In the age of specialization and year-round club sports, elite dual-sport athletes have become a rare breed. In an effort to maximize their children’s ability in one sport, many families are pouring their time and financial resources into offseason training at the expense of secondary sports, which can be a detriment to high school programs that are in need of numbers to stay healthy.
This basketball season, high school rivals Santa Barbara and San Marcos are led by two of the top dual-sport athletes in the area: Bryce Warrecker and Beau Allen. Both athletes have bucked the specialization trend and helped lift multiple programs in the process.
The Warrecker name has been a staple of Santa Barbara baseball for some time. Warrecker’s grandfather Fred Warrecker coached Santa Barbara High for 42 years, and his six sons have greatly impacted the community as players and coaches.
For Warrecker, who is committed to Cal Poly for baseball and basketball, the desire to play multiple sports has always been there. He intends to continue as long as he can.
“It’s still what I love to do. There’s no decision between one or the other yet,” Warrecker said. “When it becomes time to hopefully play professionally, maybe then I can make a choice. But in college, I’m still trying to play both.”
Ironically, Warrecker’s love of sports began with soccer, but as he grew, his focus shifted to basketball.
“My dad told me there’s not very many guys who play professional soccer that are 6’8″, so maybe we’ve got to start playing more club basketball instead of soccer,” Warrecker said. “That’s kind of how I got started. I ran into some really good coaches and ended up having fun with it. A lot of guys I played with then I’m still playing with now.”
Allen, who is dripping with natural athleticism, is currently committed to Duke for track and field. He was spotted by San Marcos high-jump coach Ben Kirkwood playing basketball his freshman year and never looked back.
Last season, Allen broke a 32-year-old school record by clearing 6’10” in the high jump. He also finished in fourth place at the CIF State Championships with a jump of 6’8″.
Allen took official visits to Notre Dame, UC Berkeley, and Duke before making his college decision.
“It feels really good to be relatively new to a sport and have been able to achieve this level,” Allen said. “For [colleges], the upside is good, and I know I can keep improving with high-level training and take it to a whole new level.” He believes the crossover between the explosive movements, timing, and jumping in the two sports have aided in his training.
Allen broke out on the basketball court last season and helped San Marcos win the Channel League and the CIF-SS Division 2A championship. His versatility and athleticism on the court was exactly what the Royals needed to complement a battle-tested senior class. This season, Allen has taken a leadership role and is at the top of every opponent’s scouting report.
“He may be the best player in the league,” said Santa Barbara coach David Bregante of Allen. “He’s just a great player and a great competitor.”
On January 16, Allen’s San Marcos Royals and Warrecker’s Santa Barbara Dons met on the hardwood with first place in Channel League on the line. Santa Barbara captured a 63-58 victory behind 19 points from Warrecker. The rematch is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, at San Marcos High.
PREP SPORTS ROUNDUP: The Channel League girls’ basketball race is exceeding expectations for competitiveness. The results on a given night have swung unpredictably. At the end of the first round of league play, Santa Ynez was in first place with a 4-1 record while Santa Barbara and Cabrillo of Lompoc were a game back with 3-2 records.
The key result was Santa Ynez notching a 62-60 road win over Santa Barbara on January 10. The rematch is scheduled for Thursday, January 24, and will likely determine the league champion.
In girls’ water polo, Dos Pueblos will be the top seed in the Channel League tournament next week. The Chargers defeated rival San Marcos, the defending CIF Division 1 and Channel League champions, on January 17 to clinch the top seed. Santa Barbara will be seeded second, and San Marcos will be the third seed.
For the fifth consecutive season, the Dos Pueblos wrestling team has clinched the Channel League title with a perfect 5-0 record. The Chargers will compete in the CIF Division 4 Duals on January 26 at Simi Valley’s Royal High.
San Marcos claimed sole possession of first place in the Channel League boys’ soccer standings with a 3-0 victory over Santa Barbara on Saturday, January 19, at La Playa Stadium. It was the first time San Marcos has defeated Santa Barbara in boys’ soccer since 2012. San Marcos junior midfielder Matt Hislop scored two first-half goals to swing momentum in the Royals’ favor.
With the victory, San Marcos improved to 6-0 in Channel League. Santa Barbara dropped to 5-1. The rematch is scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, beginning at 5 p.m. at San Marcos High.
SBCC SAND VOLLEYBALL: Beginning in February, SBCC will be offering intercollegiate sand volleyball for the first time in school history with the creation of a women’s sand volleyball team.
Sand volleyball is the fastest-growing sport in the California Community College Athletic Association, and SBCC will be competing in the Western State Conference, which has a total of eight teams.
“One of the main goals of our department is to offer programs that best serve the community,” said director of athletics Rocco Constantino in a press release. “There has always been a strong interest in intercollegiate women’s sand volleyball among our students, so it is a natural fit as part of our department.”
The team will be coached by Samantha Calisto, and home matches will be played at East Beach. SBCC now has 20 intercollegiate sports: 11 women’s and 9 men’s.