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Sports Notebook:
Encouraging signs for Aztec's fall season
By Ethan Holly

December 3, 2005

With the beginning of the fall sports season, varsity athletics at Corona del Sol High School is hoping to add several state championship banners to the gymnasium.

Here’s the basis for the optimism:

Varsity softball returns nine starters from last year’s squad and five players who were all-Region.

Boys basketball already has won a tournament and beaten several of the top teams in state. 

Girls basketball won two games in the Highland tournament field that included the reigning state champs. 

Girls soccer hopes to avenge its semi-finals loss to Xavier by taking State this year.

And varsity wrestling returns state champion Cory Hale, with hopes of taking advantage of state tournament’s new formatting.

The Corona girls varsity soccer team lost only a single game throughout all of last season. Unfortunately, that loss came in the semifinals of the state tournament to archrival Xavier.

Returning players, along with a new group of freshman talent, could bring the Aztecs the state championship they came so close to last year.

“Looking at our seniors last year and how disappointed they were when we lost to Xavier, they will be our big rivals again this year,” junior Ashley Smeltzer said.

This Aztec squad is heavy on youth again this year with an astounding 14 underclassmen on the varsity squad.  Sophomore Stephanie Phillips will be relied on to once again provide strong defense in goal.

“Our keeper is absolutely unbelievable,” Smeltzer said. 

“She saves us in so many situations.”

This year’s captains will be seniors Ashley Allen, Katie Cartwright, Bailey Cozzens and Rachel Grief.  On such a young team their veteran leadership will be key. 

The captains are picked almost a year beforehand so that they can start planning for the season. Some of their duties include making the team t-shirts, meeting with the coaches to discuss strategy and ensuring everything that is planned for the season.

One of the reasons for the Aztecs’ success in girls soccer is due to their JV program. The JV team has gone undefeated for the past four years. There will be a new coach this year for that squad as last year’s JV girls soccer coach will now be assisting the boys squad.

“I think that this change will be good for everyone,” Smeltzer said. “It will shake things up for girls who have already been on the JV squad for a year.”

Although the season is barely beginning the Aztecs already have an injury. Junior Sydney Rea may have torn a previously injured ACL in practice.  The first game for this year’s varsity squad is against another great competitor, Horizon High School. 

“Horizon’s players and ours don’t get along,” Smeltzer said.  “We play on rival club teams.”

Senior Nate Telep finished out his final season on the Aztec swim team in style by winning the state championship in the 500 meter freestyle.

“Winning the state championship was my biggest accomplishment,” Telep said.

As a four-year member of the swim team, Telep has a record of 65-1 in dual meets, with his only loss coming during his sophomore season.  During his time as an Aztec he set two school records and was twice voted region swimmer of the year.  His impressive feats did not go unnoticed by college coaches.

“I’m in the process of taking recruiting trips,”  Telep said.  “I’ll choose based on whichever school I like best.”

With most of the college swim programs in the country after him, Telep will have a chance to succeed on a larger scale next year.

“My goals for college are to by my senior year make the NCAA meet, and also go to the Olympic trials.”

Although Telep was one of Corona’s top swimmers, he couldn’t carry them past swimming juggernaut Brophy.

“Brophy hasn’t lost state in almost 30 years,” Telep said.  “They are unstoppable.”

With his focus now on swimming with the Scottsdale Aquatic Club, what will he miss most about Corona’s team?

“I’m going to miss just being able to mess around,” Telep said.

The Corona boys varsity basketball team has lived up to its early season ranking by defeating state runner-up St. Mary’s High School in the championship game at the Mesa High School tournament.

The Aztecs had several impressive victories along the way to the championship game, which included scoring over 100 points against Desert Ridge High School.
















































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