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Sports Recaps


Dons football had an overall memorable season, going 7-1 in the last year of the Channel League and 9-3 overall. 

Former quarterback and captain Abel Renteria was first-team Channel League, all CIF in Division IV, and all-state. As he looked back at this season, his favorite memory was beating St. Paul on their home turf. In addition to his favorite memory, he’ll always remember dancing after the game with his teammates in the locker room when celebrating that win. This is specifically his favorite memory due to being looked down upon during that game and being called the “underdog” for that playoff game. Renteria is unsure at the moment where he’ll go after high school, though he will continue both his education and his athletic career wherever he goes. He hopes to give back to the community by coaching football and inspiring youth like he experienced growing up. As an underclassman, Renteria was told to work hard and do everything in his power to be at his best if he really loves the game. Now, as an upperclassman, Renteria offers advice to underclassmen, saying, “Embrace the brotherhood that is created through grinding hours after hours after hours with your team.”

Safety and captain Jacobo Nevarez will attend Santa Barbara City College as a Business major hoping to continue his football career. Alongside Renteria, Nevarez was also first-team Channel League and all CIF in Division IV. Nevarez’s favorite memory from his time playing high school football was beating Rio Mesa in overtime his junior year. The accomplishment Nevarez is most proud of was being named all-CIF this year since it’s his senior year. Advice Nevarez would give to underclassmen playing football is to listen to their coaches because “they are coaches for a reason” and to watch a lot of film on other teams. Growing up, Nevarez played a variety of different sports, but wishes he played baseball as well. Nevarez’s favorite sport has always been football and is glad he continued to stick with it. 

Dons offense getting ready for a play. Image Courtesy of Andrew Perez

Flag Football:

Girls flag football made history this school year becoming the first girls flag football team at Santa Barbara High School. The team had an overall 9-4 record but went 5-2 in the league. Girls flag football was named the first-ever city champs and will continue to make history as time goes on. Many class of 2024 seniors were a part of this special team. 

Senior and captain Carolina Esparza made a big impact not only during flag football, but soccer as well, and will continue her education at Santa Barbara City College to major in Kinesiology. In regards to her favorite memory about flag football, she states her favorite memory is “when we beat Dos Pueblos and San Marcos to be named city champs.” In addition to her favorite memory, she adds, “One specific [highlight] was getting a Pick 6 in the first play of the game against SM.” During this season, Esparaza wishes they were Channel League champs and states they came out short and tied 2nd for the league, but adds it was fun and is glad she was a part of this team. If she can give any underclassmen advice she states it’s okay to try new things, enjoy every moment you get, and remember to always have fun. Esparza says, “Continue doing something you enjoy. Know that it’s your choice on what you want to do.”

Another player and senior, Jaz Gordon– who will attend San Diego State University (SDSU) to major in Kinesiology– also shared their love for this new sport. Gordon’s favorite memory from this flag football season was “playing a new sport with my friends and watching all of us grow and get better together.” She added that the team really bonded and it was due to everyone getting better together. 

Lastly, player Amaya Hernandez will attend Santa Barbara City College and major in Political Science. Along with Esparza, Hernandez’s favorite memory from flag football is beating San Marcos and Dos Pueblos to get that city champ title. Hernandez adds, “They were both super close games that we played our best in.” She wishes they went undefeated during this season and adds, “we had so many strong and athletic girls we really could’ve accomplished that.” Hernandez’s favorite accomplishment from flag football is she was glad she played the whole season. She states she’s proud of all the other girls on the team and is glad there were bonds created with everyone. 

Carolina Esparza after a play. Image Courtesy of Lily Chubb (Noozhawk)

Girls Water Polo:

Girls Water Polo had an overall record of 16-16 and made it to CIF playoffs where they played in the Division 1 playoff bracket. This team has gone up against pretty hard teams and with their hard work did well. Senior Nalani Yim will attend the University of Hawaii Manoa as a Business major, where she will continue her water polo career by playing D1 Water Polo. Yim’s favorite water polo memory from high school was the team van rides and hotel stays for away games due to the “many laughs and irreplaceable memories.” The advice she would give to underclassmen is to show up and have fun while playing. Growing up there weren’t any sports she almost played compared to water polo, though growing up she also was a soccer goalie before starting water polo in 8th grade which she adds, “the angles [from soccer] translated really well into the water.”

