It was a three-way theme at the latest edition of the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table at Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt on Monday — playoffs, championships and Super Bowl LI.
Round table emcee Charles Sommer started the luncheon by sharing his thoughts on the record-setting game from Sunday.
“Regardless of who you were going for, you were entertained,” Sommer said.
He then acknowledged Righetti High wrestling. Despite the wrestling team not being present at the round table, Sommer wanted to congratulate the Warriors on winning the CIF title recently.
“It’s nice to see the local area represented at the championship level,” Sommer told the crowd. “It’s great to see the tradition of wrestling in the winter season continuing into the 2017 season.”
The luncheon ended with a sweep for Cabrillo High, as both the Male and Female Athlete of the Week winners were awarded to two Conquistador basketball standouts.
LeAndrew Knight and Brittney McCune accepted their awards in front of their coaches and other spectators at the weekly luncheon. Both played an integral part in helping wrap up the Los Padres League championships for CHS last week.
Knight is no stranger to winning the top male honor at the round table.
“Last year when I came, I never won it. But this year I’ve won twice. It’s kind of fun,” Knight said.
For McCune, it’s the first time she’s earned the event’s top female recognition.
“It’s really cool. I’m happy to get recognized,” McCune said.
Knight got his team past Santa Ynez and Lompoc to clinch a sixth straight LPL title for the Conqs last week, while McCune helped clamp down on defense to knock off Lompoc 43-31 last Friday to sweep the regular season series against the Braves and improve to 12-0 in league games.
Before Dick Barrett unveiled his Lompoc lineup at the Round Table, he took the time out to congratulate rival Cabrillo for its success on the basketball court.
“Coach McCune and coach Simmons have done a great job with their basketball programs. So great job,” Barrett said.
He first recognized his girls water polo players Audreyanna Villa and Anallely Gonzalez, plus shared how the Braves girls water polo program has been resurrected through these girls after the sport took a brief hiatus a couple of years ago.
“Audreyanna is one of our best defensive players and leaders as a senior,” Barrett said. “Anallely is our scorer and she has 11 goals on the year. We appreciate these girls for helping bring our water polo program back.”
Barrett then moved over to girls soccer and explained his level of excitement for the team, as this young Braves unit is currently pursuing a league title. Monica Escalante and Ayziah Simmons represented the Braves girls soccer team.
“These two girls have been outstanding for us this year,” Barrett said.
Before Barrett had his exit, he sent this message to the young athletes after watching Super Bowl LI.
“When New England was down 21-0, did they quit? No. It’s a lesson for all of us, whether if we’re coaches, athletic directors, business people, athletes, etc. Let that be a lesson to us all,” Barrett said.
The Conquistadores had the deepest lineup at Giavanni’s. Athletic Director Dan Troup didn’t just bring his top athletes of the week, but brought out girls basketball head coach Jared McCune and boys coach C.J. Simmons.
McCune introduced his daughter Brittney and his top defender Kiki Dial. He reflected back on the emotional 12-point home victory over the Braves last Friday.
“Last two years we’ve shared the league title with Lompoc. This year, both teams wanted it really badly to not share it,” McCune said. “So this game was the defining moment on if we were going to share it or not. We’re really proud of girls for the way they played.”
He cited the defense of the sophomore Dial for playing a major role in defeating LHS, as Dial had the tall order of slowing down top scorer and defender Cheyenne Marmolejo.
“The thing I’m most proud of against Lompoc is that she took on the job of taking on Cheyenne. She only scored three points against us and all of them came from the free throw line. Kiki was just playing defense top to bottom throughout the whole game,” McCune said.
Simmons then took the microphone to introduce Knight and TreVaugn Ross.
“Both have been a really big part of our success this year,” Simmons said.
Troup then spoke on behalf of his top freshman girls wrestler — league champion and silver medalist at the CIF girls Southern Section championship meet Lesly Hernandez.
“She wrestled at the 101 class and she ended up losing to a girl from Calabasas in the finals, but she came back with a silver medal,” Troup said. “She continues to get better and better. She is a true grappler.”
Larry Justice switched the topic back to soccer, as the girls soccer head coach introduced his four seniors Rainey Speer, Karen Montalvo, Ariel Smith and Anika Graack.
He spoke about how his players have kept their composure through all the cancellations they’ve endured due to the rainy weather.
“With all the weather we’ve had and canceling all our practices and rescheduling our games left and right, they’ve really kept their heads up, stayed focused and pushed themselves. And now, we’re fighting with Cabrillo for that last playoff spot, so we’re fighting real hard,” Justice said.
Saints boys basketball head coach Dave Yamate made a return to the round table and brought his trio of Blake Truhitte, Clark Kringel and Isaiah Kurgan.
“We’re coming off a big week last week with two road wins,” Yamate said. “We have a one game lead out of a playoff spot and we have two huge games this week against Santa Ynez and Nipomo.”
The Panthers went with a girls soccer and boys basketball contingent.
First to take the microphone for PV was girls soccer head coach Gabe Velasco, who introduced Patricia Rubio and Lupita Aranda. Like Fortier and Yamate, Velasco discussed his teams’ postseason scenario.
“We control our own destiny playoff wise,” Velasco said. “We win our game tomorrow (against Atascadero), we’re pretty much in.”
Velasco reminded the Round Table crowd that Panthers girls soccer has never clinched a playoff spot in the program’s history.
His players Rubio and Aranda have been key cornerstones for the Panther girls soccer program, since both have been on varsity since their freshman year.
“Patti is our lead scorer with 13 goals and is a two-time All-League selection. She had a big hat trick on Friday night against Arroyo Grande that put us in a great position to clinch our playoff spot,” Velasco said. “Lupita is our second leading scorer and leads the team with assists. She has great speed. We’re looking forward to this week and excited about trying to get into the playoffs.”
Boys basketball coach and Athletic Director Greg Lanthier then took the stage and introduced his deep lineup of Leo-Partida Ruiz, Mike Bourbon, Sal Villa, Matt Garcia, Taylor Burns and Jaden Jones.
Lanthier also saluted PV girls soccer and said “hopefully they get into the playoffs for the first time.”
Cary Nerelli went solo for the Bulldogs, as the women’s basketball coach spent his time sharing the upcoming Carney’s Coaches vs. Cancer game on Feb. 15 against Cuesta on the road, which raises money to help raise cancer awareness.
“Each team puts on a cancer awareness game. We’re hoping to draw a big crowd,” Nerelli says.
Along with Righetti, St. Joseph and Santa Ynez were not in attendance at the luncheon.
Valley Christian Academy
Boys basketball head coach Pete Fortier was first on the microphone and introduced his seniors Tim Hansen and Jake Bouzard.
It’s not often that the Lions go first, but Fortier and his players had a makeup game scheduled that day against Cuyama Valley on the road that same afternoon, which was why they wanted the stage right away.
“We got rained out at Cuyama last time. It’s not raining too hard today so we’re going to go there and play them at their gym and then they turn around and play us tomorrow,” Fortier said.
Fortier also went in depth about the Lions’ final Coast Valley league and playoff scenarios.
“It’s pretty simple this week: It’s our last week and we have three games. If we win all three games, we finish second. If we win today and tomorrow, we still finish second. We have to win one game this week to finish third and get into the playoffs. So we have our hands full for today,” Fortier said.