A state record becomes cause for celebre for Aztecs

Sports with Alex Zener

Corona’s football team celebrated with one of their own last Friday night when Ricky Pearsall Jr. set a 6A state record for single-game receiving yardage by catching 14 passes from Aztec quarterback Ryan Hilt for a total of 342 receiving yards.

Corona’s junior wide receiver bested the 6A record of 332 yards set by Basha’s Terrell Brown against Desert Vista in 2016.

Although Corona ultimately lost to Gilbert 48-34, Hilt completed 33 of 54 passes for 510 yards including five touchdown passes to Pearsall.

Besides Pearsall’s 14 receptions, Kobee Marion caught nine passes for 74 yards, Quinten Hunter snagged four passes out of the air for 28 yards and Brandon Gavel caught two passes for 37 yards.

Pearsall scored all five of Corona’s receiving touchdowns for a total of 30 points. The additional four points came from two-point conversions by Marion and Gavel.

On defense, seniors Aaron Arenas and Brooks Canfield led the team in total tackles with nine each followed by Jack Schobinger with seven and Brian McCluskey and Devon Tursini-White with six each.

Xavier Burrell had the only quarterback sack while Nathan Hemingway had the only interception.

The Aztecs, currently with a 1-7 record, were scheduled to play their last home game against Mountain Pointe on Oct. 20 which will be when the team honors the senior players.

Corona will play their last game of the season Oct. 27 at Desert Vista.

Cross Country

Corona’s boys cross country team took second place and the girls team finished sixth in the 5,000 meters big school varsity bracket at the 4th Annual Titan Invitational cross country meet at Crossroads Park in Gilbert on Oct. 13.

Senior Lincoln Johnston was the first Aztec to cross the finish line at the Titan where Corona’s team finished just three points out of first place with 87 points to Brophy’s first place finish of 84 points.

Johnston placed sixth out of the 169 runners from 25 schools. Junior Joel Wadsworth, who finished in 14th place, was the second Aztec runner to cross the finish line.

Next senior Dylan Waterhouse crossed in 21st place with a time of 17:07. Teammate junior Zach Johnson, who was neck and neck with Waterhouse heading down the stretch, finished in 22nd place, just .65 seconds behind at 17:07.65.

The other members of Corona’s team that ran in the big school varsity division included sophomore Dominic Arellano who finished 24th while senior Andrew Ferreira was 25th, and junior Kyle Swindler was 32nd.

At the 45th Annual Doug Conley held Sept. 23 at Shalimar Country Club in Tempe, the Aztecs finished fourth out of 17 teams competing in the 5,000 meters elite division.

Lincoln Johnston was the top finisher for Corona in this race coming in 16th out of 121 runners in the elite division with a time of 15:56.6 followed by Wadsworth in 24th, Zach Johnson in 34th, Waterhouse in 39th, Swindler in 42nd and Ferreira in 53rd.

Corona’s girls team has been steadily improving this season and just finished sixth out of 20 teams with a total of 138 runners at the Titan Invitational.

“We are super excited to be doing well in this downhill stretch towards the end of the regular season,” said girls head coach Brian Crane. “We think we have a good chance to make it into the state meet this season which would mean a lot to the girls after not qualifying last year.”

First to cross the finish line for Corona was freshman Jade Bare in 22nd place.

“Jade has been one of our most consistent runners all year,” said Crane. “She is really a hard worker plus it’s great that she’s only a freshman who has lots of room to grow and get better.”

Bare was followed by two seniors, Riley Wright in 27th place and Mia Da Rose in 35th place.

“Riley and Mia are such hard workers who quietly lead by example the younger girls,” said Crane. “I never have to worry about them being prepared and ready for practice or a meet.”

Another freshman, Peyton Burnside, was the fourth runner for the Aztecs coming in at 49th.

“Peyton has worked really hard this season and has gotten progressively better,” said Crane. “She is a pleasure to have on the team and like Jade has time to develop and improve over the next three to four years.”

The last three Corona runners in order of finish included juniors Mackenzie Burgess, Emma Hedberg and senior Kristina Phillips.

“Mackenzie has been one of our top five finishers all season,” said Crane. “In practice she brings our top runners along with her because she is so fast.”

“Emma got to run her first varsity meet at the Titan and did well,” said Crane. “Kristina has been working hard on her arms, stride and consistency all season and it’s starting to pay off.

The top finishers in the Doug Conley included the same runners with the exception that seniors Da Rosa and Wright were the top two finishers for Corona.

Da Rose crossed the finish line in 30th place out of 112 runners from 17 high schools while Wright surged forward at the finish to take 34th place in 20.01.1 minutes or .1 seconds ahead of Santos from Red Mountain who recorded a time of 20.01.2.

