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Round Table: Mackenzie Kestler, Eddie Battle, Devin Guggia and Mallory Branum named Athletes of the Week

Round Table: Mackenzie Kestler, Eddie Battle, Devin Guggia and Mallory Branum named Athletes of the Week

After taking a week off for Veterans Day, the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table made its return.

Due to the Round Table taking a break, four students were honored for winning Athlete of the Week honors at the luncheon held in Orcutt's Giavanni's Pizza on Monday. 

For the week of Nov. 11, Righetti volleyball player Mackenzie Kestler and Allan Hancock College running back Eddie Battle were named the Athletes of the Week. 

For the Nov. 18 Round Table, St. Joseph running back/defensive back Devin Guggia and Lompoc cross country runner Mallory Branum were voted Athletes of the Week. 

Only Branum was in attendance at Monday's Round Table. She has quickly turned into one of the best sophomore runners in the county. 

At the CIF Southern Section Division 3 prelims on Saturday, she finished with a time of 19 minutes, 58.8 seconds, the seventh-best time for a sophomore in the race.

"I was really shocked, I didn't think I'd be getting it," Branum said of being named Athlete of the Week. "It's really neat to get."

Branum had minimal cross country experience before high school

"I haven't been running for a long time, I was just convinced to do it," she said. "I did it last year and I didn't really enjoy it, but I did fine so I was kind of encouraged to do it this year, which I did. Now I'm just kind of in it."

During the season, Branum and her teammates were running 5 to 6 miles a day in training. She said the highlight of her season was finishing second at the Channel League Mid-Season Meet that was held at Cabrillo last month. 

"That's the best I've ever placed," Branum said.

Guggia was named Athlete of the Week after he he racked up 152 rushing yards on 28 carries in the Knights' 28-21 quarterfinal win at Visalia Redwood in the CIF Central Section Division 2 playoffs. Guggia also intercepted a pass for the Knights as they upset the No. 3 seed on the road.

Guggia's Knights play at No. 2 seed Fresno San Joaquin Memorial in the semifinals Friday night.

Kestler, a senior hitter for the Warriors, helped lead Righetti to the CIF Central Section Division 3 title match and to the CIF State SoCal Regional Division 4 semifinals over the last two weeks.

Kestler totaled 40 kills, seven aces, three blocks  and 47 digs in the Central Section playoff run.

Battle earned his Athlete of the Week award after rushing for 114 yards on 10 attempts in a win over L.A. Pierce on Nov. 9. Battle and the Bulldogs wrapped up the American Pacific Conference title with a 42-7 win at L.A. Harbor on Saturday and earned the right to host Mt. San Jacinto in the Western State Bowl on Saturday at Righetti High. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.


Claudia Terrones spoke for LHS athletics, highlighting football player Joe Schumer who wasn't able to attend the luncheons during the season. Schumer plans on joining the Army after graduating in 2020.


Ella Hood and Maddi Cutliff represented Righetti High water polo on Monday. Hood is the Warriors' starting goalie but Cutliff figures to take over the position next season. Righetti made it to the CIF Central Section Division 1 quarterfinals this year.


Football coach Pete Fortier brought a trio of players: Andres Taborga, Conner Anderson and Caleb Kerley. The Lions lost to the top seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 8-man playoffs last weekend, Bloomington Chrtistian. 

Three schools not in attendance at Monday's Round Table were Santa Ynez, Cabrillo, St. Joseph, Orcutt Academy, Santa Maria, Pioneer Valley and Hancock College. The Round Table will be off next week for Thanksgiving and return on Monday, Dec. 2. 

Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at


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