After taking a week off due to Martin Luther King Day, the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table reconvened on Monday at Giavanni’s Pizza in Orcutt.
This week’s edition featured soccer, basketball and water polo plus previous male and female athlete winners, including the ones from December, were honored during Monday’s edition by emcee Charles Sommer — Santa Maria boys basketball player Joey Nevarez from the week of Dec. 5, SMHS boys soccer’s Jorge Carmona for the week of Dec. 19, Lompoc High girls soccer’s Ayziah Simmons during the week of Jan. 16 and lastly, Pioneer Valley boys soccer’s Carlos Vasquez for Jan. 16.
And for this week’s recipients of the Male and Female honor? That went to two hardwood stars in Orcutt Academy’s Marc Pyle and Lompoc’s Cheyenne Marmolejo.
Pyle earned his nod after dropping 27 points in a 70-57 Los Padres League victory over Templeton last Thursday.
“It’s pretty amazing. I’ve always wanted to be recognized for my basketball skills, and to finally be recognized is an accomplishment to me,” Pyle said.
For Marmolejo, the three-sport star at LHS has never won the Female Athlete of the Week award before at the Round Table, but won her accolade after averaging 13 points per game and becoming a force on the defense and rebounding end for the Braves last week.
“I’ve never been honored here before,” Marmolejo said. “But it’s good to finally be recognized.”
Athletic director Don Cross was the first one to take the microphone and open up the event’s festivities. He brought an all-basketball lineup with him, as Marmolejo, Danielle Morgan and Kam Davis all represented the Braves.
“It’s my pleasure to have three outstanding student-athletes here today,” Cross said. “Our girls do what’s necessary on a game-to-game basis — whether if it’s scoring at will or play defense. They’re a lot of fun to watch and they’re outstanding student-athletes.
“Kam is another outstanding student-athlete for us and is one of our all-around leaders for our basketball team on and off the court.”
Boys basketball head coach Ryan Smalley kept the topic on basketball as he was next to take the stage. The Spartans’ leader introduced Pyle, Anthony Avila and Luis Ramos.
“All three of these guys have made a big impact for us in the last couple of weeks,” Smalley said. “We had a couple of rough starts to our LPL schedule, but last week we were able to bounce back and get a couple of wins … and give us a little bit of rhythm for our last home stretch coming up.”
Shawn Ryan then switched the topic to girls soccer, as the OAHS head coach brought out the trio of Brooke Stewart, Shelby Mohler and Marianna Chavez.
“This is great to recognize our student-athletes. They learn so much more outside of school through athletics that they don’t teach in business school,” Ryan said. “I’m glad to be a part of it anyway that I can.”
Valley Christian Academy
Junior high basketball assistant Andrew McKinney represented the Lions and brought out his young high school trio of Andrew Sparlin, Tommy Kubiak and Richard Matias.
McKinney mentioned how VCA’s senior class and the head basketball coach and athletic director Pete Fortier all took a field trip and missed the Round Table, allowing McKinney to fill in.
All three players are currently sophomores and freshmen at the varsity level.
Head boys basketball coach and athletic director Tom Mott was the next to grab the microphone and keep the focus on basketball, as he brought out Connor Mornini, Elihu Cobb and Marcus Gomis — all three emerging as top scoring options for the longtime head coach.
Mott talked about how his team has rebounded from a rough three-game stretch in the PAC 8 that saw losses to Atascadero, a thrilling nail-biter versus Righetti but then a 40-point drubbing against Mission Prep.
“We had a terrible start to our week last week, but it got a little bit better on Friday night (defeated San Luis Obispo 89-86 on Jan. 20),” Mott said.
The Knights overcame a disastrous 80-40 loss to Mission Prep last Tuesday by holding off SLO to improve to 5-2 in league games.
The Saints brought the deepest lineup to Giavanni’s, as SMHS had boys soccer, boys basketball and girls water polo standouts at the event.
First up was Frank Hernandez of Saints girls soccer, who introduced his seniors Letisia Arredondo and Jenny Lopez.
“They’ve been great for me this year. They’ve played tough every single game,” Hernandez said. “Every practice, they give 110-percent and it’s really showing off in the last couple of games.”
