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Round Table scholarship winners honored: Carandang, Morin, Morgan, Bommersbach and Karamitsos take top awards
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Round Table scholarship winners honored: Carandang, Morin, Morgan, Bommersbach and Karamitsos take top awards

The five 2020 Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table scholarship winners were honored Tuesday in a ceremony at the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Administration Building in Santa Maria.

Pioneer Valley seniors Lauren Carandang and Christian Morin are the 2020 NSBCART Female Athlete of the Year and Joni Gray Heart and Soul Award winners respectively.

Lompoc seniors Ryan Morgan and Amy Bommersbach are the Male Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship winners respectively. Righetti senior Kai Karamitsos earned the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship.

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This year, the Joni Gray Heart & Soul scholarship is worth $1,500. The other scholarships are worth $1,000 each.

The late Joni Gray, a former long-time county supervisor, was a former veteran NSBCART president. 

The NSBCART customarily awards its scholarships at its annual awards dinner. The organization cancelled its 2020 awards dinner because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the five winners were honored Tuesday at a social distancing event.

Four of the winners spoke in phone interviews before the event.

"I knew I was going to have a good chance," to get the NSBCART Male Athlete of the Year scholarship this year,  said Morgan. The tight end led the 2019 Lompoc football team in receptions (41), reception yardage (680) and touchdown receptions (six).

Still, "I would say it comes as sort of a surprise now that it happens that I got it."

Morgan played football, basketball and baseball at Lompoc. He signed with Arizona State on a football scholarship.

He will team there with his cousin and former Lompoc teammate, lineman Jacob Nunez. Nunez also earned a football scholarship to ASU.

Morin said, "Actually, I had never heard," of the Joni Gray Heart & Soul Award, "So I was a little surprised I got it."

Morin also played football, basketball and baseball. He will attend Fresno State and major in kinesiology. Morin has said he will concentrate on academics there.

"I've heard that Fresno State classes will be online for the fall semester," Morin said.

Having been taking online classes along with students statewide since schools closed in March, Morin has become used to distance learning.

"I think that will go OK," at Fresno State, he said. "But, of course, I'd rather be in the classroom."

Karamitsos carries a 4.71 GPA at Righetti. He said he will major in environmental science or marine biology at UC Santa Barbara.

"UC Santa Barbara has a really good program for both," he said.

The utility player was a high school water polo All-American at Righetti. He said he was unsure whether or not he will continue playing at UC Santa Barbara.

"There's a chance," he said. Karamitsos said he was "very happy," to learn that he had earned the NSBCART Male Athlete of the Year scholarship honor.

With area pools closed because of the pandemic, Karamitsos said he is using "an at-home weight set," to keep in shape.

When it comes to distance learning, "I'd much rather be in the classroom," he said succinctly.

Carandang holds the Pioneer Valley girls triple jump record at 36 feet, 2 inches. She carries a 4.18 GPA at Pioneer Valley.

She has said she will study general biology at UC San Diego and hopes to attend medical school.

Inspired by her mother, Arsenia Carandang who works as a nurse at the Veterans Administration Clinic in Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital, Lauren Carandang has said she is leaning toward pursuing a career as an OB/GYN.

She will concentrate on academics at UC San Diego.

When it came to being tabbed as the NSBCART 2020 Female Athlete of the Year scholarship honor, "I was really surprised, because its such a prestigious award," Carandang said.

"I never thought that I would represent my school in this way, with being chosen for this award, (when there are so many) other female athletes in the County. It's crazy."   

Amy Bommersbach will major in early childhood at Fresno State, where she will concentrate on academics. She wants to be an elementary school teacher.

She said she made her career choice because of her parents' careers. Her father, Paul Bommersbach, is the Lompoc High School principal. Her mother, Mary Bommersbach, is a first grade teacher at Clarence Ruth  Elementary School in Lompoc.

Amy Bommersbach carries a 4.40 GPA at Lompoc. As the Lompoc stopper on defense, Bommersbach helped the Braves earn a share of the Channel League championship and make it to the second round of the soccer playoffs.

She was an All-Channel League First Team selection. 

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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