meet — were battling it out all day at the varsity level. The Charger boys beat San Marcos 115-113, while the DP girls edged the Royals 122-109.


St. Joseph took third in the varsity girls with 96 points, while Santa Ynez was third in the boys meet at 70.

“It’s unreal looking back on the day,” said DP coach Dave Kuderka. “To win last year was awesome, but back-to-back was incredible. I really thought it was even closer. I thought maybe we didn’t do it.”

The rivalry aspect played a big role in the individual events as well, with a great example coming in the boys distance events. Santa Barbara High’s Briggs Deardorff won the one-mile race in 4:29.70, edging his friend, San Marcos’ Evan Bradford, by two-tenths of a second. Dos Pueblos’ Sergey Sushchikh right behind them in third place at 4:30.96.

Dos Pueblos’ Michelle Gee, right, edges Carpinteria’s Shelby Dunlap for second place in the girls 300 hurdles.

“He pulled in front of me for the whole last lap, and with 100 meters to go I thought he might beat me,” said Deardorff of Bradford. “He’s always been a really fast kicker, so I didn’t think I had a chance.”

But Deardorff out-kicked the kicker, and then found himself in a heated battle with Sushchikh in the two-mile later in the afternoon. Sushchikh beat Deardorff by less than two seconds, clocking in at 9:40.94.

San Marcos’ Hannah McDaniel won the 200, 400 and high jump, but with Chargers on her heels all the way. Erin Ristig was three-tenths behind McDaniel in the 200 and just a couple seconds back in the 400. Sam Wopat matched McDaniel by clearing 5-6 in the high jump, but McDaniel won on misses.

“Erin Ristig is a great runner, and I really feel like competition from her pushed Hannah to go faster,” said San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin. “These friendly rivalries help everyone get better marks.”

Some competitors, of course, went unrivaled. Dos Pueblos thrower Nick Scarvelis won the shot put by over six feet at 56-4.5, also winning the discus by a margin of nearly 15 feet over Santa Barbara’s Tyler Parent.

Parent, a decathlete, was part of an inspiring pole vault competition between himself and longtime friend Tim Park of Dos Pueblos, who is also a decathlete. Both cleared 12-6 and set personal bests in the process. Park, who was competing on a sprained ankle, hadn’t cleared 12 feet since last year’s county meet. Parent, who didn’t start vaulting competively until last season, won the competition based on less misses.

“The reason I wanted to get over 12 feet and PR was because of him. He started getting over 12 and I felt that I needed to do it too,” said Park.

“Now we’re at the same place, so we’re going to be pushing each other even more,” added Parent.

Bennie Kirkwood won the 110 hurdles and high jump for San Marcos, and Shane Rowan easily won the triple jump. DP’s Michelle Gee broke a 27-year-old school record in the 300 hurdles, but the race was won by San Marcos’ Elysia Hodges. Overall, San Marcos won 21 events and set three county records, including the girls 4×400 relay. Dos Pueblos, however, had the depth needed to edge the Royals.

“I can’t say enough about my kids. I don’t think I can ask anything else from my kids. DP’s good, there’s no doubt about it,” said Hantgin.

Kuderka noted Cliff Lekas’ performance in the sprints as well as Sam and Carly Wopat’s marks in the throws and jumps as crucial. Freshman Bryan Fernandez scored big with frosh/soph wins in the 800, 1600 and 3200.

Tournament host Carpinteria wasn’t in the running as a team, but Shelby Dunlap scored well for the Warriors in all of her events.

“Shelby’s sort of the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ for us, and she’s our top scorer every meet,” said coach and meet director Van Latham. “It was a great meet, and obviously San Marcos and DP are the class of the county right now.”


1. Dos Pueblos – 115, 2. San Marcos – 113, 3. Santa Ynez – 70, 4. Cabrillo – 55, 5. Santa Barbara – 38, 6. St. Joseph – 35, 7. Pioneer Valley – 32, 8. Lompoc – 14, 9. Righetti  – 12, 10. Carpinteria – 10, 11. Cate – 1.


1. Dos Pueblos – 122, 2. San Marcos – 109, 3. St. Joseph – 96, 4. Santa Ynez – 49, 5. Righetti – 44, 6. Carpinteria – 29, 7. Lompoc – 24, 8. Cabrillo – 21, 9. Santa Barbara – 2, 10. Cate – 0, 10. Pioneer Valley – 0.


1. Dos Pueblos – 168, 2. San Marcos – 83, 3. Santa Ynez – 64, 4, Pioneer Valley – 41, 5. Lompoc – 38, 6. St. Joseph – 29, 7. Carpinteria – 20, 8. Righetti – 17, 9. Cabrillo – 16, 10. Santa Barbara – 12, 11. Orcutt Academy – 8, 12. Cate – 0.


1. San Marcos – 133, 2. Dos Pueblos – 112.5, 3. St. Joseph – 77, 4. Santa Ynez – 57, 5. Carpinteria – 36.5, 6. Santa Barbara – 21, 7. Pioneer Valley – 19, 8. Righetti – 18, 9. Cabrillo – 15, 10. Lompoc – 7, 11. Cate – 0, 12. Orcutt Academy – 0.