Senior Layla Szymczak will be attending Pomona College and playing on their water polo team. Szymczak plans to study business or finance. Her favorite memory was beating Dos Pueblos in her sophomore year. She states, “We were tied with 0.89 seconds left, and my coach told me to shoot. Luckily, it went in.” However, she adds her favorite part was her teammates being really excited. Szymczak adds that the specific season was tough, but “it gave us the confidence and excitement we needed.” Her accomplishments from this season include being ranked fourth in most goals in a season and fifth in most goals in a career at SBHS for girl’s water polo. Advice that stuck with her throughout her high school career was to have fun. Szymczak states, “When you’re present in the moment with your team, you make the best memories and strongest bonds, which makes playing games and going to practice so much more enjoyable.”

Lastly, player Yharai Casas Mejia was interviewed and plans to attend the University of Riverside where she will major in media and cultural studies. Casas Mejia’s favorite memory from playing water polo in high school was her last tournament in Irvine. Casas Mejia adds, “We played some really tough games against some really good teams, but in this last tournament we really learned how to play as a team and use each other’s individual strengths.” She states the team bonded in that tournament and learned much about one another. The advice she would give to underclassmen is to “be confident in themselves,” and added, “even though this is a really difficult sport and is very physically demanding, it just requires a lot of confidence and at times a ‘fake it until you make it’ attitude.” Casas Mejia says being humble and patient with your teammates will create a team bond that will be more fun when everyone is together.


Boys Baseball had a terrific season being named Channel League champs with an overall record of 18-7 and a league record of 10-4. Boys baseball had many close games which made them more exciting and fun to watch. The Dons advanced to CIF playoffs in Division III due to their constant hard work and dedication. 

Senior and player Liam Keithley will extend his baseball career to play Division III baseball at Cal Lutheran. Keithley’s favorite memory from playing in high school was from the away Ventura game at the top of the seventh inning when Zeke Adderley hit a game-tying home run that later led to a Dons win to secure the Channel League title. When questioned “Any advice for underclassmen for baseball?” Keithley states, “My advice is to play the game hard every day.” He wants to make sure underclassmen have fun with it because it flies by.

Another senior and player questioned was Michael Firestone. Firestone will further his baseball career at Santa Barbara City College. His favorite memory from high school baseball is playing against DP when he robbed a home run to end the first inning against DP. Firestone wishes that while on the team he would have won the Channel League more than once.

Senior Adriano Martinez celebrating after pitching. Image Courtesy of Andrew Perez


Girls and Boys Lacrosse had good seasons with their hard work and dedication. Girls had an overall record of 5-11. Boys overall record was also 5-11, but they advanced to the CIF playoffs. When interviewing seniors Abigail Gaston and Diego Jimenez, they reflected on past years of playing lacrosse. 

Player Abigail Gaston will be attending the University of California Los Angeles and majoring in Financial Actuarial Mathematics. Gaston hopes to continue her lacrosse career at UCLA next spring. Her favorite memory was winning first place at a tournament SBHS hosted. Gaston’s favorite accomplishment from high school lacrosse is beating Dos Pueblos and being a top scorer for that game. Lastly, advice she’d give to underclassmen is to have a positive attitude and try hard. She states, “Our team has a very fun and positive culture, but it’s important to always put in all your effort and do your best.”

Lastly, from boys lacrosse Diego Jimenez will be attending Santa Barbara City College and majoring in Marine Biology. When asked what his favorite memory from his high school career, Jimenez stated when the team beat San Marcos at San Marcos. His favorite memory of the season was scoring the team’s last goal of the season against Woodbridge. 

Senior Diego Jimenez against Cate. Image Courtesy of Mitch Klopp

Boys and Girls Volleyball:

The boys varsity volleyball team had a memorable 2024 season, with a 13-13 record.  The bonds they created on the court have made a great impact on their high school experiences. Some things that helped the team click were, “Getting hyped before games, spending time with the team, and working hard at practice and making each other better,” in Senior Raglan Kear’s words.

Two of the seniors, Raglan Kear and Mikey Denver, will be attending UCSB in the fall to play for their Division 1 team. “I’m looking forward to excelling on the college court both physically and mentally” says Kear. Both seniors are extremely excited to demonstrate their skills at the Division 1 level.

Although they lost in the CIF quarterfinals, they fought hard throughout the season and continued the legacy for SBHS volleyball. Senior Will Harman said his favorite memory was “beating SM this year because it felt good to end the 4 year long rivalry on a good note.”

