ESPN1280 Athlete of the Week- Freshman Josie Simas enjoyed an outstanding start to her collegiate softball career. Simas led the Cougars to a 4-0 start in a pair of doubleheader sweeps over San Bernardino Valley and LA Mission. Simas was 10-for-15 at the plate for the week, including five extra-base hits, as the Cougars equaled their best start in over a decade. Over the pair of twinbills, Simas accounted for nearly a third of the Cougars’ 62 runs. She drove in 11 runs, while also scoring nine times.
M BASKETBALL- LAST WEEK: Men's Basketball split a pair of Western State Conference contests at home with a loss to #17 Ventura, 63-60, on Wednesday to end their first swing through the loop and win over Oxnard, 100-76, on Saturday to begin the second round of WSC play. The Cougars may have played the better game of the week against the ranked Pirates, who remain undefeated in conference play. Cuesta trailed the Bucs by 17 points at halftime, but came within a few seconds and a couple of defensive rebounds from knocking off the loop’s top team. Cuesta closed the game on a 17-8 run, but ran out of time as the buzzer sounded before they could get off a final shot. On Saturday, Cuesta reached the “Century-Mark” for the first time this season, while completing a season sweep against Oxnard, 100-76. The Cougars came out firing and connected on a season-high 19 three-pointers, while shooting 54% from beyond the arch. Freshman Guard Jacques Safra led the Cougars with 60 points on the week and came within a single free throw of being only the 5th Cuesta player to enjoy a 40-point game since 2000. The Cougars are 9-14 on the season and 3-4 in Western State Conference play.
NEXT: Men’s Basketball dives deeper into the second round of its Western State Conference schedule. The Cougars have a scheduled bye on Wednesday and travel to Santa Barbara on Saturday (5 PM) to play the Vaqueros. The Cougars beat Santa Barbara City, 80-53, in their first meeting in SLO, however all of the Vaqueros’ wins this year have been on their homecourt; which includes a win over Oxnard.
W BASKETBALL- Cuesta College has suspended its Women’s Basketball team for the remainder of the season. The Cougars shall be back in action for the 2020-21 campaign.
BASEBALL- NEXT: Baseball is 2-2 on the season and hosts #1 Orange Coast this Thursday (2 PM), Friday (2 PM) and Saturday (Noon). The visiting Pirates will hit the field without their Head Coach for the past 27 seasons- John Altobelli. Coach Altobelli and eight others lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash that took place on Sunday, January 25th. Under Altobelli, the Pirates were the CCCAA team of the decade (2010-19) with three of his four CCCAA State Titles coming over the past ten years- no other team won multiple titles. The Cougars and Pirates have played an early season series for most of the past two decades. Cuesta, under Coach Bob Miller, jumped out to an early lead in the series, however the Bucs have won eight of the past ten, including a two in the post-season, and own a 26-17 series lead.
LAST WEEK: Baseball, ranked #7, played a three-game series at #6 Riverside last weekend. All three games were close, however the host Tigers posted the series widest margin of victory in the opener, 5-1, despite neither team scoring after the 3rd inning. Riverside also took Game 2, but only after pushing across the deciding run in the 8th inning of a one-run game, 2-1. The Cougars scored twice to open the series finale and built their lead to 4-0 on their way to victory, as the Tigers' late comeback fell short, 4-2.
SOFTBALL- LAST WEEK: Softball opened the season by sweeping a pair of doubleheaders. On Tuesday, the Cougars opened the season at San Bernardino Valley and swept a doubleheader from the host Wolverines, 18-14 and 16-1. The Cougars started slow and were trailing 9-0 after the first inning of the season, however, Cuesta bounced back to win, 18-14. Cuesta completed its sweep of the Wolverines with a run-rule victory in the nightcap, 16-1. On Saturday, the Cougars traveled to Sylmar for a twinbill against LA Mission. They shellacked the Free Spirit in back-to-back, run-rule triumphs, 16-5 and 12-1. The Cougars, 4-0, currently lead the State with a .504 batting average and own a winning record for the first time since the end of the 2017 season.
NEXT: The Cougars bring their perfect 4-0 record home to begin an eight-game home stand this Tuesday against Reedley (12/2 PM). The Cougars also host a mini-tournament with Sacramento and Siskiyous on Friday and Saturday. The Cougars play Sacramento at 10 AM and Siskiyous at 2 PM on both Friday and Saturday, while the Panthers and Eagles play the sandwich game at Noon on both days. Sacramento was a 2019 CCCAA State Championship Qualifier and finished 5th in the CCCAA.
M SWIN & DIVE- Season Begins- February 7 at WSC Preview, Ventura (11 AM). The men’s team is led by 2019 Team MVP Satoshi Shinkawa and fellow 2019 CCCAA State Qualifier Gabriel Browning, as well as all-Western State Conference standouts Steven Chapman, Cooper Greene and, Zachary Tucker. Shinkawa’s 5th place finish in the 200-butterfly at the 2019 CCCAA State Championships was the Cougars best finish, while Browning was responsible for the Cougars’ only Western State Conference title- the 200-freestyle.
W SWIN & DIVE- Season Begins- February 7 at WSC Preview, Ventura (11 AM). The women’s team brings back last year’s MVP Tristin Bennett and a trio of stars from the 2018 squad. Bennett was Cuesta’s leading scorer at the 2019 Western State Conference Championship and the Cougars’ lone point scorer at the CCCAA State Championships; in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. She will be joined this season by fellow Breaststroker Makenna Schwarz, who placed in the 100 and 200-breaststrokes at the 2018 CCCAA State Championships, and the versatile Sofia Terry. Terry earned all-conference in the 50-freestyle and 200 IM and was part of the Cougars’ state qualifying relays two years ago. The Cougars’ biggest addition maybe the return of the 2018 All American Paige Leonard. Leonard was injured midway through her promising freshman season, however she returned in time to swim the 200-individual medley at the 2018 Western State Conference Championship and finished 2nd in the WSC in an All American time. She sat out the 2018 CCCAA State Championship, but ranks 2nd all time at Cuesta in the 400-IM as well as both the 100 and 200 backstrokes.
TRACK & FIELD- LAST WEEK: Track and Field opened the 2020 season with a strong showing at Westmont’s On Your Marks Meet in Montecito on Saturday. The men’s and women’s teams combined to post five new Cuesta Top 10 marks against mostly four-year and club competition. On the men’s side, Freshman Thrower Newcomer Corban Payne ended his first weekend ranked #6 all time in the Shot Put with an effort of 46' 2.75". Payne also finished 2nd in the Discus, behind teammate and event winner Micah Katz. Katz’s throw of 138-10.5 also moved him up to #9 on Cuesta’s Top 10. Katz also joined Long Jumper Darius Jackson as an event winners. Jackson cleared 20’ 1.5” in his win in the Long Jump. On the women’s team, three freshmen added new all time marks. In the Triple Jump, Arielle Baxter and Elizabeth Willey both landed in the middle of the Top 10. Baxter now holds the #5 spot at 33’ 7.25” and Willey is directly behind her at 33’ 4.25”. In the High Jump Eva Kessler cleared 5’1.25” and began her career 9th on Cuesta’s Top 10, but also less than three inches off the school record (5’4”) set in 1978 by Ella Baston.
NEXT: Track & Field's next event will be the 2020 Western State Conference Relays at West LA on February 14.