Becerra, Lund receive special recognition at SBART luncheon

San Marcos' Jordan Lund was this year's Phil Womble Award winner for the Royals.

Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon was the first of 2012, and a host of coaches, athletes, and community members dropped by Harry’s Plaza Cafe to share how they’re doing in the new year.

Twenty teams were represented in total, with each giving a report on their team’s seasons. San Marcos High School was recognized with several awards before the coaches’ reports, as Jordan Lund, Tony Becerra, and Sam Strong received special awards. Dos Pueblos’ Jessica Escalante was also singled out as Female Athlete of the Week.

SBART Boardmember Laurie Leighty officially announced February’s Women in Sports Luncheon at Earl Warren Showgrounds. This year’s keynote speaker will be former LPGA pro golfer Pearl Sinn-Bonanni, who is currently head coach at Cal State Fullerton. The luncheon, presented by Community West Bank, is on Monday, February 6 at 11:30 a.m.

The first coach up at the podium was Westmont’s women’s basketball head coach Kirsten Moore. The Warriors are arguably having the best time so far in 2012, enjoying the best start in school history with a 14-1 record.

“I think people are catching on to how fun we are to watch,” Moore said.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams at Westmont host a double-header on Saturday starting at 5:30 p.m.

Moore’s year started off great and hasn’t slowed down. The Oregon alum was taken to the Rose Bowl by school president Gayle Beebe to watch her Ducks beat Wisconsin.

Wrestling coach Tony Becerra started coaching at San Marcos in 1999.

Since then, the Warriors are 2-0 including a win at No. 8 Vanguard. It was the first time Moore has won in Costa Mesa.

John Moore’s men’s team is also off to a trememdous start with a record of 11-2. The Warrior men won both of their games last week as well.

San Marcos’ Lund was given the Phil Womble Ethics Award. For the first time, the recipient was given Phil Womble’s book, “Never Give Up,” with other prizes provided by luncheon sponsor Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

“Wow, this is such an honor to receive this award,” Lund said after being introduced by her tennis coach Jarrod Bradley.

She thanked her parents, coaches, the San Marcos administration, and Phil Womble, who was in attendance, for their support.

Lund was the sophomore class president last year. This year Lund is the class vice president and played a leading role in putting together the fourth Kids Helping Kids benefit that just raised over $125,000 in charity on Saturday.

Female Athlete of the Week Jessica Escalante

“She’s always complimentary to her opponents,” Bradley said. “We’re lucky to have her as a Royal.”

After Lund, San Marcos Athletic Director Abe Jahadhmy presented Tony Becerra with the Royals’ Coach of the Year award. Becerra has been an integral part of San Marcos wrestling during the last decade.

“When he realised the program was going to go down for the count, he came back,” Jahadmy said.

Becerra restarted the Royals’ wrestling program in 1999 and has coached a State Champion in Alex Mack and an CIF Academic Champion in Zach Belway.

“The focus has always been the kids,” Becerra said.

Sam Strong kept it going for the Royals, taking home the Male Athlete of the Week award for scoring in both of San Marcos’ soccer games last week. Strong’s game-winner on Tuesday lifted the Royals to a 2-1 win over Dos Pueblos and Strong scored again on Thursday as the Royals managed to tie unbeaten Ventura 1-1.

Dos Pueblos’ Jessica Escalante won the Female Athlete of the Week award by leading the Chargers to a pair of victories last week. Escalante tallied 14 points, five rebounds and five assists on Tuesday, and added 17 points in Saturday’s 64-60 overtime win at Pacifica. Escalante’s coast-to-coast scoring play in the final seconds of regulation forced overtime and gave DP the opportunity to win.

There were a bevy of basketball teams in the Ranchero Room. Carpinteria’s head coaches Dan Mercer and Johnny Ward were present, bringing players Juli Cullens, Bethany Lugo, Marcus Hutchinson, and Xavier DeAlba. From Providence Hall, head coaches Keith Luberto and Arianna Gnekow introduced Brian Briones, Olivia Barroca, and Hannah Park. From Santa Barbara High’s teams, Andrew Butcher and boys assistant Andy Gil brought Matt Wagonhurst, Brendan Fay, Yolanda Gonzalez, Joanna Pinedo, and Saralisa Ortega.

San Marcos and Santa Barbara High’s boys teams engaged in a double overtime clash at SBCC’s Sports Pavilion last Wednesday. Both sides were still talking about it.

San Marcos' Sam Strong

“I think a lot of you probably were at the game on Wednesday,” said Royals head coach Jarrod Bradley, who brought Christian Widmer and Greg Zajic. “Big runs by both teams and huge shots by both teams.”

The Dons prevailed and the two teams have two more meetings remaining this season to look forward to.

Mark Walsh had great success to report from Santa Barbara High’s girls water polo team. The Dons host their Tournament of Champions this weekend with many of the state’s top water polo programs competing.

The Dons, represented at the luncheon by Charlotte Hendrix and Belle Cutbirth, are a top seed in one of four groups and a threat to win it all. Santa Barbara nearly won Newport Harbor’s Holiday Cup on New Year’s Eve. THe Dons lost by one goal in the championship match after beating top-ranked and undefeated Corona del Mar in the semifinals.

There is no luncheon next Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday.