Star Athletes: Stamatia Scarvelis and Shane Hauschild
Two High School Champions Who Set Records in Track-and-Field and Water Polo and Volleyball
Shane Hauschild and Stamatia Scarvelis may move on to greater things, but what they have done during their high school years has secured their legacy as two of the best athletes to come out of Santa Barbara and Goleta. Hauschild has a water polo scholarship to UCSB and also excels in volleyball, leading San Marcos to its first league championship in 12 years. The UCLA-bound Scarvelis is a two-time state champion in the girls’ shot put. In her last meet at Dos Pueblos, she achieved the second longest throw in state history. They share a love of ice cream, and neither is inclined to be boastful.
Stamatia Scarvelis, a senior track-and-field athlete at Dos Pueblos High School, stands out in so many ways:
• She represents an evolution in athletics, having come from Greek ancestry, which brings to mind the ancient Olympics, but women did not compete in those games.
• She has won back-to-back California State championships in the girls’ shot put, and she’ll be going for a third title in June.
• She is the defending U.S.A. Junior (under 20 years old) national champion and Pan-American Junior champion in the shot put. She aims to compete in the World Junior Championships in July.
• She is a protégé of Ramona Pagel, a four-time Olympian who held the American record in the shot put for 25 years. Kent Pagel, who was his wife’s coach, has been guiding Scarvelis’s training. Ramona, the director of fitness at Naval Base Ventura County, gives her advice.
• In her last dual meet, she improved her personal record in the shot put to 53′ 9¼”, the second longest in California high school history.
• Although the discus throw is not her dominant event, she recorded the longest throw (172′ 7″) in the nation this year at the Arcadia Invitational.
• She has a scholarship awaiting her at UCLA, where her brother Nicholas is a sophomore thrower.
• When fellow Dos Pueblos athlete Jon Dickinson asked her to be his prom date, he went to great lengths. He gave her a ride along Cathedral Oaks Road, where he had the cars of eight friends lined up with letters painted on the rear windshields: S-T-A-M — P-R-O-M?
“That was completely unexpected,” she said. “Of course, I said yes.”
The nice thing about Scarvelis is that she does not expect to be treated differently than her schoolmates. That trait developed early in her life, when she was just trying to keep up with the boys (Nicholas and Steven, a decathlete at Arizona).
“They are a wonderful family, kind people, inviting people,” said Fr. Constantine Zozos, a Greek Orthodox priest who baptized Scarvelis (she is named after the mother of her father, George Scarvelis). “She is not a selfish athlete. She is a genuine, good person.”
Fr. Constantine was among a group of family and fans watching Scarvelis compete in the recent Santa Barbara County Championships at Carpinteria High. While she was waiting for her flight in the discus throw, she walked over to her mother, Alexandra Scarvelis, and whispered apologetically that she wouldn’t be socializing until the meet was over.
“She is getting nostalgic about her high school competitions,” Alexandra said. “This is her last county meet.”
That morning, Scarvelis had traveled to Carpinteria in the team bus. “She wanted to be with her team,” Dos Pueblos coach Chris Mollkoy said. “She doesn’t get any special treatment.”
Scarvelis seemed to be moving a bit gingerly as she paced around the field. “Her legs are sore,” Alexandra said. “Kent has been beating her up.” Pagel confirmed that Scarvelis has been going through a heavy training phase in the weight room. The idea is to build up her strength so she can peak in the June and July championships.
Still, she wanted to put on a good show. “She hates to not do well,” said Dickinson, her training partner. “She is very aware of other people’s feelings,” Pagel said. “She knows people like to see her do well, and she wants them to know that they help her.” She wanted to break the county records, having missed the meet last year because of a conflict with the Mt. SAC Relays.
On her first throw, Scarvelis launched the discus high into the air, and a strong wind knocked it down in the 140-foot range. She stepped out of the ring, a foul, on another attempt. “Stam cares; I can see the smoke coming out of her nose,” her mother said. Scarvelis’s last throw fluttered through the wind and landed at 156′ 1″. “It was ugly,” Pagel said — but it broke the county meet record of 153′ 6″ that was set in 1983.
It was the same thing in the shot put. Struggling to find her groove, Scarvelis failed to break 50 feet for the only time this year. But her mark of 49′ 8½” was a new meet record by more than seven feet.
She was just as happy about the performance of Dickinson. After a year of training with her, he had become the county boys champion in the shot put and discus. Their weight room is the Scarvelis garage. “My parents bought the equipment for Nicholas his junior year,” Scarvelis said. “It’s become a real good gym. We have it decorated with American and Greek flags and a UCLA banner.”
Some serious lifting goes on there, though Scarvelis likes to make it fun, too. “I pick on her and tell her what a pain in the butt she is,” Pagel said. “She can be very serious, very focused, and very goofy at the same time. I have a video of her dancing, then she does a 400-pound squat.”
