Feb 15

Interview with Dave Winfield

Former San Diego Padre and baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was at a recent Templeton High CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA game.

Sound odd? Well, not so much considering his 6-foot-9 son, David Winfield Jr., plays on the Harvard-Westlake basketball team.

Winfield Jr. scored a game-high 16 points against the Eagles and has verbally committed to the University of Pennsylvania to play basketball.

Templeton lost 75-46 but played a good second half. They won eight straight but ran into a powerhouse of a team from Studio City.

Anyway, I caught up with Dave in the stands and he graciously granted me some time and cracked a few jokes. He was having fun!

Here’s the YouTube link of the interview (captured on an iPhone). Sorry for the shaky camera work. Hopefully it’s not too Blair Witch Project.

Feb 15

3 Mission Prep players ink National Letters of Intent Thursday

Nick Wilson

Three local players from Mission Prep inked their letters of national intent on Thursday (Feb. 14).

Anthony Bosshardt signed to play baseball at Claremont McKenna, Andrew DeSesa officially will play football at Brown University while Michael Cardwell will play football at Missouri University of Science and Technology on a partial scholarship.

Bosshardt, a pitcher, said that he loved the campus and that his best pitch, a fastball, is one he plans to use at the next level. Claremont is a Division III school in athletics.

“It’s a great academic school,” Bosshardt said. “I’ll be able to take classes at each of the fiv e (neighboring colleges) connected to Claremont.”

Bosshardt posted stellar numbers last year as a junior, striking out 53 batters in 43 innings and a 1.94 ERA.

At 6-3, 183 pounds, he has a very compact motion and generates a lot of velocity for a pitcher of his size, with tailing movement at the end of his pitch. The movement on his ball will help jam right-handed batters as a right-handed thrower.

DeSesa said that he’s working out seven days per week and has joined a Facebook group with 18 other players who are starting at Brown next year.

The 6-3, 230 pound linebacker expects to make the switch to defensive end at Brown. He says he’ll head off in June to the college to get an early start on training, though he’s not required to be in Providence, R.I. until August.

“The incoming freshmen are all pumped up about the season,” DeSesa said. “We’ve talked about winning league four straight years.”

Cardwell said he plans to study aeronautical engineering and possibly work for a company like Boeing after college. Thus Missouri S and T was the perfect fit because he’ll also play football.

The college is paying for his out-of-state tuition and giving him $3,000 as part of his scholarship deal.

Cardwell wanted to have a great senior season but never expected to rack up 1,300 yards at running back.

He expects to play running back in college, return punts and participate in special teams.

“It’s very exciting,” Cardwell said. “I haven’t seen the campus yet, but they’re planning to fly me out for free so I can do a visit.”

No word yet on Royals football stars Tyler Baty and Andrew DaRosa but coaches say they’re working to attract college attention and finding the right fit for them. More to come on that.

Feb 09

Longtime Morro Bay soccer coach Roger Ludin retires

By Nick Wilson

Longtime Morro Bay soccer coach Roger Ludin has coached his last game.

Ludin coached a combined 24 years at Morro Bay – 17 of them as the boys coach and seven of them as a girls coach.

The 68-year-old retired Cal Poly physics and mechanical engineering professor, affectionately known as “Doc” because he has a PhD in physics, coached his last game on Thursday.

Ludin has been through good times and bad in terms of success on the field.

He has coached a boys’ team to a CIF championship in the mid-1990s as a head coach and another team in 1989 as an assistant.

Ludin also has seen difficult seasons like this one (his girls’ team won only two games).

But either way, he has reinforced an attitude of “positivity” and high spirits, and deterred players and fans from lambasting the referees in frustration with perceived bad calls.

Ludin started out as a junior varsity coach at Morro Bay after moving up the ranks to coach the boys varsity.

He took four years off between coaching the boys and girls teams as he worked through a knee surgery and two hip replacements.

Ludin, a former multi-sport athlete and soccer player himself in high school in New York, who was named the coach of his wrestling team as a senior, thought he might be done but asked to come back to coach the girls’ team.

“The kids were just so great to work with,” Ludin said. “That’s what kept me coming back every year.”

Sometimes he’d take teams out to the beach to kick the soccer ball around on the sand. He said the Morro Bay administration was always supportive of him and his ideas.

His goal was to get his players in the best possible condition so they would not only perform to the best of their abilities but avoid injury.

He said it was a touching moment for one of his players – Michelle Cordova — who broke an ankle late in the season to get to start the game against Cabrillo High by kicking the ball off, though she was on crutches.

Then the other team kicked the ball out of bounds as the senior left the field.

“That was a nice moment for her and her family,” Ludin said. “She’s a positive, great kid.”

