Womble always a fan favorite

A lot of introductions are made every week at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, and nobody gets a louder round of applause than Phil Womble.

That fact was proven again at Harry’s on Monday, as the eponymous local sports hero was on hand to see Carpinteria’s Erin Saito receive the Womble Ethics in Sports Award.

Phil Womble Award winner Erin Saito of Carpinteria High School

“Erin is a tremendous young lady,” explained Carpinteria High School teacher and basketball coach Dan Mercer. “She’s a great student-athlete. She’s a competitor and an outstanding teammate.”

Womble was also on hand to see the advent of a new award which recognizes a special coach from every school.

Carpinteria’s Van Latham was introduced as the first recipient of the new “Coach of the Month” award. Paradise Cafe is sponsoring the award and provides each coach with a gift certificate.

“When you start talking about character, Coach Latham sets the bar,” said Warriors head football coach Ben Halleck.

Dale Perizzolo had sad news to report from the San Marcos community. A young football player and wrestler, Sergio Romero, lost his life over the weekend in an accident on Milpas Street. The Royals’ head football coach remembered the sophomore for his positive influence.

“He was very, very quiet but the perfect guy that you wanted on your squad,” Perizzolo said. “He never got in trouble, worked hard at everything that he did, was always a positive influence on everybody, and it’s just a tragic to lose someone at the age of 15.”

With Perizzolo was Vincent Cardona and Sebastian Valladares. The Royals are preparing for their Channel League opener on Friday.

The rest of the football coaches had varying degrees of success to report. For Santa Barbara High School and Carpinteria, things are looking up. Shawn Ramos and Efren Sanchez were present with head coach Jaime Melgoza, whose team has won two straight. Sanchez picked off two passes in the victory.

Warriors head coach Ben Halleck presented Paul Cortez and Xavier DeAlba from his squad, which is coming off a 40-33 victory and opens Tri-Valley League play this weekend against Fillmore.

The cross country crowd was in attendance and coaches detailed several recent noteworthy performances.

Ben Labarge is Providence Hall’s top runner. Labarge recently placed third overall at a Condor League meet and, according to his coach, “Providence Hall athletics is here to stay because of kids like Ben.”

Laurence Stehmeier brought four athletes to the luncheon, fresh off a girls victory in Huntington Beach on Saturday. The boys team finished third. Annie Thwing, Rocio Pacheco, Alex Heuchert, and Ryan Sorenson represented for the Royals. San Marcos will join Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara at Thursday’s second Channel League meet in Ventura.

Dos Pueblos head coach Leslie Wiggins brought Cole Smith, John Greening, Camille Patterson and Connie Wang. The Chargers will be sharing Shoreline Park on Friday for their annual Dos Pueblos Invitational with the SBCC Invitational.

Carpinteria will be at the DPI with luncheon attendees Leticia Cruz and Adam Ughoc leading the way. The Warriors are out in front of the Frontier League so far this season.

Dos Pueblos' Philip Bates

Dos Pueblos' Vanesa Villa

This week’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Athletes of the Week are Dos Pueblos golfer Vanesa Villa and Dos Pueblos water polo goalie Philip Bates.

Both athletes led their respective teams to a pair of big Channel League victories last week.

Bates, a senior team captain, recorded eight saves in Thursday’s pivotal Channel League matchup with Santa Barbara High. Two of the eight stops came on 5-meter penalty shots, which gave DP the edge it needed to close out the 5-3 decision.  Bates was also tough to score on in Tuesday’s 7-4 victory over Ventura.

Villa carded rounds of 36 and 37 for the Chargers last week in tough conditions. The latter round came against crosstown rival Santa Barbara High in a close seven-stroke victory. The defending Channel League individual champion has led the Chargers to a 9-2 record this season.

Santa Barbara High’s boys water polo coach Mark Walsh was still feeling the sting of Dos Pueblos’ big win behind Bates. Walsh has a standout goalie of his own, Sean McGee, who was in the Ranchero Room. Walsh also brought young up-and-comer Mason Pereira.

“It was more of a soccer match than a water polo match,” Walsh said of the game with Dos Pueblos because of its low-scoring nature.

Bryan Swarm brought a pair of players from his Carpinteria boys water polo team. Dylan Hathaway and Ben O’Hara are both juniors making an impact for the Warriors this season.

UCSB’s men’s water polo team is young, and freshmen players Brian Shoemaker and Eric Van de Mortel.

The Gauchos host USC in their next home game on October 23, and are inviting the public to join in a free water polo clinic with UCSB players after the match.

Speaking of water polo, SBART President Rich Hanna announced the keynote speakers for the upcoming Fall Classic on Wednesday, November 2. Terry Schroeder, Kami Craig and Wolf Wigo will be special guests for the annual fundraiser.