Seasons in transition
By Cody Roth and Ethan Holly
As Corona del Sol athletics transition from the winter to spring seasons, the Aztecs concluded basketball state tournaments and are currently establishing themselves as contenders in track, baseball, volleyball and softball.
Girls’ basketball fell short of their preseason aspirations when they were defeated by Highland High, for the second consecutive year, 62-53.
At the start of the season, the Aztecs appeared poised for a deep run in the state tournament, but experienced some mid-season turbulence.
“We had a really good beginning of the season, taking first place in the Highland Tournament and second in our division of the Nike Tournament,” junior Lisa Helmers said.
“We lost a couple (of) silly games to Hamilton and Mesquite, then started playing well again.”
Overall, the team finished its season 25-8, and will graduate three of the five seniors later this year.
The boys basketball season came to an end after a loss to Glendale Ironwood in the first round of the state tournament. The team is looking toward a bright future, with four out of five starters returning next season. Senior shooting guard Alex Wentis is the lone starter who will not be returning next year.
“This year was tough, but being my first year on varsity, it was a learning experience,” junior center Sean Imadiyi said.
“I learned a lot that will help me for next season.”
Both girls and boys track teams will look toward their running events for leadership, after losing three of the top pole-vaulters in the state to graduation last season, and pole-vaulting coach Jeff Guy to Desert Vista.
Because the pole-vaulting team lost many crucial members, Corona rests its hopes on high-jumper Phil Feinburg to compensate for lost talent. After posting a personal best 6’6” jump as a freshman in the previous season, the sophomore returns to make a run at the school and region high jump records.
Also returning to the team are all four members of the girls and boys relay teams. Corona kicked off its season against track and field powerhouse Chandler High School on Feb. 23.
Boys volleyball hopes to continue a streak of improving its season record each year after posting a 7-13 record in 2003, and a 15-8 record in 2004.
Senior setter Jay Swirtz is considered one of the top three setters in the state, and will lead the team into the 2005 season. Junior Ethan Holly is the only returning hitter from last year’s roster.
Newcomers to the team include freshman Sutton Demelong. Demelong is the only freshman to make varsity volleyball in the past three years.
“Making varsity as a freshman felt like I won the lottery. I expect to do my best at every game and try my hardest to prove that I deserve to be on varsity,” Demelong said.
“Hopefully at the end of the year I will be starting.”
After contending in a scrimmage against top-ranked Gilbert High during the preseason, the Aztecs head into the Wolf Howl Invitational this weekend, confident that they will prevail.