SBAA rewards prep, college track programs for volunteer work

Bob Huhn introduces SBCC Athletic Director Ryan Byrne, left, and SBCC Scholar-Athlete of the Year JP Dodson, middle, at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon.

The timing was perfect for Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Track and field was one of the featured sports, and Jim Sloan of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association was at Harry’s Plaza Cafe to hand out checks to the track programs at the local schools.

The SBAA is the longtime local running club that puts on several big races in the community. One of those races is the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, which last year ran in concert with the Santa Barbara International Marathon.

Sloan said the SBAA asked track and cross country coaches if their athletes would serve as race volunteers.

“They got community service credit and also helped out and supported it, and they provided a great positive influence for the runners,” said Sloan “It was a win-win for both of us.”

Sloan said $17,500 was divided for the programs at Bishop Diego, Dos Pueblos, La Colina Junior High, Santa Barbara High, San Marcos, SBCC, UCSB, Santa Ynez and Westmont College.

Dos Pueblos coach Leslie Wiggins Roth said the SBAA’s generosity was greatly appreciated.

“With the district and school giving less and less every year, it’s really important to have donations to keep those program going,” she said.

Longtime SBAA member Des O’Neill announced that this year’s Easter Relays will be paying tribute to John Uelses, who 50 years ago set a world record of 16 feet, 3/4 inches in the pole vault at the relays.

“He set the last world record at the Easter Relays, on March 31, 1962,” said O’Neill. “We invited him to attend and we’re presenting him with a plaque to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the world record.”

The presentation will take place during the high school meet on Saturday, March 24.

The local high schools will converge on Westmont’s beautiful track facility on Saturday for the Tri-Cities Relays.

“We’re excited to host the local high schools this weekend,” Westmont coach Russell Smelley said.

Smelley noted that his Warriors track and field team won eight All-American plaques at the NAIA Indoor Nationals in Geneva, Ohio.

San Marcos track coach Marilyn Hantgin introduced athletes Courtney LaViale, a leader on the sprint team; Caroline Vance, a big part of the jumps program; 800-meter runner Victor Sanchez and hurdler Greg Peterson.

Roth cited junior DP distance runners Max Davis and Bryan Fernandez as “guys who continue to set standards with their hard work and dedication. Everyone’s pushing harder because of them,” she said.

On the girls team, Roth said sophomore Stamatia Scarvelis and freshman Natalie Klapp have made an impression on the coaches early in the season.

Carpinteria Athletic Director Pat Cooney said the Warriors track teams took first place at the Maricopa Relays in Ojai. He introduced team captains Kelsey Drain (PRs in pole vault, 100 hurdles, 200 and 400) and Alex Rodriguez (PR in long jump, and first-place sprint medley relay at Maricopa Relays).

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters said Nicole Poindexter is looking for a breakout season after putting in work over the summer. “She went to a UCLA camp and caught the eye of some coaches down there,” he said.

Poindexter, who plays in the Bishop band, qualified for the CIF division finals last year in the long jump.

UCSB assistant basketball coach Natalie Jarrett crosses her fingers hoping for a good draw in the NCAA Tournament.

Santa Barbara throws coach Tom Eck introduced athletes Kelly Drechsler, Sid Beck and Gavin Koehn.

UCSB women’s basketball assistant Natalie Jarrett said the team was crossing its fingers about its draw in the NCAA Tournament. Later in the day, the Gauchos learned they would play No. 1 and undefeated Baylor in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Jarrett lauded the job of head coach Carlene Mitchell for getting the players to buy into her system

“The whole success of our season was a team effort,” Jarrett said. “Going to the big dance will be a team effort.”

The Dos Pueblos softball danced last season when it won the CIF Division 4 championship, and co-coach Lee Harris said with a smile Monday, “We look forward to repeating this year … no pressure.”

The Chargers are off to a 5-1 start.

Harris introduced star pitcher Hannah Harris, who is riding a 25-inning shutout streak, and Chloe Madill, who is batting .667 with two homers and three doubles. She carries a 4.60 GPA and has made a verbal commitment to Dartmouth.

