For the fifth year in a row, the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon kicked off a new year with the presentation of the Noozhawk All-South Coast Football Team.
The team featured MVPs from Santa Barbara High’s Channel League championship and CIF-SS Division 8 runner-up squad. Junior quarterback Deacon Hill was named the Offensive MVP, while junior noseguard Noach Wood and senior linebacker Johnny Valencia shared the Defensive MVP honor.
Hill, who has committed to Wisconsin, passed for more than 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in his junior season. He had over 1,000 yards and 13 TD passes in the playoffs.
Valencia and Wood are two of seven repeat honorees. The others are running back Adrian Soracco and linebacker Matt Bribiesca of Bishop Diego, wide receiver Josh Brown of San Marcos, defensive back Dakota Hill of Santa Barbara and running back Conner Lee of Dos Pueblos.
Soracco rushed for more than 1,000-yards for the second straight season. Brown set San Marcos records for receptions in a season, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Dakota Hill led the area in interceptions with seven and was a big-play receiver during the playoffs.
The members of the offensive unit are:
Linemen — Chase Kamin (Santa Barbara, senior), Roberto Vargas (Dos Pueblos, senior), Jorge Contreras (Santa Barbara, senior), Jacob Mata (Carpinteria, senior).
Backs — Ben Partee (San Marcos, senior), Udy Loza (Dos Pueblos, senior), Henry Herrera (San Marcos, senior), Conner Lee (Dos Pueblos, senior), Adrian Soracco (Bishop Diego, senior).
Receivers — Jackson Gonzales (Santa Barbara, senior), Moki Nacario (Santa Barbara, senior), Josh Brown (San Marcos, senior), Sam Mikaele (Bishop Diego, sophomore).
Utility — Ty Montgomery (Santa Barbara, junior).
Kicker/punter — Adam Luckhurst (Bishop Diego, senior).
The defensive team members are:
Linemen— Joshua Rosales (Santa Barbara, senior), Matthew Bribiesca (Bishop Diego, senior), Logo Va’a (Bishop Diego, sophomore).
Linebackers — Charlie Figueroa (Santa Barbara, senior), Marcus Chan (Bishop Diego, sophomore), Jack Huffman (San Marcos, senior).
Backs — Dakota Hill (Santa Barbara, senior), Salomon Manzanarez (Santa Barbara, senior), Luke Knightley (Bishop Diego, junior), Diego Hernandez (Carpinteria, senior).
Westmont Women’s Basketball
Coach Kirsten Moore said the Golden State Athletic Conference has three teams ranked in the NAIA national top five: The Master’s is No. 3, Westmont fourth and Vanguard fifth.
“In my 15 years at Westmont, we’ve never had three teams in the top five from one conference, let alone have it be our own conference, the GSAC,” she said. “That’s how good our conference is and how much of a challenge it’s going to be.”
The Warriors hit the road this weekend for GSAC games at Menlo and William Jessup before hosting a titanic game against The Master’s on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
“They’ll likely be undefeated when they come to play us,” said Moore of the Mustangs.
Moore introduced senior guard Maud Ranger, who was honored as the Athlete of the Week.
“She is the epitome of what it means to be a Warrior,” the coach said of her lone senior. “A lot of us wear these wristbands that say, ‘Do the Work,’ and this gal has done the work for four years and it’s what has put her in a position in her senior year to be able to step up most when the most is really needed from her. That’s really John Wooden’s definition of competitive greatness and she embodies that.”
Because of injuries, the 5-foot-7 Ranger was moved from shooting guard to a forward position. She’s now the team’s leading rebounder — she had a 16-rebound game recently.
“She’s just as tough as it gets both mentally and physically,” said Moore.
Santa Barbara High Girls Basketball
Coach Andrew Butcher said his team is outrebounding its opponents and committing fewer turnovers, but it is struggling to make shots.
“We really shoot the ball well in the gym at practice but our shot selection kills us (in games),” he said. “The shots these kids have shot their whole life don’t work in high school against real high-level teams. We’re starting to figure that out.”
Butcher introduced three players: sophomores Caia Trimble and Jaeda Spence and junior Trina Regalado.
On Trimble: “She has fire, sometimes it burns the building down, sometimes it heats the building. I love players with fire. You can’t fake that. I love players that think the game, can change the game as the game is going. She’s one of those special players.”
On Spence: “She plays with great heart. She isn’t the quickest or highest jumping but she leads us in rebounding.”
On Regalado: “Trina is a jujitsu champion. I’m proud to be her coach. She is coachable, she works hard every second — she doesn’t care what the score is. She is phenomenal as an athlete and as a person.”
San Marcos Girls Water Polo
The CIF-SS Division 1 second-ranked Royals had a good December, winning the Villa Park Tournament and taking second at the Barnett Newport Holiday Cup. They lost in the final against No. 1 Laguna Beach.
“They’re defending CIF champions and are pretty good, and we weren’t successful in that game,” said coach Chuckie Roth. “But we learned a lot. My athletes have just done a great job for us this year and I really have enjoyed the opportunity to work with each and every one of them.”
He introduced three of this athletes: seniors Cassidy Miller and Megan Musick and freshman Reagan McEachen.
On Miller: “Cassie is a returning All-American who will play college ball next year at UCLA. Her mental toughness in the game has really improved whether she makes her first shot, misses her first shot or misses her first three. In fact, I’ve told her several times, ‘Go miss five and go score us six.’”
On Musick: “She’s going to play water polo next year at Cal Berkeley. She has just done a phenomenal job swimming and playing water polo for us — All-CIF in both, All-American swimmer. I think she’s one of the best lefties in Southern California. Her work ethic is second to none and her leadership skills are great as well.
