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Santa Ynez' Sarah Perkins throws the discus during the Los Padres League Track and Field finals at Santa Ynez High School on May 3.

Track & field, softball, high school rodeo and NASCAR racing were among the sports stories on the local 2018 Honorable Mention list.

Sarah Perkins capped her big final Santa Ynez High School season by qualifying for the CIF State Track and Field Championships in the girls shot put.

She won the Los Padres League and Santa Barbara County championships in the shot put and discus.

Though she couldn't approach the school record of 43 feet, 2 inches she set during a league dual meet, Perkins won the sectional Division 4 championship with a best of 40-10.75 inches at the divisional finals May 19.

Perkins qualified fifth at the sectional Masters meet for the state meet, which took place at Clovis Buchanan High School's Veterans Memorial Stadium June 1 and 2.

Though she didn't qualify for the state final, Perkins still had an illustrious senior season before heading off for UC San Diego where she will continue her throwing career.

Perkins was also a star for the Pirates’ girls basketball team all four years.

Her track teammate Emily Donahue ran cross country, switched to soccer for the winter season and then became a distance runner in the spring.

Donahue had a shot at winning the 3,200 at the Arcadia Invitational but was tripped and fell, recovering to finish 25th.

Donahue set personal and school records in the 1600 (5:09.05) and 3200 (11:00.0) at a Los Padres League 5-way meet.

The distances are different in college where Donahue now runs the 1,500 and 3,000 meter races while continuing her cross country career for Point Loma's Sea Lions.

The Santa Ynez softball team also had a stirring run in the Southern Section playoffs after moving up from Division 7 all the way to Division 5. Santa Ynez finished third in its final season in the Los Padres League and was forced to start the Division 5 playoffs in a wild card game on the road. The Pirates won that game 10-3 at Arroyo.

They then moved on to another road playoff game ; they won that one, too, topping Grace Brethren 1-0. That win moved the Pirates into the second round, where they lost to eventual runner-up JW North 5-4, also on the road. 

Santa Ynez ace Armani Garcia threw a no-hitter in the win over Grace Brethren.

The Pirate softball team, who finished as runner-up in 2017, ended its second season under coach Denicia Gills with a 15-8-2 overall record.

Junior Maggie Usher did double duty as the starting catcher for the softball team.

Usher also competed for District 7 (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties) — the Magnificent 7 — in high school rodeo winning the state championship in goat tying and earning a spot on the California state team at the National High School Finals Rodeo in (NHSFR) in Rock Springs, Wyo., where she finished 113th.

Usher’s older brother Ethan completed his senior year as a star on both the football and baseball teams. Ethan Usher also qualified for two events at the NHSFR — in trap shooting and the .22 light rifle competition. Ethan Usher finished sixth in the nation in trap shooting and 24th in .22 light rifle.

Dustin Gregg, who was Santa Ynez's quarterback in the fall and the baseball team's catcher in the spring, had a nice season. He was named the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Scholar Athlete of the Year. 

And Solvang’s Will Rogers is making quite a splash in NASCAR.

In June, Rogers was named to the NASCAR Next Class of 2018 which puts the spotlight on up-and-coming young racers.

Rogers followed that honor by going out and winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway, scoring his fourth straight K&N Series road course race victory.

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Sports writer Kenny Cress contributed to this story


Senior Sports Reporter