SBART Luncheon: 2015 Hall-of-Fame induction class revealed

UCSB hammer throw Albert Hughes and assistant track & field coach Rob Beamer (Presidio Sports photo)

UCSB hammer throw Albert Hughes and assistant track & field coach Rob Beamer (Presidio Sports photo)

The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table announced its Hall of Fame induction class for 2015 at Monday’s press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café.

The athletes to be inducted are Erica Menzel Downing of San Marcos, Shannon Frowiss Phipps of Santa Barbara High, Kim Wong of Dos Pueblos and Bradlee Van Pelt of San Marcos.

Volleyball legend Kathy Gregory is this year’s coach inductee and Dan Cordero of Carpinteria is the community leader.

The SBART Hall of Fame festivities have been made into a two-day event this year. The Hall of Fame Class will be honored at a ceremony on Monday, May 18 at the La Cumbre Country Club. The high school and college athletes of the year and other award winners will be recognized at an “Evening of Athletes” on Wednesday, May 20 at the Lobero Theatre. The Lobero event will be free of charge.

Menzel Downing, the San Marcos girls volleyball coach, was a three-sport standout for the Royals (volleyball, basketball and track & field), earning all-league first team in all three. She won a CIF title with the volleyball team in 1999 and was a CIF high jump champion that same year. She went on to UCSB and was a four-year starter for Kathy Gregory’s volleyball team, twice earning first-team All-Big West honors and being named All-Region her junior year. She is one of only two Gauchos to be ranked in the top 10 in career kills, kill average and digs.

Frowiss Phipps was a four-year starter for Santa Barbara High’s girls basketball and softball teams. In basketball, she was a two-time All-CIF selection (1986-87, 1987-88) and the Channel League MVP in 1987-88. She played collegiately at Pepperdine, where she earned All-West Coast Conference honors three times.

Wong tore it up in softball. She was a two-time All-CIF first team pick and the CIF MVP in 2005 after pitching the Chargers to the Division 4 title. In Channel League, she was a two-time MVP. She was a four-year varsity player at DP. As a junior, she set school records with 19 shutouts and 305 strikeouts. Wong played four years at Penn State, where she earned All-Academic Big Ten honors all four years.

Volleyball legend Kathy Gregory is being inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.

Volleyball legend Kathy Gregory is being inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.

Van Pelt was an All-CIF selection in football and soccer. In football, he quarterbacked the Royals to the Channel League title in 1998 and was named the league MVP. In soccer, he led the team to three league titles and the CIF title in 1998. He played football at Colorado State and became a star quarterback, setting many offensive records. He was twice named the MVP of the Mountain West Conference.

Gregory coached women’s volleyball for 38 seasons at UCSB and posted a .682 winning percentage, 882 wins, 412 losses. She is the fifth winningest Division 1 coach of all-time. In her career, she took the Gauchos to 27 NCAA tournaments, including the first 26, and coached 22 All-Americans. She was the AVCA National Coach of the Year in 1997 and a four-time West Region Coach of the Year.

Cordero has been involved Carpinteria youth sports for more than 40 years. In the 1970s, he helped fundraise to build El Carro Park. He’s coached at the Boys & Girls Club and at Carpinteria High and has raised funds for both institutions.

Santa Barbara High: After starting the season 6-0, the Dons are 9-7. “It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride,” said assistant coach George Rempe.

Rempe introduced juniors Lucas Grandcolas, Sebastian Elizondo and Joey Arroyo. He said Grandcolas is a jack of many trades who has proven his value to the team; Elizondo is one of the starting catchers and a good hitter; Arroyo starts in left field and is hitting over .300.

Rempe congratulated San Marcos for handing Ventura its first loss in league on Saturday. “That makes the league a lot more interesting,” he said.

San Marcos: Anthony Sanchez has been the rock behind the Royals’ defense and Sean Nakano-West has been solid on the mound all season, said coach Jacob Pepper.

Pepper noted that the composure of Sanchez and Nakano-West has helped the other players stay focused.

“They’ve been through some hard times at San Marcos and still show their composure and ability to stay with what we’re doing and keep all the kids focused,” he said.

At 6-8-1, the Royals have eclipsed their win total from last year, “and the season is still young,” said Pepper.

San Marcos:
Coach Jon Newton said veteran defensive specialist Joe Terre “always finds a way in a game to make a big play. He makes that one dig to give us momentum.”

Newton also introduced up-and-coming junior outside hitters Dane Pederson and Kevin Peters.

The Royals are 9-6 overall and 2-1 in Channel League.

