SBART Luncheon: Checks are in at final luncheon of the season

The Santa Barbara Athletic Association presented a check for $15,000 to the high school track and running programs.

The Santa Barbara Athletic Association presented a check of $15,000 to local  high school track and running programs. The track coaches include, from left,  Rob Beamer (UCSB assistant), Van Latham (Carpinteria) and Marilyn Hantgin (San Marcos).  The check presenters are John Lofthus of the SBAA and Rusty Snow, director of the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon. (Presidio Sports photo)

They were handing out big checks at the last Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of the 2014-15 school year on Monday.

Randy Weiss, community foundation officer at Union Bank, presented the non-profit Round Table with a $10,000 check to cover the lunches for the athletes next season.

Weiss reminded the athletes of how special the Round Table is and encouraged them to give back to the community.

“You have a job to do,” he said. “Five to 10 years from now, when you’re in the business field doing great things in your careers, just remember the special opportunities that were presented to you here at the Athletic Round Table in your high school and college careers. You’ve had great coaches, you have a great support organization — there is nothing like the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.

“We’ll be back next year with more support. Keep up the good work.”

That ceremony was followed by the Santa Barbara Athletic Association’s presentation of a $15,000 check to be shared among the high school and college track & field and running programs in the community. The money is a reward for the work the local track athletes do during the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon, Half-Marathon and Relay during the fall.

John Lofthus of the SBAA said the association has raised more than $100,000 for the local track and running programs since 2010.

Rusty Snow, director of the marathon, expressed his appreciation for the help provided by the local teams during the race.

“One of the things we’re noted for is all the support and all the great kids on the course,” Snow said. “When we took this thing on in 2010, this was one of the things we wanted to do and that’s give back to your community. It’s a great partnership. We’re really happy to support you and really appreciate your support.”

Coaches expressed their appreciation to SBART president Laurie Leighty, who was presiding over the final luncheon of her two-year term. Cara Gamberdella is the president-elect.

Emily Rose Smith was honored for her performance in bocce. She led her team to a gold medal in a recent competition in Santa Paula. She hopes to do the same in an upcoming event in San Luis Obispo.

San Marcos: Coach Chuckie Roth said Olivia Smith’s willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team makes it easy for him to coach.

“When your best athlete is willing to do anything for the team, that makes everyone else fall in line for that,” he said.

Smith, honored as the Athlete of the Week, came from behind to win Channel League titles in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly and helped the Royals win the 200 and 400 free relays in meet-record times. San Marcos won the championship meet team title to go with its dual meet crown.

The Royals head to the CIF Championships in Riverside this week, with the goal of qualifying for the first CIF State Meet in Fresno.

Dos Pueblos: Long-time coach Jim Ranta said the Charger boys won all but one event at last week’s Channel League finals. Next up is the CIF prelims and finals in Riverside. Walker Bell, the Athlete of the Week, will be doing the 500 free, 200 IM and relays.

“Walker is one of our great senior swimmers that we can put in any event,” said Ranta.

Santa Barbara: The Dons face a huge week, needing to sweep a two-game series against Buena to tie Dos Pueblos for the Channel League title.

Long-time assistant coach George Rempe brought two players who have been promoted to the varsity from the JV: junior catcher Samsun Keithley and sophomore pitcher Alex Chicote. Rempe said Keithley is a good defensive catch with a strong arm. Chicote has “pitched incredibly well” in Saturday tournament games. He was the winning pitcher when the Dons beat L.A. City Section power Chatsworth for the first time in 10 years. “That’s why Alex is going to have an asterisk next to his name in our records forever.”

Dos Pueblos: The Chargers (15-14, 8-4 Channel League) have a bye this week and will “sit back and watch what happens between Buena and Santa Barbara,” coach Nick Katzenstein said. If the teams split their two-game series this week, DP wins the league title outright.

“We wish you half luck this week,” cracked Katzenstein as he looked at Santa Barbara High assistant George Rempe.

Carpinteria: The Warriors play Malibu this week for a shot at the CIF playoffs. Ricky Medina has been swinging a hot bat. Freshman Toby Sprach has played solid at catcher.

Katzenstein introduced pitchers Joshua Knight and Austin Bull. Knight two weeks ago posted the big win over Alemany, the No. 6 team in the L.A. Times Southland Poll. Bull has been a standout as DP’s closer. He has five saves and a 1.83 ERA.

SBCC: Coach Jeff Walker said the Vaqueros host Orange Coast in a best-of-three series in the So Cal Final 4, starting Friday. The winner of the series advances to the State Finals in Fresno.

UCSB: Clutch performances from Shane Bieber and Dominic Mazza enabled the Gauchos to take one game from Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Mazza threw over 10 innings during the week and had 12 strikeouts and a 1.80 ERA.

“He was our star for the week,” coach Andrew Checketts said. “We didn’t have a lot of stars but he was one of them. The other positive was Cameron Newell was back in the lineup. He’s our leading hitter and leading the Big West in hitting as well.”

The Gauchos are one game behind Fullerton and UC Irvine in the Big West standings. They play a nonconference game at Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday before hosting UC Irvine in a three-game series.

San Marcos: The Royals’ season comes down to Wednesday’s home game against Ventura. A victory gives them third place and a CIF playoff spot. Coach Jeff Swann introduced two younger players, junior left fielder Aibhlin Ryan and Michelle Henderson. Ryan has good speed and a great attitude, said Swann. Henderson is a multi-sport athlete who plays in the outfield. She got her first hit of the season last week against Rio Mesa.

