Press Luncheon: Etsell awarded, baseball reports big wins

San Marcos High School Assistant Principal Dan Garske, left, with Sportsperson of the Month Katina Etsell, and award sponsor Tyrone Maho.

San Marcos High School Assistant Principal Dan Garske, left, with Sportsperson of the Month Katina Etsell, and award sponsor Tyrone Maho at Monday’s press luncheon. (Presidio Sports Photo)

There is much that goes into a high school athletics program that never gets enough credit. That’s why the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table created the Sports Person of the Month Award, to honor people like Katina Etsell.

The San Marcos parent was recognized at Monday’s press luncheon for her contributions to the Royals.

“She really follows through and gets projects done and she always has a smile on her face,” said San Marcos Assistant Principal Dan Garske.

Etsell has donated her time to working on a handful of important projects at the school, including the field of champions campaign, the renovation of the aquatics facility, and the committee that raised money to resurface the tennis courts.

Etsell also works on several non-athletic programs that support students and faculty.

Following the awards portion of the luncheon, coaches reports covered baseball, softball and tennis.

The baseball teams from UCSB and Westmont were coming off of masterful pitching performances in their last outings. Both were wins over ranked opponents.

For the Gauchos, Robby Nesovic pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings against No. 4 Cal State Fullerton, a team the Gauchos hadn’t beaten in Fullerton since 2007. The Gauchos won 2-0, snapping the Titans’ 10-game winning streak.

For Westmont, Mike Murphy threw a one-hit shutout to beat No. 11 Cal State San Marcos in a seven-inning game.

Neither performance could keep the Athlete of the Week award away from Alex Valente, however, as the Dos Pueblos swimmer broke a meet record at the Mt. SAC Meet of Champions with a CIF Automatic time of 48.86 in the 100 butterfly.

Valente was also a member of a DP medley relay team that broke a Channel League record set in 1994.

Other teams were seeing improvement as their spring seasons passed the half-way point.

“We started the year slowly but we’re getting better,” said Dons assistant coach George Rempe.

With him were players Michael Day, Evan Smith and Zach Torres. Day and Torres are two of four Dons baseball players who are two-sport varsity athletes. Smith won two games last week as the Dons as a team won all three games they played.

Dos Pueblos’ tennis team is 4-1 in the Channel League and keeping busy with four matches a week.

“It’s nice to see we’re improving from week to week,” said coach Liz Frech.

Her top doubles team of Mason Casady and Joshua Wang made their second luncheon.

“They work as an incredible doubles team. They move incredibly well and compliment each other.”

UCSB softball assistant coach Christine Ramos also sees improvement, specifically with freshman pitcher Alex Pingree who recorded two shutouts last week.

“It was awesome to see because she struggled a bit at the beginning of the season,” Ramos said.

Two coaches were able to report on first-place teams.

With six games to play, SBCC’s baseball team is tied with Cuesta for the WSC lead. The two teams play twice this week.

Dos Pueblos baseball coach Nick Katzenstein is all alone in first place at 4-1.

“We had a great week last week finishing off a sweep of Buena, that was big for us,” he said.

Katzenstein highlighted the return of Nolan Soto, who hit an RBI single in his first at-bat of the season. The Chargers play San Marcos twice this week starting on Tuesday at Dos Pueblos. Second baseman Brian Cho was complimented for his workmanlike approach.

Dos Pueblos’ softball team is one game out of first after a tense two-game set with Buena last week. Dos Pueblos won the first before falling in the second one in extra innings 1-0. Coach Jon Uyesaka introduced sophomores Lani Evans, calling her a “hard worker,” and Maddy Buie, who holds a .463 batting average.

San Marcos and Santa Barbara High softball were also there with important pieces to their teams. San Marcos was represented by Jenny Barajas, Claudia Herrera and Anmai Brook. Santa Barbara’s Shai Rodriguez and Sydney Martynick were introduced by coach Victor Alvarez.

The female Athlete of the Week was SBCC women’s tennis player Bruna Malgahaes. Raymond Eger was awarded as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month.

Next week’s luncheon will honor Westmont’s National Champion Women’s Basketball Team. Press Luncheons are open to the public and happen every Monday at noon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.