The local sports future looked bright in the sunshine of the outdoor patio at the Creekside Restaurant on Monday.
A high school freshman and junior were honored as Athletes of the Week, and several teams touted their youth movements, as the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table reconvened its weekly press luncheon for the first time in a year.
Dos Pueblos High freshman Georgia Wilson received the female award after pitching a five-hit complete game victory over Righetti. She allowed no earned runs while going 4-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles.
“I love it when my athlete of the week is a freshman — that means I’ve got four more years of her,” coach Mike Gerken said. “She’s really dedicated to softball, as all pitchers have to be.
“She’s just a joy to see at practice every day. She not only pitches but she can play just about any position on the field.”
Another DP athlete, junior Kellan Montgomery, was chosen as the male athlete of week while showing his own versatility as a pitcher and power-hitting catcher.
In a 2-0 win over rival San Marcos, Montgomery scored the winning run in the top of the seventh inning and then retired the Royals in order to earn the save. He also pitched five innings of a no-hitter against Santa Ynez while striking out seven.
“He’s a team captain as a junior, and you can see why,” coach George Hedricks said. “He works his butt off every day behind the plate … and also pitches for us and plays outfield. He’s a great athlete, a great kid.”
San Marcos coach Jason Fowle is counting on seniors Rhys Morgan and Jorge Medina to help lead a young team which has split its first two games of the condensed season. He asked Morgan to move to quarterback when the original starter decided to play baseball because of the overlapping seasons.
“He just said, ‘Yeah, sure coach,’” Fowle said. “He stepped in there and he’s led these guys and has done a really, really good job.
“He’s thrown for over 60% completions in the two games that we’ve played. He’s done a fine job with an even head in leading these guys, and with just a real gritty performance.”
Medina, a three-year letterman on the line, returned an interception 65 yards before getting tackled short of the end zone in last week’s game against Lompoc.
“The first thing I said is, ‘Hey, do you want to run it in?’” Fowle said. “I felt so bad, I wanted to give him the score. But we couldn’t put it together, right there, in 30 seconds with a timeout, so we’ll probably do that this week … put in a package for him at running back.”
The high school basketball season starts tonight, with Santa Barbara traveling to Channel Islands. Coach Corey Adam introduced his inseparable captains, Dylan Borgeson and Erik Strandberg.
“They started competing against each other in elementary school, started playing together in junior high, and have been together ever since,” he said. “If I call one of them, there’s a 95% chance that the other one is with him.”
Both players are fierce on the court but exude tremendous “positivity as captains … They are consistently encouraging their teammates to be better,” Adam said.
San Marcos will open its season at home against highly ranked Oxnard.
“We have a real strong team this year,” athletic director Abe Jahadhmy said. “We’re led by Isaiah Hicks, John Connolly, Max Sheldon and Shakir Ahmad. We also have a good group of young guys who’ll add to our firepower.”
San Marcos girls coach Tiffany Sims is excited about her team’s youth, led by sophomore Oceanna Bauer, “My quiet assassin,” and junior Ariel Plourde.
“With their leadership, and the way the girls look up to them, I think we’re going to have a real good, positive season,” she said. “We have a young team, but we’re a young talented team.”
Fabian Clifford, who plays No. 1 doubles for Santa Barbara High, has been serving up 100 mph aces — and some great nutrition advice for the Dons. He gave presentations to both the boys and girls teams.
“Not only did he prepare a beautifully, well-organized spreadsheet with excellent examples of healthy and not-so-healthy food, but he presented it to the team in a professional manner,” coach Danny Echt said. “He has impressive knowledge and passion for nutrition.
“This example of leadership shows how Fabian is totally committed to helping his teammates get better.”
Sophia Ostovany, the captain and No. 1 player for Santa Barbara girls’ team, has been showing some amazing self-control, Echt pointed out.
“What’s most rewarding is to see her take the mental control of herself in a match and do what she can do to put herself in a winning position,” he said. “She’s always been a fiery, competitive player and this season I’ve seen her mature and positive ways greatly benefit the team.”
No team is counting more on its youth than San Marcos girls tennis. Sophomore Natasha Gill is the Royals’ lone returning starter.
“She was second place last year in the Channel League Individuals as a freshman, and she is now helping our team get better,” Sapp said.
His new freshman star is Cristina Wickline, who has earned the No. 2 singles position.
“She was undefeated in our opener,” Sapp said. “And against Santa Ynez, she was down 3-0 in the two sets she played and came back to win 6-4 both times. She has a lot of grit and great mental toughness.”
Jeff Ashton is coaching the San Marcos boys while wife Sarah is guiding the girls team.
“We’re looking forward to mixing our bubbles, maybe a little contest between the boys and the girls,” Sarah said.
She likes her chances with senior Caya Castelo.
“She’s been playing for me for four years,” Sarah Ashton said. “She’s a consistent player and is also a great leader.”
The San Marcos boys missed the luncheon to play rival Dos Pueblos at the Glen Annie Golf Course. They defeated their rival 431-475 behind the medalist play of freshman Shams Jahangir-Arshad (73). Sophomore Leo Metzger (74) and Jeffrey Forster (81) also helped them overcome the 80 carded by DP’s Michael Gentry.
“All three of those players are capable of going under par in any given day, and they’re a lot of fun to watch,” Sarah Preston said.
The Santa Barbara High girls are the hottest team in town. The Dons have won 36 consecutive matches behind the one-two punch of seniors Melia Haller and Lizzie Goss.
“Melia is a 4.9 GPA student, a competitive longboard surfer, a winner of the student film competition at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and a Channel League champion in golf,” coach Ryan Throop said. “She averages about 270 off the tee, hits a nice little draw … She was one-over par last Thursday and makes the game look a lot easier than it’s supposed to be.
“Lizzie, like Melia, is a multi-sport athlete. She is All-Channel League in both soccer and golf. She hits a beautiful little draw, putts well, and probably can beat a lot of the guys on the golf course.”