Ludin said he believes soccer will become more of an influential sport in America as future generations continue to play the game and improve the country’s level in the sport.

Some of his female players have been down to Carson to the Home Depot Center to see the U.S. Women’s National team play.

The exposure to the top level of the sport helps as well to encourage interest in the game as it struggles for the spotlight against more popular sports such as basketball, baseball and football.

Ludin said he still plans to volunteer with some Morro Bay sports, including track and field where he times events, but that over the holidays he made the decision that it was time to slow down.

“I still enjoy coaching,” Ludin said. “But a little voice was telling me it was time and I’ve learned it’s best to listen to that voice.”

Ludin said he still plans to volunteer with some Morro Bay sports, including track and field where he times events, but that over the holidays he made the decision that it was time to slow down.
“I still enjoy coaching,” Ludin said. “But a little voice was telling me it was time and I’ve learned it’s best to listen to that voice.”

Feb 08

Morro Bay girls basketball on roll; Hannah Gilbert unstoppable force

The Morro Bay High girls basketball team went 12-0 in the Los Padres League to claim a second consecutive undefeated league title.

The Pirates overpowered their opponents so convincingly that no team came within 25 points of them in a league game.

They figure to do well in playoffs with an ideal combination of players. Morro Bay has the best post player in girls basketball on the Central Coast in Hannah Gilbert.

Gilbert averages 18 points and nine rebounds per game. In addition to her size at 6-3, she has tremendous touch around the basket.

Really, Gilbert is playing out of her league and has been doing so for much of her high school career.

She’ll finally have some competition in terms of size and skill when she plays next year at Cal Poly. And should the Pirates advance deep into the playoffs, she may counter some opposing players of her caliber as well.

In addition to Gilbert, Morro Bay has the fastest point guard in the county. Sierra Schwellenbach averages 10 points, five assists and three rebounds per game.

Schwellenbach hounds opponents with her ball pressure, averaging nearly four steals per contest.

Several times this year, she stole the ball from opponents and streaked down the court for easy layups. Nobody seemed to be able to catch her as hard as they tried.

And then the Pirates have a large cast of players who make valuable contributions in their respective roles under Coach Cary Nerelli who really is a master at getting his team to minimize turnovers and move the ball.

Jerrica Crosby provides another post presence as a power forward and one of the taller girls in the LPL this season. She averages five rebounds per game.

Guards Kara Schmidt and Nikki Machado combine for about 11 points per game and the team averages 50 percent shooting from shots inside the 3-point line while knocking down 32 percent of shots from behind the arc.

At 19-3, Morro Bay currently is ranked eighth in Division 4AA behind seven private schools from the L.A. area.

Early in the season, the Pirates tested themselves against two Division 2 teams from Bakersfield with very respectable talent in their holiday tournament – Garces and Ridgeview.

They lost by nine to Garces and by two to Ridgeview, putting Morro Bay right there with them. Garces is now 22-2 and Ridgeview is 21-3.

Garces is ranked second in the division and Ridgeview is the top-ranked squad, according to www.maxpreps.com.

I don’t want to jinx anything. But this figures to be a promising playoff run ahead for Morro Bay.

Hannah Gilbert had her season-high of 28 points against Lompoc on Wednesday in her LPL finale and seems to be peaking at just the right time.

Hannah seems like a very pleasant person to be around and has a lot of fun playing basketball. I just wouldn’t want to have to face her on the court.

Jan 30

Playoff picture starting to become clear for local girls/boys basketball teams

Several local teams are winding down their seasons in boys and girls basketball.

And the CIF-Southern Section playoff picture is starting to come into focus, though some teams will determine their fates in games over the next two weeks. Four local teams in boys basketball appear primed to qualify.

Atascadero High is in second place and Arroyo Grande High is in fourth in the PAC 7. The top four squads in high school leagues that have seven teams go to playoffs.

Arroyo Grande has a record of 4-4 in league and the two teams tied for fifth (SLO High and Paso Robles) are 2-6.

In the Los Padres League, which also has seven teams, Templeton High is in third place at 5-3, ahead of Lompoc at 4-4. Morro Bay is knocking on the door in fifth at 3-5 and could get in with a strong finish and some luck with other teams dropping down. The Pirates have three games left.

Mission Prep is a freelance team that has been performing extraordinarily well this season, particularly after temporarily losing Connor Woolpert, their 6-5 center, at mid-season with a shoulder injury.

The Royals are 16-7 and they’ve beaten Righetti High and St. Joseph — two top teams in the county. Righetti is undefeated in league at 8-0 and St. Joseph is 5-2 (placing them first and third in league respectively).