She is not huge — some 5′ 8″ and 175-180 pounds — but Pagel said, “She’s got quick-twitch muscles. Speed is a factor that compensates for size. She has a wonderful intrinsic sense of what to do.”
Scarvelis said she was “incredibly sore” from her workouts the past few weeks after she was through with the major invitational meets. “The intention is not to peak before the CIF meets,” she said. Among her lifts were single-leg squats. “They work on muscle stability and balance,” she said. “You feel it in the thighs, hips, and butt.”
She was looking forward to last Thursday’s dual meet between San Marcos and Dos Pueblos. “It’ll be the last time I’ll ever compete at DP,” she said. “Besides my throws, I’ll try to watch as many events as I can. It’ll be sad.”
School spirit is a powerful force. On her very first attempt, the four-kilogram (8-pound, 13-ounce) shot exploded out of Scarvelis’s hand. “I knew it was going far,” she said. “It felt pretty easy.” The throw measured 53′ 9¾”, a new personal best. The only better mark by a California high school girl is the state record of 54′ 9¾”, set by Anna Jelmini of Shafter in 2009. Scarvelis wrapped up her prep dual-meet career with a discus toss of 149′ 2″. Her last prep competition in her hometown will be the Channel League Finals at San Marcos, Friday, May 9, starting at 4 p.m.
“I’m moving on to bigger things,” she said. Several big things will be in her way soon. There’s the CIF Division 2 shot-put record of 53′ 7¾”, set by Natalie Kaaiawahia of Fullerton in 1983, and the discus record of 167′ 8″, set by Candy Roberts of Don Lugo in 1989. Then there’s Jelmini’s state shot-put record.
Going into this year, the national record was Texan Michelle Carter’s mark of 54′ 10¾” in 2003. But at last month’s South Carolina Taco Bell Classic, Raven Saunders of Burke High in Charleston pushed it way out to 56′ 8¼”. She may meet up with Scarvelis at the Junior Nationals.
Maybe Scarvelis will resort to her secret dietary weapon, revealed by Dickinson. “She loves eating vanilla ice cream with Oreos that she crushes herself,” he said. It’s just another way for her to achieve something better, she explained: “The cookies are fresher than they are in cookies-and-cream.”
The progress report on Stamatia Scarvelis, now a senior at Dos Pueblos High:
Shot put — CIF Division 2 champion (45’3”). Won State Championship on her final throw (47’3 ¼”).
Shot put — CIF Division 2 champion (49’4 ½”). State champion (50’7 ¾”). U.S.A. Junior National champion (52’1 ¾”). Pan-American Junior Games champion (50’8 ¾”).
Discus throw — CIF Division 2 champion (161’6”). Third place in State (149’6”).
Shot put — Set new personal best (53’8 ¼”) at Simplot Games indoor meet in Pocatello, Idaho. Set new outdoor best (53’5 ½”) at the Trabuco Hills Invitational. Set new Easter Relays record (51’4 ½”). Broke 21-year-old meet record at the Arcadia Invitational (52’1”). Set new Santa Barbara County Championship stadium and meet record (49’8 ½”). Set new personal best and state’s second longest mark of all time (53’9 ¼”) in last dual meet.
Discus throw — Won the Arcadia Invitational with a personal best (172’7”). Set new Santa Barbara County Championship stadium and meet record (156’1”).
May 9 — Channel League Finals at San Marcos High.
May 17 — CIF Division 2 Prelims at Moorpark.
May 24 — CIF Division 2 Finals at Mt. San Antonio College.
May 30 — CIF Masters Meet (state qualifying) at Cerritos College.
June 6-7 — State Prelims and Finals at Buchanan High, Clovis.
July 5-6 — U.S.A. Junior Championships at Eugene, Oregon.
July 22-27 — World Junior Championships at Eugene.
Shane Hauschild’s future looks mighty promising to UCSB sports fans, who see him as a rifle-armed scorer for the Gaucho water polo team and possibly doubling as a terminator at the net for the volleyball team.
But there was just one thing on the 6′ 5″ San Marcos High senior’s mind two weeks ago — how to dig out of a hole against the Santa Barbara Dons, the nine-time defending volleyball champions of the Channel League. The match at the Santa Barbara gym was tied at one set apiece, and the Dons were ahead, 22-18, in the third set.
“One point at a time,” Hauschild thought. He happened to be at the net in the rotation of players, and setter Christian Widner kept going to him. Hauschild went on a killing spree, pounding balls to the floor and off the body parts of the Dons, and the Royals won the set, 25-23.
Now momentum was on the visitors’ side, but the Dons could get it right back in game four. It was close all the way. After it got to 24-24, both teams fought to avoid the two-point gap that would spell defeat. The score was tied at 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30. Then Hauschild had the final say. He ripped the ball for two consecutive points — his 29th and 30th kills of the match — and with their four-set victory, 32-30 in the fourth, the Royals claimed the league championship.
