Graduations haven’t stopped lady golfers

A third of the way through the regular season, Corona del Sol’s Lady Aztec golfers haven’t let the graduation of four seniors stop them from picking up where the team left off last fall by taking first place finishes in two of the three tournaments they have played so far.

The Tempe Girls Golf Invitational, hosted by Corona at Ken McDonald golf course on Sept. 5, had it all: weather, wonderment and drama.

“We played in the rain all day and around the thunder and lightning,” said Corona coach Pat Reed. “The girls were really tough. Dana Finkelstein kept to her game plan through it all and shot one under.”

Finkelstein had the lowest individual score, winning first place with a 72 or one under par (73) score. The next closest finisher was Nicole Jones from Horizon with a 76.

The Lady Aztecs were declared eventual team winner but not until the final set of golfers played their last hole from the top three schools. Corona’s team finished first with the lowest combined score of 358; Mtn. Pointe was second with 360, and Basha came in third with 362.

Desert Vista came in fourth with a combined 370 team score; Red Mountain placed fifth with 386; Marcos de Niza sixth with 416; Gilbert seventh with 510; and Horizon eighth.

CdS golfer Alex Haun won the longest drive contest and finished ninth with an 84. Kamio Espiindola from Red Mountain won the closest to the pin contest and finished seventh in the individual scoring.

In the Tempe City tournament, Corona beat out Mtn. Pointe to take home the championship trophy with 334 points. Mtn. Pointe was second (340), Marcos de Niza third (342) and Desert Vista fourth (349). McClintock came in fifth (625).

Four Lady Aztec golfers, Dana Finkelstein, Alex Haun, Marlee Johnson and Mary Spiel, finished in the top 10, but no CdS golfer ended up in the top three.

Corona’s next big tournament was to be the Aguila Invitational on Sept. 25.


Boys Cross Country

Corona’s boys cross country runners placed fifth at the Chandler Invitational Sept. 12 and continued their climb toward the top of the pack with a third-place finish at the George Young Invite the following Saturday, Sept. 19.

The Chandler Invitational held at Tumbleweed Park is scored differently than most meets because officials calculate a different race with separate points for each grade level. Over 35 different schools with up to 228 runners competed in each category.

Corona’s team, with three runners finishing in the top 10, was led by Barrett Baker-Slama who took a third place finish in the 5K senior race, running a 17.07 time. Jared Hirschl took third in the junior race with a 17.17 time and Jake Whitney took sixth in the freshman race with an 18.17 time.

Cody Jackson finished 12th in the freshman race, in which Corona’s Scott Marshall also ran with over 150 runners.

Corona’s Grant Swenson, Jansen Colella and Corey Burnes were among the 184 sophomore racers, while Daniel Wrapp, Michael Seall, James Hert, Justin Yang, Johnathan Lai, Stephen Kuluris, Andrew Jimenez, Mathew Mortensen and Conrad Laboy finished among the 228 runners in the junior race.

Corona had nine senior runners, in addition to Baker-Slama, cross the Chandler Invite finish line, including Wade Hooke, Dylan Barr, Joshua Coulter Arturo Guzman, Keith Wagner, Daniel Chung, Andrew Gold, Matthew Moylan and Sumit Singh.

The George Young Elite Cross Country Invitational hosted by Brophy and Xavier Prep Sept. 19 at Sanctuary Golf Course in Scottsdale had two 5K events, varsity and open, where high school runners competed.

Corona’s varsity runners finished third behind first place Alhambra and second place Mesa Mountain View but ahead of Brophy in a meet that featured 28 top high school teams in the state and 228 runners.

“We were lead again by Garrett Baker-Slama with a 5th place finish (16:33) and Jared Hirschl with a 7th place (16:40),” said Aztec head coach Pat Smith.

“Freshman Jake Whitney had another outstanding run in 46th (17:36) as our third man across the finish line. Senior Wade Hooke finished just behind in 50th (17:39). and our fifth scorer was Daniel Wrapp in 55th (17:46).”

Corona also finished third in the open category in which 342 boys ran. First place went to Mesa Mountain View, which had a total of eight runners cross the finish line in the top 12 spots. Red Mountain finished in second.

Finishing strong in this open category were Michael Seall in seventh place; Arturo Guzman in ninth; Grant Swenson 25th; Cody Jackson 27th; and Justin Yang 31st.         

“We had one of our best overall outings counting varsity and open together,” said Coach Smith. “We have never received a trophy before, so it was nice to come home with some hardware.”

Up next the Aztec cross country team will compete Sept. 30 against Chandler, Mtn. View and Desert Ridge before attending the Third Annual Queen Creek Twilight Invitational on Oct. 2.


