Phil Womble went to court to gain his independence, convincing a judge in 1990 that he could live on his own at Pilgrim Terrace despite being afflicted with cerebral palsy.
He passed away in 2017 at age 80, but another regular of the Pilgrim Terrace community has won the award that Womble helped start.
The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table presented Kaitlyn Tang, a three-sport star at Providence School, the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award in a virtual ceremony held this week.
“Pre-COVID, my friends and I would go and help the people there with technology,” Tang said of Pilgrim Terrace. “We’d just help them with any questions they might have whether it was with their computer or their phone or whatever device it was.
“It was a really great opportunity to meet some of the residents there and spend time and help them with technology.”
Womble, who gained induction into the Round Table’s Hall of Fame in 1994 for his contributions to local sports, convinced that organization to sponsor an ethics award for student-athletes at each of eight area schools. The first award was presented in 2002.
“The recipient must be a junior, that way they can carry on as leaders,” Womble said at the time. “They must be someone who consistently displays virtues of honesty, respect, loyalty, reliability, teamwork and good sportsmanship.”
Tang, the daughter of Rebekah and Christopher Tang, fills that bill well, according to her coaches at Providence.
“She always has a positive attitude, encouraging, respectful, and hardworking,” athletic director Steve Stokes said. “She is an incredible student, athlete, and servant to help so many people in the community.”
Tang, who has compiled a grade-point average of 4.9, plays basketball as well as both indoor and beach volleyball at Providence.
She volunteers not only at Pilgrim Terrace, but also in the World Healers Program at UCSB. She helped organize a virtual 5K run and walk to bring awareness to social inequality, participated in the United Way’s Day of Caring, and has volunteered for several projects at Santa Barbara’s Waypoint Church.
“I just feel so proud of all the things that she has done that has shown that kindness of heart and that generosity of spirit,” said Susie Garacochea, the new head volleyball coach at Providence.
Her team has held only conditioning workouts since the outbreak of COVID-19.
“I can already say that the quality of students from Providence is just the highest,” Garacochea said. “Kaitlyn has shown herself to be one of those extraordinary kids. She’s on time, she works hard, she is kind and selfless with her friends.
“The way these teammates get together and support each other, and how they are kind and how they laugh and how they’re sweet to each other, it says more to me about their ethics and morality than any other thing.”
Tang has kept active during the pandemic. She spearheaded the Run for CommUNITY 5K in a virtual format to raise funding for Santa Barbara Young Black Professionals.
“I just really wanted to do something to bring a positive impact on our community — our great community here in Santa Barbara,” she said.
Cal-Hi Sports honors Gonzales
Jackson Gonzales, a 2020 graduate of Santa Barbara High, was recently named by Cal-Hi Sports to its Grid-Hoops All-State Second Team.
Gonzales helped the Dons reach lofty heights in football and basketball. He was a first-team All-Channel League selection and leading receiver for Santa Barbara’s CIF-Southern Section Division 8 finalist team of 2019, catching 54 passes for 793 yards and eight touchdowns.
He’s now on the football team at Claremont Mudd Scripps College where he’s majoring in economics.
“Jackson was such a big part of our success the last three years,” Santa Barbara football coach J.T. Stone said. “We brought him up as a sophomore and, right away, he was very productive.
“And it wasn’t just what Jackson did on the field, but off the field, as well, in being a model example in the classroom and as a citizen. He was probably the smartest kid on our team.”
Gonzales, who compiled a grade-point average of 4.7, also volunteered as a basketball coach at the Page Youth Center.
“What I loved most about him was how coachable he was,” Stone said.
He also helped the Dons win back-to-back Channel League basketball championships, with the 2019 Dons advancing to the CIF-SS Division 3A semifinals.
Basketball coach Corey Adam said Gonzales is the third Santa Barbara High athlete to receive Cal-Hi Sports’ dual-sport honor, following in the footsteps of Roberto Nelson (2009) and Bolden Brace (2015).
Araujo picked to U.S. roster
Former Lompoc High soccer star Julian Araujo has been selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s U-23 roster for its upcoming training camp in Bradenton, Fla.
Araujo, a defender with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, earned his first cap with the senior USMNT as a starter in last month’s 6-0 victory over El Salvador. The 19-year-old right back appeared in the first two matches of the U-23 USMNT cycle against Egypt and the Netherlands in March 2019.
He played a career-high 1,299 minutes for the Galaxy this year.