Corona’s dive team already has Chloe Hacker in contention to repeat as the Division I dive champion, but crunch time is nearing for the Aztecs to get as many other divers and swimmers as possible qualified for the state meet, according to coach Ron Musgrave.
“Hacker has consistently been one of the top finishers in the dual and invitational qualifying meets and is looking to repeat at state,” said Musgrave. “Another Corona diver, Jackson Whitten, will be competing in the state tournament for the first time, and brother and sister combo Carrie and Andrew Tate are close to qualifying.”
Hacker’s qualifying score is the highest listed for both boys and girls in Division I, according to AIA’s online qualifying statistics. Her highest qualifying score was 437.55, earned at the Phoenix Country Day School meet Sept. 30 where she was top scorer of the entire meet.
At the same event, Carrie Tate finished 10th with a score of 213.13, just 20 points shy of qualifying for the state meet, while Whitten qualified for state by taking second with 299.10. Andrew Tate was third with a score of 230.35.
Most recently, Hacker took first at the Aztecs’ last dual meet against Mesa Mountain View on Oct. 5. Carrie Tate was fifth, Andrew Tate third and Johnny Travis fourth at the same meet.
Hacker also took first with 240.45 points at the Gilbert dual meet Sept. 22, while Carrie Tate took third and Haily Vanderbur was fifth. On the boys side, Whitten placed second and Andrew Tate third in the 1 Meter Dive competition.
At the Casa Grande meet Sept. 28, Hacker again took first and Tate second. Whitten was second for the boys dive team while Andrew Tate was fourth and Christian Broadus fifth.
Corona swimmers will have the Mesa Last Chance Meet Oct. 22, the City Swim Meet Oct. 27 and the Brophy Last Chance Meet Oct. 29 to fully qualify for the state meet to be held Nov. 4-5 at Skyline High School in Mesa.
Two swimmers from each team appear to be in line for the state meet. “Nick Quon has provisionally qualified for the 100 Back (57.37) and expects to qualify in the 100 Fly, but he will need to shave .34 off his current time of 57.15,” said Musgrave. “Our team’s fastest breaststroker, Neon Stern, has provisionally qualified with a time of 1:06.09 but may need to continue dropping his time to secure his qualification in the 100 Breaststroke, which I believe he will achieve if he continues to work hard these next two weeks.”
“Nicole Holly and Amy Hong are close or have provisionally qualified from the girls team,” said Musgrave—“Nicole in the 100 Fly (1:01.53) for sure. She is now focused on improving her time in the 200 I.M. where she needs to drop two seconds to qualify in that event.”
“Amy needs to drop about 2-3 seconds in the 100 Free to secure a spot in the state meet.”
Corona’s boys team also has two relay teams that have provisionally qualified.
“Alex Smith, Chris Tate, Ben Miller and Nick Wilson, our boys 200 Freestyle Relay team have provisionally qualified, along with our 200 Medley Relay team of Quon, Stern, Tate and Miller,” Musgrave said. “Both teams have a shot at being one of the 32 teams to race at the state meet.”
The girls 200 Medley Relay team is also hoping to qualify. The team of Hong, Megan Miller, Holly and Alex Karr was first at Casa Grande while Hong, Myah Kamina, Holly and Abby Johnson took second at Gilbert and then the combination of Hong, Kamina, Holly and Amina Swenson took third in the Mountain View dual meet.
Others hopefuls include Matt Hurst who took second in the 200 Freestyle at both Gilbert and Mountain View and then first at Mountain View and second at Gilbert in the 500 Freestyle.
Nick Wilson, who took second in the 100 Freestyle at Mountain View and third at Gilbert, is also hoping to qualify for state these next two weeks.
Freshman hopefuls on the girls team include Clare McClernon, who took second and Hannah Watts third at Gilbert in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke.
Corona’s swimmers will start cutting back on distance these next couple of weeks and will focus on improving their race techniques and fine tuning their swimming skills using video analysis with the coaches, according to Musgrave.
Corona’s golf team was looking for two things to happen Oct. 17-20 at the City Tournament: keep their winnings housed in Corona’s trophy case and qualify as a team for the state tournament.
“The City Tournament could go several ways,” said coach Pat Reed. “Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe look like the forerunners, but our girls are not going to bow down. They really want to keep the trophy at CdS, so our goal is to not only win the tournament but qualify as a team for state at the same time.”
