Aztec lacrosse reaches state playoffs for 4th straight year


garrett_howell001The Aztec lacrosse team, in a league
with 24 other teams in Arizona, played in
the state playoffs for the fourth straight
year, making it into the quarterfinals before
losing to the eventual runner-up team with
a score of 4-18, the Brophy Broncos, May 2.
Brophy was defeated by the Desert
Vista Thunder in the fi nals May 9.
The Aztecs fi nished the regular season
9-5 and ranked No. 7 based on the power
point system, winning eight of their last
10 games after starting the season off by
losing a hard-fought, tight game against the
Chandler Wolves.
“We probably should have fi nished
the regular season ranked higher, which
would have given us a higher state playoff
spo. But an early season loss to Chandler
when we were missing a few guys hurt us in
the seedings,” said manager Cliff Prausa.
“Our biggest win over a ranked opponent
was our 11-7 win over the No. 5-ranked
Salpointe Lancers.”
The Aztecs had three players honored
at the recent Arizona Lacrosse League High
School All-Star game, May 17.
Aztecs chosen as All Stars and playing
in the All-Star game were senior attack
Garret Howell; junior defense Rhett
Butters; and sophomore attack Jakob
Howell, who was also named to the
1st Team All State Attack and was awarded
All-America Honors, scored 50 goals, 43
assists, 93 points or 7.15 points per game
his senior season. He fi nished his high
school career as the all-time scoring leader
in goals and total points, passing Jordy
Patterson’s record set in 2008, according
to Prausa.
“Although Garret missed some games
due to a non-lacrosse related injury, he was
still second in the league in total points and
second in assists,” said Prausa. “Plus, he
was fi rst in the league based on points per
Howell signed a letter of intent to
play lacrosse with Seton Hill, a NCAA DII
program in Pennsylvania, one of the top 10
DII lacrosse programs.
Patterson, only a sophomore, had an
astounding 63 goals in 15 games, 13 assists,
76 points scoring over four goals a game.
He and Howell led their team in almost
every category, together scoring 113 of the
175 goals.
“Jake, one of our younger players, was
ranked among the best players from around
the league,” said Prausa. “He was second
in goals and fi rst in goals per game, even
after missing several games due to an ankle
Patterson, like Howell, was named to
the 1st Team All State Attack.
“Butters, a junior, had great on-fi eld
contributions for our team,” said Prausa,
“but we also had several midfi elders make
big contributions, as well.”
“Senior captain Mike Clare was our
face-off specialist, winning 65 percent of
his face-off s,” said Prausa. “Other seniors
who will be sorely missed next season are
midfi elder Ben Fitzhugh; defenseman
Tristan Butters; Patrick Surcouf; and
Trevor Tracey, who all played big roles in
our success on and off the fi eld.”
“Our senior goalie, Alex Tunberg,
fi nished out his stellar career, saving 58
percent of the goals sent at him, and was a
leader on the defensive side,” said Prausa.
Altogether, the Aztecs lost 10 seniors
to graduation this spring, including former
Corona football player RJ Rhiner and
other seniors Alex Yee and Klem Batac.
Several underclassman got a chance
to play signifi cant minutes this season, so
the future looks good for the Aztec lacrosse
Some of the players gaining valuable
experience include sophomore midfi elder
Ryan Budgett; sophomore defenseman
Daniel Sion; sophomore attack Jared
Duvall; junior midfi elders Luke Marois
and captain Jake Weber.
Another key to the success of the team
next season could be defenseman Trey
Bussler. As an eighth grade middle school
student, Trey was able to move up to varsity
and became a starter on the varsity team,
according to Prausa.
The Aztec Lacrosse Club is not
off ering any camps this summer but will
have a free introduction to lacrosse clinic
from 9-11 a.m. Sept. 21 at the Tempe Sports
Complex. Participants must preregister
at attend this clinic at the club website
Tempe All-City Awards — Several
athletes were recognized at the Tempe All-
City Awards Spring Sports banquet held
May 12 at the Phoenix Sheridan, including
17 Corona and Marcos de Niza athletes
who participated in baseball, softball, boys
volleyball, tennis and track and fi eld this
spring. A Corona senior was also chosen as
female athlete of the year.
Baseball Awards — Selected
to receive the award in baseball for his
excellent play at fi rst base was Marco de
Niza senior Jacob Mori. Mori played in 23
games for the Padres, leading the team with
a .446 batting average based on his 29 hits,
15 runs, 2 home runs and 21 RBI’s.
Marcos senior Kreston Woods
received the award for catcher. Woods
played in all 26 games, allowing only fi ve
stolen bases the entire season while leading
his team in stolen bases with 11. In addition
to his outstanding play as catcher, Woods
also pitched over 10 innings for the Padres,
had the second highest batting average at
.440, scored 22 runs on 37 hits and was
credited with 16 RBI’s.
Corona junior Eric Schwalbe was
selected to receive the award for pitcher and
senior Tyler Daugherty for outfi eld.
Schwalbe pitched 43 innings for the
Aztecs, recording one shut-out and three
complete games with a 2.01 ERA. When not
