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The Record's top sports stories of 2019: Julian Araujo's break through in MLS takes top spot

The Record's top sports stories of 2019: Julian Araujo's break through in MLS takes top spot

While we begin to settle into 2020, it's time take one final moment to look back at 2019.

Here we will remember the top sports stories of 2019. Last week, we went over Nos. 10 through six. Today we will visit the rest of the top 10. 

The top five stories feature a mix of memorable and historic achievements with changes impacting the sports landscape in the Lompoc Valley.

Nos. 10 through 6: Counting down the top sports stories for the Lompoc Valley in 2019

No. 5: Terrones and Williams inducted into HOF

The Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony is always a big event, but this year it had a little more significance for the Valley.

Not one, but two people who impacted the sports scene in the area were inducted.

Benji Williams was a 95-pound grappler when he first showed up at Cabrillo High a few decades ago. 

He went from undersized wrestler to CIF champion.

Then last year, he was inducted into the Round Table Hall of Fame.

Williams was joined by Lompoc High athletic director Claudia Terrones. Williams was also inducted into his high school’s Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Cabrillo, Williams wrestled for Cal Poly then went into USC's medical school. As of last year, Williams ran his own medical practice at Auburn in Northern California.

Terrones starred in basketball at St. Joseph High and ultimately Hancock College and Gonzaga. She's now in her second year as Lompoc High's athletic director and is the school's longtime girls basketball coach.

Isidro Carrasco, Cabillo High School principal; Claudia Terrones, Lompoc High School athletic director; Gary West, Cabrillo High athletic dire…

No. 4: Gary West takes over as Cabrillo's AD

Dan Troup retired as Cabrillo's athletic director last summer and Gary West has taken over the position this school year. 

“Lompoc Unified School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Gary West has been selected as the new Cabrillo High School Athletic Director beginning in the 2019-20 school year,” an LUSD-issued press release stated early last summer.

West spent 15 years as a high school counselor and taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for over 20 years. Since 1982, he has been involved with coaching. 

West continues to officiate basketball on the Central Coast in his free time. He had a successful run as Cabrillo's boys basketball coach before becoming AD at CHS, though his tenure was marked by some controversy, including a time he was placed on administrative leave after being identified in an altercation with a Cabrillo student. Then, in 2016, West was fired then reinstated as the boys basketball coach during the season. He then resigned after the season. 

No. 3: Lompoc's football league title run ends

Lompoc's football team lost a league game last season. The Braves' loss to Santa Barbara last October was the first such loss for Lompoc in 3,276 days.

That's right. Lompoc went nearly a decade without losing a league game. 

The Braves' streak lasted a total of 43 games. 

The team that ended that streak, Santa Barbara High, eventually closed out an unbeaten run through the Channel League to wrap up the league championship and mark the first season that Andrew Jones didn't win a league title as Lompoc's head coach. 

Santa Barbara, which beat Lompoc 27-21, went on to the CIF Southern Section Division 8 championship game, where the Dons fell in the final seconds to Fullerton Sunny Hills.

No. 2: AJ Pateras dismissed at CHS

The writing was on the wall, but AJ Pateras' run as Cabrillo's football coach coming to an end was still stunning.

Pateras was driven to turn the Conqs into a competitive program, but the results on the field never materialized. Pateras' teams at Cabrillo earned one win in 30 tries over three seasons. 

Still, Pateras was proud of the work he achieved in Vandenberg. 

"I am so proud of the kids and the development and growth they have shown," Pateras said after being let go in November, after a second straight 0-10 season. "For the seniors, it’s been an honor leading them through a similar change three years ago and I think we all know that anything can be thrown at us and we will be OK."

No. 1: Julian Araujo signs with Galaxy

It wasn't long ago that Julian Araujo was patrolling soccer fields for Lompoc AYSO or the Brave varsity team. (Araujo even played varsity football at Lompoc High).

But last year, Araujo signed his first professional contract and it was with the MLS' premiere franchise, the L.A. Galaxy. 

Araujo made an immediate impact on the Galaxy defense and is one of the brightest defensive stars in the league. 

Araujo also has his sights set on making an impact on the international stage. Araujo has spent time with the U.S. men's national junior teams and was invited to the team's training camp early this year, though Araujo is also eligible to play for the Mexican national team due to his Mexican heritage. 

Araujo played in 18 games for the Galaxy in 2019, making 10 starts alongside some of the game's top stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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

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