San Marcos softball Jeff Swann said his 1-6 team is adjusting to the loss of two-time all-league shortstop Hannah Ball. He introduced center fielder Emily Dietz and Kristen Berlo, the team captains. Berlo has struck out 62 batters in 30 innings.

Cooney said the Carpinteria softball team has a talented group. He cited third baseman Carmen Campi as the backbone of the infield and All-CIF pitcher Cat Maldonado as a stalwart on the mound.

Santa Barbara softball coach Thomas Aguilar said Peg Ryan and Talia Quevedo play with great composure and lead by example.

Bishop Diego has experienced players with Diane Sleep, Paige Sleep and Madison Ballard. Diane Sleep has hit 15 home runs in her career, which Peeters believed is a school record.

SBCC softball coach Paula Congleton said her team is starting to turn things around after a 0-4 start. She introduced Brianna Portese, who has crushed the ball as a new leadoff hitter. The coach also brought new assistant Erin Breck, an All-State player at SBCC, who returned to Santa Barbara after playing at Tennessee.

UCSB softball assistant Christine Ramos said the Gauchos have a lot of young, hungry athletes who don’t mind getting dirty on the field. “I love that,” she said.

UCSB men’s tennis assistant Taylor Chavez-Goggin said he expected Matt Forget to get into the national rankings after beating a top-100 player. The Gauchos play host to Texas Tech on Thursday.

“They have a bunch of South Americans, so there will be high energy and screaming and a competitive match,” he said.

Bishop Diego boys coach Marianne Petrie introduced senior Nick Lesander and Matt Hammond, the No. 1 and 2 singles players for the Cardinals.

Liz Frech said Dos Pueblos was off to a 3-0 start. She brought one of her team captains, Sean Hanley, and introduced new assistant coach Anita Patton, who joins Gabby McDaniel on the staff. Frech also thanked Patty Hanley, who has been a big supporter for the last four years.

San Marcos boys volleyball coach Roger Kuntz introduced his 6-5 and 6-4 middles Kevin Hempy and Jack Shields. “They’re definitely the strength of our offense,” he said.

The Royals are 7-0 and enter matches this week against Rio Mesa and Dos Pueblos in their Channel League opener. “We’ve had a great preseason. We’re exactly where we want to be,” said Kuntz.

Dillon Bennett, Laguna Blanca’s 20-year-old coach, said he has a young group of players that are improving every day. He introduced the “brother act” of Andrew and Stephen McCaffery.

Bishop Diego coach Jason Donnelly said his inexperienced squad is taking some lumps but is improving. He introduced middles Michael Winnewisser and Patrick Schlesselman.

Eck, filling in for Santa Barbara High volleyball coach Chad Arneson, introduced Sam Cohen, Gavin Trudeau and Carl Mendoza.

On baseball, SBCC coach Jeff Walker said he’s glad Brendan Shoemake pitches for the Vaqueros. He struck out 10 in eight innings in a win over Moorpark.

“I want to thank (UCSB’s Andrew) Checketts for cutting him in the fall,” Walker quipped.

Walker noted that except for first base, SBCC’s infield is composed of local players: catcher Colin Eaton (Santa Barbara), second baseman Joey Gonzalez (Santa Barbara), shortstop Steven Reveles (Dos Pueblos) and third baseman Pat Cavalier (San Marcos).

Santa Barbara assistant George Rempe introduced seniors Paul Quenzer and Griffen Kay.

Carpinteria coach Pat Cooney said leaders are starting to emerge on his young squad. He brought Colton Rubio and Derek Moore.

Dos Pueblos coach Nate Mendoza said he’s “definitely happy where we’re at” after a 6-1 start. “It’s still early. We’re hoping for a good middle of the season and a good finish to the season.”

He brought two reasons why the Chargers have won six in row: pitcher Luke Loggins and second baseman-pitcher Nolan Soto. Loggins is 3-0 and Soto is 2-0 as a reliever and is hitting .350.

The Chargers play host to Alemany, the No. 2 team in L.A. Times Southland poll, on Wednesday.

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