Womble Award: Bentajado’s caring nature a blessing for Bishop

Whether it’s on the basketball the court or in the community, Ann Bentajado is willing to lend a helping hand.

The Bishop Diego junior on Wednesday was honored as the school’s recipient of the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Ann Bentajado, Bishop Diego's recipient of the Phil Womble Award.

Ann Bentajado, Bishop Diego’s recipient of the Phil Womble Award.

As a sophomore, Bentajado was a key contributor in Bishop Diego’s run to the CIF girls basketball championship last season.

“I can’t think of a more deserving person than Ann,” Bishop girls basketball coach Jeff Burich said. “On the court, she is a tough competitor, and she is the first person to go help someone when they get knocked down on the court.”

Burich said he would be watching game film and remark: “Gosh, why can’t we get back on defense?” And the players would reply, ‘”Oh, Ann’s over there helping the one player on the other team that got knocked down.’ That’s the kind of person she is.”

During Bentajado’s freshman year, Burich remembered her telling him that she and her family were going downtown to feed the homeless.

“She’s out there helping as many people as she can; she’s just a generous person, a truly caring person,” said Burich.

In addition to being a key member of the basketball team, Bentajado also runs track. In the classroom, she carries a 4.64 GPA with a class load that includes three advanced placement courses.

Off the court, she serves as a lector and altar server at Mt. Carmel Church, is a student leader with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and volunteers at Santa’s Workshop, the Giving Tree Sober Living Home for Women and at Campo del Sol, a local non-profit that assists families that cannot afford basic school supplies or decent school clothes.

“Ann exemplifies all what this award is about,” Bishop teacher and coach Dan Yokubaitis said in a statement. “Like Phil, Ann is a leader by example and receives her classmates’ respect through hard work and dedication.”