UCSB’s Second Annual All Gaucho Reunion Takes Over This Weekend

Gaucho Glories

Gaucho Roberta (Gehlke) Lenert.

Once upon a time, UCSB celebrated a homecoming weekend that included a parade on State Street and a football game. That tradition disappeared after the university dropped the football program in 1971-a revival in the late ’80s was short-lived-and for decades, Gaucho grads had no incentive to come back to the old school.

Loyal alum Jim Barber, a lineman on UCSB’s 1965 Camellia Bowl football team, was troubled by that void. He joined the university’s alumni board five years ago and urged it to fashion a new kind of homecoming. The result is the All Gaucho Reunion, which was born a year ago and will have its second rendering this weekend, April 24-27.

Here are some of the sports-related highlights, all events on Saturday when parking on the campus will be free. (For full details of the reunion, go to ucsbalum.com.)

Gaucho Gallop: An energetic way to tour the campus, via a 10k run or 5k run/walk starting behind the UCen at 9 a.m. They will be preceded by a dog dash. Go to gauchogallop.com for information.

Soccer: There will be a creaky collision of UCSB and Westmont soccer grads at 1 p.m. at Harder Stadium.

Phil Womble Hall of Champions dedication: At the entrance lobby of the new Intercollegiate Athletics Building, the athletic legacy of UCSB is preserved on the walls and in 11 two-sided display cases. Womble, an inspirational Gaucho fan for four decades, will be on hand for the dedication of the space in his name at 4 p.m.

Athletic Hall of Fame induction: Donn Bernstein, the golden-tongued former sports information director who has his own place in the Hall of Fame, will emcee the 2008 induction ceremony at 6 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The new members include:

• Don Gaynor (’64), winner of the NCAA college division tennis doubles championship with Lee Reid (already a Hall of Famer).

• The 1967 men’s swim team, the first to bring an NCAA team championship trophy to UCSB. The Gauchos, coached by Rick Rowland, produced several All-Americans, including Jim Ranta, longtime teacher and coach at Dos Pueblos High. Fifteen of his 20 teammates will be at the reunion. “It’s a really neat thing,” Ranta said. “One of the best experiences you’ll have is to be on a championship kind of team. It’s something you’ll always carry with you. You strive for it, but it doesn’t happen all the time.” Gaucho teams have claimed just two other NCAA titles water polo in 1979 and soccer in 2006.

• Larry Mouchawar (’85), a four-time All-American and all-time leader scorer on the Gaucho water polo team.

• Erin (Alexander) Brown (’98) and Amy (Smith) Fregoso (’97), a dynamic one-two punch on the men’s basketball team. They led the Gauchos into the 1997 NCAA tournament. Sidelight: The team played in Washington, D.C., and was given a personal tour of the Capitol by an enthusiastic Walter Capps, a freshman congressman whose religious studies classes many of the players attended. Capps died less than a year later, and a reunion of his Vietnam War class is one of this weekend’s other events.

• Roberta (Gehlke) Lenert (’00), three-time All-American in volleyball and all-time Gaucho leader in kills. “I gave it everything I had,” she said. “We played teams that were all over 6 feet, and I was 5ʹ10Ê°. We won because of our heart and soul and hustle.”

• Rob Friend (’03), UCSB’s all-time leading goal-scorer in men’s soccer. The All-American led the Gauchos into their first NCAA soccer tournament.

GAUCHO UPDATES: UCSB’s baseball team had a tremendous week, scoring 60 runs in four games, including an unprecedented three-game sweep of USC. The Gauchos got complete games from pitchers Mike Ford and Chuck Huggins, and they shellacked the Trojans by a 23-2 score on Saturday in Los Angeles : “Dead Woman Swimming” could have been the title of UCSB alum Lynne Cox‘s account of her swimming adventure in Arctic seas last year-if Cox were not such a unique human being physically and mentally. Cox swam a mile in 28-degree water and lived to tell about it in the April 21 edition of the New Yorker.

Top Sporting Events: April 24-May 4

Thursday, April 24

College baseball Cuesta at SBCC, Pershing Park, 2 p.m.

High school track & field Santa Barbara at San Marcos, 2:45 p.m.

High school softball Villanova Prep at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball San Marcos at Santa Barbara, 6:30 p.m.

College, high school, open tennis 108th Ojai Valley Tournament, Libbey Park (and other sites), all day.

Friday, April 25

High school baseball Santa Barbara at San Marcos, 3:15 p.m.; Lompoc at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.; Villanova Prep at Bishop Diego, 3:30 p.m.

High school softball San Marcos at Santa Barbara, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball Oaks Christian at Dos Pueblos, 6 p.m.

College, high school, open tennis 108th Ojai Valley Tournament, Libbey Park (and other sites), all day.

Saturday, April 26

Basketball Pasadena Slam at Santa Barbara Breakers, SBCC Sports Pavilion, 7:05 p.m.

Running/walking Barbara Ireland Walk for the Cure, 10 miles, Chase Palm Park, 8 a.m.; UCSB Gaucho Gallop at UCen: Dioji Dog Dash, 8:15 a.m.; 10K run and 5K fun run/walk, 9 a.m.

High school track & field Dos Pueblos Invitational, 10 a.m.

College baseball Vanguard at Westmont (2), 12 p.m.

High school boys volleyball Loyola at Santa Barbara, 2 p.m.

College, high school, open tennis 108th Ojai Valley Tournament, Libbey Park, all day.

Sunday, April 27

College, high school, open tennis 108th Ojai Valley Tournament, Libbey Park, all day.

Every Monday

Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Cafe, noon.

Tuesday, April 29

College baseball Moorpark at SBCC, Pershing Park, 2:30 p.m.

High school baseball Santa Barbara at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.

High school volleyball Santa Barbara at Dos Pueblos, 6:30 p.m.; Nordhoff at Bishop Diego, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 30

College baseball Pepperdine at UCSB, 2 p.m.

High school softball Ventura at San Marcos, 3:30 p.m.

Run-walk-swim Night Moves at Leadbetter Beach, 6:25 p.m.

Thursday, May 1

High school swimming Channel League Diving Finals at Dos Pueblos, 2 p.m.

High school track & field Channel League Finals at Dos Pueblos, 3 p.m.; Tri-Valley League Finals at Carpinteria, 3 p.m.

High school softball Malibu at Bishop Diego, 3:30 p.m.

High school volleyball Nordhoff at Carpinteria, 6 p.m.; Buena at San Marcos, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, May 2

College baseball Cal State Fullerton at UCSB, 2 p.m.

High school baseball Dos Pueblos at Santa Barbara, 3:15 p.m.; Ventura at San Marcos, 3:15 p.m.; Santa Clara at Bishop Diego, 3:30 p.m.; Grace Brethren at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school swimming Channel League Swimming Finals at Dos Pueblos, 2 p.m.

High school volleyball Mission Prep at Carpinteria, 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 3

Basketball Ventura Jets at Santa Barbara Breakers, SBCC Sports Pavilion, 7:05 p.m.

Run-walk Mother’s Day 5K/10K, Goleta Beach County Park, 8:15 a.m.

College baseball Cal State Fullerton at UCSB, 1 p.m.

College softball Pacific at UCSB (2), 12 p.m.

Sunday, May 4

College baseball Cal State Fullerton at UCSB, 1 p.m.

College softball Pacific at UCSB, 12 p.m.

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