Monday, October 1, 2007

Round Table recognizes Special Olympian


Each Monday through most of the year, Santa Barbara’s biggest, fastest and brightest student athletes and their coaches pack a banquet room at Harry’s Plaza Cafe to be recognized by the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table for their achievements.
But on the first Monday of each month, the lanky volleyball players, brawny football players and steely-eyed coaches who fill the room offer a raucous applause for the Round Table’s recognition of the Special Olympic Athlete of the Month.

Yesterday marked the first such presentation and Bertha [the Bombshell] Jaramillo, 58, a local Special Olympian who’s preferred sport is bowling, was recognized.
With a beaming smile, Jaramillo stood in front of the youthful crowd yesterday and graciously accepted her award. Her coach, Amanda Howard gave the acceptance speech.
“[Bertha’s] just so positive in everything she does,” Howard said. “She’s a great athlete.”
Howard said Jaramillo’s teammates dubbed her “Bertha the Bombshell” for her consistency and leadership when hitting the lanes at Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond.
Ali Sprott-Roen, sports manager for Santa Barbara Special Olympics, said Jaramillo bowls an average score of 120, which she said is far above the average for someone who has Down Syndrome like Jaramillo.
Accompanying Jaramillo was her parents, Alberto and Alice, who said their daughter picked up bowling two years ago and took to it.
For Special Olympians, the opportunity to be recognized for their athletic prowess, whether in a bowling alley or on the track by the local community is a rare treat.
“I would say it’s really important,” Sprott-Roen said. “It’s one of the few areas where they get recognized for the hard work they do as an athlete.”
Sprott-Roen said Jaramillo will compete in a meet this Saturday in Ventura and has been selected as one of 10 local bowlers to compete in a statewide bowling championship in Fountain Valley.
This week’s Santa Barbara News-Press Athlete’s of the Week were Lance Curtiss, who led the San Marcos boy’s water polo team with five goals in a 15-7 win over Atascadero last Thursday, and Kristen Dealy, an outside hitter for Santa Barbara High’s girl’s volleyball team, who racked up dozens of kills through last week, 15 of which came in a 3-0 win over Buena.
Also honored at yesterday’s Round Table was former Dos Pueblos Football tailback Brad Ebner, who sustained a traumatic brain injury during the fourth game of the season last year.
Ebner, who was introduced to the crowd by Charger’s head coach Jeff Uyesaka and was flanked by his mother, Cheryl, was given a standing ovation.
Ebner could be seen throughout the event winking at nearby females and cracking up his fellow teammates.
San Marcos High football coach Dare Holdren broke his silence on what he called the “mauling” of his team by Oxnard last Friday, saying his team will be ready to go this Friday when they travel to Arroyo Grande.
“It would be very fair to say we got mauled,” Holdren said. “Oxnard just took it right to us and we had no answer for them at all.”

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