Historic milestones and programs being built from the ground up through a new regime were this week’s theme of the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table.
The weekly luncheon at Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt on Monday recognized two programs undergoing a transition period in Pioneer Valley girls basketball and St. Joseph boys soccer – but both head coaches of the programs, Mike Bloodworth of PVHS and Alex Spence of SJHS, sounded optimistic about the direction their programs were going in during this 2017-18 winter sports season.
The monumental accomplishment that was recognized by the Round Table was Lompoc’s Danielle Morgan scoring her 1,000th career point on the basketball court. That milestone earned Morgan the Female Athlete of the Week nod.
Morgan, who attended the luncheon with her mother and head coach Claudia Terrones, reflected back on the moment she reached the 1,000-point summit last Tuesday against Santa Ynez.
“I didn’t even know to be honest (that I reached 1,000). But when they stopped the game, I was just ecstatic,” Morgan said. “I was so happy to be able to be a part of this team and score this achievement. I was really happy.”
Morgan and Terrones said that they’ll be taking some recruiting visits next month – as San Francisco State and Biola University have expressed interest in the four-year varsity star. Terrones adds that her daughter has expressed interest in Gonzaga, where Terrones played her college basketball.
The top male athlete came on the soccer field, as Righetti’s Bryan Rivera kicked two goals in the 2-0 stunner against first-place Paso Robles last Tuesday. A smiling Rivera took photos with his head coach Rob Golden and teammates Jose Juarez and Aaron Lee after the Round Table wrapped up.
“It’s a great accomplishment. But I have to give it up to my coaches and teammates – they’ve led me to this point,” Rivera said. “I can’t do anything without them.”
Girls basketball head coach Desiree Hitch kicked off this week’s luncheon by praising the effort of her team – as the Warriors have navigated through PAC 8 League play with a 7-0 record and a 22-game winning streak in league games.
Hitch brought out Mercedes Arredondo and Malia Cabigon to the luncheon. Also representing RHS were the aforementioned boys soccer representatives.
Girls basketball head coach Tom Robb called his group of Spartans a young team – but one with enthusiasm for the future especially during their current 9-6 start.
Robb had Vanessa Salazar and Mariah Lopez on hand. Also in attendance for OAHS were athletic director Chad McKenzie plus boys soccer head coach Josh Bennett and his trio of players Mika Sanchez, Eddie Lundberg and Michael Lopez.
Athletic director Greg Lanthier continued to joke that the winter sports season is usually the time the Panthers do well across the board.
Lanthier, also the boys basketball head coach, helped introduce boys soccer players Josh Lopez and Louis Gonzalez. He also shined a light on Panther wrestlers Eddie Lucio and Elias Zepeda.
Bloodworth then took the stage to share how his girls basketball team has “played for one another and play as one” on any given night in his first season at the helm. His players on hand were Zara Martinez and Letty Medina.
Valley Christian Academy
Randy Stanford continues to prevent himself from taking breaks, as the longtime football coach is currently leading the girls basketball team.
Stanford introduced his players Grace Cose and Shy Kendrick – the latter a transfer from Lompoc High.
The always effervescent Dick Barrett spoke highly of his Brave teams – from girls basketball to boys soccer.
On the boys soccer side, Barrett spoke about the fast start the Braves have been on with a 6-0 mark in Los Padres League games. Ricardo Garay was the LHS boys soccer representative.
Along with Morgan and Terrones, Barrett introduced freshman Mya Mendoza of the girls basketball team who Barrett described as “an energizer bunny on the court.” Barrett added that Mendoza’s uncle is former LHS football standout Nate Mendoza – who recently resigned as head football coach at Dos Pueblos but will serve in the school’s administration as the Dean of Students.
Jenna Patel of the girls basketball team was first up for the Knights, as the senior captain introduced her teammate Lauren Engel.
Next up was Spence, who spoke about how his players Gabe Penner and Patrick Rigali – both of whom attended the Round Table – have adjusted to their roles on the field. Athletic director Tom Mott also was present inside Giavanni’s.
Women’s basketball head coach Cary Nerelli went solo for the Bulldogs – speaking on behalf of his team and the men’s basketball team.
Not in attendance were Santa Maria, Santa Ynez and Cabrillo.