These seniors loved playing high school volleyball and had some important advice to give to upcoming student athletes. “You have to make sure to balance family, friends, sports, and schoolwork all evenly (but most importantly schoolwork)” says Harman. “Enjoy the experience with your friends, don’t take it too seriously and work hard” says Denver.

 The girls volleyball team had great successes this year and have achieved many memorable accomplishments. Many seniors, who have dedicated time and energy into this sport, are graduating with a lot to be proud of. 

Senior captain Tessa de Albergaria, who will be attending George Washington University next year to play volleyball, says it’s important to “stay confident throughout ups and downs. Volleyball is 90% mental so you need to stay positive and uplift yourself and your teammates.” 

Both Emmy Werner and Augustine Wooten cherish the friendships they made from volleyball. “Just have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously,” says Wooten.  “Playing a team sport is like having a big family,” adds Werner. 

The seniors very much enjoyed beating their rivals, San Marcos, and describe it as their favorite memories from high school volleyball. Whether it was junior or senior year, this accomplishment was a great feat that the girls will never forget. But besides the victories and the triumphs they achieved, the bonds they created are the most valuable part of their careers.

Boys and Girls Soccer:

The senior year for both boys and girls soccer teams at our high school was a remarkable journey, defined by perseverance, teamwork, and exceptional performances on the field. Both the girls and boys teams faced a challenging season but emerged stronger and more united, showcasing their dedication and passion for the sport. I spoke with seniors Carolina Esparza, Elijah Myers and Jeremy Lopez about their memorable seasons and all spoke very highly of how proud the were to get through this year’s season 

The boys soccer team started the season with high hopes, driven by a core group of seasoned seniors who had been playing together for years. Their leadership and experience were key in guiding and maintaining team morale through tough matches.  “My favorite memory from my high school soccer career has to be both tournaments… It was a great bonding experience between the whole team and we had a lot of fun.” says Lopez. It’s a bittersweet feeling leaving behind the team but excited for the future.

Similarly, the girls soccer team experienced a season of growth and achievement. Led by a talented group of senior players, the team embraced a competitive spirit and a never-give-up attitude. The seniors’ mentorship was crucial in fostering a supportive environment, ensuring that the underclassmen were prepared to carry the torch forward. Ezparza gives her advice to underclassmen by explaining that ultimately you should enjoy every moment playing your sport, saying,  “make sure it is something you want to do. Make sure it doesn’t feel like a chore you have to do but more of your choice and it’s something you do enjoy doing.”

As the season concluded, both teams celebrated their seniors’ contributions, acknowledging their hard work, leadership, and the legacy they leave behind. Their journey serves as an inspiration, reminding us all of the power of teamwork and the enduring love of the game. Each senior had pieces of advice for the players succeeding them “do something now that would benefit you in the future.” Lopez, Ezparza and Myers are attending college in the fall. Esparza is committed to Santa Barbara City College playing soccer as well as a Kinesiology major and has hopes of transferring to a four year to continue her soccer career. Myers will be attending San Diego State University and Lopez also plans to continue his soccer career in college.


The senior year for the girls’ softball team at our high school was a season to remember, marked by personal growth, and an unwavering team spirit. The senior players, many of whom had been part of the team for several years, brought their  experience, leadership, and passion that was instrumental in the team’s success. I spoke with the seniors who will be passing the torch this year Amanda Holguin and Daylon Dontani who both spoke of how proud they were of the team and themselves for persevering through this year’s season.

At the onset of the season, the team faced high expectations, driven by the talent and determination of its senior members. These athletes not only excelled on the field but also set a high standard for commitment and work ethic “ I am most proud of how despite sometimes being stressed…I worked my hardest every time I stepped foot on that  field.” Holguin explains. Their leadership was evident in every practice and game, showing their devotion and dedication to the team 

The season was filled with memorable highlights as well as accomplishments “ I wish we had won a league game, but even though we didn’t I’m still proud of how much we improved.” Holguin 

 The seniors played a crucial role in mentoring the younger players, helping them develop their skills and confidence. This mentorship ensured that the team remained cohesive and focused, even during challenging times. Their dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive team environment was a testament to their character and leadership. Donati’s advice to underclassmen next year “ This sport is one of the most fun and rewarding sports and while you’re playing remember why you started in the first place.” As well as Holguin’s advice to next year’s team “just go with the flow, you are only in high school once so make the most out of your time even if things don’t go as planned.”