“Mia Da Rosa is probably the hardest worker we have on our team,” said Crane. “Riley came late to the season because she was in the Sister City Exchange program but has been getting back to racing form faster than anticipated.”

Bare finished in 48th place while Burgess was next in 49th place and Burnside was 83rd. Phillips and Isabella Sarno were the last two racers who finished the race for Corona.

Both Aztec boys and girls teams were scheduled to

Marcos de Niza, Tempe and McClintock high schools had teams participate at the 45th Annual Doug Conley on Sept. 23.

The Marcos de Niza boys team took sixth place against 35 teams and 573 runners in the 5,000 meters non-varsity division.

Padre senior, Joseph Tryeman, finished in first place with a time of 16:21.9 beating out two Mesa Mountain View and three Highland runners.

The Padres second runner to cross the finish line was junior Orion Hunter who finished in seventh place with a time of 17.08.2.

Senior Miguel Calderon was the third runner to finish for Marcos. He placed 39th and was followed by junior Jaden Pahona, freshman Sky Hart, junior Samuel Lumbra, freshman Braeden Mattson, freshman Ashton Boosey, junior Ricardo Palma, sophomore Ethan Storment, senior Isaiah Matus, and sophomores Pierce Hammack and Alexander Marina.

The Padres girls team had five runners compete in the 5,000 meters non-varsity event.

Sophomore Clarissa Estrada was the first runner for Marcos to cross the finish line in 141st place out of 346 runners from 30 high schools. Estrada was followed by junior Vanessa Hernandez who took 186th place

Senior Shenea Manheimer, junior Blanca Vargas and sophomore Natalie Bigman were the last three runners for the Padres.

Marcos had two runners compete in the higher level 5,000 meters invitational. Junior Maureen Juarez finished 99th with a time of 22:40.5 while senior Anna Bell was the 138th person out of the 176 runners to cross the finish line with a time of 23:56.3.

The Tempe High School boys team finished 18th in the 5,000 meters non-varsity event while the girls team had runners in both the 5,000 meters non-varsity and the 5,000 meters invitational event.

Senior Cris Bajarano was the first Tempe runner to cross the finish line as the 56th runner out of the 573 athletes from 35 schools who competed in this non-varsity event.

Junior Jesus Gomez was the second runner from Tempe’s team to cross the finish line when he finished in 87th place.

The next three Tempe runners whose points counted for the team’s total were sophomores Jaxen Davis and Ivan Felty and senior Jacob Davis.

Twelve more Tempe runners crossed the finish line in the following order including sophomore Nico Garnero, junior Jose Sanchez, freshman Mikhael Borja, senior Alexander Tovar, junior Jose Bernal, senior Gabriel Garcia, freshman Ricardo Barajas, juniors Andres Morales Mendoza, Christian Alvarado, Manuel Cervantes and Gustavo Dominguez and freshman Rogelio Garcia Corona.

Tempe’s girls team competed at the Doug Conley in both the 5,000 meters non-varsity where they took 16th place out of 30 teams and in the 5,000 meters invitational division where the team placed seventh out of 27 teams.

In the non-varsity division, freshman Dayanara Gomez was the first runner Tempe to cross the finish line placing 65th out of 346 runners.

Senior Madie Damasco was the next finisher followed by freshman Jessica Roman, sophomore Daniela Chavira, junior Brenda Juarez, sophomore Kimberly Soto, junior Michelle Gonzalez, senior Karla Islas, junior Miriam Hadi, freshman Karolina Rojas and sophomore Vanessa Galvin.

Danyella Miranda, now in her senior year, has continued to be the lead runner for Tempe where she finished in the invitational division in fourth place out of 176 runners with a time of 19:30.6.

Sophomore Jasmine Neal was the second Tempe runner in 49th place followed by seniors Rubi Aguilera and Symantha Ramos, sophomore Karely Flores Garcia and senior Reyna Cruz.

The McClintock girls team finished 18th out of 30 teams in the non-varsity division when freshman Rachael Pabst finished 61st out of 346 runners.

Junior Emilie Berthiaume, in 83rd place, was the second Charger runner to cross the finish line. She was followed by sophomore Jimee Sanders, freshman Amanda McAlphin, and seniors Apryl Secakuku and Mayetizi Hernandez.

The Charger boys team had four runners in the non-varsity division finish the race. Sophomore Carter Vierra was the first McClintock runner to cross the finish line.

Senior Liam Huggins, freshman Seth Villa and Carter Miller were the next three runners for McClintock.

All Tempe Unions School District high school boys and girls cross country teams were scheduled to participate in the Tempe City Championships held Oct. 18. Up next will be the AIA Sectionals towards the end of Oct. and then the state meets.