SBART Luncheon: Track teams receive a nice reward from the SBAA

Local prep and college track coaches received checks from the Santa Barbara Athletic Association for their work on the Santa Barbara International Marathon.

Local prep and college track coaches received checks from the Santa Barbara Athletic Association for their work on the Santa Barbara International Marathon. (Presidio Sports Photos)


The Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Marathon and Santa Barbara Athletic Association gave thanks to local high school and college track and cross country teams for their support during Monday’s Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Rusty and June Snow of the SBVDM and Tamara Berndt of the SBAA presented checks to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara High, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Adams School, UCSB and Westmont College for the work their student-athletes did during last year’s marathon and SBAA Half-Marathon.

“The marathon couldn’t happen without your help,” SBIM director Rusty Snow said. “It’s a great thing for the athletes and the community.”

UCSB track assistant coach Rob Beamer expressed his thanks to the SBAA.

“I don’t know of any staff that can make a dollar go further than the UCSB track staff,” he said. “This is money that will be well-used, well-invested and well-appreciated. It’s something we treasure and appreciate. Thank you so much.”

Beamer reported that UCSB’s Shyan Vaziri is someone to keep an eye on. He ran 3:48 to win his 1500-meter heat at Stanford and has run as fast as 3:44 this season.

“He keeps turning out impressive times,” Beamer said, adding that Vaziri ran a last lap of :56 at Stanford. “He might earn a spot on the 4×400 relay team, which is almost unheard for a distance runner.”

Beamer introduced Lara Lewis, whom he called “a source of inspiration for our team.”

Lewis, a sophomore thrower (shot put, javelin, discus), is competing after having a rib removed. Beamer said said she suffers from Page-Schroetter Syndrome, a compression of the subclavian vein by rib or ligament.

Westmont track coach Russell Smelley had athletes competing all over the place during the weekend.

“We had 44 PRs, four school records and four national qualifiers. That’s good preparation and shows that we’re getting ready for the conference title hunt,” Smelley said.

The Warriors host the GSAC Championships on April 25.

Smelley was pleased about last weekend’s Sam Adams Multi-Events competition. The event drew 77 athletes, including Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton, his wife, Canadian Olympian Brianne Theisen-Eaton and the French national team.

“It was a great tribute to Sam Adams, who coached 34 years at UCSB, helped me for 10 years and was the face of decathlon in the U.S for 40 years,” said Smelley.

Smelley noted that he would be glad to introduce anyone to Eaton, who continues to train at Westmont.

“Ashton Eaton is one of the nicest men you’ll meet in track and field,” Smelley said. “He epitomizes everything that athletics should exhibit. “

Westmont will be hosting a coaches clinic on Sunday that will feature Ashton’s coach, Harry Marra, and Tom Tellez, the coach of track legend Carl Lewis.

“We’ll have two great coaches in the U.S. doing a walk and talk clinic,” said Smelley.

Dos Pueblos track coach Chris Mollkoy brought three of his standout senior athletes: Stamatia Scravelis, Dayne Gardiner and Niema Poindexter.

Scarvelis, the SBART Athlete of the Week, is the No. 1 shot putter in the nation with a mark of 53-3.50. She also has the top discus mark in the state (154-7) and is top three in the nation.

“She’s never happy unless she’s first and crushing people. She’s super competitive,” said Mollkoy.

Gardiner is new to track and has taken to the long jump. He’s gone from 17 to 20 feet. “He’s PR’d in every meet this season,” said Mollkoy.

He called Poindexter the backbone of the team with Stamatia. “On the field and track, she’s a real stellar leader,” he said.

San Marcos track coach Marilyn Hantgin introduced Jill Fisher, Emily Allen, Garrett Paulson and Walker Odell as key members of her team. Hantgin said she’s taking seven girls and one boy to the prestigious Arcadia Invitational this weekend.

Carpinteria’s Van Latham said the Warriors are “approaching the best part of our season.” The Russell Cup, the oldest invitational in California (started in 1913), is on April 19 at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium followed by the Santa Barbara County Championships.