As the season came to an end, the contributions of the senior players were celebrated with heartfelt tributes and shared memories. Their legacy of hard work, teamwork, and sportsmanship will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the program, setting a high bar for future teams. The senior year for the girls’ softball team was not just about wins and losses, but about building a foundation of excellence for years to come. Dontai plans to attend Louisiana State University in the fall and study biochemistry and Holguin will attend SBCC and hopefully transfer to UCSB as a biology major.

Track and Field , Cross Country:

As the year ends and many athletic events are wrapping up, a time of reflection and appreciation sets in. Due to this team’s numerous triumphs and passionate dedication to their sport, the Cross Country and Track & Field team have brought pride to Santa Barbara High School. A very special shoutout goes to the seniors on this team, all who have been training for several years to break records and are now leaving behind a very strong legacy. The Forge was able to speak to four senior athletes, all who were able to recall wonderful memories of sportsmanship and perseverance. 

Senior athlete, Andreas Dybdahl, also known as the 2023 Track & Field State Champion or as the Santa Barbara Dons Outstanding Male Athlete of 2024, advises his underclassmen teammates to “stay consistent with the sport because nothing happens overnight.” This season, Dybdahl set expectations for himself to sub 1:50 on the 800 meter race and sub 4 minutes on the mile. Though he has not achieved these goals yet, he is very enthusiastic about making them at his upcoming races at the 2024 State Championships. Earlier this year, Dybdhal signed with one of the various recruiting schools that hoped to have him on their team; in the fall, he will be running for UCLA. 

Next, we have senior athlete Mackenna Show, a team captain for three years, who will also be attending UCLA to major in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution. Her goals for this season in track and field were to have fun, work as a team and do well in the 4×4 relay. She really wanted to go to CIF and is proud to say that she has reached that point two out of the four years she has participated in this sport. Show’s advice for next year’s team is to “be there because you want to be there,” and not to compare yourself to anyone else. She notes that it can be difficult at times to not compare yourself, especially in a sport like track and field or cross country where there is a clear winner, but to be proud of your own progress, whether it be big or small. Show and the other senior captains of the team have worked hard to unite everyone and create a positive environment. She hopes she left a kind impression on her team as someone people can look to for guidance and encouragement. 

Senior athlete, Sierra Gronquist, shared how cross country helped prepare her for track and field later in the year and allowed her to bond with the girls on her team. Though cross country is not her main sport, she still set expectations for herself to have fun and to improve her times from her sophomore year. This season she set the goal to run the 5K in a time frame of 23 minutes, which she was able to successfully complete. Next year, she will be competing for the Westmont Track Team where she will be pole vaulting and doing the heptathlon. Her message for underclassmen is to train hard everyday, listen to your body, and most importantly to have fun since that will be the drive that gets you through the sport. Gronquist hopes that her team has seen her strong work ethic and she hopes to have led through example that “if you work hard now, you will see results in the future,” it just takes patience. 

Last but not least, Blaise Snow, another athlete to qualify for the State Championships this season, shares his favorite memory of going to Mt. Sac and winning the 4×800. His goal for this season was to sub 4:10 in the 1600, which he got really close to by reaching 4:11. This fall, Snow is attending the University of Colorado, where he hopes to continue running. His message to the underclassmen is to be consistent and to be patient with their results. He believes that this year’s seniors on both of these sports have left a good legacy by “leading by example and being people that others can look up to.” These seniors have left an impressive mark on their team as well as this school, they will be missed greatly and with no doubt, do incredible things at their new schools. 

Girls Tennis:

This season, the SBHS Girls Tennis team made it to the CIF Quarterfinals. Their team consisted of four senior athletes: Esme Lopez-Landeck, Dilyn Clyne, Ruby Story, Siena Dybdahl, and Amelia Dektor. These athletes have dedicated most of their high school years competing for this sport and working tirelessly to improve their team. Some of the senior athletes were able to share some advice to the underclassmen and share their favorite memories. 

Esme Lopez-Landeck recalls the girls tennis team traveling to Santa Monica for her last CIF competition. “What made this last game memorable was everyone putting in their maximum effort and ability and being able to see some high quality tennis,” Lopez then goes into detail on how tense this game came to be, “It came down to one game, everyone came together on that last court and watched the last game, which went into a tie breaker.” She shared that even though her team lost, they all went to dinner together in Malibu to appreciate their last moments as a team which was a really sweet, heartfelt experience. One of her goals that she established at the beginning of her participation in this sport, was to make it to varsity; she was happy to report that she was able to accomplish this with the help of her ambition. Next year, she will be attending UC Berkeley where she plans to play tennis in an intramural club. Lopez’s advice to the underclassmen of her team is to break out of their comfort zone in order to grow as players. 

