SBART Luncheon: League titles, city title at stake; era of success nears end

Battling for league titles, making the CIF playoffs, city pride and reflecting on an era of success were some of the topics presented at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

Bishop Diego’s football team plays Nordhoff for the Tri-Valley League title on Friday night at La Playa Stadium. Both teams enter the game with 2-0 records. Bishop assistant coach Steve Robles said the game will be fast and furious.

“Like all our games with Nordhoff, it will be a physical and fast game,” he said. “We’ll have to play our best to continue our undefeated season and secure that No. 1 TVL spot in the playoffs.”

The Channel League girls volleyball title comes down to the last night of the regular season. San Marcos is on top of the standings with a 5-2 record, Ventura is 4-3 and Santa Barbara is 4-3. San Marcos hosts Ventura on Tuesday while Santa Barbara is home to Buena.

Santa Barbara coach John Gannon said he is a community guy but on Tuesday he’s going to be pulling for Ventura.

“If we win and Ventura beats San Marcos, there’s a three-way tie for first,” he explained. “We like the Royals, we embrace our local community, but we’re kind of hoping Ventura does something. And we hope we can take care of business against Buena.”

Carpinteria finishes the regular season at Fillmore. A Warriors’ win would make them 5-5 overall, which could get them an at-large berth in the CIF Northern Division playoffs.

“With a win we still have …. Oh, what would you say, I guess a chance, a dire chance, a slim chance, a fat chance of making the playoffs,” said coach Ben Hallock.

San Marcos is playing for the City Football Championship against crosstown rival Santa Barbara on Friday.

“It’s been several years San Marcos has had the opportunity to play for a city championship and we’re really looking forward to that opportunity,” said Royals coach Anthony Linebaugh.

As the Carpinteria girls tennis team begins its first foray into the CIF Division 2 playoffs, athletic director Pat Cooney reflected on the tremendous four years of success the program has experienced — CIF Division 5 runners-up three years ago and CIF champions the last two years. The team has been led by Kelsie Bryant in singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Natalie Saito and Makenna Pike. Bryant happened to be recognized as Athlete of the Week along with UCSB soccer player Nick DePuy.

“You have a sense, at least on campus at Carpinteria High School, that we’ve come to an end of a Hall-of-Fame era, where you are award of something fantastic that’s been happening the last four years,” Cooney said. “They were runners-up three years ago and CIF champions the last two years. And, no matter when it ends, whether it ends of Wednesday or five matches from now another championship, you have some sense this sort of era is coming to an end.

“But we’re really interested in the individuals and how this is all going to play out for them, so it’s a little bittersweet,” he continued. “You’re understanding something is ending but it’s also springboard into some amazing stuff in the future.”


SBCC: Brandon Nicastro, Sage Ritchie and Marvin Millett played key roles in the Vaqueros’ 49-21 win over Antelope Valley.

Nicastro, a defensive, broke a cast on his hand but continued playing and led a solid defensive performance in the second half. Ritchie blocked a punt that turned the momentum in SBCC’s favor and Millett came off the bench and “took advantage of his opportunity,” said coach Craig Moropoulos. He rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Winners of seven in row, the Vaqueros (7-1) face a tough challenge on Saturday as they travel to Santa Monica for sole possession of first place in the American Pacific League.


Bishop Diego: Running backs/linebackers coach Steve Robles said he’s had the good fortune to coach some quality student athletes in his 15 years on the Cardinals staff. He added “Chucky” Isaac Salcedo and Matt “Shy” Shotwell to his list.

Salcedo is a team captain and one of the leading tacklers on the team. “He plays with instinct and heart. He’s very quiet but always trying to get better. He gives 100 percent in practice and in games.”

Shotwell is a contrast to Salcedo. “He’s a vocal leader and keeps teammates loose. He enjoys the game. He comes from a long line of football players. His dad played at Cal and his brothers played at Cal Poly. That’s where that knowledge comes from,” said Robles.

San Marcos: Coach Anthony Linebaugh spoke up for the offensive line and introduced Wilfrido Medina and Nate Willows, two tireless and selfless workers.

The coach called Medina “the cornerstone of our team.” Medina’s played center and guard. “He’s a team guy,” Linebaugh said of the senior.

Willows, a three-year varsity starter, is nicknamed “Mountain.” He’s played every position on the offensive line. “He’s a pleasure to coach,” said Linebaugh

Carpinteria: Jonathan Guzman and Enrique Marino are two players who make key contributions to the football team, coach Hallock noted.

“They’re like the nuts and bolts, or gears of the transmission that keeps a football team alive and running,” he said. Marino is a wide receiver, defensive back and plays on special teams. Guzman plays tailback and inside linebacker.

Laguna Blanca: A cast to protect a broken wrist couldn’t keep Will Bartholomew out of the lineup against No. 1-ranked Thacher. “He’s a key contributor on the defensive line,” said athletic director Mike Biermann.

The Owls received an at-large berth to the 8-man playoffs and will play Saturday at San Jacinto Valley Academy.


Santa Barbara: Gannon said middle Katie Gallivan has improved as a blocker and is the leading the team in blocks. “It’s been a fun to see Katie mature as a player,” he said.

Gannon lauded Lauren Suh for her solid back-row play, tough serving off the bench and her dedication.

Providence: Laura Newton said Willow Brown, Meghan Vincent “have brought a high level of maturity to our team, and I appreciate that.” Both players stepped up to fill needs on the team. Brown developed as an outside hitter and Vincent became the defensive specialists.

Garden Street Academy: Sophomore Lauren Williamson is small in stature but Dichard said she is the hardest hitter on the team. Senior captain Amanda Sanchez is the most well-rounded player on the squad. The Comets are looking to finish .500 in their first season of CIF competition.

Laguna Blanca: Coach Jim Alzina said Kendall White took advantage of her opportunity and has been a stable and steady player on the squad. He said Sophia Fay is one of the most competitive players on the squad. “She has fight in her each and every night.”


San Marcos: Coach Lawrence Stehmeier said 60 of the 68 runners that competed at the Santa Barbara County Championships set personal records on the River Park course in Lompoc.

“They’re peaking at the right point and doing a great job,” he said of his runners. “We have league finals at Camino Real Park on Thursday and we hope to keep that ride going.”

The Royals hope to break up Ventura’s domination of league this season. “It seems like we’re ready and fired up for that,” he said.

Captain Chad Sorensen leads the boys team. Sophomore Phillip Naumann proved at the County Meet that he can make a difference. On the girls side, Natalie Widmer and Deborah Soto keep on improving.

Laguna Blanca: Freshman Clay Rodgers was introduced as a key contributor to the team and a future star. Senior Ryan Chiment is a team leader. The Owls run at the Condor League finals at Dunn on Wednesday.

Garden Street Academy: The Comets have three boys on the team. Athletic director Jamie Dichard said he convinced Kaleb Beasley and Thomas Muse to go out for cross country because it would help condition them for basketball.

Carpinteria: Mikela Keefer, in her first year running, finished 13th in a varsity race at Mt. SAC and won the JV race at the county championships. Cooney said Arturo Saldana is the character of the team and motivates his teammates through humor.


Santa Barbara: Coach Greg Tebbe lauded seniors Maddie Cutler and Claire Casey for their work ethic on the court and in the classroom for the past four years. “When I think of one I always think of the other,” he said.

Both players are four-year varsity letterwinners and all leaguers. They were members of the CIF championship team as freshmen.

The Dons (13-4) open CIF Division 1 play on Wednesday at home against Brentwood.