Andrew Tobin, Santa Barbara High Football | Credit: Victor Bryant

Gracie Meinzer received SBART Athlete of the Week recognition after leading the Dons to crucial Channel League victories over Oxnard and crosstown rival San Marcos.

Against San Marcos, Meinzer finished with seven kills, 25 assists, three blocks, six digs, and one ace. Against Oxnard, she had 22 assists, eight kills, four digs, and an ace. 

Gracie Meinzer has been a key piece for first-place Santa Barbara. | Credit: Victor Bryant

“She is just one of our most consistent players all the way around, and as a coach, I never have to wonder or question when we’re going into a match. Is Gracie going to show up? Is Gracie going to work hard? Is Gracie going to be focused? Is Gracie going to lead the team? Those are never questions that enter my mind. It’s always a given,” said Santa Barbara coach Kristin Hempy. “She has stepped up a ton this year. We had a lot of seniors graduate last year, so as a senior who was on varsity last year, she has a lot of leadership.”

On the boys’ side, Santa Barbara High football safety Andrew Tobin spearheaded a legendary effort by the Santa Barbara High defense as the Dons captured a thrilling 7-6 victory over Rio Mesa in overtime.

Tobin finished with nine tackles and five pass breakups, but his most significant contribution came on the final play of the game, when he made the initial contact on Rio Mesa ball carrier J’Lin Wingo as the Dons thwarted a two-point conversion attempt to secure the victory.

“I told our kids this week we had to gas out; we had to leave everything we had in the tank. I told the kids to play uncomfortable to take themselves to levels that they haven’t gone before,” said Santa Barbara coach J.T. Stone. “[Tobin] could not walk at the end of the game; we had to help him off the field; we had to pick him up and carry him off. I applaud him for that. He busted his butt to make sure we got the win.”

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SBCC Football Routs L.A. Southwest

The SBCC football team set a new school record for points in an 86-0 victory over L.A. Southwest on Saturday. 

The Vaqueros reached the end zone on each of their first 12 possessions and improved to 3-1 overall with the victory. 

“We did have a big win, but the big thing wasn’t the score. It really didn’t matter what the score was. I just wanted to make sure that our guys played hard for four quarters, whoever was in the game,” said SBCC football coach Craig Moropoulos. “A lot of our starters didn’t play in the second half, but the guys that came in played hard. They played hard for four quarters, and that was rewarding for me.”

Brandon Smith led the way for SBCC offensively with 109 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Moropoulos called him one of the finest running backs he’s coached in 17 years.

Special Olympics Athlete of the Month

Jeff Bloch, 58 years old, was named Special Olympics Athlete of the Month for bowling. He started competing in track and field for the Special Olympics in the late ’80s. He won a gold medal in his first meet in the 50-yard dash.

Bloch often helps less experienced bowlers and gives them pointers to get better. He enjoys music from the ’50s and ’60s, most notably Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

Greg “The Leg” Tripathi

Dos Pueblos High kicker Greg Tripathi connected on field goals of 36, 46, and 50 yards in the Chargers’ 27-0 victory over Channel Islands.

Tripathi has become a weapon for Dos Pueblos offensively and has put nearly all of his kickoffs into the end zone to distinguish himself as perhaps the top kicker in Santa Barbara County.

“We talk about offense and defense a lot of times, and that’s usually the focus of football, but special teams are so overlooked, and that’s where a lot of guys continue to play as they go up the ranks,” said Dos Pueblos coach A.J. Pateras. “Watching him take an individual role like kicking and meld that into our team, you are starting to see guys take more pride in special teams.”

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