Who to watch during the high school winter season

The winter sports season is here, and to get you up to speed on boys and girls basketball and soccer, girls water polo, wrestling, Presidio Sports has put together a list of athletes to watch in each sport.


Christian Widmer - San Marcos High Baskebtall

San Marcos’ Christian Widmer will be the Royals’ starting point guard this season.

Santa Barbara High has a standout player in 6-5 senior Jack Baker. He earned all-Channel League first-team honors as a junior, averaging a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds a game. The Dons also have an experienced back-court combination with Noah Burke and Isaiah Tapia. Bolden Brace, a 6-3 sophomore, figures to make an impact at shooting guard.

Bryce Ridenour is off to a blazing start for San Marcos. The 6-2 all-Channel League player had back-to-back games of 27 and 34 points at the Alhambra Tournament. ?He has taken his game up another level or two from last year,? says coach Dave Odell. Christian Widmer has stepped up his game and returns at the point guard spot, and guard Elijah Johnson is healthy and ready for a big senior year.

Odell says Wesley Ghan-Gibson, the quarterback on the football team, will be a key player on the basketball court. The coach adds that junior Marcus Alvarado and sophomores Tyson Miller, Kele Mkpado and Scott Everman have made a huge leap and will help the team considerably.

Dos Pueblos will be counting on the scoring of 6-5 forward Erik Olson.

Once he gets his basketball legs after completing the playoffs with the football team, Thomas Lash will be a scoring and rebounding force for Bishop Diego. Bryson Frazer, Ian Craddock and Duncan Gordon will be key players for Carpinteria. Matt Eaton, who last season helped Providence advance to the CIF quarterfinals, returns for the Patriots.

In girls basketball, Dezzy Coleman returns for her fourth varsity season at Santa Barbara. The savvy and tough Coleman, who started her high school career as a post player and is now the point guard, has received all-league accolades in each season she has suited up for the Dons. Amber Melgoza looks to follow in her footsteps. She earned all-league honors as a freshman last season.


Shannon Cleary - Dos Pueblos Water Polo

Dos Pueblos’ Shannon Cleary

Girls water polo again will have several standout players tearing it up in the pool. At Dos Pueblos, Shannon Cleary returns after earning all-CIF and all-Channel League honors as a junior. She has committed to Stanford

Santa Barbara has loads of experience with four-year players and three-year starters Betsy Hendrix, Anna Brummett, Jessica Gaffney and three-year player Erin McGeoy. Hendrix has committed to UCSB and Brummett to Indiana, while Gaffney and McGeoy are Brown recruits.

San Marcos returns key players off a team that finished second in the Channel League last season. Senior Halie Johnson was first-team all league and honorable mention all-CIF in 2012. Junior goalie Jenna Phreaner is the ?backbone of our defense,? says coach Chuckie Roth. Junior Riley Heiduk makes things happen and is returning all-league player.

Roth is excited about his younger players on the squad. ?Sophomores Hailey Gellert and Kate Coski, and freshman Paige Hauschild and Brittany Prentice will also make a big impact in the season,? he says.


Jumoke Hutton - SBHS Soccer

Santa Barbara High’s Juomke Hutton

Santa Barbara High is ranked in the preseason top 10 in CIF Division 1 for boys soccer and a big reason is three returning impact players: senior forward and captain Jose ?Pepe? Barron, senior defender and captain Jumoke Hutton and sophomore midfielder Brandon Sanchez.

?We?re looking for Pepe to be a leader this year and having him return from last year where he was tied for the team lead in goals (9 goals, 3 assists) with Matt Medina helps,? coach Todd Heil said.

On Hutton: ?He will anchor a defense that returns only one starter, so we?re looking to him for leadership on our backline.?

Sanchez had six assists and a goal in limited action as a freshman. ?We?re looking forward to watching him mature and grow as the season progresses,? said Heil.

Heil enters the season four wins away from a milestone 300 at Santa Barbara.

Cate has one of the premier players in the Southland in junior midfielder Geoffrey Acheampong. The native of Ghana scored 15 goals and had 12 assists last season and earned first-team All-CIF honors in Division 6.

?He has superb ball skills, a blazing shot and incredible vision,? says coach Peter Mack.

Acheampong leads a group of five important returnees from a squad that reached the CIF D-6 semifinals. Senior Leighton Brillo-Sonnino is standout two-way player. He earned second-team All-CIF honors last season. Matthew Firestone is a four-year starter in the midfielder. An All-CIF second-team pick last season, he?s speedy on the wing and plays solid defense.

Geaffrey Acheampong - Cate School Soccer

Cate School’s Geoffrey Acheampong is a returning All-CIF player for the Rams

Sophomore Joel Serugo is fast, athletic, and has big shot. He had five goals and three assists last season. Senior forward Tyler Douglas is a versatile player who scored four goals and had four assists last year.

San Marcos midfielder Robbie Landeros is a skillful player who can frustrate any defense.

Dos Pueblos has an outstanding center back in junior Tim Heiduk. He was a key member of Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s U-14 and U-15 national championship teams. Fleet-footed Julio Rubio is a dynamic attacking player who is in his third year on the varsity.

Carpinteria has a trio of standouts in Brandon Canderos, Edmund Delgado and Benjie Garcia

In girls soccer, Hannah Brisby leads defending Channel League champion Santa Barbara. The senior is an excellent server of the ball and a fine playmaker.

San Marcos girls soccer coach Macie Berlin has a solid goalkeeper in four-year varsity player and three-year captain Hannah Harrah. She?s made a verbal commitment to Loyola Marymount. Harrah has been first-team All-Channel League the past three seasons.

Berlin has a pair of exciting young players in sophomore Olivia Jones and freshman Chloe Hamer. Jones scored 22 goals last year and earned All-Channel League honors. Hamer is an added offensive threat. ?We look for big things from this new player,? says Berlin.

Bishop Diego has a strong attacking player in Annalise Morando.

Kelsie Bryant and Alexa Benitez are dangerous players for Carpinteria.


On the wrestling mat, Cameron Cox returns for Dos Pueblos after winning the Channel League title at 113 pounds as a sophomore.