SBCC’s Kelly Coulson waits and watches with the rest of the athletic world, wondering when she’ll get to play tennis again. But she’s also been selected as a player to watch.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association chose her as the California Community College winner of its Player to Watch Award.
Coulson, a freshman from San Marcos High, had a win-loss record of 10-3 in singles when her season was cut short on March 12 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her play helped the fourth-ranked Vaqueros (12-1, 8-0 Western State Conference) win 12 straight matches before the season was halted.
“Kelly competes with a mental calmness and maturity,” coach Christina Klein said. “She is confident with her weapons and knows what she needs to do to win. As she competes, she has fun, always with a smile on her face, ready for the challenge.
“Kelly is a very optimistic teammate to have and is always encouraging on court.”
Coulson was the Region 1 winner of the award that goes to a freshman who will most likely improve and as a sophomore. She and former San Marcos teammate Maura Mannix went 12-0 at No. 1 doubles this spring.
Klein, 43-10 in three seasons as SBCC’s coach, said this year’s team was her best.
“Ending our season early was, of course, tough,” she said. “I do have a lot of returners and am talking to a couple good local players. I am confident that we will continue to be just as strong next year.”
WESTMONT TENNIS SIGNS PAIR
Westmont has recruited Logan Jackson of Boise, Idaho and Olivia Madarang of San Diego to join its women’s tennis team next season.
“It is exciting to have an incoming freshman class of players who both have an incredible work ethic,” Warriors coach Ellie Johnson said. “They train hard and enjoy it. I have confidence they will not only fit in well with our team and Westmont’s community, but will be active members and add a great deal.”
Jackson is a four-time doubles champion at the level 5 Montana State Junior Open. She also won doubles championships at the level 6 Idaho Grand Prix District Open and level 5 Ed Treat Memorial Junior Championships.
Madarang won the Eastern League championship every season she played for High Tech High Media Arts, leading her team to the CIF-San Diego Section Division 3 playoffs. She also won the 2019 Bryan Brothers SoCal Doubles Race in the girls’ 16s. She held a universal tennis rating of 7 in singles and 9 in doubles, on a scale of 1-16, before the COVID-19 outbreak halted play.
EX-WARRIOR NAMED TOP COACH
Westmont alumnus Mike Kelly, a two-time All-GSAC forward during the late 1980s, was named as Coach of the Year in Australia’s top professional league — the National Basketball League — after guiding the Cairns Taipans to the playoff semifinals.
Kelly, Westmont Class of 1989, improved the Taipans’ win total by 11 in his second season at the helm. They were eliminated from this year’s playoff series, 2-1, by the eventual champion Perth Wildcats.
“Making the playoffs this year with a team that no one gave a chance was really cool,” Kelly said. “I loved the chemistry of this Taipans team.”
EX-GAUCHO WINS PRO EVENT
Former UCSB golfer Zach Smith won the Scottsdale Open at Talking Stick Resort, closing with an 8-under 62 for a three-stroke victory to beat out several PGA Tour players.
Smith finished the three-round tournament at 18-under 192, earning $20,000 from the $130,000 purse.
“It’s my first professional win and it’s awesome to have it come against such a competitive field of players,” Smith said. “I wasn’t sure how the week was going to unfold, but after my opening 63 I felt pretty confident and thought I could put myself in position to win.”
Smith last played at UCSB in 2019, finishing second at the Pullman Regional and becoming the second Gaucho to ever qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual.
WESTMONT SIGNS SPRINTER
Rachel Peden of Grayson, Ga. has signed to swim for Westmont College, coach Jill Jones Lin announced.
“Rachel is going to help us tremendously in the sprint events and relays, not to mention her sweet spirit and determination,” Jones Lin said.
Peden qualified for the Georgia State Championships in the 50 freestyle, 100 free and 100 back during all four of her years at Grayson High. She also swam for the Gwinnett Aquatics Swim Club, qualifying for the state championships in the 50 free, 50 back and 100 back.