The back end of Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt was occupied with the area’s top athletes from last week and their coaches – signifying the return of round table.
The Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table kicked off its 2017-18 season on Monday by honoring the top athletes from the past week.
Top event organizer Joni Gray took the stage first to kick off the new sports season for the NSBCART.
“What we have are the very top student-athletes in our area. It’s our job to get you into the best college you can possibly go to. In that effort, we have round table, we have excellent coaches and we have athletic directors. You can look around – this is really an unusual kind of event where the community actually feeds their athletes and talks about them. It’s really a super deal,” Gray told the crowd.
She then passed the microphone to emcee Charles Sommer, who helped introduce the 10 area teams that were represented inside the restaurant. Sommer then announced this week’s choices for male and female athlete of the week: Orcutt Academy quarterback Darin Miller and Righetti girls golfer Sarah Fouratt, who was not present due to taking a test.
Miller accepted his award and immediately thanked his teammates after he accounted for seven touchdowns in the Spartans’ 66-30 upset of Mojave – the defending CIF Southern Section 8-man Division I champions.
“It’s definitely put some eyes on us now,” Miller said following the romp of the Mustangs. “It does change our mindset knowing that we now have to practice harder and start acting like we’re the No. 1 8-man team in the state. We have to carry that on every week.”
Saints athletic director Brian Wallace was first on the stage to explain how well girls golf has done with three victories already, which is more than last year. Wallace introduced cross country athletes Cesar Anucio, Cesar Diaz and Nicole Cruz.
Football head coach Dan Ellington was next to unveil his quartet of players: Blake Truhitte, Bobby Ruiz, John Ramos and Gabriel Bravo. Afterwards, he spoke about the upcoming Righetti/Santa Maria High contest on Friday, which is the oldest football rivalry in the Santa Maria Valley.
“We’re looking forward to them. I know they’re excited about getting out there and competing with us. We had a great atmosphere on our field. This one should be fun,” Ellington said.
Girls golf head coach Jim Fosdick was first on the microphone for the Knights. He started by sharing how impressed he’s been with the growth of the program.
“A couple of years ago, I stood up here and said we only have six girls. Now, we have 20 girls out for girls golf. When you do the math, that’s 10 percent of the school that’s out for golf, so things are looking up,” Fosdick said.
Next was Knights head football coach Jim Chvala, who mentioned how his team’s huge 42-12 rout of St. Bonaventure was not only the first victory over a Ventura County school for St. Joseph since 2006, but he saw it as a community win over a traditional heavyweight in that region.
“It’s more than just for St. Joe’s. It’s a community win,” Chvala said.
His football athletes on hand were Jayden Vargas, Tim Miller and Isaac Yanez.
Football head coach A.J. Pateras attended his first round table and helped introduce his team plus girls golf and cross country.
Athletes on hand were Brittney McCune, Ashlyn Wiswall, cross country runner Jacob Brown and Pateras' football players Mason Townes, Jackson Anderson and J.D. Czajkowski.
Despite the Conquistadores being 0-3 to start the season, Pateras shared his optimism about the direction of the program.
“Nothing is indicating our success off of wins and losses right now. We’ve been working hard and what we’re doing and where we’re going for our school is exciting,” Pateras said.
Golf coach Brian Tomooka was first on stage to talk about his team, who brought with him Alissa Escobedo and Claire Alford.
Tomooka spoke about their work ethic on the greens and the Warriors’ win over Arroyo Grande.
“Last week, we had a huge win over the Eagles who are one of the top teams in girls golf,” Tomooka said. “Then we won the first mini tournament at Cypress Ridge. There are a lot of good teams in the PAC 8 this year. It’ll be a battle to the top.”
Football head coach Ed Herrmann was next to talk about the upcoming RHS versus Santa Maria rivalry game.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing a really good SMHS team. We look forward to playing against a well-coached Saints team,” said Herrmann, who had his players Jan Gutierrez, Austin Dasis, Derek Imel and Julian Leon on hand.
Athletic director Greg Lanthier was next on the podium to introduce his contingent of girls golf, cross country and football.
Lanthier then spoke about the growth of the girls golf team, which like St. Joseph has grown to 20 players. He introduced his duo of Coryn Nadal and Julie Vargas.
Next was cross country runners Craig Regan and Angelique Tovar and then to football, as quarterback Mathew Garcia, running back Nick Robledo, nose guard Juan Guzman and place kicker Edgar Zacarias were introduced by Lanthier. The athletic director spoke highly of his kicker, saying “He’s emerging as one of the top reliable kickers on the Central Coast.”
Pirates football head coach Josh McClurg took on a more serious tone, as he reminded the crowd that Monday was the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11.
“I just want to recognize anyone who is serving or who has served for us. We appreciate anyone who has done that for our country,” McClurg said.
He then shined a light on cross country runners Emily Donahue, Olivia Cortopassi and Leslie Marina. Then, McClurg introduced his four-deep football contingent of Cash Transeth, Gabe Prendergast, Isaiah Smith and Dustin Gregg.
McClurg ended by sharing his thoughts against Nipomo on Friday, which is entering SYHS as the defending Northern League champion.
“Nipomo is always a well-coached team. Especially defensively,” McClurg said. “They will fly around and get after the ball. We’re looking forward to that game.”
Athletic director Chad McKenzie first introduced cross country runner Lorenzo Papworth, who holds a 4.6 grade-point average. He also spoke highly of his other cross country runners, saying “Our numbers are way up. We have 20 kids out there, more than last year. CIF has us ranked ninth, which is really promising.”
Football head coach Doug May then took the stage to mention how his voice went missing following Friday’s huge win, which included overcoming a 16-point deficit.
“We were down 22-6 in the first quarter. I spoke to our guys during a timeout and said to our offense ‘This game is not over.’ Our quarterback Darin then said ‘Don’t worry, coach, we got this. We’ll play football.’ And boy we sure did. It was all downhill for Mojave from there,” May said.
He introduced Miller, Eddie Lundberg, Jared Sutton and Mitch McMann to the round table.
Valley Christian Academy
Pete Fortier came next, as the Lions athletic director shared updates on the football and girls golf team.
Fortier dove into the Frazier Mountain football game, as the Lions trounced the Central Section squad for a 61-22 win on Friday.
“We had them down 42-6…after the first quarter,” Fortier reminded the crowd. “And we had a lot of subs getting playing time.”
He then followed by getting two players, Kiernan Quinonez and Adam Aldana, to stand and draw applause.
Defensive coordinator Randy Stanford was also present at the round table.
As usual during round table, Lompoc Unified School District board member and former Braves varsity football head coach Dick Barrett spoke on behalf of the Braves as he introduced cross country athletes Alexis Ramirez and Miguel Morales and the football duo of Ruben Cortez and Jimmy Gardner.
Barrett, though, reminded everyone inside Giavanni’s that the round table is a good way to share sportsmanship among teams.
“This is a great experience as far as a sportsmanship situation goes. We all want to win our games but the bottom line is you see people you’re competing against and you have an opportunity to listen and see what they’ve done. We always preach to our kids that this particular item of the round table is where we can do that – that’s why I support this,” Barrett said.
Hancock College was the lone school that wasn’t in attendance.