Sports awards again pay tribute to Arizona’s best young athletes

Brooke Nuneviller’s remarkable volleyball skills provided the foundation for her selection as top player in two of the sport’s prize categories. (Photo courtesy Kris Cartwright)

By Alex Zener

Corona del Sol’s Brooke Nuneviller was named the Girls Athlete of the Year at the azcentral Sports Awards show held June 10 at ASU Gammage.

Azcentral hosted this award show for the third year in a row where Arizona high school athletes were honored for their accomplishments in sports.

This award show is an extension of the athletic accomplishments typically named in the past at the end of each high school sport season. These recognitions often were for big school athletes and then small school athletes.

In this new format, eight high school athletes for all sizes of high schools are nominated into each of 24 different high school sports categories held during the fall, winter and spring Arizona.

The eight nominees are typically named at the end of each season and are then honored at the year-end awards show.

After these eight nominees from each category have been honored at the show, three finalists are chosen out of which the ultimate winner is awarded.

Nuneviller was nominated for indoor volleyball in the fall and for sand volleyball in the spring along with eight other athletes from different high schools in each of these categories.

She was also nominated for what is classified as a Premier Award: Girls Athlete of the Year along with Jai Gruenwald from Chandler High School, and Marissa Schuld from Pinnacle High School.

Nuneviller, in addition to being chosen as the Girls Athlete of the Year, was named Volleyball Player of the Year and Beach Volleyball Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Nuneviller, who played outside hitter for Corona during the fall, amassed 593 kills or an average of five kills a set.

Mady Noble was the only player on the Aztec team close to Nuneviller’ s kill total and Noble only had 292 kills or a little more than half of Nuneviller’ s kill total.

In addition, Nuneviller was third on her team in aces with 49. Abby Meyer led the team with 64 aces.

Nuneviller did not let up when it came to blocking either. She led the team in solo blocks with 16 and had a total of 43 blocks her senior season but digging is her best defensive skill.

Nuneviller, who has played libero on the USA Youth National Team for three summers now, is an excellent digger. Last fall she led her team in digs with 493 or 4.2 digs a set. The next closest player was Becca Morse who played libero for Corona and was recorded with 359 digs.

In the spring, Nuneviller and Noble played together to win the first Division I State Beach Volleyball Championship Pairs title.

Nuneviller played club volleyball for Aspire VBC where she was named an All-American in the 17 Open division. She is also two-time Gatorade Player of the Year plus she was recently named to the Under Armour first-team All-American team

Nuneviller, who will be playing outside hitter for the University of Oregon Ducks this fall was part of the USA Youth National Team that just won the NORCECA U20 Title which qualified the team for the 2019 FIVB age-group World Championship.

Corona’s senior Matt Novis was one of the eight nominees in the baseball category. Novis was instrumental in Corona’s 22-5 season with his offensive and defensive baseball skills.

Novis played in all 26 games batting .462 scoring 25 runs on 36 hits with 28 RBI’s, two home runs and five stolen bases.

He started six games as a right-handed pitcher with a 1.33 ERA. He pitched 42 innings allowing only eight hits and eight runs against him while striking out 61 batters.

Novis, when fielding the ball, put out 32 baserunners and assisted on three others out of 35 total chances with no errors.

Brennan Agnew, from Corona, was one of the eight badminton players nominated for the awards show.

Marcos de Niza’s Carlan Naisant was nominated for the Boys Track and Field category mainly for his skill throwing the javelin which this year was an Arizona Interscholastic Association field event.

Naisant won every javelin event he entered this past spring with his longest throw coming at the 78th Nike Chandler Rotary meet March 24 where he was recorded throwing the javelin 204 feet.

He is the leading athlete in all divisions in javelin event. The next longest throw was 193-1 feet by Lonnie Fairchild from Desert Vista at the Division I State Championships.

Naisant won the Division II Javelin Championship on May 2 with a throw of 201-09.

As a comparison, Tristin King from McClintock took fifth place at the Division II Championship meet with a throw of 158-01 which was a personal record for King.

Naisant also participated in the shot put, discus and triple jump events for the Padres. He finished third with a 50 foot 6 1/4 inch shot put throw at the Division II championships.


Corona Boys Tennis

Corona’s boys tennis team entered the Division I state championships as the No. 6 seed on April 25 at Paseo Racquet Center when they defeated No. 11 Desert Vista 2-5.

On May 2, the Aztecs were defeated by the No. 3 seeded Desert Mountain Wolves 2-5 Desert Mountain moved through the brackets undefeated until they lost in the championship match.

Corona had two singles players qualify to play in the Singles Division I championships: Vinay Pattalachinti and Denis Liu. Neither player entered the tournament as one of the top eight seeded singles players.

Pattalachinti, who will be a senior this fall, defeated Brown from Centennial 7-6, 6-4 in the first round played April 20 at Indian School Park.

Pattalachinti lost to Reynolds of Gilbert in a hard-fought second round 3-7, 6-4, 6-2 to get bumped from the tournament.

Liu, only a sophomore during the spring tennis season, defeated Daniels from Mesa Mountain View in the first round, 6-1, 6-0 before losing to Millennium’s Lawlor 6-1, 6-1, in the second round.

Senior Connor Richards and junior Alex Van Der Geest qualified to play in the Division I Doubles state championship.

In the first round, Richards and Van Der Geest defeated Griffin and Negrete from KOFA, 6-0, 6-0 to move on to the second round where they defeated Tucson’s Galvez and Gladney 6-0, 6-1.

Unfortunately, in the third round they faced the No. 6 seeded doubles team from Gilbert Perry, Cole McClure and Slade Yeager. It was a tight first set that resulted in a 7-6 tiebreaker won by Perry’s team.

Richards and Van Der Geest fought hard in the second set but ultimately lost 6-4 and were eliminated from the championship tournament.

The other players on Corona’s varsity boys tennis team included freshman Zac Stephensen, Connor Kippes, and Andrew Erting; sophomores Abdur Naveed, Caleb Skinner, Carson Clark, David Wu, Diego Mena and Luca Welch; juniors Sameer Vij, Logan Cromeens and Brett Berkram; and seniors Ariz Chang, Danoh Lee, Hung Nguyen and Sachinda Edirisooriya.

Corona Girls Tennis

Corona’s girls tennis team entered the Division I championships as the No. 11 seed which lined the Aztecs up to play No. 6 seeded Chaparral in the first round on April 24 at Chaparral High School.

Unfortunately, the Aztecs were eliminated in the first round after being defeated by Chaparral 5-0.

The girls team did qualify a player in the Division I Singles championships and two teams in the Division I Doubles championships.

  1. Muir defeated Patino of Tucson in the first round of the singles event, 6-1, 6-3 before losing to Cerrotti of Poston Butte in the second round 6-2, 6-2 on April 20 at Gene Autry Sports Complex.
  2. Manaog and P. Varra teamed up to play in the first round of the Division I Doubles championship event on April 20 at the Gene Autry Sports Complex against a Chandler High School team.

Manaog and P. Varra defeated the Chandler team 6-4, 6-4, in the first round but ended up losing to the No. 5 seeded Pinnacle team of Vijan and Kester 6-1, 6-1, in the second round.

  1. Garcia and S. Varra were the second doubles team from Corona to qualify for the state championships. They defeated a Maryvale team, 6-1, 6-0, in the first round before losing to Gavino and Li from Rancon University 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.


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