Taylor Steelman is the SBART female athlete of the week. | Credit: Courtesy SBART

The final SBART press luncheon of the year was highlighted by spring playoff updates and well-earned awards for standout student athletes.

Mason Rice of San Marcos boys’ volleyball received the final male Athlete of the Week award after leading the Royals to a sweep of Canyon in the second round of the CIF playoffs. The junior had four solo blocks (against a Division 1 recruit) and 6 total blocks to go with 12 kills on a .391 hitting percentage.

“He just had an outstanding match and it’s great that it was recognized by the sportswriters,” said San Marcos coach Roger Kuntz. “We play Anaheim Servite in our gym on Wednesday at 6pm in the quarterfinals.”

San Marcos outside hitter Mason Rice.

The female Athlete of the Week recipient was Taylor Steelman of San Marcos swimming who won the 100 back and 500 Free at Channel League finals, helping Royals girls win their 8th straight league title.

Phil Womble Award 

Fresh off an outstanding junior season for Bishop Diego softball, Tessa Johansen received the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports award at Monday’s press luncheon. 

Johansen maintains a 4.42 GPA and has amassed 184.50 volunteer hours as a scorekeeper for volleyball, snack shack volunteer and foodbank volunteer. According to Bishop Diego softball coach MeLinda Matsumoto Johansen is the first to arrive to practice and the last to leave. She sets up the field and stays late to drag the field after.

Tessa Johansen is the all-time homerun leader for Bishop Diego.

On the field Johansen is two-time all-league and holds the single season and career home run records for Bishop Diego softball.

“She has absolutely helped change the culture of the softball program at Bishop Diego. She puts her team before her personal interest,” Matsumoto said. “She leads by example and is typically the first one to practice with a smile on her face.”

UCSB Scholar Athlete of the Award

After four successful years on the court with the Gauchos, Ila Lane was recognized as UCSB’s Scholar Athlete of the Year at Monday’s Press Luncheon. 

In her time playing basketball for UCSB, Lane was a 1,000 point scorer, third all-time in rebounding, and Big West Conference freshman of the year.

Ila Lane is one of the most decorated players in UCSB women’s basketball history.

Lane carries a 3.79 GPA while majoring in Sociology with a minor in education. She will be transferring to Cal next season to pursue a master’s degree and take advantage of her final years of eligibility by joining the Golden Bears’ women’s basketball program.

“She is a better human being and a young woman than she is a basketball player and a student and that says a lot,” said UCSB women’s basketball coach Bonnie Hendrickson. “It has been my privilege, my honor, she is one of the best players and human beings I’ve ever coached in my life.”

SBCC Baseball Wins Western State Conference Title

The SBCC baseball team claimed a share of the Western State Conference after finishing conference play with a 17-7 record.

The Vaqueros started conference play 0-3 before ripping off a 17-4 run. It is the sixth WSC championship in the past eleven seasons for SBCC. The Vaqueros have also qualified for the playoffs for eleven consecutive seasons, which is the longest streak in Southern California.

“With all the rain we’ve had to endure and our field does not drain very well and with tragedy in the middle of our season; We have a lot of members left over from 2020 with covid, in 2021 we didn’t have a season and in 2022 we got to watch somebody else dogpile on our field,” said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. “The feeling was pretty special for this group.”

Walker brought with him Dos Pueblos Alumni Jordan Rico and Santa Barbara High alum Jack Holland. Rico has an ERA of .93 and Hardland’s ERA is 1.37. 

SBCC will host Golden West in a SoCal Regional on Friday and Saturday. 

Special Olympics Athlete of the Month

Dylan Long received the Special Olympic Athlete of the Month award for this performance in Bocci Ball. Long and his teammates will be attending the Special Olympics summer games in Long Beach beginning in June.


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