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Sports Notebook:
Aztec sports in full throttle
By Ethan Holly

April 1, 2006

Corona del Sol’s varsity tennis team continues to sweep through opponents on its way to a 9-1 record, and a top three ranking in state. The hard work that the team members have put in has paid off more than they could even imagine.

“This was kind of unexpected,” senior Rishabh Date said. “It has been a pleasant surprise.”

Freshman Garret Dunn has shown the same signs of dominance that former Aztec tennis star Ryan McBride had by taking the reins of the number one spot on the team as a freshman.

“He’s a very strong player that can bring us a lot of points,” Date said.

Coach Rick Wanta is able to enjoy a team that has several senior leaders, combined with youth at the top positions.

“Coach Wanta has been working us hard and keeping us on task,” Date said. “We don’t just play in practice. He finds things to work on and then does drills to improve them.”

Unlike Corona teams of the past, this year’s squad contains several players capable of winning any match from top to bottom.

“The lower spots have picked it up,” Date said. “A lot of our wins have come in doubles and we have been working on that.”

The only setback for the Aztecs this season was a loss to Central Region foe Mountain Pointe.

It was a big loss,” Date said. “If we work hard on doubles and just keep practicing we’ll be fine.”

With the state tournament rapidly approaching, now is the time for the Corona tennis team to turn up the intensity.

“Our team goals are to stay in the top three in state, finish in the top two in region, and then go on to do well at state,” Date said.

The Tempe Union District First Annual Dunk Contest was a huge success, thanks to the excitement of an enthusiastic crowd of fans. Corona was well represented at the event. Senior Lisa Helmers competed in the three point contest and fell just short of winning the event.

Similarly senior Sean Imadiyi was a participant in the dunk contest. Senior Eric Michaelis brought home a trophy for Corona by winning the three point contest.

Varsity softball at Corona del Sol has continued its string of dominant seasons by racing through the competition to win the Deer Valley-Sandra Day O’Connor Softball Festival. 

The Aztecs are ranked second in 5A division 1 behind Red Mountain High School. Corona softball appears to be jinxed when playing high schools with Mountain in the name, losing also to Mountain Ridge and Mountain View. The success this year’s team has had was due to the hard work put in the last season.

“We didn’t lose anybody from last year’s team,” sophomore Ashley Hansen said. “The new players we gained have added a lot of value to the team.”

With Desert Vista losing its top pitcher to a wrist injury, the main focus of the Aztecs in region will be Marcos de Niza. If this year’s squad continues to work together, the possibility of another state championship for coach Jeep Ray is high.

“It’s such a team sport,” Hansen said.

“In the end you really have to trust every other player on the team.”

Our readers write...

Six baseball seasons ago, seven boys were brought together as members of the 2000 Chandler American Little League All Star team. Six years later they are still together on this year’s varsity baseball team at Corona del Sol High School.

Seniors Ronny Romo, Casey Barnes, Brandon Adams, Matt Ortiz, Tim Martin, Cameron Smith and junior Andrew Pollak, members of that 2000 All Star Team, are joined on the Aztec varsity squad by Chris Centanni and Vito Dascoli from their Little League days.

The boys took different roads on their way to Corona, attending Pueblo, Aprende and Kyrene middle schools. Two of the boys, Ronny Romo and Cameron Smith, attended different high schools as freshmen and transferred to Corona as sophomores to play with their friends.

The boys have faced a tough season so far this year and are counted on by the coaching staff to be leaders both on and off the field.

After all these years of playing baseball together they will be separated next year as they leave home for college but along the way these young men have learned the true nature of their friendship and discovered their common love of baseball.




Photos by Kris Cartwright
































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