Power of press lunch provided inspiration for SBART president

Round Table President Catherine Manset Morreale led her final luncheon on Monday.

For outgoing Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table President, Catharine Manset, the weekly press luncheons at Harry’s Plaza Cafe worked as power lunches for her.

She said there were times when going into work on Monday was tough and sometimes depressing. “Then I get to come to this luncheon and everything the coaches had to say about their athletes totally cheered me up for the week. Thank you for doing that for me.”

The power of the press luncheon.

In the final luncheon of the 2010-11 school year, Manset, who is completing her two-year term as president, recognized the “incredible committee” that organizes the event week in and week out, giving a shout out to Ethel Byers, Moe Claydon and John Stoney for all their hard work.

She also lauded Jeanie Purcell Hill, the committee chair for the Hall of Fame banquet, which takes place on Monday, May 23 at the Doubletree Hotel.

UCSB baseball coach Bob Brontsema noted that the press luncheons go back to a time when the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals were the dominating teams in baseball.

“Time certainly does change a little,” he said. “What hasn’t changed is the Round Table, and the service it does for the community. About the only thing that has changed with the Round Table is the people sitting at the (front) table. There’s probably more hours put in now than there was before, but what an incredible service to this community.

“I’m just pleased to be a participant in this,” he added.

Other highlights:

Debra Day was honored as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month. Day has been involved in Special Olympics for 20 years and has competed in 11 different sports in that time. Her main sport is bocce ball. She is a player and coach for the Bocce Belles, and the team recently won a gold medal at a tournament in Santa Clarita.

Debra Day

Special Olympics Athlete of the Month Debra Day

Sue McCue, Debra’s coach, noted her devotion to the sport.

“She’s rock solid, dedicated and takes the role as athlete and bocce coach very seriously,” said McCue.

Athletes of the Week: Shannon Slaught of Bishop Diego is the female winner. She was a runner-up in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke at the CIF Division 4 swimming finals at Belmont Plaza. In one of the races, she finished .19 seconds out of first.

The male award winner is Chris “Booie” Grant of Santa Barbara High tennis. He sparked the Dons to a 10-8 win over Marina in the second round of the CIF Division 1 playoffs, coming from behind to beat a highly ranked Southern California junior player in the first round of play. He won all three sets in that match and went 2-1 in the playoff opener against Loyola.

Westmont track coach Jason Oatis was pleased to announce that several local track and field standouts will become Warriors in the fall. His list of recruits include Nathaniel Taylor and Emily Dahl of Santa Barbara, Kaci Mexico of Santa Ynez, Ryan Noone of Providence Hall and Shane Rowan and Elysia Hodges of San Marcos.

“I’m really happy to get the local athletes and I’m looking forward to them helping out our team next year, and I’m excited about the future at Westmont College.”

An emotional San Marcos track coach Marilyn Hantgin talked about three college-bound senior athletes who qualified for Saturday’s CIF Divisional Finals in Cerritos: Hannah McDaniel (Cal Poly), Marie Brashears (UC Irvine) and Hodges (Westmont)

Shannon Slaught

Bishop Diego's Shannon Slaught

“I’ve had them for four years, and they are amazing all the way around,” Hantgin said. “They’ve grown up in the program. I’ve seen them go from young kids to young women going to college. It’s exciting, but also sad for us.”

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters said he’s watched Shannon Slaught push herself to get better and better in her four years as a swimmer for the Cardinals.

“What’s most moving to me is she didn’t have the benefit of having teammates for camaraderie to push her at practice. She’s pushed herself and has consistently improved,” Peeters said. “It’s a testament to her as an athlete.”

Slaught, who works with Olympic swimmer Mark Warkentin, has a swim scholarship to San Jose State.

Bishop Diego baseball coach Dan Yokubaitis said freshman second baseman Scott Mandrell and sophomore catcher Johnny Salda stepped up and are a big reason the Cardinals enjoyed success on the diamond this season (second place in the Frontier League at 8-4 and a CIF playoff berth).

Carpinteria Athletic Director Pat Cooney said first baseman Tatiana Verdugo and third baseman Carmen Cafi have been instrument in the Warriors winning their first league title since 1985.

Cooney also brought track and field athletes Travis Madden and Sally Lam, who are headed to the CIF Division 4 finals in Cerritos, Madden as part of the 4×400 relay and Lam as an alternate in the girls pole vault.

Jordan Roberts and Hannah Harris were recognized as the leaders of the Dos Pueblos softball team that won the Channel League title. The Chico State-bound Roberts is the team’s batting leader with a .533 average, 1.167 slugging percentage and .600 on-base percentage.

Harris went 11-1 on the mound in Channel League, striking out 93 and walking only 11 in 79 innings.

San Marcos’ Jeff Swann was a happy coach when he learned at the luncheon that his Royals received an at-large berth in the CIF playoffs. He introduced the offensive leaders of his team: Jocelyn Flattery (.500 on-base percentage), Stephanie Swann (led league in sacrifice bunts with six, nine overall), Kristen Berlo (batted .570 in league) and Hannah Ball (.482 for season 21 RBIs, 3 homers).

Swann said Berlo ranks third in the CIF-Southern Section and 10th in the state with 223 strikeouts.

The versatility of “Booie” Grant has been a big reason for Santa Barbara High’s success in boys tennis this season.

Coach Greg Tebbe said Grant’s comeback win in front of a hostile crowd (“a bunch of hostile moms”) gave his teammates a big lift.

Chris Grant

Santa Barbara High's Chris Grant

“When he won that match it absolutely energized our guys,” Tebbe said. “We were down 2-4 and we definitely had the momentum. Booie save the day for us. He’s done stuff like that all year long.”

Tebbe said he often used Grant in doubles to help the team win.

“He basically plays wherever we ask him. As a coach, it’s great to have a versatile player.”

Tebbe also introduced senior Cooper Matthiesen, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. The coach said he worked his way back into the starting lineup by midseason and hasn’t looked back.

Matthiesen gives the Dons plenty of flexibility in their lineup. He’s played with nine different doubles partners.

“He’s a good player, has a great personality, is always upbeat, a natural leader,” Tebbe said. “He can team up with anybody on the team.”

Matthiessen will be attending Columbia in the fall.

Tebbe, in his first year as coach, said his young team met and exceeded his expectations.

Rich Hanna, the head of aquatics for the City of Santa Barbara, is the new SBART President, and Bob Archer and Aaron Brown are new members of the SBART Board of Directors.