Next, Dilyn Clyne shared how she worked towards getting more comfortable with playing singles and her plans to join a club team at the University of St. Andrews, where she will be attending in the fall. Clyne’s message for underclassmen is, “do a sport during your high school years because it helps build community and it’s really fun.” She hopes that in her last year of playing on this team, she was able to help keep the spirit alive and spread encouragement to everyone. It is very clear that this team held very strong friendships and it was more than a high school sports team; it was a place of growth that helped lead these seniors to where they are going. 

Seniors of the Girls Tennis Team during Senior Night. Image Courtesy of Amelia Dektor


After a long and successful season, SBHS wrestling came to a close once again. This year, all eyes were on Victoria Reynoso as she was the only senior on the team. “My friend got me into wrestling because she didn’t want to be the only girl but then she quit so she made me the only girl on the team” explained Reynoso on her decision to join. Although she hasn’t been wrestling for long, the memories she’s made will last a lifetime. “My favorite memory was going to Channel Leagues with the entire team and staying there from 8am to 11pm and then going to get In-N-Out after.” Reynoso remembered.

Looking ahead, Reynoso plans on attending University of Arizona where she aspires to become an international lawyer for the U.S Army. Unfortunately, wrestling is not an option at the school but she hopes to continue working out and remaining active. When asked what advice she’d give to underclassmen on the team Reynoso said “do cardio and be prepared…it gets better.” Congratulations to Victoria and the whole wrestling team on a successful season. 

Boys Basketball:

The seniors of the Varsity Boys Basketball team had an incredibly memorable year. From buzzer beaters to breaking records, the 2024 team has a lot to be proud of. Senior Finn Whips will be attending Santa Barbara City College to further his basketball career and will major in business. When asked what goal he accomplished, senior Finn Whips said “I was first team all league and broke the all time single season rebound record.” His favorite memory from his basketball career was this season. Whips states it was the exciting win against San Clemente during the CIF quarterfinals. Growing up Whips looked up to Kevin Love because of “his hard work and openness about his mental health problems.” Whips message to underclassmen playing basketball is “Nothing comes easy. If you want something you have to work hard to achieve those goals.”

Senior Waylon Finkel will be attending University of Southern California in the fall for Business administration, his message to the underclassmen is “Stay patient and consistent because nothing great happens overnight.” Growing up a basketball player he looked up to was Kyrie Irving. Finkel’s favorite memory from this season was beating Oxnard, a hard league component. One of his main goals that was accomplished was winning the Channel League.

Senior and captain Tobin Shyrock shares the same favorite memory as Finn Whips which was beating San Clemente in the CIF quarterfinals. He will be attending Pepperdine University for sports administration where he will be walking on the basketball team. Shyrock’s goals he accomplished this season was being first team all Channel League and making an impact towards the assist record. Growing up an athlete he looked up to was Jalen Brunson. Advice he would give to underclassmen is “Don’t let a bad teammate or bad coach discourage you from being the best version of yourself.”

Senior Tobin Shyrock pre-game. Image Courtesy of Andrew Perez


The varsity sideline cheer team plays a pivotal role keeping the SBHS Dons school spirit up. Team captain Viviana Ruiz reflected on their time cheering the past four years. Viviana Ruiz will attend Santa Barbara City College and majoring in journalism was asked, “What’s your favorite memory from cheer?” Ruiz stated cheering for football games holds a lot of those memories though more specifically “the Rio Mesa game my junior year and the St. Paul game this year when the football team went into overtime because the atmosphere at the game was exciting and fun to cheer for, something I’ll always remember.” Ruiz accomplishments she’s proud of was being named team captain this year and also being on the team in general since growing up she always wanted to be a Dons cheerleader. Advice she’d give to underclassmen is to “have fun and cherish the moments because they go by really fast.”

Cheer stunting on senior night. Image Courtesy of Luranzi Mendez


  • Viviana Ruiz

    Viviana Ruiz is a junior who is from Santa Barbara. She likes to write in the forge because she is able to write what she is interested in.

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