DP softball's Melissa Spinks and Ali Milam.

Dos Pueblos softball outfielders Melissa Spink and Ali Milam.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Jon Uyesaka said junior Ali Milam is one of the strongest hitters on the team and senior Melissa Spink has been a great leader in center field.

Milam has four homers this year “and has the ability to hit four more in the next couple of games,” said Uyesaka. “She’s a great athlete.”

Milam has committed to Marist.

Spink is headed to San Diego State in the fall.

“Last year, she was a backup second baseman, backup outfielder, but she worked hard over the summer and the fall and won that center-field spot,” Uyesaka said. “She has tremendous range and speed. She’s been converted from a righty hitter into a lefty slapper to utilize that speed and has been getting better every week, and I think she’ll be a big factor coming down to the playoffs for us.”

The Chargers are 23-4 and ranked No. 2 in the latest CIF Division 4 poll.

San Marcos: The Royals won 15 titles at the Channel League Championships in Ventura.

“I think that’s the most we’ve ever had,” said coach Marilyn Hantgin.

Sophomore Carolyn Weisman captured the triple jump title and Delaney Werner was part of the winning 4×400 relay. Werner, a sophomore, was second in the 400 and freshman Jenna Torchia finished third in the race.

“We’ve had to move her up to varsity to score points,” Hantgin said of Torchia. “She’s a big asset to the team. I don’t think she realizes it yet, but she’s up there, and so she’s going to do great things in the next few years.”

Weisman ranks second in Division 3 in the triple jump.  “She has a great opportunity to go to the finals and be a CIF champion. She’s done a great job for us in the triple and the long jump all year long,” said Hantgin

Werner has been a staple on  relays, the 400 meters, 800 and  200. The 4×400 relay team is ranked first in Division 3 and Werner is ranked sixth in the division for the 400 meters.

On the boys side, Tyson Miller won the league 400 title broke 50 seconds on his leg of the 4×400 relay. The Royals travel to the CIF Division 3 Prelims at Estancia High on Saturday.

Carpinteria: Twelve athletes from Carpinteria qualified for the Division 4 Prelims, which the Warriors will host on Saturday.

The meet will feature top programs like Oaks Christian, Serra, St. Mary’s Academy. The top nine advance to the CIF Finals at Cerritos College.

Carpinteria CIF qualifiers include hurdler Chance Wright (2nd in TVL finals), hurdler Jenna Castillo (3rd in TVL finals) and quarter-miler Alexa Benitez.

UCSB: Assistant coach Rob Beamer said the Gauchos took first, fourth, sixth and seventh at the Big West decathlon championships. Darion Williams, a former football player at Cal, won the decathlon.

“He has developed so amazingly as an athlete,” Beamer said. He ran 14-high 110 high hurdles, threw the javelin 185-0 and cleared 13-6 in the pole vault.

“Those are three of the most difficult events in track and they’re on the deck. The fact he’s so well versed in the most rigorous events of the decathlon really speaks well to him as a well-versed athlete,” said Beamer.

Westmont: The Warriors will be taking 16 athletes to the NAIA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. One of the latest qualifiers was Kelly Collins in the 5,000. After an All-American season in cross country, she’s struggled with illness during the track season and almost shut her season down. In addition, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, said coach Russell Smelley.

She ran at a last-chance qualifying meet last weekend, shattered her PR by 17 seconds and earned a spot at nationals.

Smelley said Elysia Mitchell has a good chance to win the 400.

Santa Barbara
: Greg Tebbe’s squad finished the regular season 14-3 and 8-0 in Channel League. Tebbe said the league doubles semifinal between the Dons’ Logan Lender and Jordan Rodnick and DP’s Joshua Wang and Miles Baldwin “was probably one of the best high school matches I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, somebody had to lose that match.”

Lender-Rodnick won 7-6, 2-6, 7-6. The last tiebreaker was 9-7.

“It was high level tennis and there was outstanding sportsmanship against two rival teams,” Tebbe added. “It was great to see. To me, it really epitomizes what high school tennis is all about.”

Tebbe introduced his five seniors, Jake Sutton, Benjamin Bird, Rodnick, Max Mercurio and William Belfiore, noting they have been the backbone of the team. They also score high in the classroom. The average GPA of the five is 4.5, according to the coach.

The accomplishment that stands out the most to Tebbe is the improvement each player has made in their career.

“As a coach, my goal every season is to try and help my players improve both individually and has a team over the course of the season,” he said. “I can confidently say these five have improved more than any other group I’ve worked with, not only this season but over the course of four years.

“They’ve all had meaningful contributions to the team this season, both on and off the court. It’s just a pleasure to see.”

Last weekend, the five players raised $1,165.00 for the team.

“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be their coach the past four years,” said Tebbe.

The Dons host Culver City in the first round of the CIF Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday.

Dos Pueblos: The Chargers takes on Loyola in the CIF Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday at home.

Coach Liz Frech said her father is over 100 years old, and she greatly values his words of wisdom.

“We talked a lot about trust and respect,” she said. “Both elements have to be part of the team program in order for good things to happen.”

She said captains Joshua Wang and Miles Baldwin promote those ideas and make good things happen. “They exemplify the warrior-thinker combination.”

Carpinteria: Sammy Gutierrez has been the most improved player in the four seasons he’s played for the Warriors, according to coach Bryant. Sophomore Jacob Ascencio blossomed as a doubles player.