Lots of Athletes of the Month for January

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

February 9, 2023

The Morro Bay High Athletic Boosters will honor a slew of athletes with the January 2023 Athletes of the Month recognition.

This time the boosters acknowledged girls’ soccer team standout, Jan Hotaling; varsity girls’ basketball’s Fiona Durham; and the entire boys’ and girls’ wrestling teams for outstanding efforts, performances and leadership.

MBHS Varsity Girls’ Soccer coach, Kim Wishon said of Hotaling as, “a force to be reckoned with on the field! Jane was nominated by her team to be team captain and definitely imbues that winning spirit.”

Hotaling is leading the team with 11 goals and six assists, Coach Wishon said. “As a junior, she is being pursued by different college and university soccer programs and is on the path to play collegiate soccer after she graduates.”

Hotaling, “plays attacking midfielder and has the tenacity to win the ball,” Coach Wishon said. “She sends beautiful balls up the field and dribbles through defenders to get the shot. She pushes herself to be better and is a positive voice on and off the field, always seeing the effort put forth by her teammates. Jane is a key component of our team and our success!”

Varsity Wrestling coach, Alberto Garza, is so impressed with his entire boys’ and girls’ wrestling team he nominated them all for the Athlete of the Month honors.

Coach Garza said, “We couldn’t just decide on one or two wrestlers from each team. This month, the team came together to pull off two tournaments, a tri-meet and a dual.”

He was impressed with the girls’ efforts recently hosting a big meet. “What people don’t understand about wrestling,” he said, “is the amount of work it takes to set up one mat. At our girl’s tournament on Jan. 7, the team not only set up four mats, tables and barriers, but also cleaned everything up that same night after competing or working hours during the day.

“We saw over 200 wrestlers walk through the doors to compete on Jan. 7. Two weeks later we hosted a tri-meet on a Wednesday and immediately started setting up for the largest boys’ tournament in California [the California Invitational Tournament], which saw over 700 wrestlers compete on 10 mats in both gyms.”

MBHS was wrestling central in January. “Between the two tournaments and two home meets,” Coach Garza said, “we saw close to 1,000 wrestlers walk through our gym doors to compete and over 1,500 spectators came to support.”

That monumental effort meant singling out one athlete impossible. “To give one girl and one boy the Athlete of The Month title for January,” he said, “just didn’t seem right, without the help of everyone on our team, we wouldn’t have been able to pull off a very successful month of wrestling.“

Estero Bay News congratulates not just those who are singled out for honors, but all student athletes, for the hard work they put in, the sacrifices they make, and for going above and beyond what’s expected and doing what is necessary for all the teams to compete.

MBHS Varsity Girls’ Basketball coach, Alex Engel said of Durham, “One of our team captains, and our starting power forward. Fiona is a high-energy player who leads our team in scoring at 10 points per game, and is second in rebounding at 9.2 rebounds per game. She’s the vocal leader of the team, and is a great example for our younger players.”

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