Woolpert has returned to the lineup but missed a string of games, including the matchup against Righetti, which Mission Prep won, fueled by a strong game from guard Andy Rowley.

Mission Prep would need to win 80 percent of their games to automatically qualify for the postseason. The Royals have three games left and so that’s impossible to achieve the 80 percent mark. But they still can be considered for an at-large berth.

The Royals are currently ranked fifth in Division 5AA and they’ve played a tough schedule, beating two of the best teams in the county in Righetti and St. Joseph. And they lost by 15 points to Bishop Montgomery in the Mission Prep Classic tournament, currently the second ranked team in the state.

The girls’ teams in the playoff hunt include three teams from the Los Padres League. Morro Bay is 9-0, Templeton is 7-1, and Nipomo is 5-3, making those teams the first, second and third place teams in the league.

Morro Bay is a powerhouse that could make a deep playoff run this year, the final season for Cal Poly bound senior Hannah Gilbert, who’s 6-3 and extremely skilled in her low post game. Gilbert’s coach, Cary Nerelli, thinks she can make a strong contribution right away as a freshman at Cal Poly.

In the PAC 7, San Luis Obispo is playing well in third at 5-3 led by standouts Jessica Judge and Erica Chandler. The Tigers are the sixth ranked team in Division 3A, the highest ranked girls’ team from the county in the CIF polls.

Atascadero is in fourth at 3-4 and Paso Robles is fifth at 3-5.

The next stretch of games will decide the fate of some teams and serve as a playoff warmup for others (Morro Bay and Templeton girls).

The Pirates and Eagles should have a playoff environment of sorts when they face off at Morro Bay at the Pirates’ gym on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in a rematch. Morro Bay handily won their first matchup against Templeton.

Jan 25

Former A-Town Dawgs now among Atascadero High Basketball leaders

Check out this photo of some of the current Atascadero High basketball players, helping to lead the team to a third place standing currently in the PAC 7 League.

The photo, courtesy of Jim Woodard, was taken when they were grade schoolers playing for the A-Town Dawgs, a team that won more than 20 major tournaments and traveled throughout California and to Reno and Las Vegas to play.

Fun to see how then looked then and now. Read more about this story in tomorrow’s Tribune (Friday, Jan. 25).

Kids from left to right: Ben Coughlin, Chase Young, Aaron Olsen, Rob Berwick, Brian Woodard, Jared Stuedemann, Joe Johnson, Will Coughlin, Will Hays, Grant Woodard, Connor Kim.
Coaches in back (left to right): Jim Woodard and John Berwick. Photo courtesy Jim Woodard

Jan 25

PAC 7 boys basketball getting interesting (AG/Atascadero still in Hunt)

By Nick Wilson

Righetti High’s boys’ basketball leads the PAC 7 League with a 7-0 record, but two SLO County teams still have a crack at the title this year and the final stretch of the regular season over the next two weeks will determine if they can narrow the gap.
Atascadero sits in the third place position at 4-2, a half game behind St. Joseph (5-2). Arroyo Grande is in fourth at 4-3 with a big 60-48 win over St. Joseph on Wednesday.
The Greyhounds figure to win their next two games against lower tier teams in the league (San Luis Obispo and Pioneer Valley).
And then their season gets interesting with consecutive games against Arroyo Grande, St. Joseph, and Righetti (Feb. 1, Feb. 4, and Feb. 6).
The Greyhounds play Arroyo Grande away and St. Joe and Righetti at home in the final stretch of their season, giving them the home court advantage against the two teams that have beaten them this season.
At 6-6 and athletic, Cam Walker is a force as a sophomore center for Righetti and he’ll be a handful for nearly every team that doesn’t have a player that can match his size and spring.
The key may be to force other players on the floor for the Warriors to do more and to try to take the ball out of Walker’s hands. But easier said than done.
The Mission Prep had the answer, however, since the Royals beat the Warriors 61-60 on Jan. 12 at home – a very impressive win in a nonleague game.
The Royals’ sophomore guard Quinton Adlesh and senior Andy Rowley have been putting up big numbers for the Royals, who stand at 14-7 now.
In getting a win against St. Joe, Arroyo Grande avenged itself against the Knights, who won 58-52 at home against AG on Jan. 2 on a cold shooting night for the Eagles.
What was impressive about that loss, however, is that Eagles’ point guard Matt Willkomm was cold as ice in the first half but didn’t lose confidence and kept firing. Then he started hitting late in the game and nearly brought his team back for a win.
Willkomm had 24 points against St. Joe on Wednesday and the Eagles had a solid defensive effort to hold down key players for the Knights, including Case Bruton (11 points) and Curry Parham (9 points), two players who had big games against them last time around.
However you look at it, Righetti will need to have a collapse to drop out of first place and lose two or three of its final four games.
But it’s not out of the question considering Arroyo Grande, St. Joe, and Atascadero each are capable of beating the Warriors. Only time will tell.

