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Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Celebrates Players of the Year at Evening of Athletes

Bishop Diego's Tom Crawford, SBCC's John Sisterson are selected as coaches of the year


It was a night to remember on Wednesday at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s Evening with the Athletes at the New Vic Theater.

The SBART celebrated the achievements of high school, college and open athletes, highlighted by the greatest success in Santa Barbara history: Two state championships (Bishop Diego football and SBCC women’s water polo), four CIF champions and one individual CIF champ.

Tom Crawford was selected as high school Coach of the Year, after leading Bishop Diego football to a 15-1 record with their first CIF-Southern Section title and their first state championship.

They won the Div. 6 title in a dominating 37-6 victory over Golden Valley. The Cardinals kept it rolling in the state playoffs, whipping Quartz Hill 41-7 in the regionals and blasting Shasta 41-6 in the state championship game to become the first county school to win a state football championship.

John Sisterson was chosen as the college Coach of  the Year after he guided the SBCC men and women soccer teams to undefeated regular seasons.

The women went 21-1-1 with a school-record 21-game win streak and only allowed six goals all year. They won the WSC North title and reached the state Final Four for the second straight year. The Vaqueros topped Folsom Lake in the semifinals, then fell to unbeaten Fresno City, 2-1, in the title game.

The Vaquero men went 15-0-4 in the regular season and finished 17-1-4, losing a tough 1-0 decision at Mt. SAC in the Regional final and falling one win short of the Final Four.

San Marcos led the high schools with 12 Player of the Year awards. Dos Pueblos took home five and Santa Barbara had four. Bishop Diego garnered two Player of the Year awards while Carpinteria, Cate and Laguna Blanca got one apiece.

In college, UCSB led the way with 13 trophies, while SBCC collected five and Westmont received three.

Special athlete receiving award. Click to view larger
Ryan Childress was awarded the Special Olympics Mayor’s Trophy as Athlete of the Year. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Ryan Childress was awarded the Special Olympics Mayor’s Trophy as Athlete of the Year; Joseph Pigatti of Dos Pueblos received the Russ Morrison Memorial Golf Scholarship; Chase Murphy, a senior at Santa Barbara High, got the Larry Crandell Memorial Scholarship; Ryan Hodosy of Dos Pueblos accepted the SBART Founders Scholarship; and Sarah Owens, a four-year water polo player and swimmer at San Marcos, got the Jim Ranta Memorial Scholarship.

Other awards went to the Riviera Youth Bike Team (Russ Hargreaves Award) and Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons (R.F. MacFarland Memorial).

Jeff Farrell was chosen as the Open Athlete of the Year and Rusty Snow won the Master Athlete Award.

Farrell qualified for the 1960 Olympics in Rome despite having an appendectomy just six days before the trials. He’s still competing in the 80-84 age group, setting a national record in the 50-yard freestyle of 28.68 seconds at last year’s U.S. Masters Nationals.

Remarkably, that time is just 6.18 seconds off his world-class pace of 22.50 seconds that he swam nearly 60 years ago.

Snow is a well-known runner in the Santa Barbara area for the last 15 years. Not only does he find a podium spot in most races he enters, he’s also grown the sport as a coach and founder of Santa Barbara Running and Racing.

Snow has won the Elliptical Cycling World Championship six straight years. It’s a grueling timed ride up Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County with an average grade of 7 percent and a 4,200-foot climb in just 11.69 miles.

Below are all of the high school and college Athletes of the Year.

Fall Sports Athletes of the Year

College Football: Manny Nwosu, SBCC. Rushed for 1,080 yards and 9 TDs for the Vaqueros, the program’s first 1,000-yarder rusher in decades. He was No. 9 in the state and had six 100-yard games with a high of 199 yards vs LA Southwest.

College Men’s Cross Country: Michael Oldach, Westmont. He became just the second Westmont men's cross country runner to win the GSAC Individual Championship. Oldach completed the 8,000-meter race in a time of 24:39.7 to claim first place.

College Women’s Cross Country: Jenna Hinkle, UCSB. The senior won Big West individual title, finished unbeaten in conference and led the Gauchos to the team championship.

College Men’s Water Polo: Shane Hauschild, UCSB. Earned Honorable Mention All-American honors for the second straight year after leading the Gauchos in nearly every major statistical category in 2017. He UCSB with 36 goals, 21 assists, 34 steals and 10 field blocks. The four-year letter-winner never missed a game in his outstanding career, suiting up 103 times, and finishing with 139 career goals.

College Women’s Volleyball: Lindsey Ruddins, UCSB. First-team All-Big West, first team All-Pacific Region and honorable mention All-American for second straight year. Lindsey put together one of the most productive campaigns in program history in 2017, leading the country by healthy margins and setting new school records with 5.84 kills per set and 6.46 points per set.

College Women’s Soccer: Katherine Sheehy, SBCC. She was the WSC Player of the Year, All-West Region and All-American on the best team in school history. The UCSB-bound Sheehy had 15 goals, 36 points and five game-winning goals on a 21-1-1 team that reached the state final.