Corona girls cross country

Corona’s girls cross country team started off the season taking fifth place in the Chandler Invitational held Sept. 12 at Tumbleweed Park but finished strong in third place this past weekend at the George Young Invitational hosted by Brophy/Xavier high schools at the Sanctuary Golf Course in Scottsdale.

“We ran pretty well in the Chandler Invite considering it was our first meet and first race of the season,” said coach Jon Drury.

“We hadn’t even had a time trial before the season and most of the other teams had their first race one or two weeks earlier which does make a difference.”

The 48-team 5K Chandler Invitational did not use the customary scoring to determine the team placement but instead featured four races—one for each class or grade in high school. The top runner in each grade received a score.

Corona’s team would have finished third had the traditional scoring of taking the top five overall runners would have been applied, according to coach Drury.

Danica Ganje was the top individual finisher, winning the senior race in 20 minutes 7 seconds. Sydney Buck was ninth and Katie Huch 10th in the senior race for the Lady Aztecs.

“Danica ran extremely strong, winning the senior race by 30 seconds,” said coach Drury.

Top 10 finishers in the Chandler Invite individual races included a fifth place finish for Dani LeMiux in the sophomore race and a ninth place for Hallie Swenson in the freshman race.

The Lady Aztecs were looking forward to besting their individual times and claiming a trophy at the George Young Invitational Sept. 19, which is exactly what they did with a third place team win in the varsity category.

Corona competed in the George Young Varsity race against 23 of the top girls cross country teams in the state finishing strong against 173 runners.

Danica Ganje led her team with a 14th place finish while Sydney Buck 23rd, Christina Freeman 30th, Dani LeMieux 36th and Katie Huch 42nd,where all five runners contributed points for the team third place win.

Also crossing the finish line at the George Young Invitational varsity race for Corona was freshman Kate Halligan. Xavier Prep took first place, while Gilbert Highland finished second.

Several Lady Aztecs ran in the 5K open category against 231 runners, where Corona finished second to Xavier Prep in the team category. Only one point separated Corona from Gilbert Highland, which finished fourth.

Senior Tori Papp turned in the fastest time of 22 minutes 27.4 seconds to finish in fifth place. Sophomore Hannah Lewis was eighth at 22:45, junior Kristin Stroble was 10th (22:49.7); senior Hallie Swenson 13th (22:56.4); sophomore Cyndia Yu 16th (23:25.6); junior Ellen Dunn 25th (23:46/7); and junior Hanna Snyder 28th (24:06.8).

Alyssa Ramsland, Allison Mundine, Frankie DiCesare, Tyler Foggatt, Christy Garrison and Kierstynn Wile also ran the course and finished the 5K race in the George Young Invitational open division for the Lady Aztecs.

Corona will compete next against Chandler, Mountain View and Desert Ridge Sept. 30 and in the Third Annual Queen Creek Twilight Invitational Oct. 2.


Corona Swim Team

Corona’s girls and boys swim teams put together a pair of first place finishes at the Mesa Relays held at Kino Junior High School in Mesa on Sept. 12. to earn third place team finish for the combined teams.

The coed IM relay team of senior Julie Vandeberg, senior Ryan Telep, junior Taylor Thorn and senior Gavin Haws took first place with a time of 1:50.94.

Corona’s women’s backstroke relay team of Thorn, senior Kena Khani, junior Amanda Watts and senior Brittany White also took first place in 2:03.70.

Both Corona teams started the season off with wins over Desert Ridge. Both team scores were 94-73, which included several top three finishes for both the girls and boys team.

Top three finishes in the men’s 200 free were Alex Lampis-Slaughter in first place and
Matt Hurst third. The Lady Aztec took all three top spots in the Women’s 200 Free with a first place finish for Amy Foster, second was Aubry Stitt, and third went to Brittany White.

Corona also finished strong in the 200 IM with Heidi Liou taking first in 2:27.12 and Amanda Watts third in 2:35.63 for the girls team while Ryan Telep was first and Clay Meschke was second for the boys team.

In the 50 Free, both teams had first place finishes. Julie Vandeberg for the girls team and Matt Hayhurst for the boys team.

Both teams also did well in the 100 Fly where Vandeberg once again came in first and Aubry Stitt was third for the girls while Connor Rawls was first and Gavin Haws second for the boys team.

The Lady Aztecs took first and second place in the 100 Free from Amy Foster and Brittany White and Scott Kvavle took first place for the Aztecs. Corona also received two first place finishes in the 500 Free: Thorn took first for the girls team while Lampis-Slaughter came through for the boys team.

Corona also did well in the 100 Back, with Thorn taking second and Watts placing third for the girls team. Telep and Meschke took the first two places for the boys.

The Lady Aztecs came through with the top three finishes in the 100 Breast when Emily Lewandowski took first, Erin Maloney second and Caroline Kennedy third.

Both teams performed well in the relays, with the boys team finishing first in the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Free Relay and the 400 Free Relay. The girls team had three second place finishes in the relay races.

