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Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table begins new school year, top student-athletes honored

Cash Carter, Tara Terrones
Righetti football player Cash Carter (left) and Lompoc flag football player Tara Terrones (right) hold Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table athlete of the week certificates at Hancock College on Aug. 28, 2023. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table gathered for the first time for the new 2023-24 school year on Monday afternoon.

Created more than 30 years ago, the weekly luncheon is held each Monday during the academic year and is intended to honor and recognize the top prep and collegiate student-athletes from the Northern Santa Barbara County region.

"These kids, they put their heart and soul into it," said Round Table president Steve Lavagnino. "It's kind of cool that we give the opportunity to recognize them and their accomplishments, either on the football field, basketball court or wherever they are."

Each week, different sports are featured during the program. On Monday, student-athletes from football, cross country, girls volleyball, girls golf and Allan Hancock College soccer attended the luncheon.

A group of student-athletes from each member school, including Santa Ynez High School, Lompoc High School, Cabrillo High School, Righetti High School, St. Joseph High School, Santa Maria High School, Pioneer Valley High School, Orcutt Academy High School, Valley Christian Academy and Allan Hancock College.

"You get to see everyone in your area and," said Santa Maria football player Malachi Jordan. "A lot of people don't get to have this stuff, so it's pretty nice to eat the food and all that."

The event provides an opportunity for student-athletes, as well as coaches and other school officials to meet each other in a fun, friendly environment.

"It's a cool experience for everybody to gather around," said St. Joseph volleyball player Jordyn Thomas. "It's super nice to see everybody here and kind of just get along. We are all here together."

As lunch is being served, coaches and athletic directors from each school will speak and provide an update on the achievements and accomplishment of the teams and student-athletes that are in attendance.

At the conclusion, a Male Athlete of the Week and Female Athlete of the Week is named.

On Monday, student-athletes from football, cross country, girls volleyball, girls golf and Allan Hancock College soccer are scheduled to attend the luncheon.

Lompoc's Tara Terrones was named the Female Athlete of the Week. The sophomore threw three touchdowns and helped lead the Braves brand new girls flag football team to an historic victory over Santa Barbara in the program's first ever game.

"I'm proud to be making history and I hope many other kids in the future come to play," said Terrones. "Some people like me have always thought about playing football and always wanted to and I think it's a pretty great opportunity to finally have something like that."

Girls football is now a fully sanctioned CIF sport and is now being played at a number of Santa Barbara area schools, with Lompoc being the only one in Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County region.

Righett senior quarterback Cash Carter was named the Male Athlete of the Week after throwing four touchdowns in a thrilling 38-36 win over Justin Garza High School in Fresno last Friday.

"It's awesome," said Carter. "It's a blessing. It means so much, just how much work me and all the other guys have put in. Hard work pays off and it's great to win the award and be able to do that."

Giavanni's Pizza in Orcutt has been the traditional site of the Round Table and continues to host the group each week.

However, beginning two years ago, Hancock College now hosts on the final Monday of each month, including today.

The Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table will meet each Monday, except on holidays and vacation periods through May 13, 2024.

On May 15, 2024, the Round Table will holds its season-ending Hall of Fame and Scholarship Dinner at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.

During the event, the Round Table will induct new members into its Hall of Fame, as well as name the Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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