The Ventura College Athletic Department is pleased to report that they list 73 student athletes from 2019-20 who are slated to transfer to four-year institutions in the fall, as of June 30. Of those transfers, 51 plan on continuing their athletic careers at their new school, most of them with an athletic scholarship. The number of transfers may also be decreased as student athletes participating in spring sports had their year of eligibility reinstated following the cancellation of the spring seasons in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cross country star Olivia Burton was named the Ventura County Female College Athlete of the Year by the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday. The sophomore had earlier been awarded VC's Outstanding Female Sophomore Female Student Athlete and men's basketball standout Dayshone Henry was honored at the Pirates' Outstanding Male Sophomore Student Athletes for 2019-20. The two were also recently recognized by the Ventura Country Sports Hall of Fame for their accomplishments over their careers for the Pirates.
Ventura College Athletic Director Jimmy Walker and the Pirate Athletic Department hosted an alumni panel discussion on Racism, Diversity and the Student Athlete late last week that was posted to the Pirates' YouTube Channel and the VC Sports Network on Sunday. The panel was moderated by VC football mentor and player development assistant Ron Jenkins. He was joined by eight Ventura College alumni as they discussed racism in sport and society as a first step in addressing the current climate of racial tension.
Larry Baratte, the architect of Ventura College’s dominant men's and women's swimming programs of the early 21st century and a 2017 inductee into the VC Athletics Hall of Fame, peacefully passed away surrounded by the love of his family. He impacted the community in so many ways and will be sorely missed, yet his legacy will continue to live on.
Ventura College is pleased to announce that Jimmy Walker will continue as the Pirates’ Director of Intercollegiate Athletics permanently beginning in July. He has been serving as the Interim AD for the past year, helping the department navigate through the current coronavirus challenge, and the College is confident in his leadership for Pirate Athletics into the future.
The Pirates' men's tennis team has added three more players from the 2020 team to its list of students athletes who will transfer to four-year schools to continue their academic and athletic careers. Sophomores Charles De La Laurencie (Florida National University), Alexandre Campolina (Westcliff University, CA) and Thorben Waldburger (Indiana University East) have all signed scholarship offers this spring, joining Antonio Rosales (Biola University), who committed in the fall.
Nine players from Ventura College's 2019 Western State Conference championship team were honored earlier this spring by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association as Academic All-State honorees. A total of 202 players from the 2019 season were honored by the coaches association for achieving at least a 3.5 grade point average during the last academic year.
In a perfect world, the Pirates' beach volleyball team would have returned home over the weekend following their first ever team appearance in the CCCAA State Tournament. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season ended two months ago with unfulfilled expectations. But in the short time the 2020 team made it to the sand courts, there was much to celebrate.
The Pirates' women's tennis team was progressing in what could have been a memorable March and April when the coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended the 2020 season. Freshman Sylvie Van Cott was undefeated at No. 1 singles with an 11-0 record, and she also had a strong doubles year going with partner Aline Rojas. Meanwhile, others were also having solid seasons for VC when the CCCAA sports world stood still.
It is a season whose end will forever be unwritten. The Ventura College men's tennis team was the lone undefeated squad remaining in the state in 2020 when the campaign came to an abrupt end on March 12 due to the coronavirus, and their journey will always be unfinished. But despite that, the 2020 Pirates achieved many great things worthy of recognition and review.
The season had barely began, and then it was over. In a sport where progression of training builds to a pair of three-day meets at the end of the season, the Ventura College men's and women's swimming and diving teams had barely gotten in the pool before the coronavirus ended the year. Despite the short campaign, the Pirates still managed to make their mark.
Dennis Downey, a 1973 Ventura College alumnus and a member of the VC Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 20, 2020. A graduate of Ventura High School, he was a standout for the Pirates in football and baseball before transferring to Oregon State.
2020 was already a transition yer for the Ventura College track and field teams. With former VC All-American and new head coach Tomak Czerwinski at the helm, the Pirates began anew in January and racked up some solid performances before the season was stopped in mid-March due to the coronavirus.
In a season that concluded with a "what if," the Ventura College men’s golf team looked to make a deep run into the CCCAA State Championships in May. When the 2020 season was suspended due to the coronavirus, the Pirates were alone in second place in the difficult Western State Conference, trailing only defending state champion College of the Canyons. The Pirates had three runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place finishes in five WSC events. In addition to the stellar play of sophomore Mason Teron, two freshmen, Evan Colborn and Steen Zeman each notched individual third-place finishes at separate events.
Three Ventura College football alumni continued their dreams of playing in the National Football League on the final day of the NFL Draft Saturday. Jake Luton, the 2016 SCFA Northern Conference Offensive Player of the Year for VC, was drafted in the sixth round, the 189th pick overall, by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile 2017 Northern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jessie Lemonier signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. Case Cookus, a grey-shirt member of the VC's 2014 team was signed by the New York Giants.
After a strong run in the Western State Conference North Division in 2019, the Pirate softball team was poised for another run at the title in 2020, before the coronavirus. VC, which was due to open WSC play on March 10 before rain postponed the conference opener, ended the season with an 11-8 record in solid position in what looked to be a four-team race in the division.
