SBART Luncheon: Track coaches celebrate championships

Bishop Diego volleyball setter Brolin Parris is introduced at the SBART press luncheon.

Bishop Diego volleyball setter Brolin Parris is introduced at the SBART press luncheon.

Track and field coaches were feeling good at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon after a big weekend of competition.

Westmont coach Russ Smelley reveled over his Warriors winning the men’s and women’s titles at the GSAC Championships; SBCC’s Scott Fickerson expressed his excitement over the Vaquero men winning their first Western State Conference title in more than 45 years; San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin was elated about her team winning the Sweepstakes title at the Santa Barbara County Championships, and Carpinteria coach Van Latham was relieved he gets a week break from hosting another big meet.

SBCC: Fickerson said winning a conference title “wasn’t even on our radar most of the season.” But after taking the lead after the prelims, he started thinking the Vaqueros had a chance. “I started scoring it out and I was surprised that our men had a good chance to win,” he said.

Getting 21 points from their shot putters helped the SBCC men win their first title in more than 45 years.

“Our announcer has been following City College track since 1970 and the men had never won,” Fickerson said. “I was really thinking third or fourth. It was a group effort. It was a pretty incredible performance.

“On the down side, I was so busy hosting the meet that I have to go back and watch video for some of the competitions. But it was great to be there and great to be part of it.”

The SBCC women placed fifth at the championship meet.

Westmont: The Warriors got points from 65 of their 76 entries and won the GSAC men’s and women’s track & field titles. It was the first title in history for the women.

Elysia Hodges Mitchell led the women’s team.

“She’s probably the most ferocious competitors you’ll ever meet,” Smelley said of the San Marcos grad. “She’s kind of scary coming down the home stretch. You don’t want to be in her way.”

Mitchell anchored the 4×800 and 4×400 relay teams to wins and won the 100 and the 400 hurdles.

“In our gym, there’s banner that hangs up with all the conference titles. For women’s track and field, it’s been blank until last weekend. I told the women on the team: If you didn’t fill that blank, Elysia would never like them on Facebook.”

A key to the women’s victory was Smelley spreading four of his five heptathletes to do other events. His walk-on did the heptathlon and finished third, recording seven personal bests. All together, the five women accounted for 128 points.

On the men’s side, Smelley spread his three decathletes around to other events and they scored 57 points.

Nick Swider, a freshman from San Marcos, contributed to the win by finishing sixth in the 10,000 and 5,000.

“We found out he was able to focus for 25 laps on the track,” joked Smelley.

San Marcos:
“We had a great showing,” coach Hantgin said of the Royals’ performance at the County Championships. They won three of the four divisions and finished second to Dos Pueblos in the varsity boys competition.

Natalie Anderson is one of top throwers for the girls team, Hantgin noted. “She’s a great scorer and a great leader for the throws group.”

Jarrison Bell won the county boys shot put title. “We’re looking forward to a great league finals in a couple of weeks and CIF,” the coach said.

Another consistent scorer in meets is sophomore hurdler Davis Mullin.

Hantgin also introduced sophomore sensation Erica Schroeder, the San Marcos record holder in the 800 and the mile.

“We’re looking forward to the rest of the season heading into June with her,” said Hantgin, referring to the CIF Masters and State Meets.

Santa Barbara High: Assistant Bruce Schmitz was excited to see the Dons place fourth in the varsity boys and girls standings, second in the JV girls and eighth in the JV boys at the County Championships.

“We’re normally scrambling to put people into events and our top athletes usually do 4-5 events, as many as they can,” Schmitz said. We ask a lot from them.”

He introduced Natasha Feshbach, whose county record time of 14.53 in the 100 hurdles is the top mark for a junior in the state. Diego Tapia, a three-sport athlete (football, wrestling, track), won the discus — the first varsity boys winner in the event for coach Olivia Perdices — and was third in the shot put. Tapia was honored as the most inspirational athlete at the school’s all-sports banquet. Kiasa Salgado overcame two falls and gutted out a win in the 300 hurdles and helped the 4×400 relay win. Freshman Janelle Knight was on the second-place 4×100 relay, was third in the 100, second in the 200 and fifth in the triple jump.

“We ask a lot of our top athletes because our team is so small. But we have a lot of quality athletes and we’re building for the future,” said Schmitz.

Carpinteria: After hosting the Russell Cup, the County Championships and a Tri-Valley League dual meet over the last two weeks. Coach Van Latham is ready for a road meet.

The coach gets his wish this week as the Warriors travel to Nordhoff for their final dual meet.

“It’s an away meet, which will be a lot of fun for me,” Latham cracked.

Actually, Latham enjoys hosting the big meets at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. On the Russell Cup, he said, “It’s a great meet and a great community effort. It always shows the best side of Carpinteria.”

He thanked the Santa Barbara schools from making the county meet a great event. The meet didn’t have the nice weather of the Russell Cup, but nine meet records were set, seven of which will be counted “because the wind either wasn’t above what’s allowable at the time or they were events where wind does not play a factor,” said Latham.

Latham introduced pole vaulters Jimmy Graves and Brian Buchmiller and thrower Annalisa DeAlba. He said Graves and Buchmiller are ready to improve on their PRs and DeAlba won the frosh/soph title in the discus and was second in the shot put.

UCSB: Assistant coach Rob Beamer said Thomas Gore Scheck set a school record in the javelin with a toss of 234-3, breaking the previous mark owned by Gabe Mann, a former Santa Barbara High baseball standout who was converted into a javelin thrower at UCSB. Schreck’s mark is ranked 10th in the NCAA.

Beamer said he asked Schreck about the Gore part of his name and learned that Al Gore is his uncle.