Jan 11

Horace Grant coaches Mission Prep; Talks NBA

I ran into Horace Grant this week, who’s an assistant coach of the Mission Prep junior varsity girls basketball team this year in San Luis Obispo.

Grant, a former 17-year NBA player and four-time champion with the Bulls and Lakers, said that the three things he impresses on young basketball players are the following: have a good attitude, work hard, and eat right.

“Treating your body well is so important,” Grant said.

Fundamentals are always a key point of emphasis for Horace – who said that learning to dribble with both hands and keeping your head up are critical for point guards. For low post players, like him, understanding the proper footwork will make you a better player, he said.

Grant says he regularly watches NBA games still on TV. He calls himself a “fan” now and says he still loves keeping up.

“I’m such a fan,” Horace said. “I got the NBA ticket. I’m at home, I watch it. Some things make me cringe, but it’s still a great game.”

Grant believes that only a few players in the league have truly sound fundamentals with so many players coming out of college early and having to learn only the fly in the pros, which isn’t enough time to properly develop.

He named Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant as two players with solid footwork in the post in particular.

“As a league, we’ve gotten away from footwork in the post,” Grant said. “When kids spend a year in college, you can’t expect them to know all the fundamentals. The pro level is very different.”

He said guys like Dwight Howard who’s shooting 50 percent on free throws should be working extensively for four or five days per week to get better at the line.

“I love this kid Dwight Howard, but he’s got to improve,” Horace said. “When Michael Jordan (a former teammate) came into the league he didn’t have a jump shot. You have to work at your craft. That’s all it is.”

Players he mentioned as prime examples of dedicated workers included former stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. Currently, he said Blake Griffin, Duncan, Kobe, and Lebron have spent the hours to hone their games.

“Those guys were made in the offseason,” he said. “They’re always working on their craft to get better.”

As for the struggling Lakers, one of his former teams, like many, he said that it’s going to take a different approach on offense for them to get better.

He said Pau Gasol can’t be used in the same way Mike D’Antoni used Amare Stoudemire in Pheonix because they have a different skill set. Stoudemire likes to run on fast breaks and play the high pick-and-roll and that’s not Gasol’s game.

Horace believes they still can win a championship together because of Kobe, who has two or three good years left, he said. And he hopes Steve Nash will be part of that equation.

“There’s no way they should be under .500,” Grant said.

Horace said that time is closing in on Kobe, though, and “as Charles Barkley says, father time is undefeated.”

It’s funny to watch a 6-11 guy clog up the middle while coaching a JV girls teams, urging them to play energetic defensive. He and head coach Bailey Brown have the kids on the winning track.

Horace seems to be having fun with the kids and enjoying life in retirement — and I’m sure the kids are learning a thing or two from him.

–Nick Wilson

Jan 08

Several SLO County teams ranked in CIF high school sports this week

Several local area teams received recognition in this week’s CIF-Southern Section polls.

Arroyo Grande High’s boys basketball received a ninth place ranking in Division 2A, San Luis Obispo High was ranked 14th in Division 3A, Atascadero High was eighth in Division 3AA, and Mission Prep’s boys team was slotted sixth in Division 5AA.

In girls basketball, Paso Robles High was ranked 16th in Division 3AAA, Atascadero High was sixth in Division 3AA, San Luis Obispo was 12th in Division 3A, and Coast Union was 12th in Division 5A.

In girls soccer, Arroyo Grande was sixth in Division 3 and in girls water polo, Arroyo Grande was fifth in Division 3 and Paso Robles was 10th in the same division.

Finally, in boys soccer, San Luis Obispo was ranked ninth in Division 5.

We’ll see how the rankings may change in coming weeks and if any other local teams enter the mix.

–Nick Wilson

Dec 04

Arroyo Grande High, San Luis Obispo High, Paso Robles High ranked in winter sports

The polls are out for local teams in some winter sports. San Luis Obispo High’s boys soccer team is ranked seventh in Division 5 while Paso Robles High’s boys team is tied for 10th.
The CIF-Southern Section Top 10 rankings slotted the San Luis Obispo High girls’ soccer team at fourth and the Arroyo Grande High team tied for 10th with three other teams.
In girls’ water polo, Arroyo Grande was slugged as the fourth ranked team in Division 3.
The seasons are young for the teams so these rankings inevitably will change, and other local teams will have a chance to move into the Top 10, but San Luis Obispo County is well-represented.
Rankings in other sports likely will come out in coming days. We’ll see where other county teams may be positioned.

–Nick Wilson

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