RT luncheon
Student Athletes and coaches still under the big top at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at The Creekside Restaurant. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

While the venue was different, Dos Pueblos football coach Doug Caines still had that feeling of nostalgia attending Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at The Creekside Restaurant.

“I still get those memories of being a kid and sitting in that seat,” he said. 

Caines, who played football at Santa Barbara High, told the student athletes in attendance: “As meaningless as some of you think this is, I can promise you that you’ll look back on this and it will truly start to click on how special this community is. Not every community has this.”

Bishop Diego golf coach Leo Ibarra is a believer

“I’m from L.A., and I’ve only been here a year and half. This does not happen in big cities,” he said. “This is awesome. For you guys to get shouted-out for the good stuff that you do, this is pretty awesome. It brings tears to my eyes. This is really good stuff.”

Let the shoutouts begin.

Bishop Diego Football

Assistant coach Mike Luckhurst introduced offensive linemen Logan Maho, Parker Maho and Semis Falamaka. Their play up front led Bishop to a 5-0 spring season.

“Anybody that saw our games knows that the running behind these three guys was impressive,” said Luckhurst. “It seemed not to matter what running back we put in.”

He recalled when the Maho twins arrived at Bishop they weighed about 150 pounds. “They now weigh 240-245. That says something about their dedication. They’re still quite quiet young lads, but they’re men on the football field. 

“Then you throw in Semisi, and you’re talking about a dynamic line that Bishop has had all this year.”

The Maho brothers plan to attend Baylor University while Falamaka will continue his football career at SBCC.

With 10 seniors on the roster, Luckhurst believes this year’s squad was as good as the 2017 Bishop team that won a CIF-Southern Section and State Championship.

“I know that they’re disappointed they didn’t get the chance to show they were at the caliber of the ’17 team that won the state championship,” he said.

Dos Pueblos Football

Seniors Alonzo Cruz and Daniel Santacruz set the example for their teammates to continue working hard even when it was uncertain there would be a football season.

“These two kids helped the rest of our team show up day in and day out. And not just show up, but to do the work,” said Caines.

He noted that the work Cruz did to raise his game paid off in the win against San Marcos in game five.

“In the final game against San Marcos, he was able to put together a lock-down performance as a defensive back as well as contribute at running back,” said Caines.

On Santa Cruz: “Daniel has done an amazing job leading this team, especially when we didn’t know if we’d have football to play. He had faith in the process,” said Caines.

The linebacker/running back was named the Jeff Hesselmeyer Award recipient as the game MVP.

The Chargers finally put it all together in the final game of the shortened season.

“It took us a long time to click,” said Caines. “By game five, I actually saw a team that was clicking. It was a great way to end the season.”

San Marcos Football

Athletic Director Abe Jahadhmy said coach Jason Fowle praised the play Joaquin Salazar and Aaron Bourmand.

“Sal is a tough kid who always seems to find positive light in every single situation,” said Jahadhmy, speaking for Fowle.

Bourmand rushed for a career-best75 yards in the Dos Pueblos game.

“Aaron is one of the most intellectual young men I’ve ever met,” Fowle said. “As a four-year team member, his work ethic is second to none and he’s the epitome of high-motor athlete.”

Jahadhmy admitted he was skeptical about a football season taking place during a global pandemic. After seeing the competitiveness and emotions in last Friday’s San Marcos-Dos Pueblos game, he’s glad they played football.

“The atmosphere at the DP game was unreal,” he said. “Both teams played hard. It was great. Both coaches did a good job and it was extremely classy. 

“At the end of the game, what I saw from our seniors and their emotions made it all worth it. Not having football was tough, but I was so glad for these guys at the end that they were able to play.”

Bishop Diego Boys Volleyball

Ibarra, reporting for coach Dillan Bennett, said Shea Romero and Oliver Fowler are the two senior captains of the 5-1 volleyball squad. They are both four-year varsity players.

“Oliver has become one of the best backcourt players in our community. Shea continues to apply his athletic ability to the game of volleyball,” said Ibarra.

He introduced Kai Morphy and Matthew Cunningham, who also are standouts on the basketball team.

“Both have played a significant role in our team. These two are a perfect combination of power and finesse, and will continue to help our team get better,” said Ibarra.

Bishop Diego Boys Golf

Ibarra brought seniors and new players Jarrod Ramirez, Taetum Pouoso’o and veteran player and senior Cameron Medina.

Of Ramirez and Pouoso’o: “I don’t know if they got each other to play golf, but I’m glad they did,” said Ibarra.

He said Medina is the team leader.

“This guy has taken to helping the seniors on the team and the JV guys,” said the coach.

Medina is also a musician. “You’re going to see his work really soon,” said Ibarra.

Bishop Diego Boys Basketball

Cunningham and Morphy stepped up to the front of the patio to be introduced with teammate Tyler Williams. The three were instrumental in Bishop’s run to the CIF-SS final and a state tournament victory last season.

“Matthew Cunningham provides us with scoring and is a great on-the-ball defender,” said girls coach Jeff Burich, speaking for boys coach James Coronado. “He led the team in scoring last season, and continues to move up the rankings of all-time scorers at Bishop.”

On Morphy: “He’s a great shooter and rebounder. He can play the big position with guard-like skills and has a knack for clutch shooting,” said Burich.

Williams is the calming presence on the court. “He never gets rattled. He is a very hard worker in games and practices,” said Burich.

Williams has been the leading scorer in Bishop’s first two games this season, and he recorded a double-double in a win over Moorpark. 