pitching, he played third base. Schwalbe
started in 27 games for Corona getting 25
hits and 16 RBIs, earning a .312 batting
Daugherty started in all 29 games,
playing in the outfi eld, but he also pitched
for the Aztecs. Daugherty earned 20 runs
on 29 hits with 22 RBIs and a .404 batting
Softball Awards — The Lady Aztecs
had two softball players selected to receive
awards: Allyssia Sanchez for third base
and Maggie Jackson as outfi elder.
Sanchez, as a freshman, not only
started in all 29 games but led the team in
batting average at .459 after being at bat
98 times, scoring 22 runs on 45 hits with
23 RBIs. Playing third base she put out 27
runners, including three double plays.
Corona junior outfi elder Jackson,
playing in 23 games, led the team in fi elding
percentage at .951 putting out 20 batters.
She is credited 9 runs on 23 hits with 14
RBIs, earning a .324 batting average while
at bat 71 times over the season.
Boys Volleyball Award — Corona
senior Matthew Lake was selected to
receive an award based on his outstanding
skills on the volleyball court playing
opposite. Lake played in 54 sets for the
Aztecs, amassing an outstanding 123 kills,
16 aces, 18 blocks and 55 digs. As the main
go-to hitter for Corona, he attacked the ball
318 times over the course of the season,
averaging 2.3 kills per set and putting
the ball to the fl oor almost 40 percent of
the time. He was also the second leading
receiver on the team, after the libero,
receiving serves 146 time or almost 9 times
per set.
Boys Tennis Awards — Corona
aced the awards in boys tennis when
freshman Christopher Steele received
the award for both singles and doubles.
Steele’s doubles partner, junior Zachary
Lawson, was selected to receive the
doubles award as well.
Steele, entering his first individual
state tennis tournament unseeded, made
into the second round before losing to
eventual champions James Ponwith from
Lawson, playing with Eli Imadali
in the double state tournament because
Steele could only play in one event, also
entered the tournament unseeded but
made it into the third round before losing
to the No. 1 seed and another eventual state
championship team of Auk and Viscot.
Girls Track Awards — Marcos
junior Nastasia Peevy was selected to
receive the award for her performance this
season in the 100 meter dash. Peevy took
third place at the AIA Division II state
championships, running her fastest time of
12.33 all season, which was fast enough to
rank her at No. 14 on the MileSplit US Team
rankings among all Arizona runners in this
Corona freshman Jackie Martin
took home the award for both the 200
meter run and the 400 meter run. Her
season’s best time of 25.43 in the 200 meter
at the Tempe City Meet, ranks her No.16
on the MileSplit US Team while hertime of
57.27 in the 400 meter run at the Chandler
Rotary meet ranks her at the No. 11 spot for
all Arizona high school runners.
Boys Track — Corona’s AIA Division
I state championship team had four athletes
who received awards in six different events
while Marco de Niza senior Joshua
Eckley was selected to receive the award
for his performance all season in the 100
meter dash.
Eckley recorded his fastest time of
10.80 in the 100 meter dash at the Tempe
City meet, which gave him the 10th fastest
time in the state according to MileSplit.
com. He placed fourth at the AIA Division II
state tournament with a time of 11:03.
Aztec senior hurdler Tevin
Mayfield’s championship performance
at the state track meet in the 110 meter
hurdles helped earn him the All-City award
in that category. His time of 14.02 also gave
him the No. 1 ranking in the state of Arizona
in the 110 meter hurdles, according to Mayfield, who also received
the 330 meter hurdle All-City award, is
ranked No. 3 in that event in Arizona for his
time of 37.78 at the Tempe City Meet.
Corona senior Ryan Normand
received the award for the 3200 meter
run. Normand’s fastest time early in the
season at the Aztec Invitational of 9:17.42
ranks him at No. 6 in the state according to
Junior Samuel Shoultz, who started
high jumping only this season, was selected
to receive the award for the high jump.
His 6-9 jump at the Sun Angel Classic was
good enough to give him the No. 4 ranking
among all high jumpers in the state this
season, according to
Corona’s outstanding senior runner Nathan
Rodriguez, whose performance in four events at the state
meet helped the Aztecs bring home the championship
trophy, was selected to receive the All-City award in the 800
meter and 1600 meter run. Rodriguez won the 800, 1600
and 3200, and anchored the 4×800 relay team to a victory
in the state meet. He is ranked No. 1 by for
having the fastest time in Arizona in the 800, 1500, 1600,
one mile, 3000 and 3200 meter runs this season.
Chloe Hacker awarded Kori Jacobson Award
of Excellence — Corona’s senior diver Chloe Hacker was
awarded the Kori Jacobson Award of Excellence at the
Tempe All-City Association Spring banquet for being the
top female athlete of the year in the Tempe Union High
School District.
This award, which also included a $500 check, is
based on athletics, scholarship, and community service
and is named after a Mountain Pointe athlete who died
tragically in 2007.

Photo by Billy Hardiman



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