Throughout his final year at Live Oak High School, Jakob Conlan was inspired by the words of his baseball manager, C.J. Goularte.
“He’s always told us before a game, ‘It’s time to make memories,’” Conlan said. “Make high school memories you’ll want to remember.”
Conlan came away with plenty of those from a senior year that ended two weeks ago with the starting pitcher and star point guard joining classmate Kirsten Doting, an NCAA Division I field hockey scholarship signee and soccer sensation, as Live Oak’s male and female athletes of the year, as voted by LOHS coaches.
“It feels good. I mean, it’s cool to know that out of all the great athletes, I was the one to get it. It’s an honor,” Conlan said. “I was surprised because there’s a lot of good athletes here.”
None were more deserving than the 5-foot-9 left-hander, who provided senior leadership and some late-season heroics that helped Goularte’s young team nearly reach the Central Coast Section playoffs. Led by Conlan (4-4), who made first-team all-league with a club-best ERA of 2.21 and a batting average of .325, the Acorns overcame a 2-8 start to tie for second in the Santa Teresa Division.
“He’s been like another coach on the field,” Goularte said in May. “Jakob’s been fantastic. ... He’s a great person. He’s a really good kid. He works with everybody, works with our freshmen in a year that we’re really, really young.”
Conlan, who plans to play baseball next year at Gavilan College, made a tremendous impact as well on the basketball team, which earned its first playoff berth since 2006 behind Conlan’s team-high 37 assists.
Like Goularte, coach Brett Paolucci saw Conlan as an extension of himself on the court.
“Leading the team at point guard, Jakob was very instrumental toward our success,” Paolucci said. “He was a team leader. His peers voted him as team captain; they had respect for him and knew how important he was going to be.
“He’s very deserving of this award.”
Doting had been the backbone of Live Oak field hockey since her freshman year, when Acorns coach Gina Sanders first told her she could play in college if she worked hard enough. Four all-Santa Teresa Division seasons later, Doting has signed with Pacific to go with Live Oak’s highest athletic honor.
“It’s a great deal. She was really honored,” Sanders said. “Her curiosity in the beginning and determination to work hard and her desire to play got her to where she is today.”
The 5-foot-5 Doting starred a midfield this fall, totaling five goals and eight assists and providing heady defensive play. She was named Senior of the Year for the Santa Teresa Division and led the third-place Acorns to a second straight CCS quarterfinal.
Sanders, a former Division I player at Massachusetts, foresees a successful college career for Doting.
“She’s going to do great,” Sanders said. “She’s got a great work ethic and doesn’t give up on the ball. She knows how to attack space. I think she’s going to do excellent there.”
During soccer season, Doting started all 23 games at defender and was key in the Acorns’ run to the CCS Division II semifinals.
- Live Oak’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards went to seniors Anisha Patel (field hockey, basketball, softball) and Ben Hartl (football, soccer). Patel will attend Michigan this fall, and Hartl UC-Santa Barbara.