Latham introduced Joel Montes as the fastest offensive tackle in the county. He’s the Warriors’ top sprinter. Four-sport star Ian Craddock is doing the hurdle events, with the 300 hurdles being his best event. Latham said Craddock plans to go to Chapman College to play football.

The coach also brought discus thrower Peter Ramos, who threw 146 feet two weeks ago and “has the potential to break 150,” said Latham.

Santa Barbara High assistant Matthew Oatis introduced Finn Arneson, a pole vaulter and 400 runner, Will Pritchard, who runs the 200 and 400, and triple jumpers senior Rachel Oatis and freshman Carolyn Weisman.


The athletic trainers at all the high schools and colleges were recognized for their work on caring for the athletes.


Westmont coach Robert Ruiz was feeling good after his Warriors swept a three-game series from No. 6-ranked Concordia.

“We swept the series, which was a big, big step for our program and closed the gap in the playoff hunt,” Ruiz said. “This puts us in a good place to hopefully get some votes in the top 25 ranking this week.”


Dos Pueblos coach Jon Uyesaka paid tribute to longtime softball guru Dale Okinaka, who passed two weeks ago.

“Dale Okinaka spent countless hours with innumerable kids throughout Santa Barbara County and the area, coaching them in softball,” Uyesaka said. “I brought two athletes who have been students under Dale, you can see the fruits of his love and labor in these two young athletes. We’re really going to miss him and we’re devoting the rest of the year to him.”

Uyesaka brought junior pitcher Lani Evans and junior captain Kai Uyesaka, who are both coming back from injuries.

On Evans, “She’s 8-1 and moving the ball incredibly well. She’s a team leader and has stepped into that role nicely.”

Kai has brought “leadership to the program,” said the coach. “She’s coming back from a year of not playing with elbow surgery.”

Jeff Swann of San Marcos said he liked the way his girls competed against top-ranked Dos Pueblos “and I like our chances going forward here.”

Swann brought freshman Alex Pitchford, who has played well on the varsity.

Hailee Rios has impressed Swann from the first day she tried out for the team. “On the first day of tryouts, Hailee taters the ball. It’s the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit on our field.”

Rios is hitting .619 with five homers and seven doubles and a .695 on-base percentage. “I’ve never had a player with that kind of production offensively,” said Swann.

As a pitcher, Rios has 107 strikeouts in 59 innings.

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters introduced sophomore pitcher Isabella Gregson, who is also batting .368.


Santa Barbara assistant George Rempe said the Dons (9-4, 1-1) face a challenging week, playing league-leading Buena at home on Tuesday and at San Marcos on Friday.

Rempe introduced senior Jack Damen, who is out for baseball after playing on the tennis team for the last three years; Cristian Loza, a catcher and DH, and Daniel McKinney, who is one of strongest hitters on the team.

Bishop Diego volleyball coach said Grant Sexton "has been a rock for us."

Bishop Diego volleyball coach Jason Donnelly, left, said Grant Sexton “has been a rock for us.”


Santa Barbara High’s Chad Arneson said the Dons are in “unfamiliar territory” at 6-7 and 1-2 in Channel League.

“It’s definitely a learning process for us this year, but we’re going to keep battling,” he said.

Arneson brought sophomore setter Cord Pereira, junior opposite hitter Hayden Millington and junior outside hitter Jasper Rhodes.

DP Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus said the Chargers are 9-5 and 3-0 in Channel League. He introduced outside hitter Matt Sessler and setter Mark Raphael.

Bishop Diego coach Jason Donnelly brought senior outside hitter Grant Sexton and senior middle Will Busch. Donnelly said Sexton “has been a rock for us.”

On Busch: “He’s one of our better passers and defenders. He’s a six-rotation player.”

Roger Kuntz of San Marcos is having fun coaching size.

“You can tell why I get excited when I get in a huddle these days,” he said. “When I came back 6-8 years ago, I was the tallest guy in our huddle.”

He introduced 6-3 opposite Emerson Pizzinat, 6-4 middle Jake Castanha and 6-6 middle Cole Wenal.

The Royals will take an 18-match home unbeaten streak into Tuesday’s Channel League match against Buena. Kuntz will be going for his 300th career win (as a boys and girls coach) at San Marcos.