The final push for league championships became the central theme of Monday’s Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table at Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt.

Coaches, athletic directors and players all shared where things stood in the tail end of the winter sports season – as area teams are aiming to secure outright league titles or shares of championships, while others are aiming for a CIF appearance or just simply finishing the season strong. One team that was represented on Monday, Cabrillo High boys basketball, already clinched its Los Padres League title last week – making it seven in a row for CHS.

Outside of high school sports, Hancock men’s basketball placed itself in a position where the Bulldogs will likely break into the top 25 in the state after an impressive 96-94 overtime win over state ranked Ventura that placed AHC into a tie for first place in conference play on Saturday, said head coach Tyson Aye. His player Spirit Ricks – who had 24 points and hauled down 11 rebounds in that overtime thriller – was named the Male Athlete of the Week by the Round Table.

“It really means a lot to me,” Ricks told the crowd after accepting his award. “Coach Aye has put me in the best position to succeed. We’re doing really great this season.”

The Female Athlete of the Week also came from the basketball court, as Righetti’s Zane Sheckherd won this week’s honor after averaging 16 points per game last week to keep RHS’s 21-game winning streak alive. Sheckherd said she became more aggressive when it came to driving to the lane on the floor.

“I’m also getting more boards (rebounds) than I used to, and I really hate getting rebounds,” Sheckherd said, smiling. “But I’ve got to do it. Our team has been coming together as well. We’re really excited heading into CIF.”

Other highlights:

Orcutt Academy

The Spartans were first on stage as boys soccer was represented.

Head coach Josh Bennett introduced David Conable, Jared Sutton and Josh Dyson. Bennett called this season “a really tough season for us” and cited six games that saw the Spartans take teams to the final seconds before losing – including four losses that were decided in overtime. However, Bennett added “the guys have really competed hard this year. Overall, it’s been a really good season for us.”

Hancock College

Aye spoke about the win over the visiting Pirates, who were ranked in the top 20 and undefeated in the Western State North Conference before getting tripped up by the Bulldogs. Aye added his team is currently 18-8 overall and riding a five-game winning streak.

“We’ve got a lot of good things going on,” Aye told the crowd.

Cary Nerelli also was in attendance as he shared how his team is sitting near the top of the conference at 12-10 and 4-2 in conference play. His players Sidney Aguilera and Kiesa Romero were on hand.

Pioneer Valley

Girls wrestling was first up as head coach R.D. Noel introduced wrestlers Judith Hernandez and Jennifer Espinoza.

Then, athletic director Greg Lanthier was next on stage to shine a light on his boys wrestlers Alan Reyes, Juan Guzman and Klever Paxtor. Boys soccer players Oscar Ramirez and Jorge Mendez were present for PVHS as well.


Dick Barrett spoke about where the Braves teams were standings wise in the winter sports season, plus applauded the Cabrillo teams – especially the basketball programs – for its success this season.

Wrestler Connor Hayes was in attendance. Barrett called him “a great student” and joked that he had to eat light due to his next meet and chose to neglect the pizza, salad and bread at Giavanni’s.

“Poor guy, we’re over here chowing down on pizza and he’s there with his salad,” Barrett said.

Girls basketball players Kayla Taylor and Alyssa Grossi were at the luncheon as well.

Valley Christian Academy

Basketball was the big representative for the Lions, as both boys and girls basketball were introduced.

The Lions coaching lineup at Giavanni’s were: Pete Fortier (athletic director), Chris Maples (boys basketball) and Randy Stanford, who spoke on behalf of girls basketball. The players at the luncheon were Jared Moore and Jamin Magness of the boys basketball team and Savannah Trenkle and Mayley DeBernardi of the girls team.


The Conquistador athletes spoke on behalf of CHS.

Eric Diaz of the boys soccer team talked on behalf of the Conquistadores and introduced senior goal keeper Jose Ramirez. Then, Cruz Smith of the wrestling team took the microphone and introduced teammate Patrick Durham – who is currently undefeated in the Los Padres League.

Blake Beecher was last on the microphone and shined a light on his teammates LeAndrew Knight and Austin Olsen. Boys basketball head coach C.J. Simmons was also in attendance.


Girls basketball head coach Desiree Hitch shared her team’s winning streak and pursuit of another perfect PAC-8 title run.

Along with Sheckherd, Alijah Paquet and Kendall Bagby were also representing the girls basketball team.

St. Joseph

Athletic director Tom Mott spoke on behalf of the Knights’ girls basketball team as he introduced Jazlyn Zepeda and Sam Brackett. Then, head boys soccer coach Alex Spence was next on the podium to share how encouraged he was about the development of his team, as his players Jorge Martinez and Eddie Aldridge were on hand.

Mott also told the Times that St. Joseph has agreed to play a non-league football game against Visalia Central Valley Christian for the 2018-19 season. The Cavaliers were the CIF Central Section Division IV runner-up last season.

Santa Maria and Santa Ynez were not in attendance at the Round Table.