All Tempe high schools had athletes with outstanding results at the Division I and Division II state track meet held May 9-12 at Mesa Community College.
Corona Track and Field
The Aztecs got a big boost in points from their boys 4×800 relay team when they crossed the finish line first to receive the gold at the Division I state track meet. The team made up of two sophomores Nate Rodriguez and Nick Creasman plus juniors Cody Jackson and Patrick Buck bettered their seeding time of 8:15.50 by finishing the race in 7:49.80, the fourth fastest time in Arizona history.
Corona’s 4×800 relay team finished second to Mesa Mountain View at last year’s state track meet with the second fastest time in 2011 at 7:52:39..
“I was very proud of our 4×800 boys relay team who were able to bounce back and win state,” said head coach Tim Kelly.
Corona’s boys and girls team both finished in seventh place out of 55 teams that competed this year at the Division I state track meet with the new AIA state tournament regulations.
“We came up just four points shy of finishing in the top five which was our goal all season,” said Kelly. “The state meet was tough, with lots of good competition, but our kids are young and I expect them to do better next year,”
Although Corona’s 4×800 relay team is not yet listed in the 2012 Arizona High School Track and Field Rankings, the time of 7:49.80 is faster that the top ranked mark of 7:52.61 achieved by Highland earlier this year at the SE Valley meet but it is still shy of the overall record time of 7:45.40 run by Desert Vista’s team in 2008.
Three members of Corona’s team, though, are ranked in the state track and field rankings 800 meter run category. Rodriguez is ranked No. 5 for his 1:54.31 achieved at the Thunder Last Chance meet while Jackson is ranked No. 15 and Creasman No. 15.
Rodriquez also finished third in the 1600 meter run with teammate Jacob Whitney coming in 18th. Jackson ran the 800 meter in1:56.35 to finish seventh followed by Creasman at 10th and Rodriquez 19th.
Corona’s sophomore Tevin Mayfield, state ranked No. 6 for his 38.81 300 meter hurdles finish at the Tempe City meet earlier this year, took third place in the 110 meter hurdles but a disappointing 16th in the 300 meter hurdles after running a 38.81 in the preliminaries. Teammate Quinn Robertson hung on to finish seventh in the 300.
Drake Ridge came in 17th in the 400 meter dash and Jacob Whitney 15th in the 3200 meter run.
Coronahad two other boys relay team qualify to run in the finals. The 4×400 team of Rodriquez, Ridge, Mayfield and Creasman finished sixth and the 4×100 relay team of George Wright, Stephan Hill, Mayfield and Dylan Huch was 14th.
Top finishes for the Aztecs in the field events included an eighth place for Aaron Simons with a 148-07 discus throw and Wright’s 16th place in the long jump and 20th in the triple jump.
Results for the girls team included a silver medal for Dana McKenzie for second place with a 5-04.00 high jump. Senior McKenzie jumped the same height at the Chandler Rotary to give her a fifth place ranking in the state earlier this season.
Another senior, Megan Benson, ranked No. 5 in the 100 meter hurdles and No. 11 in the 300 meter hurdles, finished third at state in the 100 meter and 11th in the 300 meter hurdles.
Sophomore teammate Grace Ashu beat out Benson to take 10th in the 300 meter hurdles while another teammate, junior Jackie Vogt took 18th. Vogt was also eighth in the 100 meter hurdles.
Junior Hallie Swenson had a great 800 meter run finishing in fifth and setting a school record for that race. Two other school records were set at the state meet.
“Hallie broke the school record by three seconds at the state meet,” said Kelly. “Then Megan Benson did the same in the 100 meter hurdles. Our girl’s 4×100 relay team will also be placed inCorona’s record books for breaking the school record.”
Ashu, Benson, Gabrielle Dotson and Justice Onwordi made up the 4×100 relay team that took third place with a 48.56 time.
Corona’s girls 4×800 relay team of Kelly Nauman, Sidney Bussler, Swenson and Victoria Haun took ninth place while the 4×400 relay team came in12th. Swenson ran on this team along with Vogt, Dotson and Benson.
The Lady Aztecs had some athletes do well in the field events. Lauren Lucky ranked 15th in the state with her 37’5” shot put at the Tempe City meet had the same distance at the state meet to finish in 10thplace. Lucky also took 17th in the discus throw.
Liann Kline finished tied for 15th place in the long jump while McKenzie took 20th in the triple jump.
Look to see consistent but also improved results next year when Kelly has another offseason to work with his track athletes.
“It was a collective effort. We are young and will bounce back next year,” said Kelly, “Our youth this year will get better in off season.”
McClintock Track and Field
McClintock senior Eduardo Roa ran the 3200 meter run in 9:30.15 to take home a second place finish beating his own 2012 record of 9:36.61 achieved at the Chandler Rotary meet that had him ranked sixth in the state.