The 2020 Pirate baseball season may have been cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent nation-wide shutdown, but it was not short of drama that is unique to JC baseball. Late-inning heroics, wide run swings, and solid individual performances highlighted the Pirates' 2020 baseball season.
Despite being the lone undefeated team in the state when the coronavirus halted CCCAA athletics across the board on March 12, the Pirates' men's tennis team was ranked No. 3 in the final Oracle/ITA JUCO CCCAA Men’s Team Rankings issued by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association on Thursday. Ventura (8-0) was ranked behind College of the Desert (6-1) and American River (9-2) in the poll.
At the end of a roller coaster season, the VC women's basketball team had found its way back to the top with a berth in the CCCAA State Elite Eight with a regional final victory on March 7. Five days later, they found themselves in the middle of the emerging COVID-19 crisis that enveloped the country and the world. After a 21-7 overall record, the Pirates became Ventura College's first team to end their season without closure as they returned home from the cancelled state tournament.
The Pirates' men's basketball team's 3-4 start to the 2019-20 season was not what they envisioned, but as the saying goes, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish." Ventura won 13 of its final 15 games, including a 12-game winning streak to post the first undefeated Western State Conference North Division record in 12 years, as they captured their fifth straight conference crown. VC won the Antelope Valley College Tournament in early December and defeated eventual state elite eight qualifiers Riverside and Los Angeles Valley in posting an overall 21-8 mark in another successful season.
Coming off the program's first trip to the CCCAA State Championship Game in 2018, the Ventura College Pirate football team looked to keep the momentum rolling in 2019. VC started out the year winning six of their first seven games before a tough loss against College of the Canyons derailed the plans. The Pirates responded with two more wins, however, to claim a share of the Northern Conference title, the team's sixth in the past eight years.
Three players from the Ventura College men's basketball team have committed to sign scholarship offers and move on to the four-year level. Dayshone Henry, Tone Patton and Timothy Turner will all be transferring to Concordia University Irvine, Cal State University East Bay and Angelo State University (TX), respectively, in the fall. The trio helped lead the Pirates to its fifth straight Western State Conference North Division title in 2020, posting a 21-8 overall record.
The California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association has released its 2020 Academic All-State Team for classwork completed during the 2018-19 academic year. Pirates Jessica Mendoza and Cassidy Craig are both listed among the 202 honorees from around the state.
Ventura College men's tennis sophomore Antonio Rosales has signed a letter of intent to transfer to Biola University on a scholarship in the fall. Rosales, who is from Quito, Ecuador, has been VC's No. 1 player in singles and doubles for the past two seasons. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Pirates' 2020 campaign was cut short, and all players' year of eligibility was restored by the CCCAA. Rosales could have three years remaining to play with the Eagles, an NCAA Division II school competing in the PacWest Conference.
Under first-year head coach Travis Allain, the Pirates' men's water polo team had a resurgence or sorts, improving nine wins from their 2018 campaign. VC equalled their win total from 2018 on the opening weekend of the year, posting their highest point total in a decade with a 25-7 victory over Las Positas. Things got better from that point as Ventura produced 11 victories in 2019 with a 3-3 mark in Western State Conference play. The Pirates closed the year with a victory over Santa Monica to claim third place in the WSC.
Another successful season went into the books for the Ventura College women's water polo team in the fall. VC posted an overall season mark of 16-14 on the season, but five of those setbacks were by margins of two goals or less. The Pirates narrowly lost to Santa Barbara in the Western State Conference semifinals before capturing third place in the post-season tournament as the No. 5 seed. Shayle Barrus earned All-American honors, setting a new program single-season saves record with 284.
VC football sophomores Brandon Ocheltree and Steve Sanchez have been named Academic All-State by the California Community College Football Coaches Association as announced last month. Ocheltree posted a team-high grade point average of 3.62 while Sanchez earned a 3.52 GPA. The pair were among 41 players from throughout he state honored with the highest academic distinction. Ventura was one of 11 programs with multiple players honored.
Entering the 2019 season, the Ventura College volleyball team had high expectations coming off the program's first Western State Conference title in 13 years the previous season. Those expectations were tempered by an incredibly difficult schedule which had the Pirates dropping seven non-conference matches, six to eventual playoff teams. The Pirates won nine of their final 10 matches of the season, however, to post an overall record of 13-9, 8-2 in the WSC North for a second place finish.
The tradition of academic achievement by the Ventura College football team continues with 16 Pirates being named to the 2019 Southern California Football Association Scholar-Athlete Team. The Pirates honored were led by punter Steve Sanchez and wide receiver Dustin Sanchez, both of whom were named to the Dean's list in the fall with grade point averages of 3.52 and 3.50, respectively. VC (16) was second to Saddleback (17) in the total number of honorees.
Defense was the name of the game for the 2019 Ventura College women's soccer team as the Pirates had their best season guarding the goal since 2008. VC allowed just 17 goals on the season, a 12-year low, and posted 10 shutouts en route to their 23rd playoff appearance in the program's 24-year history.