Aztec wrestlers grapple with funding at carwash

Corona DI state championship wrestling team is doing more than working hard in the offseason to be ready when the official school season starts later this fall: They were hard at work last Saturday washing cars to help raise money for their team.

The Dairy Queen location at Elliot and Rural hosted Corona wrestles as they locked up a decisive car wash fundraiser for the team’s 2017 season. (Photo courtesy Coach Jim Martinez)

Corona DI state championship wrestling team is doing more than working hard in the offseason to be ready when the official school season starts later this fall: They were hard at work last Saturday washing cars to help raise money for their team.

“We had 37 wrestlers and a few of their family members help us wash approximately 125 to 150 cars in four hours,” said Coach Jimmy Martinez.

“At times, we had 12-15 cars lined up to be washed.”

Any money raised helps pay tournament entry fees, transportation, hotel accommodations, apparel, video and computer equipment and food for the wrestlers at tournaments. Money left over is used to help pay for the wrestling banquet at the end of the season.

“We raised about nine percent of our total wrestling budget at the car wash through advanced ticket sales and donations,” said Martinez.

The Aztec Booster Club is active in helping raise funds for the team.

“We are hosting a Taco Dinner night on Sept. 30 and a Poker Night on Nov. 11 at Western Skies Golf Course,” said Martinez. “We accept sponsors and donations at any time.”

Marcos Football — It has been a harrowing two weeks for Marcos de Niza football players and their fans.

First, their head coach, Paul Moro, Arizona’s all-time winningest high school football coach, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and had to miss a week of practice and one game.

Then, with Coach Moro on the sidelines again in a game against Peoria on Sept. 8, the Padres lost to the Panthers 40-21 after Peoria not only returned one kickoff for a touchdown but three kickoffs in the same game.

On a positive note, Moro is undergoing treatment and plans on leading the Padres in practice and on the sidelines during games for as long as he can.

Marcos has one more non-conference game to get back on track for the conference games. They have a quarterback who can throw the ball, a sophomore running back who can run with it, and several defensive players who can rack up the tackles, which is a good start.

Senior quarterback Marcos Moreno had a good first game, completing 17 of 22 attempted passes for a total of 202 yards.

Yakeem Bayless, only a sophomore, carried the ball 17 times in that first game against Prescott, for a total of 144 yards. The Padres also have senior Alex Torres and junior Mario Gastelum to carry the ball.

On the receiving end, Joren Davis and Gastelum are two possibilities for receivers.

When it comes to defense, seniors Joe Chavez and Torres each has 10 solo tackles during the first two games. Chavez along with Gastelum each has 17 total tackles while Torres had 15 total tackles during those same first two games.

In addition, sophomore Matt Canada is credited with 14 total tackles as is senior Luis Sanchez.

Other examples to build upon include the interception by sophomore Martell Thompson that he ran back for six yards and the field goal blocked by junior Torren Union.

The Padres were due to be at home Friday, Sept. 15 against Bradshaw Mountain. Up next will be a conference game at Casa Grande on Sept. 22 and then another conference game at home against Saguaro on Sept. 28.

Corona Girls Golf — Corona’s longtime girls head golf coach, Pat Reed, retired at the end of last season after her team finished fifth in the DI state tournament.

In addition to golf, Reed coached, during her tenure at Corona, girls basketball and track and field

“I figured after 37 years of coaching, I needed a break,” said Reed.

Reed, who still teaches part-time at Corona and a couple of classes at Chandler Gilbert Community College, plans on spending her spare time working on her own golf game.

New head coach, Sean Thornton, inherited a team with all the makings to become another top-five team in the state at the end of the season.

“We returned six girls from last year’s team.” said Thornton. “Two of the girls, senior Lexie Baughman and sophomore Hannah McGraw, played a large role on last year’s team.”

“Both have set high goals for themselves and their leadership and experience will lead this team,” said Thornton. “We are lucky to have two golfers on our team that could play
a number-one golfer at most schools around the state.”

The team lost to graduation Emma Lower, who is currently at the University of Hawaii and doing well. She was -1 after her first round of college golf according to Reed who follows Lower and another former Corona golfer, Dana Finkelstein. Finkelstein is now a professional playing in the LPGA.

“Emma Lower, from last year’s team, will be difficult to replace but I think both Lexie Baughman and Hannah McGraw can and will lead this team to a great season,” said Thornton. “Both girls have the ability to compete with the best high school golfers in the state day in and day out.”

For instance, McGraw has placed in the top three spots in the first four regular golf matches: Second on Aug. 23 against Mountain Point and Millennium; second on Aug. 28 against Chandler; first on Sept. 6 at Basha; and third on Sept. 11 against Hamilton.

The other four returning golfers include seniors Elle Potts, Sarah Butler and Erika Johanson and sophomore Ava Swarup.