Josh Aberle, ranked sixth in the state by long jumping 23’2.75 at the Hohokam earlier this season, did not disappoint at the state tournament taking fifth with a 2l’11” effort. Teammate Kendall Gatlin, ranked ninth in the state, jumped 22’07.75 to finish 12th.
Aberle was also part of the 4×400 relay team of Aberle, Signory Mutach, Keegan Weinberg and Jalan Zambrano that finished ninth. McClintock’s 4×100 relay team of Zambrano, Gatlin, Mutach and Aberle finished 11th. Zambrano finished 11th in the 400 meter dash.
McClintock’s girls team had Aulexus Hull high jump 4’10” to tie for 13th place with four other athletes. Keave Davis finished 17th in the 3200 meter run while Scottrita Smith was 20th in the 200 meter dash. Tatiana Bernard was also 20th in the 1600 meter run.
Tempe High School Track
Diana Garcia took fifth in the 3200 meter run (11.37.63) followed by Leticia Shaban at eighth (11.54.38) at the Division II state meet. Both girls also competed in the 1600 meter run where Garcia crossed the finish line in seventh place with Shaban 13th and in the 800 meter run with Shaban finishing 20th and Garcia right behind at 21st.
The girls 4×800 relay team of Garcia, Victoria Lebario, Shaban and Karen Gonzalez had a great fourth place finish with a time of 10:08.33 in the state meet.
Tempe’s boys team was represented by Gerardo Villagomez who finished11th in the 1600 meter run and 15th in the 3200 meter run. Devonte Grey took 14th in the shot put event.
Marcos Track and Field
Marcos de Niza’s junior Savannah Whitehead ranked eighth in the state pole vault records clearing 11’3” at the Tempe City Meet earlier this season took home a silver medal after jumping 11’.0” for a second place finish at state.
The girls 4×400 relay team of Tleya Bailey, Jessey Tenorio, Antionette Ware and Kaitlyn Law finished 12th with a 4:13.45, more than 5 seconds better than their pervious seeding time. The 4×800 girls relay team of Kelly Wolf, Law, Tenorio and Michelle Colbert finished 14th.
In the field events, Marcos sophomore Jorie Mayfield took 14th in the triple jump while Iris Fanene was 12th in the shot put and Curaun Thompson was 23rd in the discus throw.
Senior Julio Felix from the Marcos de Niza boys team finished 11th in the 1600 meter, 11th in the 3200 and 16th in the 800 meter. Brian Drew came in 25th the 400 meter dash.
Drew was also part of the boys 4×800 relay team of Robert Cubedo, Felix, Eric Trevino and Drew who finished seventh with a time of 8:21.56 almost 5 seconds faster than their seeding time.
KMS Baseball Wins District Championship
Kyrene Middle School junior varsity baseball team made up of sixth and seventh graders capped off their 9-1 season by defeating Altadena in the championship game of the Kyrene District tournament.
“We had a bye in the first round then had to face, Aprende in the second round, the only team who beat us in the regular season,” said coach Gary Zaharatos. “We defeated Aprende 11-1 in the playoffs.”
The Scorpions continued to dominate their opposition in the finals by scoring 12 runs toAltadena’s two in just five innings.
“Alex ‘Attitude’ Bookman pitched five solid innings with five strikeouts allowing only four hits. It was his best performance of the season,” said Zaharatos. “He shut those guys down. It was like he was in a different planet out there on the mound. We only played five innings because of a 10-run rule.”
Outstanding pitching by tournament MVP Bookman wasn’t the only deciding factor in the Scorpions championship win.
“Drew Johnson made an outstanding play from second base in the fifth inning on a ball hit by an Altadena player deep into right field,” said Zaharatos. “He went out in right for the cut-off and gunned it to the plate where catcher Cole Bernstein made the tag on the Altadena runner trying to score a home run. It was a great defensive play from Cole, our team leader in all offensive categories.”
Contributing to this championship and unforgettable season were 11 additional middle school baseball players who, as a team, ultimately accomplished 25 of the 30 team goals they set at the beginning of the season.
The Scorpions relied all season on the proficient defensive and offensive capabilities of their infield players to win games.
“Jake Briscoe, our third baseman, was a super solid player for our team with a .653 on-base percentage,” said Zaharatos. ”Our leadership intangibles came from starting first baseman, Teddy ‘Hammer’ Ladley. He was always calling out situations and keeping the guys minds in the game defensively plus he was strong offensively with a .500 batting average.”
“Our starting second baseman, Connor Woods, was great at getting on base, do so 67 per cent of the time,” said Zaharatos. “Then Christian ‘Penny’ Slater, at shortstop, was probably the best overall athlete on the team with a .541 batting average.”
“Our backup shortstop, James Broadus, hit a monster home run in our game against Aprende in the playoffs and Jesse Guzman, who fills in where needed, shortstop, second base, center field, you name it, also hit a home run against Aprende.”
