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79th Semana Nautica Kicks Off With Ocean Swims, Volleyball, 15k Run

Former San Marcos star Anika Wilson, left, is playing with Pepperdine teammate Madalyn Roh in Sunday’s Santa Barbara Women’s Open beach volleyball tournament. Click to view larger
Former San Marcos star Anika Wilson, left, is playing with Pepperdine teammate Madalyn Roh in Sunday’s Santa Barbara Women’s Open beach volleyball tournament.

The beach area will be buzzing with activity this holiday weekend as the Semana Nautica Summer Sports Festival kicks off its two-week run of athletic events.

In its 79th year, Semana Nautica features such traditional events as ocean swims, beach volleyball tournaments, the Krazy Kardboard Kayak race and the 15-kilometer run on the Fourth of July.

Other activities include the Santa Barbara Open tennis tournament, age-group swim meet and master’s division beach volleyball tournament.

Semana Nautica also features special awards for the male and female Ocean Swimmers of the Year, Athlete of the Year and the Jeff Farrell Award.

To be eligible for the male and female ocean swimmer awards, participants must compete in the 1-mile swim (June 2) one of two Reef & Run 1-mile events (June 30 or July 7), one of two Nite Moves 1k swims (June 29 or July 6) and either the 3-mile (June 3) or the 6-mile (July 10) swims. Points are awarded based on the finish of each race.

The award winners will receive a free entry for the Reef & Run boat-to-beach swim on Sept. 1 and have their names placed on a perpetual plaque at the Cabrillo Bath House.

The Semana Nautica 15k will run on a new course on Monday, the Fourth of July. In its 62 year, the run   will start at Hollister Elementary School, off San Marcos Road, go along the Obern Trail and Maria Ygnacio Route bike paths toward Goleta Beach, turnaround at the beach and head back to the finish at Hollister School. The run is a Santa Barbara Athletic Association Grand Prix event and serves as the USATF SCA 15K Championship. There is also a 4K run/walk, which is a SBAA Junior Grand Prix event.

The Mullen and Henzell 1-mile ocean swim on Saturday is one of the most popular events of Semana Nautica. The swim traditionally draws several club swimmers who are in town for the age-group meet at Los Banos Pool, college swimmers returning home from school and athletes doing triathlon training.

The California Beach Volleyball Association Santa Barbara Men’s and Women’s Opens will be played on courts set up in front of the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion. The men play on Saturday and the women on Sunday. Each tournament features pool play before a knockout stage. The semifinals usually start around 3 p.m.

The local team of Ric Cervantes and Mike Stewart is the No. 1 seed in the men’s competition. Stewart is ranked No. 2 among AAA players on the CBVA points list and Cervantes is No. 5. Santa Barbara will be their sixth tournament together. Their results include two thirds and a seventh in AAA events.

Cervantes’ older brother, Shane, is also entered with partner Gabriel Ospina, the No. 7 player in CBVA points for AAA players.

The No. 2 seeded team is Matt Jones and Kyle Stevenson. Jones is the former SBCC men’s volleyball coach who recently was hired as an assistant for the women’s and men’s programs at Harvard, his alma mater. Stevenson, of Palos Verdes and Cal State Northridge, won the CBVA Long Beach AAA tournament in May.

Other local teams that are considered title contenders include Dillan Bennett (Dos Pueblos girls coach) and Lucas Yoder, and Jared Godinez (UCSB alum) and Alejandro Parra.

Sunday’s women’s tournament will feature many of the top college players in the country, including San Marcos alum Anika Wilson of Pepperdine.  She’s playing with Waves teammate Madalyn Roh, a semifinalist in this tournament last year. Wilson earned her AAA rating by winning the Will Rogers State Beach AA with Gigi Hernandez in early June.

Two-time defending champions and cousins Katie Spieler and Torrey Van Winden are not back this year because they’re playing in a professional beach tournament in Norway.

Skylar Caputo of Pepperdine and Abril Bustamante of USC are the No. 1 seeded team in the Women’s Open volleyball tournament. Click to view larger
Skylar Caputo of Pepperdine and Abril Bustamante of USC are the No. 1 seeded team in the Women’s Open volleyball tournament.

The top-seeded team is Skylar Caputo of Pepperdine and Abril Bustamante of NCAA champion USC. Caputo is ranked No. 3 in AAA points and Bustamante is 18th. They’ve captured tournament titles together the past two years; Caputo won this year’s Hermosa Open with Corinne Quiggle.

Another strong collegiate team is Elise Zappia of UCLA and Jenna Belton of USC.

Stanford alum Karissa Cook and Amber Walker are another formidable pair. They won the Huntington Beach AAA in March, and Cook captured the Laguna Beach Open with former Dos Pueblos High and Stanford star Carly Wopat in May.

The East Beach team of Dana Kabashima and Patti Cook can never be counted out. They reached the final last year, two days after Kabashima got married and with Cook being 12 weeks pregnant.

The veteran team of Heather Lowe and Jennifer Dalhausser is also a strong contender. Jennifer is the wife of Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Phil Dalhausser, who is going to his third Olympic Games.

The daughter of Dalhausser's gold-medal partner, Todd Rogers, is entered. Hannah Rogers is playing with Santa Barbara High grad and UC San Diego-bound Jessyca Beksa. They won the Santa Barbara AA in May.

The tournament will feature some outstanding area high school beach players like USC-bound Sammy Slater of Ventura and Keara Rutz of Santa Barbara. Rutz took third in the Manhattan Beach AA last weekend.

The Krazy Kardboard Kayak Race on Saturday, July 9 always sells out. In the event, participants build a kayak out of cardboard and paddle it off West Beach. The event is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

The Santa Barbara Open tennis tournament also begins on July 9 at the Municipal Courts and Pershing Park. UCSB standout Nathan Eshmade is an early entrant in singles and in doubles in Gaucho teammate Miles Seemann.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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