On McEachen: “Her improvement is having a mirroring effect on our team’s improvement. She’s a center. It’s a position we don’t have a lot of depth in, so Reagan’s ability to go in and play as a freshman and make big impacts in big games is really big.”
Carpinteria Girls Basketball
Coach Benti De La Cruz introduced players Kaela Kelly and Jasmine Gilbert.
On Kelly: “Kaela is a great student and that carries over onto the court with her discipline and dedication. The best way to describe her is she’s someone who leads by showing.”
On Gilbert: “She’s the epitome of dedication and a great example of someone who loves basketball and puts basketball first.”
San Marcos Girls Basketball
Coach Aaron Solis brought Ava Cannizzaro and Denise Ricardo from his squad that is having one the best starts in program history at 14-2.
On Cannizzaro: “Ava is my coach on the floor. I really appreciate her knowledge of basketball. She is just so valuable to our team, not only on the court but off the court as well with her leadership.”
On Ricardo: “Denise is one of those players that plays with an intensity and tenacity that I know every coach would love to have. I just love it when she’s out there causing havoc for the other team, and that’s going to be very important for us as we enter league.”
Bishop Diego Girls Basketball
Coach Jeff Burich introduced senior Sydney Naour and freshman Lily Simolon from his CIF-SS 5A Division No. 1-ranked team.
“These are my two favorite players,” said Burich. “They’re both post players, they both start and they get 80 percent of our rebounds. They are responsible for most our defense talking, letting people know what we’re trying to do.
“When they’re not on the court, it’s just obvious because you just look at it and say, ‘There’s something wrong here.’”
Burich pointed out the last time he had a player named Lily on the team, Bishop won a CIF championship. That player was Jordan Lilly.
Santa Barbara High Girls Water Polo
Coach Mark Walsh said he’s played several of his younger players in tournaments and recent single games because of injuries and sickness.
“When we were competing, we only had eight or nine girls and you have to play with seven. Water polo is a pretty tiring, physical sport, so we were really on fumes for a lot of our games. We were able to pull off some wins.”
Walsh is scrambling to schedule all the games for this week’s Tournament of Champions. His pool at SBHS is out of commission due to a broken heater, so he’s figuring out where to schedule games.
He’s hoping to use Dos Pueblos and Oaks Christian in Westlake for several games on Thursday and start the competition earlier and go later at Dos Pueblos and San Marcos on Friday and Saturday.
“That’s the current plan,” he said. “We’re still waiting if maybe we can use Carpinteria. UCSB is being used for swim meets.
“We don’t have a lot of pools in our area. It’s not like gyms and football fields. We have a bit of a shortage, so we’re going to wait and see. But it’s definitely going to happen. We’ll make it work.”
Westmont Men’s Basketball
Coach John Moore gave his team kudos for its performance in an 87-66 loss at UCSB last week. The loss ended a 14-0 start to the season.
“I thought we really competed hard against them,” Moore said. “We had a really good showing out of our point guard Bram Carrasco and also Justin Bessard.”
Moore introduced Solomon Davis, a two-sport athlete at Westmont.
“He’s a pitcher for our baseball team, a very, very fine person and a basketball player. And, he’s only getting better throughout the year. He hasn’t had the type of year he probably expected to have but there’s still a lot of games left.”
Dos Pueblos Girls Water Polo
Coach Bryan Snyder said the Chargers have been dealing with some injuries, but he’s expecting sidelined players to be back in the lineup soon.
“Moving forward, getting our full team back we can see what our potential is at the end of the year,” he said.
Snyder introduced his two college-bound seniors, Anna Cable and Shannon Connolly.
Cable, the DP goalie, is headed to UC Davis.
“She’s a great, great leader for us, anchoring our defense,” said Snyder. “She talks a lot, which is huge in the goalie position in water polo. We have a good amount of younger players this year. She helps put them where they’re supposed to be, whether it’s shot blocking, crashing back, whatever the situation demands. She’s really great at kind of joysticking those girls in direct position when they can’t hear me yelling from the side of the pool.”
Connolly has signed to continue her career at Marist College.
“Shannon is very, very mature in the aspect of kind of dealing with issues (with teammates). A lot of times people will have issues, whether it’s injuries, grades, whatever. Shannon always is there to offer insight from a very level-headed position.
“She’s also leading our team in goals and kickouts earned.”
Dos Pueblos Boys Soccer
Coach Matt York introduced three standout seniors: C.J. Rodriguez, Aldo Becerril and Hayden Carlson.
“We’re really senior heavy this year,” said York. “Last year as juniors they took us all the way to the quarterfinals, so I’m really hoping we can continue to lean on that experience through league and in CIF as well.”
On Rodriguez: “CJ is really the brains of the group. He’s a son of a coach and you can see it out there on the field. He takes charge. He’s a dominant player in the middle for us. He’s the linchpin that keeps our defense and offense together. He anchors everything for us.”
On Becerril: “He’s the attacking portion of our team, he’s the goal-getter. He’s the guy who sniffs our any loose ball, any kind of weakness in an opponent and he will strike. He is tenacious with the ball. He’s not necessarily the biggest guy out there but he’s one of the best players, hands down.”
On Carlson: “If CJ is the brain, Aldo is the heart, then Hayden is the personality and the goofiness. He’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and he shows up in an old VW beetle and he’s rocking some sort of classic rock or something.
“He’s always been a great defender for us. This year, he’s added a little offensive arsenal. He’s a big, physical guy and he plays like it. He just chews up ground and hopefully chews up some opposing strikers as well.”
Carlson has signed with UC Davis.
UCSB Men’s Volleyball
The Gauchos kick off their season Thursday with their annual Asics Invitational. Their first match is against Concordia at 3 p.m. at Rob Gym. They’ll play Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.