Corona’s 200 Medley Relay Team of Meschke, Telep, Connor Rawls and Haws took first place in 1:44.56, while Lampis-Slaughter, Rawls, Kvavle and Haws swam to take first in the Men’s 200 Free Relay. In the 400 Free Relay, Hayhurst, Haws, Rawls and Telep combined to take first in 3:38.65.

In the Women’s 200 Medley Relay, Watts, Lewandowski, Vandeberg and Thorn combined to take second place in 2:01:38 while team members Liou, Lewandowski, Foster and Vandenberg took second in the Women’s 200 Free Relay.

Corona’s girls team took second, third and fifth in the 400 Free Relay. Amanda Watts, Thorn, Baker-Slama and Shannon Wheeler were first, White, Taylor Doren, Khani and Foster third while Clare McClernon, Brooke Campbell, Stitt and Simona Kovatacheva were fifth.

The swim teams did not fare as well in their meet with Desert Vista on Sept. 17, able only to amass 47 points for the girls team to Desert Vista’s 139 and 77 points for the boys team against DV’s 109.

The highlights included three first place finishes for the boys team. Ryan Telep was a double winner taking first in the 200 IM and the 100 Breast while Bryan Liu took first in the 100 Back.

Up next will be a meet against Marcos de Niza Sept. 24 at the West Chandler Aquatic Center and then the Nike High School Diving Class on Sept. 26. It’s not sure whether Corona will be sending any divers to this event.

More information about Corona’s Swimming and Diving teams can be found at Corona’s athletic website at


Girls volleyball 9_25_09

The Corona del Sol girls volleyball team started the season once again ranked in the top 10 and have amassed a 13-6 record as of Sept. 22, which includes regular season matches and two tournaments outside the regular schedule.

The Lady Aztecs made it into the Gold bracket at the Westwood Tournament of Champions Sept. 11-12 before falling to long-time rival Mountain Pointe and ended up taking ninth place.

The Westwood Tournament was the first time injured outside hitter Cassie Ronda, who has committed to play at the University of Denver next season, was on the floor.

The Lady Aztecs participated in the inaugural Nike Tournament of Champions for girls volleyball that took place Sept. 16-20 in Chandler. The event showcased 32 teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Corona played well in the Nike Tournament, beating Basha, Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas), Sabino (Tucson) and Cathedral (San Diego), making it into the Silver Bracket before falling to Seton Catholic (Chandler) and Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove, Utah).

Corona senior outside hitters Bethany Jorgensen, who has been averaging over three kills a game and Cassie Ronda made the All-tournament team. Betsi Metter of Desert Vista, who won the championship, was named MVP.

The Lady Aztecs had a tough schedule the week of Sept. 21, playing Gilbert Sept. 22 and Desert Vista Sept. 24 which was after this edition went to press. Gilbert has been playing extremely well this season recording a 12-2 record as of Sept. 20. Their only losses have come to defending 5A-I state champions Xavier.

What can you say about Desert Vista this season? The Thunder’s only loss was in the championship game of the Westwood Tournament of Champions to the Gilbert Tigers. In all fairness, though, they have not faced Xavier yet this season. The Thunder are scheduled to play Xavier in the first of two meeting Oct. 8.

Starting the week of Sept. 28, the Lady Aztecs will enter Central region play at Basha Sept. 29 and at home against Dobson Oct. 1. All games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

You can find out more information about Corona’s volleyball team at the athletic website at


Corona Football

The Aztecs won their first football game of the 2009 season, beating Phoenix North Canyon 21 to 19 on Thursday Sept. 17.

North Canyon put up the first points with a touchdown on a six-yard pass from quarterback Dominic Portocarrero to Tavonn Dodson, making the score 0-7 after the successful point after kick.

Corona’s Kyle Benson then scored on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Chase Cartwright. Josh Von Allworden’s point after kick was good, tying the score 7-7.

North Canyon went on to score another touchdown, ending the quarter up 7-14 in favor of the Rattlers.

The only scoring in the second quarter was when Michael Lange caught a 14-yard pass from Cartwright. Von Allworden’s kick was good, tying the score 14-14 at the end of the half.

Corona came out of the locker room after halftime fired up and scored the only points in the third quarter. Lange ran the ball in from eight yards out for his second touchdown.

Von Allworden’s kick was good, putting the Aztecs up 21-14. The Rattlers were able to add only six points, ending the third quarter with CdS up two points 21-19.

The Aztecs ended their third game of the season, winning 21-19 when neither team was able to score in the fourth quarter.

Corona, with a 1-2 overall record, was due to play Mesquite at home Sept. 25. Mesquite has an overall 2-2 record. It appears Corona went into the contest with the better passing record while Mesquite has excelled in its running game.


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