The end game for many high school and college athletes comes at this time of year, when spring sports wind down and even league champions face the imminent possibility of elimination in the playoffs.
Josie Morales capped a stellar prep career at the Channel League track and field finals. The Dos Pueblos High senior won the girls 1,600 meters in 5:30.00 and the high jump at 5′4″. She decided not to continue in the CIF Southern Section competition, figuring it’s time to concentrate on her best sport.
“I’m committed to a college for soccer,” said Morales, who will be on scholarship at Colorado College. “I shouldn’t miss any more soccer games.” She has played club soccer since she was 10, and she was named Channel League defensive player of the year after leading DP’s Chargers to their first league soccer championship.
In her junior year, Morales said, “I wanted to give it my all” in track and field. She advanced through all the sectional qualifying meets and made it to the State Championships in the high jump, where she cleared a career-best 5′6″ to finish in eighth place.
While most jumpers are specialists, Morales ran hard on the track as well. “I’m a little tired going into the high jump, but I love to run,” she said. “It keeps me in shape.” She competed on the DP cross-country team as well as track. She always evinced a joy in participating that made her an extremely likable athlete to teammates as well as opponents.
“You get home late and stay up late,” she said of going out for multiple sports throughout the school year. “As long as you enjoy it, go for it.”
Nathaniel Getachew, another DP senior, was also a double-winner at the Channel League meet, running away from the pack in the 800 and 1,600 meters. He was seemingly born to run — his parents are from Ethiopia, home of a long line of fabulous distance runners — but he is the first in the family to take up the sport.
The future is bright for Morales and Getachew in many respects. Both are high-achieving students, members of the DP engineering academy. “I like showing up and knowing my material,” said Morales, who plans to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses in college. Getachew will be going to Pomona College to study computer science.
LAST LUNCHEON: The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s weekly press luncheons of 2018-19 came to a close Monday at Harry’s Plaza Café. They will resume in September. Gene Deering was applauded after ushering the confabs through his two terms as SBART president.
As always, a positive and upbeat tone prevailed at the luncheon. Looking forward to postseason action were the coaches of SBCC baseball (its ninth consecutive year in the Southern California playoffs, the longest current streak); Santa Barbara High volleyball and baseball; and San Marcos volleyball and softball. Dos Pueblos also has qualified for the CIF baseball and softball playoffs.
Bishop Diego baseball coach Nick Katzenstein was holding back tears when he disclosed that the Cardinals were left out of the playoffs, even though they were ranked No. 5 in their division. Their omission defied explanation. They finished third in a league that was dominated by two teams that belonged to higher divisions. Katzenstein noted that only one other team defeated Bishop, which went 13-6-1.
Emilia Petrachi charmed the audience when she received UCSB’s scholar-athlete award at the luncheon. A defensive standout for the Gaucho women’s volleyball team — she accumulated 1,977 digs in her career — the native of Modena, Italy, said that “trust in the process” sustained her throughout the four years, but awards are nice too. “Work hard,” she said. “Clean up your room, and Mom gives pizza.”
An awards extravaganza will be the Round Table’s Evening with the Athletes on Wednesday, May 8, at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 East Cota Street. The area’s top prep and college athletes in every sport will be recognized starting at 6:15 p.m preceded by a reception at 5:30. Admission is free.
GAUCHO VOLLEYBALL: Like the Bishop Diego baseball team, UCSB is out of the playoffs — in this case, the NCAA men’s volleyball championships — despite a No. 5 national ranking. In the Big West Conference, the Gauchos could not get past Hawai‘i and Long Beach State, who traded No. 1 rankings throughout the season. Long Beach is hosting the NCAAs this weekend. Also vying for the title are Hawai‘i, Pepperdine, USC, Lewis, and unranked Princeton.
Cullen Irons said this year’s Gauchos showed “flashes of 2011,” when they were runners-up in the NCAA. He was a standout on that team. After six years as top assistant to head coach Rick McLaughlin, Irons said he is moving on to join the women’s volleyball coaching staff at Oklahoma State.
Rudy Suwara, the only coach to take UCSB to two NCAA volleyball finals (1971 and ’74), will enter the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Anaheim. He is a member of the third class to be honored. Already enshrined are Kathy Gregory, the legendary Gaucho women’s coach; and Olympic champions Karch Kiraly and Doug Partie, who played their first indoor matches respectively at Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos.
STREAK FRACTURED: The winning streak of UCSB’s nationally ranked baseball team ended at 13 games last weekend when the Gauchos suffered back-to-back losses at UC Riverside. They salvaged the third game of the series in a big way with a 15-4 victory. Their next home game will be Tuesday, May 7, against St. Mary’s.
BASEBALL B’N’B: The Santa Barbara Foresters are seeking host families for out-of-town college baseball players who will play for the seven-time National Baseball Congress champions this June and July. Contact the club through firstname.lastname@example.org or 684-0657.