College Men’s Soccer: Victor Chavez, SBCC. WSC co-Player of Year, fifth in the state with 16 goals and 38 points. He led the WSC with 10 goals in 10 conference games.

College Women’s Golf: Vanessa Watkins, SBCC. Finished third at State Tournament, made all-state team, led SBCC to third in the state with 90-3 record.

College Women’s Water Polo (SBCC season): Emma Fraser, SBCC. Led SBCC to State Title; WSC Player of Year, All-Southern Cal and All-American; had 86 goals, 56 steals and 34 assists. MVP of State Tournament

Prep Football: John Harris, Bishop Diego. Rushed for more than 2,000 yards and a country record 34 rushing TDs, led Bishop to CIF-SS, SoCal and State titles

Prep Girls Volleyball: Laurel Kujan, Laguna Blanca. Led Owls to CIF Division 5 Quarterfinals and signed a beach volleyball scholarship to USC.

Prep Boys Water Polo: Ethan Parrish, Dos Pueblos. The sophomore was named co-MVP of the Channel League and led the Chargers to the CIF championship game. 

Prep Girls Tennis: Yuka Perera, San Marcos. Channel League singles champion and reached CIF quarterfinals.

Prep Girls Golf: Bella Vigna, Dos Pueblos. She became first four-time Channel League champion by shooting 71 and 74 at Soule Park in Ojai and winning the 2017 league title by 8 shots.

Prep Boys Cross Country: Jason Peterson, San Marcos. He led Royals to Channel League title and won county title.

Prep Girls Cross Country: Madison Funk, San Marcos. She won county championship, helping Royals win team title and placed fifth at CIF Prelims.

Winter Sports Athletes of the Year

Prep Boys Basketball: Jackson Stormo, San Marcos. Big center dominated inside, leading the Royals to their first CIF-SS championship and the quarterfinals of the state tournament

 He was a force for Royals, averaging 17.8 points, shooting 72 percent from the floor; grabbing 12.8 rebounds, dishing out 2.3 assists and blocking 90 shots. He’s headed to Pepperdine.

Prep Girls Basketball: Alondra Jimenez, Santa Barbara High. The senior was the floor leader for the Channel League-champion Dons. Great passer, excellent ball handler, good outside shooter, Alondra did it all. She averaged 15.3 points, 5.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game, and shot 40 percent on three-pointers. She’s headed to Vanguard University.

Prep Girls Soccer: Sierra Palladino, San Marcos. A big-time left foot. Her great crossing passes and free kicks helped the Royals finish 2nd in the Channel League and post a huge upset over Oaks Christian in the CIF playoffs. She’s headed to Westmont.

Prep Boys Soccer: Ben Roach, Santa Barbara & Gabe Barajas, Carpinteria. Barajas, the Carpinteria playmaking midfielder, led the Warriors to the CIF double — the Division 6 section title and Division 5 state regional championship. Ben Roach was brilliant at goalkeeper for the Dons, leading them to the Division 1 title.

He came up huge in a 1-0 double overtime win at Loyola in the semifinals and was even bigger in the final against Cathedral. The game went to a penalty-kick shootout, and he stopped three consecutive Cathedral shots to help the Dons win the championship, the seventh in program history. He’s headed to UCSB.

Prep Wrestling: Will Yamasaki, Dos Pueblos. Won a CIF individual championship, DP’s first champion since 2015, and led Chargers to a fourth straight Channel League title and second straight CIF runner-up finish. He also was the Channel League football defensive MVP and an All-CIF selection in football.

Prep Girls Water Polo: Ryann Neushul, Dos Pueblos & Piper Smith, San Marcos. Future is so bright for these two amazing players. They led their teams to the CIF Division 1 finals.

Smith scored the game-winning goal in an epic 4-3 win over the Chargers for the program’s first CIF title before an overflow crowd at the Elings Aquatic Center. She’s headed to UC Irvine. Neushul scored 104 goals, had 34 assists, 83 steals and earned 64 ejections for DP, leading the Chargers to a 30-3 season. She’s headed to Stanford.

College Men’s Basketball: Max Heidegger, UCSB. First Team All-Big West Conference and a member of the Big West All-Tournament Team. Averaged 19.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2017-18 as he helped UCSB to a 23-9 overall record and a mark of 11-5 in the Big West. Heidegger also set a new Gaucho record for 3-point baskets in a single season with 95.

College Women’s Basketball: Lauren McCoy, Westmont. NAIA First Team All-American and was selected to be a member of the NAIA All-Tournament First Team after leading Warriors to a runner-up finish. She averaged 14.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and ended her four years at Westmont as the career leader in scoring (1,538 points), rebounding (1,102), blocked shots (159) and games played (132).

"She was exceptional as a senior, as a leader and as someone who embodies what we are about as Warriors,” said coach Kirsten Moore. “Those things are far more important than the stats.”

College Men’s Swimming: Billy Mullis, UCSB. Qualified for the NCAA Championships; Set school records in the 200 butterfly and the 200 backstroke. He will be graduating from UCSB with a double major in pyschology and economics. He has broken numerous school records along with winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship two years in a row. 

