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Smooth return to campus for Cabrillo and Lompoc athletes this past week
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Smooth return to campus for Cabrillo and Lompoc athletes this past week

From the What you need to know for Monday, September 14 series

Gary West and Claudia Terrones came to a consensus this week: Their student-athletes returning to on-campus activities for the first time since March went seamlessly. 

Cabrillo High, where West is the Athletic Director, and Lompoc High, where Terrones is the AD, both welcomed dozens of students to campus for the resumption of athletic activities last Tuesday. 

The ADs spent the week busily ensuring all COVID-19 protocols were adhered to. West set up shop at his school's entrance, checking students in and directing them to their respective training pods. 

"I will tell you that it has been awesome," West said of his school's first week back. "And, maybe I’m doing things a little bit differently, maybe I’m not, but I check in every kid and every coach once they get on campus. But, just to have the relationships return and be able to talk to some kids has been great."

Terrones had her hands full with similar duties at Lompoc High. 

"We put in a lot of time with the district and the county to prepare for this, so that made it easy," Terrones said of the return. "If my student-athletes are happy then I’m happy and doing my job."

Terrones, who noted that the county health office is not requiring athlete temperature checks, said her school welcomed back football players, spirit leaders and water polo players and that both schools are starting by bringing returning varsity athletes back to campus and will look to expand that to bring in underclassmen and new athletes after a period of two weeks. 

"We could see the smiles through their masks and it was a relief to get back to something that was somewhat normal," Terrones said.

The LHS football team worked out on the new Huyck Stadium turf for the first time this week. There were five pods of 10 athletes on the football field "with masks the whole time," Terrones added.

They both started boxing when they were 8 years old. One of the first times they appeared in this newspaper, was in July of 2007. Jose was 11 and Carlos, then going by the given spelling of his first name, was 10. They both attended Liberty Elementary. Karlos had just won his age group in the 65-pound weight class at the Desert Showdown in Coachella. Jose took first place in his 11-12-year-old age group in the 65-pound division. 

The Braves had three pods of 10 spirit leaders and athletes in water polo also broken up into pods.

Cabrillo's football team, with new coach Andy Guyader, is set to restart on Monday. 

West said he did see a gradual increase in his students' moods as the week wore on.

"It’s funny, when they showed up on Tuesday it was like seeing kindergartners going to kindergarten. They were excited, but nervous. Now they're settling in, the coaches have figured things out and they're getting super excited," West said. "It's been great."

West is himself excited to see his new football coach finally get to meet some of his players in person. Guyader was hired in March and has yet to hold an in-person practice.

"Andy has the right approach," West said of Guyader. "He isn’t in any hurry and the reason he’s not in a hurry is that he’s going to do this right. He has it mapped out like you wouldn’t believe. He is here to give kids the right to earn to play the game. He has the right mindset and he delayed a week and made sure he’s doing this right."

Athletes returning are only participating in outdoor conditioning drills that do not resemble full-fledged practices. High school sports have been shut down since March amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. That led to the cancellation of the spring season and postponement of all high school sports until late December and early January.

Another interesting topic is if or when Cabrillo's football team will eventually get to train and practice on the new artificial turf installed at Huyck Stadium, the district field that both the Braves and Conqs use to play their football games.

"Claudia and I have talked about it and we are going to share it," West said. "Now we’re not interested in that right now anyway, with how things are. But, maybe once we start playing football and practicing football I could at least see where Lompoc will go on the field right after school and we'll take 5:30 to 7 under the lights some days. There is not any animosity or fighting over this. We're not doing that. We want it to be equitable."

Terrones said the LHS football players appreciated the new artificial turf and all the renovations made to the historic stadium.

"It's surreal," she said. "I would be walking out there and seeing nobody using this beautiful stadium, but this week we were like kids in a candy store walking through the gates. The kids are very appreciative and it's an amazing field. I had to take a walk to the top of the bleachers and what a view it was. It was nice to see."

Player of the Decade: Get to know the greatest girls basketball players from the last decade

You didn't think we would stop with football, did you?  We continue highlighting the greatest athletes in the history of the Central Coast with our Player of the Decade series, but this time we focus on girls basketball! 

We have profiled 12 athletes for you to learn more about and the voting will start next week! Share the profiles, and the polls on your social media pages and let's continue the great participation and find out who your choice is for Player of the Decade. 

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Back in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, Tell helped lead a major turnaround at the school. In Tell's freshman season at PVHS, the Panthers went 2-10 in league. By her junior season, the Panthers were 10-2. By her senior season, the Panthers were 11-1 in league and crowned league champions.

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Though Dunlap had a reputation as an all-time great on defense, she may have been equally as good on offense. In her three seasons at St. Joseph, Dunlap scored over 1,300 points. During her senior season with the Knights, the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 23.7 points, 3.0 assists, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as the Knights went 19-9.

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Just look at the résumé: She earned All-Los Padres League honors all four years she played on varsity, being named to the Honorable Mention team as a freshman before landing on the First Team in her final three years, including the LPL Defensive MVP award in 2018 when she was a senior.

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Schlemer is the second nominee for the Santa Maria Times' Player of the Decade award for girls basketball, joining the first, Erin Jenkins of Cabrillo High. The list of nominees is compiled by the sports staff at the Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News, which is polling current and former coaches and researching individual and team accolades. Players in graduating classes from 2010-2020 are eligible.  

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