The Lady Aztecs, who have consistently placed between third- and sixth-place at the team level in the Division I state tournament over the past 10 years, find their opportunity to compete in jeopardy this year.
Corona had its last major event of the season, the City Tournament, to qualify for the state tournament Oct. 28-29. They are one score shy in the state’s new qualification standard for Division I teams.
Last year, Division I girls golf programs had a qualification standard where the course rating was multiplied by four plus 52. In order to reduce the number of teams at the state tournament in 2011, AIA chose to change the qualification to the course rating plus 36.
Over the course of the season, each team play gets a chance to play 14 matches that count toward qualification, but each must reach the standard five times on at least two different courses to qualify. Corona needs one more qualifying score.
“I realize that we had too many Division I teams, at 29, last year, but this new qualifying standard is going to make it hard for all but the top teams to qualify,” said Reed. “It means that a team, to qualify, is going to have to shoot 16 shots better then they did last year, which is a huge jump.”
As of Oct. 17, 10 Division I teams had qualified for the tournament, with only two other schools in the same boat as Corona, needing one more qualifying team score before the Oct. 22 cutoff. If that holds and all three teams make the cut, the Division I state tournament would be reduced from 29 teams to 13 at most.
The qualifying standard for individual golfers has also gotten tougher, but Corona has successfully qualified two of its five golfers for the state tournament: Halie Carpenter and Brooke Taylor.
Corona’s golf team has competed against 17 individual schools in singular or deal matches, winning all but five. The Lady Aztecs also took fourth place at the Tempe Invitational Sept. 17 and fifth at the Prescott Invitational.
“Brooke Taylor came in ninth and Halie Carpenter took 10th at the Prescott Invitational,” said coach Reed. “I was very proud of them because the conditions were unbelievable, with huge puddles on the putting greens due to the constant downpour of rain.”
Corona’s other golfers have been steadily improving over the course of the season, according to Reed.
“Kerry Lorenz has moved into the third spot while Katy Consoer and Isabel Ramos have been battling it out for the fourth and fifth spot every week,” said Reed. “Then my bottom three golfers on the team, Heather Hittenberger, Heather Harry and Kelly Robb, have really improved and I can’t wait to see what they do from the end of the season through the summer. They are highly motivated and make me look forward to next fall.”
Corona should know by Oct. 21 if they will be able to continue the tradition of competing in the state golf tournament. The Lady Aztecs have missed the qualifying team score by one stroke three times according to Reed. She has her fingers crossed her teammates will not only keep the trophy at Corona but qualify as a team for state during their last chance at the City Tournament.
There is no doubt that Corona’s football team (4-4) has improved considerably under the leadership of new head coach Tom Joseph, but the last two games of the regular season will ultimately determine just how much the team has improved.
The Aztecs still have a chance to redeem their season and potentially make it into the state playoffs with a win over Mesquite on Oct. 21, but they will need to play much better on both sides of the ball than they did during the first two weeks this month.
The Aztecs’ hopes of making it into the state playoffs decreased dramatically with huge losses to both Mtn. Pointe (37-6) on Oct. 6 and Chandler (49-7) on Oct. 14. CdS fell from Oct. 2 rankings at the No. 10 spot, sporting a No. 8 state power ranking to a No.16 power ranking with those two losses. Only the top 16 teams make it to the playoffs.
Mesquite, with a 3-5 overall record, would, without a doubt, be the easiest game for the Aztecs to win on their own home turf Oct. 21. Hamilton, leading all Division I teams and ranked No. 1, have not lost a game all season. It would be a real challenge for Corona to defeat Hamilton Oct. 28 on the Huskies’ home field.
In order to defeat Mesquite, the Aztecs will need to come out of the trenches ready to play unlike they did against both Mtn. Pointe and Chandler. The Pride scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to lead 14-0 before Zach Von Allworden scored Corona’s only points in the game with two field goals in the second quarter.
Against the Wolves, the Aztecs allowed Chandler to score on their first possession with an 80-yard touchdown pass. Chandler continued to score at will, with 42 unanswered points before Corona was able to score on a 13-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back James Contes. The point-after-kick by Von Allworden gave the Aztecs their only points.
Most Corona fans will already know the Aztecs’ fate before reading this piece but it would be great news for the future of CdS football to get a chance once again to make an appearance in the state playoffs, even as the No. 16 seed, after last season.