Spring 2022 Senior Sports Spotlight | Sports

boys water polo

The Warriors men’s water polo team completed a season for the record books, winning the first-ever CIF South Section title in 2021 and finishing second in the region after the regional final.

“The school and community support for the boys’ program was outstanding,” said coach Jon Otsuki.

The team was led by a core of seniors: Coby Gonzalez, Ian Thomas, Gavin Lohuis, Augie Sheaffer, Mateo Handall, Ben Persoon, Reyn Clayton, Seb McCurry and Zach Isaac.

Handall and Isaac were also named to the All-CIF First Team while Lohuis and Clayton earned second and third team honors respectively.


Carpinteria baseball had three seniors on the team this year: Gibby Castillo, Hunter Garcia and Zach Mata.

Coach Pat Cooney said all three have a deep family connection. Mata and his family have a long history with Carpinteria athletics, while Garcia is the youngest of three siblings who played for the Warriors. Castillo is the youngest brother of a family that has persevered in very difficult circumstances.

Soft ball

Multi-sport athlete Madi Mora contributed for the Warriors in water polo, volleyball and softball throughout her career at Carpinteria, and the standout eldest earned a scholarship to continue playing softball at the Mid-America Christian University next year.

Coach Dakotah Wilcox described her as the hard-working leader every coach wants on the team. “Having him as a freshman in college through his senior year was an amazing experience,” Wilcox said. “The amount of growth, as a player and a young woman, that has occurred throughout this time is something her parents and peers should be proud of.”

Boys volleyball

Coach Mickey Caughey isn’t a high school student, but in his final year as the Warriors’ volleyball head coach, he led the team on a magical ride to the CIF Southern Section Finals. .

The team was led by a large group of seniors, all of whom played under Caughey from year one. The seniors on this year’s team were Gavin Lohuis, Seb McCurry, Joaquin Gonzalez, Diesel Slade, Rigo Perez, River Taff, Zach Isaac and Ty Wilson.

Coach Caughey described Lohuis, the team’s most valuable player, as the “captain of the field” and the “second coach” on the field. “He made sure everyone was in their place and let our forwards know what kind of set they were going to get,” Caughey said. Lohius has consistently been the team’s top player in assists throughout the season.

Both Gonzalez and Slade won the Best Offensive Players award. “They were both great defensive players and both would often get a double-double in a game,” Caughey said.

Isaac was named “Best Multi-Skill Player” by the team for his ability to play well in all positions on the court. The team’s libero, Seb McCurry, earned top defensive player honors for his season leading the team with digs. “He always dug more balls than anyone else on our team, and he did that game after game all season long,” Caugey said. “And when he was on the service line, Sebastian could have long service runs, which brought us a lot of points on the service line.”

Caughey expressed his gratitude for coaching the senior team during his final year in charge: “Having 8 seasoned seniors in your squad doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it almost means always that you guys are going to have a great year. And I was in the right place at the right time to have this wonderful team.


Warriors athletics coach Van Latham chose to spotlight four outgoing seniors this year: Mateo Handall, Kate Cooney, Juan Trejo and Natalia Perez.

Handall “exemplifies what an athlete can achieve at Carpinteria High School,” Latham said, as a star both on land and in the water. After a season of championship water polo, Handall made the transition to the track and was that year’s league champion in the 400 meters and the Warriors’ only competitor in the CIF Finals. “I will always remember the passion and fire that Mateo brought to the track,” Latham said. “It was a joy to watch him run.”

Cooney is “the embodiment of the warrior spirit,” Latham said. “She has a positive attitude that is contagious.” Although she suffered an injury that held her back this season, she was voted team captain and named this year’s “Most Inspirational Athlete”.

Trejo “has become his senior year,” Latham said, becoming the team’s top discus thrower and the “wise old man” among throwers. A student of the event, Juan spent time on weekends and off-season perfecting his technique, and doubled his personal best from 54’3″ his sophomore year to 108’8″ his senior year.

Perez, a multi-sport athlete, had a comeback season after missing her junior year. “A leader among jumpers, she was among the first to hit the track and one of the last to leave,” Latham said. “Natalia always had a smile on her face and a fire in her heart.”

Boys Tennis

This year’s tennis squad enjoyed success under coach Charles Bryant, with four seniors leading the boys to another Citrus Coast League championship before a tough first-round loss in the playoffs: Ben Persoon , Austin Stone, Zaiden Juarez and Ian Thomas.

Persoon seemed to be “always calm and always in control,” Bryant said, and a great team player who started his career playing where it was needed.

Stone, the program’s MVP, was a three-time Citrus Coast League first-team selection and three-time singles MVP. “He was basically giving our team three automatic points every time he stepped on the court,” Bryant said. “That kind of productivity will be hard to replicate.”

Stone will be greatly missed and will continue to play at George Fox University Division 3 next year.

Juarez was a three-year-old starter who was a Citrus Coast League doubles runner-up with Ian Thomas last season and won the First Team All League. “Zaiden has been very consistent and a very stabilizing influence in games,” Bryant said. “He has always shown great sportsmanship and class on the courts, whether in training or in matches. I must add (and perhaps embarrass him) that he is a true gentleman , very polite, well-mannered, always complimentary and that he is an excellent representative of Carpinteria.

Thomas, the team captain, teamed up with Jaura to play doubles this year, and has been described as “that player you’ve heard of – always the first to train and always stayed late and was the last to go”.

He will attend Cal Lutheran University Division 3 next season, although he has not decided if he will continue playing tennis.