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Santa Barbara’s Athletes of August 


Santa Barbara Triathlon, College Soccer, Pan-American Games, and More This Month

Westmont defender Tim Heiduk goes high above goalkeeper Lalo Delgado (in green) and UCSB’s Rodney Michael (10) to head the ball away. | Credit: Paul Wellman

Summer is almost over and it’s time to go to school, which means classrooms for the kids to learn how to be productive citizens, and NFL websites and blogs for the rest of us to plan a productive Fantasy Football draft.

Meanwhile, the month of August has had a little bit of everything.

IT’S BACK:  Billed as the oldest annual triathlon on the U.S. mainland, the Santa Barbara Triathlon was a no-show last year because of lasting damage to the bicycle course from post-Thomas Fire debris flows. The roads and bridges are fixed now, and the 38th SB Tri will take place this weekend, August 24-25, the long course Saturday and sprint course Sunday, both starting at 7 a.m. with ocean swims at East Beach.

“It’s stressful for me,” said Joe Coito, directing the event for the 24th time. “I’ll be able to relax once I see the parent-child wave finish Sunday.” Construction at the Cabrillo Bathhouse will move the finish area to the west end of the parking lot.

Although the races attract hundreds of visitors, Coito said Santa Barbara’s athletic community is the key to the success of the triathlon, accounting for more than half the 1,200 entries. It has raised more than $500,000 for area charities. The beneficiary this year is Marcie’s Fund, fostering four causes in honor of Marcie Kjoller, an ardent athlete and teacher who died this year: The Alpha Resource Center, UCSB women’s swimming, Heal the Ocean, and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation.

Volunteers are essential to make the triathlon go, and it’s not too late to sign up at the website, santabarbaratriathlon.com.

COLLEGE SOCCER:  Unable to play because of a knee injury, UCSB junior Carson Vom Steeg is providing commentary on the streaming video of Gaucho soccer matches. In his debut last Saturday night, he did not show favoritism toward the Gauchos — coached by his father, Tim Vom Steeg — during their 1-0 exhibition victory over Westmont College.

Although UCSB’s goal was a beautifully executed header by Faouzi Taieb off a 22-yard free kick by fellow Frenchman Thibault Candia, Vom Steeg pointed out that the Gauchos “were fortunate to get the foul call” that set up the play. When another foul on an apparent UCSB turnover stopped a Westmont break-away, Warrior coach Dave Wolf received a yellow card for protesting, and Vom Steeg said, “He has a point … that was one of those calls, if it was not at Harder Stadium, it doesn’t go this way.”

Action will continue at the stadium tonight (Thursday, Aug. 22) when the Gaucho women, who blanked Westmont 2-0 in Saturday’s earlier game, take on Minnesota. The women will host San Jose State at noon Sunday, and on Friday, Aug. 30, there will be another double-header with the women taking on Cal and the men hosting UNLV.

Westmont’s men went to UCLA to play an exhibition with special meaning to Wolf. Ryan Jorden, the new coach of the Bruins, played for Wolf at Westmont and was his assistant coach a decade ago. Jorden was hired to replace Jorge Salcedo, who resigned as UCLA coach after being charged with taking $200,000 in bribes in the college admissions scandal.

Photo: Paul WellmanFaouzi Taieb’s flying header over Westmont defender Joshua Phillips (28) was the only score in UCSB’s 1-0 victory Saturday night.

PAN-AMERICAN GAMES:  Santa Barbara’s Paige Hauschild, among the water polo players injured in a balcony collapse at Gwangju, South Korea, was able to return to action at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, and she scored a goal in the final, a 24-4 victory over Canada, the 59th straight win by the U.S. national team. Also helping the team pile up 142 goals in six matches were Goleta’s Jamie and Kiley Neushul.

Lindon Victor, an athlete from Grenada who trains with the Santa Barbara Track Club at Westmont College, took the silver medal in the decathlon, scoring 8,240 points. Olympic bronze medalist Damian Warner of Canada won with 8,513 points. Victor, ranked No. 3 in the world, will compete in the IAAF World Championships at Qatar on October 2-3.

Surfing made its debut in the Pan-American Games, and Santa Barbara’s Cole Robbins was chosen as the U.S. entry in the longboard division. Robbins, 28, came through with a bronze medal. Peruvians dominated the waves, and they will send the men’s and women’s shortboard winners to the first Olympic surfing contest next year.

ON TO TOKYO:  Karch Kiraly can thank the Japanese for introducing volleyball to the Olympic Games in 1964. The Santa Barbara-bred spiker won three gold medals indoors and on the beach. Next summer, the Olympics return to Tokyo, and Kiraly will be coaching the U.S. women’s team in a quest for their first gold medal. They earned their ticket by defeating Bulgaria and Argentina in a qualification tournament at Bossier City, Louisiana earlier this month.

Kiraly led the Americans to a bronze medal at Rio in 2016, but he said their third-place victory over the Netherlands “felt like a gold.” They had to rebound from a heartbreaking loss to Serbia in the semifinals. “That was one of the toughest things any of us ever endured,” Kiraly said. “It was not the loss of a loved one, but man, did it hurt. It was a soul-crusher. We had to pull ourselves off the floor.”

FORESTERS LOSE:  The Santa Barbara Foresters went down abruptly in the knockout phase of the National Baseball Congress World Series. They lost to the Seattle Studs, who went on to win the title. The Foresters’ 36-11 summer record brought Bill Pintard’s 25-year log as coach/manager to 1,002-317 (.760). How does that compare to a major-league managerial record? Considering that their seasons average roughly a third of the 154-162 games in the big leagues, multiply Pintard’s wins by three, and he’s over 3,000, which would be second only to Connie Mack (3,731) in baseball history. John McGraw (2,763) is next. Bruce Bochy, who will retire after 25 years at the end of this season, has the most wins (1,989 as of this writing) of any active manager.

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