College Women’s Swimming: Emily Boggess, UCSB. She finished second in the MPSF Championships in the 1650 freestyle in 16:20.96 and swam anchor on the second-place 400 medley relay team. In a meet against UCLA, she won the 1000 and 500 freestyle events to help Gauchos beat the Bruins for the first time in program history.

Won the 500 and 1650 free at Husky Invitational in Seattle.

Spring Sports Athletes of the Year

Prep Baseball: Dylan Kelley, Dos Pueblos & Isaac Coffey, Dos Pueblos. The pair are the heart and soul of the Chargers. They’re both quality pitchers with 9-0 records and outstanding hitters, batting around .400. They sparked the team to a 16-game winning streak and a Channel League championship.

Prep Softball: Aliyah Huerta-Leipner, San Marcos. Standout left-handed pitcher and hitter for the Royals, who are headed to the CIF playoffs. She’s signed to continue her career at Boston University.

Prep Boys Volleyball: Will Rottman, Santa Barbara High. A powerhouse outside hitter who’s among the best in the CIF. Rottman plays an all-around game and is the heart of the Santa Barbara team.

Prep Boys Tennis: Dominik Stefanov, San Marcos. He went undefeated in Channel League play, leading the Royals to their second straight team championship.

Prep Girls Swimming: Maija Ninness, San Marcos. The senior will graduate as one of the most decorated swimmers in the past decade at San Marcos. She holds 4 school records, a three-time Channel League champion and high school All-American.

Set a school record in the 100 backstroke and broke the Channel League record in the 100 butterfly (56.55) at the League Finals. Has a 4.5 GPA and will attend Brown University.

Prep Girls Track & Field: Allie Jones, San Marcos. A three-event county champion in the high jump, long jump and 100 hurdles. She is one of the top prep multi-event competitors in the country. She placed second in the heptathlon at the Arcadia Multis. She’s headed to Stanford.

Prep Boys Lacrosse: Mason Zimmerman, San Marcos. Mason has been a key to the Royals’ success this season. His goal scoring and passing helped the team qualify for the Division 1 playoffs for the first time in program history.

Prep Girls Lacrosse: Brie Walker, Cate. Brie Walker has set the bar far above the rest of other players on the field,” coach Renee Mack said. “As a freshman recently commented, "I am lucky to have the chance to play on the team with Brie”. She averaged five goals and three assists a game and led her team to an undefeated regular season.

College Men’s Volleyball: Corey Chavers, UCSB. First Team All Big West; led the Gauchos with 255 kills in 22 matches while averaging 3.27 kills per set, ranking Top-10 in the Big West in each category. He ranked fifth in the nation and third in the conference with 8.73 attacks per set.

College Men’s Golf: Brett Bennett, UCSB. Had lowest stroke average on Gauchos, 72.56. Finished under par in 3 tournaments. Has best round of any Gaucho with a 68 at Jackrabbit Invitational.

College Softball: Alyssa Diaz, UCSB. Middle name is Jewels and she was jewel of an offensive player. The sophomore batted .343, shared team lead with five homers; led in doubles and RBI. Had a slugging percentage of .518.

College Men’s Track & Field: Kordell Hampton, UCSB. Threw 187-2 to add another five inches to his school-record mark. His record-setting throw has him ranked at No. 21 in the nation for NCAA Division 1.

College Women’s Track & Field: Hope Bender, UCSB. She scored 5,725 points in the heptathlon to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The total is second all-time at UCSB. She tied Olympian Barbara Nwaba’s 100-meter hurdle record of 13.59.

College Baseball: Michael Stefanic, Westmont. He was named the GSAC co-Player of the Year. He batted .401 in the regular season and had a fielding average of .984. He finished first in the GSAC in hits. At Westmont,, he ranks first in career hits at 263, doubles, total bases and at bats; 2nd in career runs scored, hit by pitch; third in games played, fourth in RBI, fifth in career average.

College Women’s Tennis: Paulina Dubavets, UCSB. Led Gauchos to their first Big West regular-season title. She and partner Natalie Da Silveira are ranked No. 42 in the ITA doubles poll.

College Men’s Tennis: Nicolas Moreno de Alboran, UCSB. The junior finished 11-0 at home and is ranked No. 80 in the nation. He led Gauchos to the Big West Regular season title

Prep Boys Golf: Preston Gomersall, Santa Barbara High School. Led the Dons to a Channel League co-championship. Shot 69 & 74 for a 1-under 143 to win the CL individual title at Soule Park in Ojai. He eagled the 18th hole to win by a stroke.

Prep Boys Track & Field: Isaiah Veal, Bishop Diego. Won County titles in the 100 (10.92) and 200 (22.14) on April 21 at Carpinteria High. A receiver on the State Championship football team and starter on the basketball team, he also won the 100 & 200 titles in the Frontier League Championships.

Prep Boys Swimming: Matt Mills, San Marcos. The junior led the Royals to their second straight Channel League title and first outright championship in 41 years. Broke 4 school records – 2 individual (50 free and 100 free) and two relays (200 medley, 400 free). Won 3 Channel League championships (50 free, 100 free, 400 free relay) and qualified for CIF in those events.

Dave Loveton is a local freelance writer.

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