Beamer also said Melissa Rake is nipping at the heels of a school record in the women’s javelin. She recently threw 154-1.

The Gauchos host Cal Poly at Westmont College on Saturday. Beamer said the rivalry meet will be good test before the Big West Championships.

Mia Able, the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month.

Mia Able, the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month.


Mia Able, a 7th grader at Carpinteria Middle School, was honored for her performances at the School Games at La Playa Stadium and the Special Olympics track & field meet in Santa Maria. Mia won several medals competing in the 50- and 100-meter runs, the running long jump and shot put.

The Vaqueros (28-8) won a share of the Western State Conference North title, its third championship in five years. They will be making their fifth straight playoff appearance, hosting Rio Hondo in a best-of-three series on Friday and Saturday.

“Season two is over, season three starts Friday,” said coach Jeff Walker.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Nick Katzenstein said the Chargers keep flirting with a .500 record, “but keep running into tough competition along the way.” The Chargers are 11-13 overall and 5-3 in league. They are in a tight battle with Buena and Santa Barbara for the Channel League title. They took 2 of 3 from the Dons and play Buena twice this week, Tuesday on the road and Friday at home.

Katzenstein introduced the batter of catcher and team captain Nick Noggle and sophomore pitcher Darby Naughton. Naughton is 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA.

Bishop Diego: Jason Donnelly, speaking for coach Dan Yokibaitis, said he was amazing by the complete-game pitching performance of freshman Will Goodwin in a rivalry win over Carpinteria last week. Donnelly also is impressed with the leadership and work ethic of junior Matt Shotwell. “He’s the cornerstone of their team, the third baseman and the captain,” said Donnelly.

Westmont: The Warriors play Concordia in the opening game of the GSAC Tournament on Thursday morning at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita.

Sports Information Director Ron Smith cited the pitching of Daniel Butler. The 6-6 sophomore is 9-0 and winner of his last eight outings.

UCSB: Coach Andrew Checketts said he felt like he was in a coma after a weekend of macadamia nuts, shaved ice in Hawaii and red-eye flight home. It was a good weekend for the Gauchos as they won two of three and improved to 31-10. All three games were shutouts. The Gauchos won both of their games 5-0 and lost 1-0.

Checketts said the pitching staff has the lowest ERA in the country (2.14), “which is something I think is remarkable considering we’ve played only four night games. Traditionally, it’s much more difficult to hit at night. So, our pitchers have been doing it during the day, which I think is something pretty special.”

The Gauchos play Loyola Marymount in a nonconference home game on Tuesday before hosting UC Davis for a Big West series over the weekend.

San Marcos:
Coach Jeff Swann said the Royals have four league games left and “have to make 4 something happen to earn a playoff spot. He introduced third baseman Alex Pitchford and catcher-outfielder Sienna Berlinger as two players who make things happen.

Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Mike Cano gave the report. Cano is a familiar face on local baseball diamonds. “After 37 years of umpiring high school and college baseball, I’ve gone to the other side and I’m helping coach softball at my alma mater,” he said.

The Cardinals are 4-8 overall and 3-4 in the Frontier League. The team controls its playoff destiny.

Cano introduced junior pitcher Isabelle Gregson and catcher Lindsay Bosio. Gregson batted .714 last week with three doubles. On the season, she’s hitting .415 with 2 homers, a triple, 4 doubles and 9 stolen bases. She’s all but 1 1/3 innings for the Cardinals and has 64 strikeouts. Bosio hit .333 with a double and home run last week. Overall, she’s batting .361 with 3 home runs, 5 doubles and 3 stolen bases.

Carpinteria: Latham, speaking for coach Henry Gonzalez introduced two 4.0 college-bound members of the team: Shelby Adameck, who is headed to Cal State Monterey Bay, and Shannon Callaway, a four-year varsity player, who is going to Seattle Pacific.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Jon Uyesaka said the bats are coming alive. The Chargers doubled their season total by belting eight home runs in wins over Oxnard and Pacifica over the weekend at the Thousand Oaks Tournament.

Sophomore Sienna Wagner hit two of those homers, one a grand slam. Wagner also is a big hit in the classroom, carrying a 4.4 GPA. Lani Evans is tearing it up on the mound. The Iona-bound pitcher has a 0.80 earned run average. Coach Uyesaka also brought his daughter, Kai Uyesaka, who is a four-year varsity player.

The Chargers have a big week with a home-and-home series with Channel League co-leader Buena. The first game is at DP on Tuesday.

UCSB: Assistant coach Julia Tamais said the Gauchos are playing well as the season comes to an end. They took two of three in Hawaii.

“I think our team is on to a good streak right now,” she said.

San Marcos:
The Royals lost a tough five-set match to Santa Barbara and then had to come back at 11 a.m. the next day and play a tough Royal team in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions. Making matters worse for coach Jon Newton, Senior Prom was that night. “My seniors were little distracted from volleyball,” he cracked.

Newton brought seniors Ben Hauschild, Jacob Beifuss and Diego Almanza. He said Hauschild is a go-to player with a great arm and “always finds a way to win. Beifuss plays an all-around game and is tough at the service line. Besides telling corny jokes, Almanza possesses a quick arm swing, Newton said.

Bishop Diego: Coach Donnelly said the team played its most complete match of the season last week when he used a junior, five sophomores and a freshman. One of those sophomores is Brolin Parris, who has blossomed as a setter. Junior Luca Jordano is “the glue of our team,” said Donnelly. He is a three-starter at opposite.

The Cardinals will determine their playoff fate with three Tri-Valley League matches this week, starting Tuesday at home against Fillmore.