Local swim teams pool their resources at San Marcos

Considering we live along the planet’s largest body of water, it sure is tough to find a place to swim in this town.

The pools at Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos are out-of-order this week, so everything aquatic — including the Channel League swimming prelims — has been moved to San Marcos High.

“We’re just waiting for UCSB’s pool to go down so we can have everybody in the whole town coming to swim with us,” joked Royals girls coach Brian Roth at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. “It’s been a little challenging the last couple of days, but its fun to see all of your friends at the pool.”

Roth’s team may have been beaten handily by Santa Barbara High last week, but the Royal girls scored more points than they’ve ever tallied against the Dons with Roth at the helm. He brought two of the most dedicated athletes in the school’s aquatics program, Rose Koper and Jade Fitzgerald. Koper has excelled in the 200 and 500 freestyle, while Fitzgerald has managed to balance club water polo games with her swimming this spring. Roth thanked both of them for their dedication to the program.

SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR, CATE SCHOOL: After winning the Phil Womble Ethics Award as a junior last year, Cate cross-country star Mackenzie Walsh was back to be honored as the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Walsh, who hails from Montana, ranks as the fourth-fastest girls runner in Cate history and is also one of the most active students on campus. She carries a 3.9 GPA taking classes including AP Spanish, AP Comparative Government, AP Calculus, Genetics, Orchestra and more.

Outside of the classroom, she has recorded a personal-best time of 19 minutes, seven seconds in cross-country and has been the team MVP three times. She is the captain of that squad as well as the captain of the lacrosse team, and will likely participate in both when she attends Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. She plays violin in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and is the editor on the school yearbook.

“Hamilton College is getting a good one with Mackenzie,” said athletic director Wade Ransom in the understatement of the millennium.


SAN MARCOS BOYS: The Royals’ biggest highlight from the Santa Barbara matchup came in the JV competition, as Sean Wilhite dropped an amazing six seconds off of his personal best time in the 100 breaststroke and was actually faster than any of the varsity swimmers in the event.

James Sweeney won both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke for the JV squad against the Dons, and Ben Battles will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle for the varsity squad in Wednesday’s prelims.

SANTA BARBARA: Coach Mark Walsh said that the meet with the Royals was really competitive and praised San Marcos for the strides made in the program.

He brought along part of Santa Barbara’s youth movement, including freshman twins Sophie and Maddie Trabucco, who just started swimming two years ago but are already making big contributions at the varsity level. Maddie, who was the starting goalie for Walsh’s water polo team, is the program’s best female breaststroker and is also on a pair of relay teams. Sophie, meanwhile, has been flirting with CIF consideration marks in her events all season, including coming within three seconds in the 500 freestyle last week.

On the boys side, freshman Evan Robertson plays varsity water polo and is already the third fastest male swimmer at Santa Barbara High. Colton Chard, who is also a football player, came out for the swim team last year and is already the program’s No. 4 swimmer.

DOS PUEBLOS GIRLS: The Chargers suffered their first loss of the season last week, by just four points to Mater Dei. But, like the powerhouse water polo team, the Chargers are near the top of the heap in swimming. Coach Leslie Wiggins-Roth introduced two water polo stars who, she thanked for treating swimming “as more than just a spring workout.”

Alex Hill, who will play at Berkeley next year, has been swimming the grueling 200 IM as well as the 100 breaststroke. Junior Kiley Neushul has dominated as a member of the 200 medley relay as well as 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.


CARPINTERIA: When you mention St. Bonaventure High and unbeaten streaks, people will generally think of the Seraphs’ eight undefeated years of football in the Channel League (they will not be in the conference next season).

But St. Bonaventure also had a 34-game winning streak in the Tri-Valley League for baseball until Trevor Madden and the Carpinteria Warriors ended it last week. Madden, a junior, hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as Carpinteria beat the Seraphs 8-6 in comeback fashion. He also pitched the final two innings and picked up the win.

Coach Pat Cooney pointed out that the Warriors have split with every team that they’ve played twice, which would be a good result against the likes of undefeated Oaks Christian in their pair of matchups this week.

Along with Madden was Victor Garcia, whom Cooney described as “sneaky good.” Garcia has had four hits this year that have either tied or won games, including a two-run single that tied things up in the St. Bonaventure game and led to extra innings.

DOS PUEBLOS: According to coach Nate Mendoza, the Chargers’ split against Buena last week was a bit backwards.

“We lost a game we should have won, and won a game we should have lost,” he said.

The one they lost wasted a gem by sophomore Joe Huthsing, who was one of the three players Mendoza brought to Harry’s. Huthsing gave up five hits and one run (unearned) over eight innings in the 6-3 loss. He also hit a 3-run homer in the game.

The next game was won when luncheon attendee Corey Micheel hit a game-winning grand slam in the top of the seventh inning. Micheel, a 4.6 GPA student, is a senior captain heading for Cal Poly next year.

Mendoza also introduced young freshman Gabe Speier, who is 4-3 with a pair of saves on the year and got the win in the second game. The Chargers play San Marcos three times to close out the regular season.

SANTA BARBARA: The Dons have a one-game lead in the Channel League and get to sit back and watch everybody else play one another this week. Santa Barbara still has a pair of games against Buena, but this week is a bye week. Assistant coach George Rempe noted that every team in the league is within two games of the Dons, meaning that with just two weeks to go any team is capable of inning the title.

The Dons, who are now 18-4, carry 19 players on a roster that includes 11 seniors. Rempe said that it can be a challenge to coach a team of that size with so many seniors because playing time can be scarce. However, seniors Jake Wilhoite and Mitch Cunningham are a pair of seniors who have always done whatever they can to better the program, even if they don’t get on the field as much as other players.

WESTMONT: The Warriors season ended with a doubleheader split against Azusa Pacific, and Tim Leary fittingly capped off one of the greatest individual seasons in program history with a golden performance. In addition to an outstanding pitching performance (complete game, seven innings, four hits allowed, one run, 2-1 win, 86 pitches of which 62 were strikes (72.1%)), Leary also hit the game winning solo home run. He hit two home runs on the day, giving him the Westmont single-season record at 16.

The Warriors finished the season at 13-34 overall and 9-26 in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

UCSB: The Gauchos beat USC and UC Riverside last week before losing the latter two games of the series to the Highlanders. Halfway through the Big West season, the Gauchos are in the middle of the pack in the conference with a chance to finish second or third and possibly earn a regional bid into the postseason.


SAN MARCOS: Last week was a good one for the Royals, who beat Buena, went down to Angels Stadium to be honored as CIF Academic Champs and then beat Santa Ynez.

“This group is talented, sharp and fun-loving,” said coach Roger Kuntz of his team, which takes on Dos Pueblos on Tuesday.

He introduced his two kill-leaders, captain Jackson Kunz and outside hitter Zach Yinger.

LAGUNA BLANCA: The Owls are 8-5 and 6-1 in the Condor League, and will likely share the league title with rival Cate if both reams can beat Dunn this week. Not only is junior Spencer Dusebout in charge of running the offense as a setter, but he also leads the team in aces.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Hitting two triples in a game is rare. Hitting two triples in the same inning is unheard of. Carpinteria High’s Myriah Diaz did just that, driving in six runs on those two triples in a win over Malibu last week. In the Warriors’ next game, she hit a two-run homer as the Warriors defeated San Marcos.