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Athletic Round Table: Soccer Team’s Success Brings Sense of Balance at Carpinteria

Carpinteria head soccer coach Leonardo Quintero, left, is joined players Soloman Nahookaika and Vincent Gonzalez. They won the CIF-SS Division 6 championship. Click to view larger
Carpinteria head soccer coach Leonardo Quintero, left, is joined players Soloman Nahookaika and Vincent Gonzalez. They won the CIF-SS Division 6 championship. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

It was a difficult ending to 2017 and a tough start to 2018 at Carpinteria High.

Athletic Director Pat Cooney described it like getting a bad report card.

“From an education standpoint, F’s are not good,” he said at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. “We had a lot of them stacked up against us there: fire, flood, friend in the hospital, our sports photographer died, we had five weeks off (due to fire, floods), 50 percent of the non-league schedule was lost. That’s a lot of F’s.

“At some point there has to be some balance, or the pendulum has to swing back.”

It has in a big way, with the help of senior Mikayla Blair’s success in athletics and academics and the boys soccer team.

Blair was named the Round Table Scholar Athlete of the Year at Carpinteria and the boys soccer team won a CIF-Southern Section championship.

“We have Mikayla doing her thing and bringing us back to normal and giving us an example,” Cooney said. “We have our teams winning a championship and really giving the Carpinteria community and the high school a big lift, and a feeling there is some sense of normal.”

Soccer Leo Quintero admitted the season looked really unpredictable with all the disasters happening in the community. 

But the team pulled through, finishing second in the tough Tri-Valley League and then making an incredible run through the playoffs, capped by a 3-2 overtime win over Rubidoux in the Division 6 title game on Saturday at Corona High.

“I believe our team peaked at the right moment going into the playoffs,” Quintero said. “We scored three goals in each of our playoff games.”

The title was the first for Carpinteria in 19 years.

Quintero introduced forward Vincent Gonzalez and outside midfielder Soloman Noohakaika.  Gonzalez scored in all but one game in the Southern Section playoffs and Noohakaika delivered a long throw-in that resulted in the winning goal in overtime in the championship game.

Quintero recognized assistant coaches Jerry Rodriguez and Ryan Warner for their contributions to the championship.

“It wouldn’t be possible without them,” he said.


San Marcos

Coach Landon Boucher recalled when point guard Stef Korfas was going into his sophomore year and  predicted winning a CIF title.

“He said to me, ‘Coach, our senior year we’re going to win CIF,’” Boucher said. “I remember at the time I said, OK,  but in my head I’m thinking that’s a bold statement.

“Fast forward a couple of years and Stef is the leading scorer in the championship game and brought San Marcos the first CIF title in boys basketball history.”

The Royals, behind 19 points from Korfas, beat Riverside Poly, 67-47 for the 2A Division title last Saturday at Azusa Pacific.

Boucher recognized Korfas’ positive attitude and all the work he’s put in to reach the goal.

“Stef sacrificed so much this year in terms of giving up points for himself to run the team. He calls every play up the floor all game long and he’s the leader that keeps us organized . He’s just one of the seniors who have been big in sacrificing,” said Boucher.

The special season continues for the Royals on Wednesday with a SoCal Regional playoff game against Granada Hills Charter at Maury Halleck Gym.


Athletic Director Dave Odell recognized pitcher Grant Gardner for his performance in a 2-0 at 14th-ranked The Master’s last week. He pitched 8.1 shutout innings to earn was his fourth win of the season and hand The Master’s its first home loss.

The Warriors have a three-game home series against Hope International on Friday and Saturday.

In track & field, Pieter Top and Anthony Cota earned All-American honors in the heptathlon at the NAIA Indoor Championships. The finished second and third, respectively and both beat the school record of 4,943 points. Top had 5,123 and Cota had 5,117. Both are coached by Josh Priester.

Other Westmont All-Americans included Alyssa Caldera in the 600 meters, Chena Underhill in the pole vault and the women’s 4x800 relay team.

The Westmont basketball teams made history, becoming the first teams from the same school to play in the men’s and women’s championship games at the GSAC Tournament.

"When I talked to the (college) president, I said I don’t have real high expectations for these teams," Odell said. "I really thought they were rebuilding. It really shows the class of our coaching staff, both the men’s and women’s teams. They both didn’t finish in the middle of the pack, they were both vying for a title all the way to the last weekend."


Bishop Diego

First-year coach Nick Katzenstein introduced two key players from his squad, Will Goodwin and Travis Pierce.

Goodwin, a three-sport athlete, can play anywhere in the field. In a recent game against St. Joseph, he pitched, played third base, right and left field and second base.

Pierce is a speedy center fielder. “He covers the outfield like no other,” Katzenstein said.

Santa Barbara

The Dons have been playing against good competition in the season-opening Easton Tournament.

He introduced junior Derek True and sophomore Bryce Warrecker. True plays center field and pitches. Warrecker said he has “an explosive fastball and a wipe-out slider,” and may be getting some starting assignments in the near future. He also hits the ball hard.

“I’m expecting a nice offensive season to complement his pitching,” said coach Warrecker.

Bryce Warrecker is Donny’s nephew. The coach knew right away he was going to be a terror on the baseball field.

“I would throw Bryce wiffle balls in the back yard and he hit me in the forehead with a line drive. After he hit me, the way he would say he wanted to go hit was, ‘I want to hit, I want to hit a line drive off your forehead.’”

The coach’s response: “Can’t we just hit? Let’s keep that out of it.”

Coach Warrecker said Bryce will get his fair share of pitching assignments as well as play first base.


Coach Cooney brought two of his team’s “fresh faces” in Miles Souza and Diego Hernandez.

“They get a chance to run elbows with the (CIF soccer) champions to see how four years might turn out after spending some time and making a good effort,” he said.


San Marcos 

Coach Jeff Swann has a talented sister act in senior Hailey and freshman Allie Fryklund. 

He said Hailey “has done everything we’ve asked of her.”

She played catcher her freshman year, first base as a sophomore and has held down third base the last two years. She also a powerful hitter.

Allie Fryklund can play anywhere on the field, too, including pitcher, and swings a big bat.

“She hits behind Hailey in the order. We look for a lot from her,” said Swann.

Dos Pueblos

Coach Jon Uyesaka is looking for big things from his team in its new CIF playoff division.

“We hope in our new division we can make a dent here. We had rough year last year (in Division 2). We’re in Division 5 this year,” he said.

The Chargers have two solid players in Talia Bloxham and Josy Uyesaka, the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the lineup.

Bloxham, who has committed to Amherst, is a returning pitcher and catcher. She is a multi-sport athlete and a really strong student.

Uyesaka, the coach’s daughter and a junior, also is a strong student. She is a member of DP’s Engineering Academy. 

“I hope to see good things from her this season.”

The Chargers play in the Manlet Tournament in Simi Valley this weekend.


The Warriors have solid line-up, led by twin sisters Mikayla and Amanda Blair and catcher Sam Saenz. Cooney said Saenz has put together a terrific body of work in her four-year career.


Assistant coach Kacee Cox said the Gauchos have six players hitting over .300, led by Sammy Fabian’s .455 average, and senior pitcher Lena Mayer is doing a good job being a team leader.


UCSB Women

The Gauchos have reached the mid-point of their season and are 12-8 following five tournaments.

“Our focus is going to change this week,” coach Serela Kay said. “We open Big West play at Long Beach State."

Kay is happy to welcome back former player Lauren Martin to the squad. She is serving as an assistant coach. 

She played on UCSB’s Big West championship team two years ago and played professionally in Australia last year.

“We’re only good as the people around us,” said Kay.

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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