“Eric Widner was another one of our players who played different positions such as right field, relief pitcher, third baseman, but he was probably best at base running,” said Zaharatos. “Eric stole several key bases for us late in the season and in our playoff game against Aprende.
The Scorpions had three regular outfielders along with backup fielders.
“Kevin Dunahoo was our starting center fielder with a .500 batting average,” said Zaharatos. “Mathew ‘Rocket” Novis started at left field, batting .608, but was also our relief pitcher, closing out several big games for us during the season.”
“Eric ‘Flash’ Oden was similar in that he started at right field but was also a relief pitcher as well,” said Zaharatos. “Eric was very mature, calm, and cool. He led by example how to be the composed player.”
“One last player, Venkat Narayanan, center fielder broke his wrist the weekend before the first week of practice and had to miss three games,” said Zaharatos. “He’s a great kid and a solid player but found it tough to crack the lineup after being out injured.”
Expect to hear some of these baseball players names again next spring and the following years in high school.
The Lady Aztecs entered the Division I state softball tournament as the No. 17 seed pitted against #16 Perry on April 28. Their season ended that day when they lost 4-0 in the single elimination first round.
Corona’s softball team will need to replace eight seniors lost to graduation this year.
“Lani Redmond, a captain, was one of our best defensive players,” said head coach Jeep Ray. “She played second base, was lead-off batter and as solid a softball player as can be. She will be playing at Phoenix College next year.”
“Katie Koponen, a hard worker and another player headed to Phoenix College, played pitcher and outfielder,” said Ray. “Nicole Schwalbe, a quiet leader on and off the field, is Valedictorian for Corona’s class of 2012 and plans on attending the University of Arizona.”
“Nicole Giannonatti, a four-year letter winner, never stopped encouraging her teammates, and will be also attending the University of Arizona,” said Ray. “Abby Johnson, another University of Arizona bound senior, is fun, energetic, always smiling. She has been a complete pleasure.”
“ASU-bound Abby Spiel, another 4-year letter winner has been an outstanding center fielder,” said Ray.
Next year’s team will most likely return seven players, including five seniors.
Corona’s baseball team fought hard all season, despite being ranked at some point in the top 10 by the MaxPreps.com, to make it into the state tournament as one of the top seeds only to barely get in as the No. 24 and final seed to the Division I state tournament.
The Aztecs pulled off an upset against No. 9 Tucson in the first round with a come from behind 7-6 final score only to lose to the MaxPreps.com No. 1 ranked team, Hamilton, in the single elimination second round. The Huskies were seeded No. 8 by the AIA new power ranking system.
Regardless of the seeding and power ranking system, the Aztecs never gave up playing baseball.
“We fought until the very end and we really came together as a team in the post-season,” said head coach Dave Webb. “We gave it a great effort, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards for us this year.”
The Aztecs graduate five seniors who have had a huge impact on Corona’s baseball program over their four years at Corona.
Four-year varsity player Kyle Jorgensen, started all 29 games this season leading the team in almost all categories including batting average, .481, home runs, 9, runs batted in, 34, and hits, 39.
Utility player Mike Gammon appeared in 26 games scoring 11 runs on 19 hits while senior outfielder Tyler Peterson appeared in 17 games and was given credit for 7 putouts on 7 catches.
Infielder Justin Zimmer only played in 18 games but scored 16 runs while another infielder, Vince Quintana, ended the season with a .273 batting average and 5 assists.
“This season’s seniors were all hard-working, dedicated individuals who always put the team before themselves,” said Webb. “Although there were only five of them, they made a huge impact on Corona’s baseball program.”
Coach Webb is expecting great things from his team in 2013.
“This year our team was disappointed and frustrated with our state tournament situation but I think it made everyone that much hungrier for action next year,” said Webb. “People should have a heads up in 2013 for Aztec baseball.”
2010 Corona Lacrosse All-Stars
Senior Attack Jeff Smith, junior Midfield Paul Sion and sophomore Attack Garret Howell played on the South squad and represented Corona in the Arizona Lacrosse League North/South All-Star game May 11.
The South squad won the game, 7-6 in overtime.
Smith and Howell were named to the All-State Team which recognized their regular-season play. Both were named to the All-State Attack 2nd Team.
Arizona All-Section Basketball Teams
Several Corona basketball players were named to the All-Section Teams including Calaen Robinson, Avery Moss and Casey Benson to the All Division 1st Team.
Robinson was named All Division I Player of the year while Sam Duane, Jr. was named Division Coach of the Year.
Coronaplayed in Section II where Robinson and Benson were named to the 1st team and Moss to the 2nd team. Robinson was name Player of the year and Duane Coach of the Year for this Section II also.
Corona girls basketball player Alexa Hogberg was named to the Division I, Section II 2nd team.