Athletic director Brian Wallace then gave a brief overview of where things stood with boys basketball, saying “The team is 12-9 overall and is one game out of the playoff race with six league games to go. We’re looking forward to a challenging but big week with Morro Bay and Orcutt Academy.”
He gave the microphone to Elvis Garcia, who introduced his teammates Joey Nevarez and Gabriel Cortez.
Then, Wallace was discussing girls water polo when head coach Josh Troeger made a surprise entrance following his class and then proceeded to talk about his team.
“Our season has been interesting because we graduated pretty much our entire varsity team last year and we had to bring up a lot of players who were low on the experience level. We had to teach them the fundamentals on how to do things even against top notch competition,” Troeger said. “It’s been a rough season, but they’ve been improving a lot.”
Two of those players were present and went by the same name — Vanessa Garcia.
The sophomore Garcia was described as someone “who couldn’t swim across the pool when she first started. But now, she’s hands down the fastest player on our team and wins her sprints every time. She’s hyper-dedicated to the program.”
The older Garcia, a junior, was described as the more experienced player and “she’s really progressed a lot over the years. She’s also had to step in and fill a role that she hadn’t been taught to do before and that is be a set player. She’s also learning to be the voice of our team. She gets in there and isn’t afraid to get physical and she notices when things start to escalate, she’s good about getting her team to step back and calm down.”
Jorge Carmona became the last to take the stage for SMHS, as he described the boys soccer season as “a great season for us. It’s been the whole team. Hopefully this year, we take CIF.”
The Panthers went with a soccer and basketball lineup, as girls soccer head coach Gabriel Velasco and boys basketball head coach/athletic director Greg Lanthier were among the present for PV.
Velasco introduced his sophomore duo of Allison Magni and Sasha Bratman.
“Our girls are learning how to close out games,” Velasco said. “We’re having some success in league, which is uncharted waters for us because we’ve struggled in league the past couple of years.”
Magni is a newcomer to the Panthers.
“She came to us from St. Joseph, so thank you St. Joe’s,” Velasco joked.
Carlos Vasquez was the lone representative for boys soccer, who mentioned how the team is currently 6-1 in league play.
Lanthier finished by introducing basketball players D.J. Martinez, Taylor Burns and Jayden Jones.
“We continue to get better. The boys do a great job and we’re certainly good enough to compete night-in and night-out, but winning is still kind of a loose end for us,” Lanthier said. “Hopefully we can continue to get better.”
Athletic director Dan Troup’s contingent was the boys basketball duo of LeAndrew Knight and Jordan Tyler plus the triple threat for the first place Conquistadores girls water polo team — Rylan Scott, Ellery Wilkie and Mary Rhodes.
Troup started out by shining his light on his aquatic stars for CHS, applauding them for their perseverance.
“We’re off to a real successful season and we’re doing real fine,” Troup said. “I’ve got to tip my hat to these ladies. They’ve dealt with a lot of distractions this year and last year, and one of them was the facility we play in. Normally, they play in the Lompoc Aquatic Center but that had to be closed down due to some work that needs to be done on the floor. They actually had to play a game at our facility in an all-shallow pool, which hadn’t happened in a couple of years. But they work hard and they’re a great group.”
Troup reminded the crowd that the girls water polo team has a huge first place battle against Santa Ynez on Wednesday. He then put the light on his round ball duo, who he called college level prospects.
“Both of these young men are legit next level guys. You’ll see them in the next level. Where? We’re not certain yet,” Troup said.
Women’s basketball head coach Cary Nerelli ended the festivities with a spin — He didn’t bring out his top scorers or his top players in general, but two athletes he described as players who bring out the best in their teammates during practices as reserves.
They were freshmen Vanessa Ortiz and Anamarie Fruge.
“Both of these kids are locals. Every coach in here knows that teams are made up from a bunch of players. You can’t rely on one or two players to make your team go,” Nerelli said. “Anamarie and Vanessa don’t get as much playing time as the other kids. But they show up to practice every single day, they give every bit of effort that they can, they’re outstanding young ladies in the classroom and outstanding young ladies in the community. We’re proud to have them in our program.”
Hancock associate dean and athletic director Kim Ensing was also present for the Bulldogs.
Santa Ynez High and Righetti were the only schools that were not present at this week’s luncheon.