Almost every local high school fall sport was in attendance at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon as the fall season has begun to heat up with official competition beginning last week.
Among the high school teams were Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara and San Marcos flag football, who competed in the first-ever CIF girls flag football games last week.
At the collegiate level, Westmont College previewed its upcoming Division II debut this week.
Dos Pueblos flag football, coming off a 26-0 season-opening win over Bishop Diego on Thursday, is coached by Doug Caines and George Hedricks. The team, and its coaching staff, has come a long way since the team was assembled during the summer.
“I didn’t know what [flag football] was,” Hedricks said. “I’m learning as we go, I’m very lucky to have someone like [Caines] at the helm of our program.
“To have seniors who have already played other varsity level sports coming into this year sacrificing time they could be spending on their other sports while also mentoring younger athletes has been invaluable.”
For San Marcos, flag football head coach Jason Fowle has also learned plenty while leading this first-year team. The Royals came away with a 19-0 victory in the school’s inaugural game.
“I’ve really enjoyed the chance to get to work with this fantastic group of student-athletes,” Fowle said. “They’ve really taught me more than I’ve taught them about still being focused and driven while having fun and enjoying what you’re doing.”
The Santa Barbara Dons and Bishop Diego Cardinals also kicked off their respective seasons last week, with the Dons falling to Lompoc and the Cardinals dropping their matchup with Dos Pueblos.
It’s a historic time for Westmont College, as the Warriors are gearing up for the school’s first-ever countable Division-II competition. Westmont’s fall sports, including women’s volleyball, have already been in action with scrimmage play.
“This is a year of uncertainty for us as we venture into NCAA Division II,” women’s volleyball head coach Ruth McGolpin said. “We used to be [the] top dog and now we’re [the] underdog, I kind of like that feeling.
“I have no expectations other than I still want to win.”
With Westmont now being viewed as the underdog, the women’s volleyball squad was picked to finish ninth out of 11 teams in the PacWest Conference.
“I’ve never been on a team at Westmont that has been so low, so I am feisty and fired up to get to that top four,” McGolpin said.
Also representing the Warriors at the luncheon was sports information director Ron Smith, who highlighted the effort that has been put in to facilitate the transition from NAIA to Division II.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into [transitioning to DII],” Smith said. “Athletic Director Robert Ruiz has handled that with professionalism, integrity and competence and really has led our program.”
Westmont’s first Division-II competition will be this Thursday at 3 p.m. when Men’s Soccer hosts Saint Martin’s in the Heritage Club Classic.
Other sports present at the luncheon were tackle football, girls golf and boys water polo.
The teams and student-athletes in attendance, by order of presentation:
Santa Barbara Girls Golf: Ava Carmen, Jasmine Zukor
Dos Pueblos Flag Football: Gianna Nichols, Katie Peterson
San Marcos Girls Golf: Evelina Erickson, Fia Torrey
San Marcos Tackle Football: Brody Branstetter, Joseph Herrera
Carpinteria Tackle Football: Talon Trumble, Judah Torres, Dylan Gonzales
Carpinteria Boys Water Polo: Asher Smith, Sebastian Campuzano-Reed
Bishop Diego Girls Golf: Delaney Ball, Chelsey Hayes, Ella Pennestri
Santa Barbara Tackle Football: Damian Stehno, Samme Congdon, Noah Valerio
Santa Barbara Flag Football: Adriana Velazquez, Crystal Valdez
Laguna Blanca Tackle Football: Dylan Comis
Dos Pueblos Tackle Football: Danny Vidaurre, Nathaniel Huerta, LJ Fernandez
Dos Pueblos Girls Golf: Victoria Chen, Sagarika Manian
San Marcos Flag Football: Laura Spieler, Peyton Sperling, Jazmin Ordaz