Dos Pueblos:
Assistant coach Derek Martinez said senior Connor “CD” Sullivan has slid into his new role as senior captain and can do everything on the court. Of junior Eli Wopat: “He’s a pedigreed volleyball player. He’s actually the runt of the family at a diminutive 6-5.” Wopat had 33 kills in a five-set loss to San Marcos before spring break.

Carpinteria: Victor Saldaña is a “grade-A athlete and a natural leader with enormous potential,” said Van Latham, speaking for volleyball coach Dino Garcia. Another impressive player is sophomore newcomer Armando Soriano.

The Warriors are 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Tri-Valley League.

San Marcos:
The Royals have lost three one-run games in Channel League, coach Jeff Swann noted.

But he remains optimistic because of young players like Lauren Pitchford and AJ Huerta. Pitchford, a sophomore, made a spectacular catch in right field in a 5-4 loss to Ventura in 11 innings. The first-year varsity player is batting .355 and plays “with great heart and enthusiasm,” he said.

Huerta, a freshman, “is hands down the best athlete on our team,” said Swann. “She’s a left-handed shortstop and there isn’t a play she hasn’t made because of her left-handedness.”

San Marcos:
Coach Aaron Solis said his team resembles a MASH Unit. “We haven’t been at full strength all season long and we won’t be at full strength all season long.”

The Royals recently lost Andrew Rice to a fracture in the elbow area. They did, however, regain Sam Metzger, who had been out with a knee injury.

The Royals play host to Long Beach Wilson on Tuesday at La Cumbre Country Club.

“These are two of the most storied programs in the Southern Section,” said Solis.

San Marcos:
The Royals host rival Dos Pueblos in a Channel League dual meet on Tuesday.

San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin introduced two key members of her girls team, Devon Block-Funkhouser and Delaney Werner. Block-Funkhouser is a junior hurdler who qualified for this weekend’s prestigious Arcadia Invitational in the 300 hurdles. She also is part of the 4×400 relay.

Werner runs the 400 and 800. “She’s a rock out there,” said Hantgin.

From the boys team, basketball standout Kele Mkpado has developed into a strong hurdler and Tlaloc Vallejo-Howard is the best thrower on the squad. “This is a big week for him because Dos Pueblos has some good throwers,” said Hantgin.

Carpinteria: Coach Latham said the Warriors are heading into “our toughest part of our season and we’re going to see what we’re made of.”

The Warriors face a much-improved Fillmore team on Thursday at home before hostin two big meets, the Russell Cup on April 18 and the Santa Barbara County Championships on April 25.

Latham introduced dedicate senior boys Bobby Contreras and Terence Ayala. Contreras is a thrower who is “focused on his craft and very dependable.”

On Ayala: “He’d do everything if he could,” Latham said. His main event is pole vault, but he’s found his stride in the 200 meters. “Anytime we have a relay, he wants to be on the relay. His enthusiasm is contagious,” said the coach.

From the girls team, sophomore Mikela Keefer has improved her 1600 time by 30 seconds and her 3200 by more than minute. She is the sophomore record holder in both events.

Sophomore Monique Sanchez is in her first year of track. “She’s taken to it,” said Latham. Sanchez does pole vault and the sprints. “She has great potential, and she’s scratching the surface,” he said.

The starting pitching has been key for the Gauchos, assistant Matt Harvey said. The Gauchos rank third in the country in team ERA at 2.15.

UCSB plays at No. 8 USC on Tuesday night. The game can be seen on PAC-12 Network. The Gauchos return to Big West play this weekend at Cal State Northridge.

Coach Brie Galicinao said the team is making games harder than they have to be. Several Gaucho wins have come on walk-off hits.

“The season has been very up and down,” she said. “We’re still in it. We have conference series left.”

The Gauchos host Big West leader Cal State Northridge this weekend.

Assistant coach Rob Beamer said the Gauchos set seven PRs at the Stanford Invitational over the weekend.

Up next for UCSB is the Challenge Cup, where it hopes to knock off two-time defending Big West Champion Long Beach State.

Beamer introduced Albert Hughes, the Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“He joined the team as a walk-on freshman and had hopes of throwing the javelin and discus. What he’s really picked up is adeptness for is the hammer,” said Beamer. “He’s throwing the hammer upwards to 200 free. It’s just remarkable what he’s done in a short time, picking up a new event and really learning how to be so good at it.”

Hughes holds at 3.5 GPA as a philosophy major.

“I know he’s going to score high on the LSAT,” Beamer said. “He’s going to law school. That’s the next challenge after track season.”

Beamer said the UCSB women’s team is led by distance runner Dani Moreno, quartermiler Jessica Johnson, high jumper Jessica Emde and thrower Heather Hawes.