“Sarah, Elle and Erika all saw some time in the top five who played last year but have now stepped into much larger roles for this team,” said Thornton. “All three have worked very hard and are ready to be big time contributors for our team this season.”

New to the team are sophomore Tori Lawrence and three freshmen: Kelley Kriol, Kayla Cortez and Caroline Formisano.

“Kelley, Kayla and Tori will give our team a great foundation for the next couple of years,” said Thornton. “They are hard workers who will be impact players for us in the future.”

“Caroline Formisano, on the other hand, may be a freshman but she is a solid golfer,” said Thornton. “She will push our top five girls for a chance to play in the matches. She definitely has the ability to make it which should round out a very strong squad for Corona.”

For instance, in the latest match against a very good golf team from Hamilton, Baughman placed seventh, Formisano and Butler tied for eighth place, and Johanson and Swarup tied for tenth.

Corona was scheduled to play against Perry at Seville Golf Course on Sept. 13 before playing in the Tempe Invitational at Ken McDonald Golf Course on Sept. 16 and then the Xavier Invitational Sept. 22 at GCU Golf Course.

Both invitationals will give Corona an idea where they stack up against their likely competition at the state tournament held this year on Oct. 30 and 32 at the Omni Tucson National Golf Course. “As a team, qualifying for the state tournament is the goal,’ said Thornton.

“We have potentially two very strong golfers leading the way and four more girls that are very talented golfers. They all work hard to fulfill this goal.”

Marcos de Niza Girls Golf — Marcos had three golfers compete in a girls developmental league against Camelback, Maryvale and Sierra Linda at Southern Ridge Golf Course on Sept. 11. Breanna Cobb came in first place while teammates Kimberly Worden was tied for fourth and Danyale Santi was sixth.

Corona Boys Golf — In his fourth year as head coach of the boys golf team at Corona, Peter Salazar is excited about the possibilities for his team this season.

“This is the deepest team I have had in my four years as head coach,” said Salazar. “Our strength as a team is our depth. We have 9-10 players who can compete to play in the top five every week. It a nice luxury to have moving forward into the season.”

In addition, Corona did not lose anyone to graduation last year and returned all 11 golfers including all five of his top golfers from last season.

“We have a relatively young team as well,” said Salazar.

“Out of the 11 returning golfers, only two are seniors.”

The season is already off to a good start with the Aztecs winning the Team Championship first place trophy on Sept. 9 at the Southern Arizona Golf Invitational held at Saddlebrooke Ranch Golf Club in Tucson.

At the start of the season, the players slated to be in the top six spots for match play were Zac Erskine, Davis Cottrell, Cooper Odenkirk, Jando Hernandez, Cohlton Kieffer and Max Faeth.

Salazar is expecting these six golfers to have an impact on the team’s results this season.

“Zac Erskine is our quiet man who leads by example on the course,” said Salazar.

“He has been our number one golfer the past two years and feels comfortable in that spot.”

“Zac made a tremendous leap from the last tournament his freshman year until now his junior year,” said Salazar. “After competing and playing well with Team Arizona in Scotland this past summer, I am looking for him to have a big junior season.”

“Davis Cottrell, with his abundance of talent, has the ability to go low every round as he demonstrated at the start of the season,” said Salazar.

“He played well this summer and has matured as far as his course management is concerned.”

“When Cooper Odenkirk puts it all together, he can pick a course apart,” said Salazar. “He definitely strengthens our top five and will be a state qualifier contender but I’d like to see him be more consistent on the course.”

“Cohlton Kieffer has been a mainstay in our top five the last three years and a player the team looks up to,” said Salazar.

“He has started off the season well in qualifying and I’m looking for him to lead our young group to the state tournament.”

“Jando Hernandez and Max Faeth are two sophomores who I expect to consistently be in the top five and push the juniors to be better,” said Salazar.

After competing against Brophy, Desert Ridge and Highland at Phoenix Country Club on Sept 12, the Padres are scheduled to play in the Chaparral Invite Sept. 15-16 at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club.

The goal of this year’s team is to play as a team in the state tournament.

“We have a tough schedule this season but always enjoy the challenge of playing the best teams in the state,” said Salazar.

“We have our sights set on qualifying as a team for the state tournament regardless of who we have to play to get there.”

Marcos de Niza Boys GolfSamuel Wynne, Nick Hargis, Alex Denham, Austin Wentz and Jason Johnson are playing for the Padres boys golf team this season.

The Padres were scheduled to play at Ken McDonald Golf Course on Sept. 12 against North Canyon and Saguaro at the same golf course Sept. 14 against McClintock.

The following week Marcos is scheduled to play Sept. 19 against Barry Goldwater, Willow Canyon and Cactus at Legend at Arrowhead Golf Club.