SBART Press Luncheon: Taylor Steelman and Mason Rice were named Athletes of the Week

The final SBART press luncheon of the year was highlighted by Spring Playoff updates and well-deserved awards for outstanding student-athletes.

San Marcos boys’ volleyball’s Mason Rice received the final award for Male Athlete of the Week after leading the Royals to a victory at Canyon in the second round of the CIF playoffs. The Junior had four solo blocks (against a Division 1 recruit) and a total of 6 blocks with 12 kills at a .391 batting average.

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

Mason Rice of San Marcos.

The Sportswoman of the Week winner was Taylor Steelman from San Marcos, who won the 100 Back and 500 Free in the Channel League Finals, helping the Royals girls win their 8th straight league title.

Phil Womble Award

After 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 grade point average and has amassed 184.50 volunteer hours as a volleyball scorer, volunteer at the takeaway and volunteer at the food bank. According to Bishop Diego, softball coach MeLinda Matsumoto Johansen is the first to come to practice and the last to leave. She builds up the field and stays long to catch up with the field.

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

On the field, Johansen is a two-time All-League player and holds the single-season and career home run records for Bishop Diego Softball.

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

UCSB Scholar Athlete of the Award

After four successful years on court with the Gauchos, Ila Lane was named UCSB Scholar Athlete of the Year at Monday’s press luncheon.

While 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 successful players in UCSB women’s basketball history.

Lane has a 3.79 GPA while studying Sociology with a minor in Education. She will transfer to Cal next season to pursue a master’s degree and capitalize on her final years of eligibility by joining the Golden Bears’ women’s basketball program.

“She’s a better person and a better young woman than a basketball player and a college student, and that’s saying a lot,” said UCSB basketball coach Bonnie Hendrickson. “It was my privilege, my honor, she is one of the best players I have ever coached in my life.”

SBCC Baseball wins Western State Conference title

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

The Vaqueros started the conference game 0-3 before ripping off a 17-4 run. It is SBCC’s sixth WSC championship in the past eleven seasons. The Vaqueros have also qualified for the playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons, which is the longest streak in Southern California.

“With all the rain we have had to endure, our field is not draining very well and with tragedies in the middle of our season; We have a lot of members left from 2020 with Covid, 2021 we didn’t have a season and in 2022 we had to watch someone else do dog poo in our field,” said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. “The feeling was quite special for this group.”

Walker brought Dos Pueblos alumni Jordan Rico and Santa Barbara High alum Jack Holland with him. Rico has an ERA of 0.93 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 feat in bocce ball. Long and his teammates will compete in the Special Olympics Summer Games in Long Beach beginning in June.

Bobby Allyn

Bobby Allyn is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Bobby Allyn joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Bobby Allyn by emailing

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