Bishop Diego Girls Basketball

Burich brought his three seniors: Veronica Arreola, Sophie Benoit and Elliot Redkey.

“We have 14 players in the program and 11 are freshman and sophomores,” said Burich.  “The future looks good, but it’s not going to get there without the work these three seniors do.”

He said Arreola brings great energy and enthusiasm and “is a terrific role model for our kids.”

Benoit is also playing softball and running track this spring. 

“She’s just a phenomenal athlete. She makes a difference wherever she is out on the court,” said Burich.

Redkey is a three-year varsity point guard. 

“Her leadership has taken on a whole another role, especially with these younger kids,” Burich pointed out. “She’s showing them the proper way of playing. I’m really impressed with that part of her leadership.”

As for her game, “She’s a great playmaker and decision maker on the court; definitely one of those experienced basketball players,” said Burich.

San Marcos Girls Basketball

Coach Tiffany Sims said sophomore Michelle Arellanes is her “utility player, because I can put her anywhere on the floor.”

She’s been the Royals’ top scorer in their first two games.

The coach calls freshman Natasha Bender her “Deep Three” because she can nail the three-pointer from the corner.

“She sits there and can knock that shot down one after the other,” said Sims.

The Royals are young, but Sims said the players are buying into her defense-first system.

San Marcos Softball

The Royals are getting tremendous contributions from freshman players like Tiana Monaghan and Caitlyn Early, said coach Jeff Swann.

Monaghan crushed a pair of homers in a win over Santa Paula, including a center-field blast that cleared the fence by more than 30 feet.

Early is also ripping the ball. Her batting average is .636.

They also excel with the glove. Early plays at shortstop and Monaghan at third base.

“Defensively, these two are relentless,” said Swann. “We talk about effort and habit. In softball, like in baseball, you do a lot of competitive work — the same drill over and over until you get it perfectly. They put the maximum effort in every rep and that’s why they dominate their positions. They just lock down the left side of our infield.”

San Marcos Boys and Girls Golf

Jahadhmy said coach Sarah Ashton is “having the time of her life” coaching a team that has one senior and the rest freshmen.

“They’re learning, they’re getting better and better, have great team spirit and they’re learning the golf etiquette. It’s awesome,” he said.

The boys program of Jeff Ashton is also young but loaded with talent.

“They’ve got golfers that are out of this world. We’re going to have a good season with the boys,” said Jahadhmy.

San Marcos Boys Tennis

The three-time defending Channel League champions finished the first round of league play undefeated.

Jayden Duncan is a force on the courts,” said Jahadhmy, speaking for coach Jarrod Bradley, “He develops power with ease, has great hands at the net and moves with purpose. He pairs well with anyone on our team, giving me flexibility in our lineup.”

Alex Wilson has been a key member of three league title teams.

“He has improved his overall game this past year, particularly his forehand and second serve,” said Jahadhmy. 

Dos Pueblos Boys Basketball

Senior point guard Alex Perez is the team leader on and off the court, said longtime assistant John Slavin. “He has the ability to rebound, he communicates, he helps the younger players, executes the game plan and is a tireless worker.”

Cole Collins is one of the stronger players on the team.

“We look forward to having him compete,” said Slavin.

Collins also is a talented singer.

“We have a plan for him to sing the national anthem. I’m looking forward to that,” said Slavin.

DP’s Channel League opener against Santa Barbara on Tuesday was called off due to COVID-19 protocols with the Santa Barbara team.

Bishop Diego Boys Tennis

Coach Natlee Hapeman introduced Thomas Coleman and Nathan Ray, who usually play No. 2 and 3 singles.

“Last week we played Laguna Blanca, and I matched them up as a No. 1 doubles team and they did amazing,” she said. “They looked like they’d been playing together forever. What impressed me was their work at the net, their quick hands and they placement was just amazing.”

San Marcos Baseball

Junior lefty Chase Hoover has struck out 35 batters in 18 innings, putting him in the top 30 in California for strikeouts.

“He’s a fierce competitor and no doubt the leader of our team,” said coach Wes Ghan-Gibson of the TCU commit who carries a 4.5 GPA.

Another junior having a good season is outfielder Emmett Speake. He’s batting .394 with an on-base percentage of .485 in 40 plate appearances, said Ghan-Gibson.

“He can play any position in the outfielder, first base and he can pitch a little too. I’m super thankful he’s on the team,” said the coach.

Santa Barbara Girls Basketball

Longtime coach Andrew Butcher said when the CIF allowed basketball to be played, he was so happy for the seniors.

“All the kids that played on JV and moved up, or were on the varsity bench and moved up, finally get their time. It’s so great.”

Butcher has a standout senior player in Athena Saragoza. She is the reigning two-time Channel League MVP and finished 12th in the state in scoring last season.

“Had we not had the floods (in 2018) and had a full season this year, she might have beaten Amber Melgoza’s all-time school scoring record,” said Butcher.

Saragoza, who carries a 4.2 GPA, is signing with Regis University of Denver.

Isabel Goebel is another high-academic member of the basketball team. She has a 4.9 GPA.

“I hate it when the kids are smarter than the coach,” Butcher cracked. “If you took half of her, she’d still be smarter than me. She got into both UCLA and Cal for civil engineering program. She’s gong to attend Cal. 

Goebel grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in Santa Barbara’s first game.

“This is someone who didn’t get to play a lot last year,” Butcher said. “This year, she’s getting her minutes and playing great basketball . It’s so exciting to me that the seniors are getting to play.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.