“Shane’s will carried us through it,” San Marcos coach Roger Kuntz said. He described the one-two combination of Hauschild and Baker Johnson, the team’s next most lethal hitter, as “thunder and lightning.”
San Marcos finished the regular season with a 25-3 record and is the No. 1–ranked team in CIF Division 2. The Royals will open the play-offs at their gym, the Thunderhut, on Tuesday, May 13.
A few days after their epic victory over Santa Barbara, Hauschild still basked in the glow. He was named the most valuable player in the league a year ago, but winning the championship — the Royals’ first in 12 years — especially in the way they won it, was deeply satisfying.
“That kind of game was fun,” he said. “I’d like to say it would be just as good a time if they had won, but it would kind of suck.” (The Dons did not take it too badly. Santa Barbara’s Jasper Rhodes described the last five points of the last game as “the most energetic, inspirational time of my life” and said he’d always remember the time he blocked Hauschild.)
“It’s been a really, really good senior year,” Hauschild said. “The volleyball team won two big tournaments, and we got Coach Kuntz his 300th win in his last season. Our water polo team beat Santa Barbara twice for the first time in 20 years, and we won a CIF game.”
Water polo may be the most important sport in Hauschild’s future. With his long reach and the whip-like action of his arm, he is a scourge of defenders in the pool. He’s gained international experience with the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club. He grabbed the attention of college coaches and was offered scholarships. When it came down to UCSB or Long Beach State, his father’s alma mater, he chose the Gauchos. “Everybody that doesn’t live here wants to come here,” he said.
“We’re excited to have Shane,” UCSB coach Wolf Wigo said. “He’s tall and long. Physically, he has all the characteristics you want. He has a really good shot. His upside is great. He tried a lot of sports growing up and didn’t start water polo super young.”
Jeff Ashton, the San Marcos water polo coach, went as far as saying, “I don’t think there’s more than five or 10 guys in the country who can shoot the ball like him.” But while Hauschild is physically gifted, Ashton said, “That’s not why he’s so good. People don’t know the work he puts in. He missed maybe one practice in four years. He put a gash in his leg skateboarding. He wasn’t supposed to be in the water. He bound it up with athletic tape and duct tape and made the practice. He’s a coach’s son [Dwayne Hauschild is an assistant San Marcos volleyball coach], and he knows what’s important.”
Ashton said he had discussions with Kuntz over concerns that they were leaning so hard on Hauschild, the star of both teams for several years. “Not many kids could handle it,” Ashton said, but this kid is a man-child. “He has a tremendous amount of maturity for an 18-year-old guy,” Kuntz said. “He has a great heart for any game that he’s playing and a frame that anybody would die for.”
Because Hauschild has become so skilled in volleyball — “he’s our best passer, our best hitter, our best blocker, and one of our two best setters” — Kuntz had UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin take a look at him. “He saw Shane warming up for a match, spiking balls that bounced up to the ceiling, and Rick said, ‘We’ve got to work something out.’”
“Water polo is my priority, but I might try to play volleyball at UCSB, too, if I can handle the academics,” Hauschild said. He said his grade-point average is 3.8. (With a team GPA of 3.61, the boys’ volleyball squad is one of six San Marcos teams that are CIF academic champions.)
His mentality is more suited to water polo, Hauschild suggested. “I don’t like to come across as cocky,” he said. “There was a picture in the paper of me celebrating after a point in volleyball. I got a ton of crap from my water polo friends. You don’t have energy to waste after you score in water polo. You have to go play defense. You have to stay cool and collected and go on to the next play.
“I can’t stand cocky people,” he continued. “I can’t stand people who talk about how great they are. It’s extremely annoying to hear trash talk in volleyball. There’s a net between you. There’s no trash talking in water polo, because you can take care of it. But one time, we were beating a team really bad, and they threw a kid in at the end of the game. Every stroke, he was throwing a punch at me. He missed, but then he caught me and opened a cut above my eyebrow. I couldn’t do anything about it because the game ended 20 seconds later. He was about half my size, and he was bragging about it. I’m still pissed.”
Hauschild will be more dangerous to mess with in the future. He expects his body to fill out in college. “I just broke 200 pounds,” he said. “When I get home, I pretty much eat until I go to sleep. I eat tons of ice cream. No bowls. I’ll eat a whole carton in one sitting. My mom hates it. I make the excuse I’m using fewer dishes.”
And he’s taking in a lot of calories, but that’s no problem for this two-sport dynamo.
Shane Hauschild’s honors from his sophomore to senior years at San Marcos High:
Water polo: First Team All-Channel League
Volleyball: Honorable Mention All-League
Water polo: First Team All-League
Volleyball: League Most Valuable Player; First Team All-CIF
Water polo: First Team All-League; First Team All-CIF
Volleyball: Honors pending completion of the season. San Marcos won the Channel League championship and will host a first-round match in the CIF Division 2 play-offs on Tuesday, May 13.