Roll out the red carpet. Put Ryan Seacrest on standby. The show
is about to begin.
Only six days remain in the 2007-08 high school athletic year, a
week in which hundreds of state championship dreams will be
fulfilled or dashed.
Tanque Verde baseball coach Jim Lawwill called
this week to talk about his senior stud, Tim
The year's most impressive feat by a junior college team — in
this state or any other — came Tuesday when the first-year Yavapai
College softball team won the Arizona Community College Athletic
One of the inherent problems with a burgeoning population in
Southern Arizona is that there is more good news involving high
school athletics than can be adequately covered.
Last spring, Rincon/University sprinter Tamara
Pridgett emerged as the state's best young track athlete
and — as she predicted — won state championships in the 100 and 200
Biafra Ahanonu does not have time to throw a
pity party. He would not want to, anyway.
While looking through Sheila Baize's laundry
list of career accomplishments Wednesday, I stumbled on what had to
be a glaring error.
In the past 16 months, the Catalina Foothills football team has
had two coaches resign, two coaches take the job — then quickly
change their minds — and zero state playoff appearances.
Mountain View's Rick Ellis is still a relative
newcomer as a volleyball coach. He doesn't claim to know more than
anyone else and has often sought the wisdom of other local coaches
to better learn the game.
The names of two of the state's best young athletes are swirling
around the rumor mill.
When Ironwood Ridge and Tempe Marcos de Niza play in today's
Class 5A-II boys hoops state title game, a total of 25 or so
players will suit up.
Kenny Cormier was never one to wait around. He
built his future on taking charge, on being better and faster than
When the 5A boys basketball state playoffs begin next week, four
local teams — Sierra Vista Buena, Salpointe Catholic and Tucson in
5A-I, and Ironwood Ridge in 5A-II — will host first-round
Sam Rolfe was announced as the new football
coach at Catalina High School on Thursday, and he immediately
recognized the barrier in front of him.
Chris Moon graduated from Tucson High School last May as the
best player on the nation's most historically successful high
school baseball team.
In order to tackle a 14-venue, 320-team, 5,000-player monster
like the youth soccer Coldwell Banker Shootout, one must first
accept an undeniable truth:
Pat Weber and the Flowing Wells athletic
department have this whole wrestling tournament thing down to a
National signing day is Feb. 6 for high school football players,
and Southern Arizona will be well represented at major Division I
Everyone this time of year comes out with their "best of" lists
to recount the most memorable events of the past 12 months.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is always
The Star will release its All-Southern Arizona football teams
Sunday, Dec. 23. It is one of the most daunting tasks we face each
year, selecting a Player of the Year and more than 100 other
players for first-team, second-team and honorable-mention
Canyon del Oro represents Southern Arizona in Saturday's Class
4A-I state football championship against Scottsdale Saguaro in
Most days we read the high school sports news and look at the
dozens of box scores in the paper without much appreciation.
The fall sports season has all but bid adieu, sailing off into
the sunset after producing 43 individual and team state champions
from Southern Arizona.
The last time a Southern Arizona high school football team won a
state championship at the Class 4A or 5A level was in 2005.
The biggest day of the cross country season hits Phoenix on
Saturday for the state championship meets at every level, 1A
Former Sunnyside wrestling coach Don
Klostreich, the architect of one of America's most
prolific high school sports dynasties, will be inducted into the
National Wrestling Hall of Fame next month for a lifetime of
The Marana swimming team calls itself The Zoo, and it's got the
nicknames to prove it.
The football field at Canyon del Oro was defaced recently, an
unprintable word burned onto the green grass that required lots of
yellow paint to cover it up.
I don't want to sound crazy, but this whole Internet thing might
The 2007 high school football season is a mere four days away,
253 days have passed since the last game was played, and 110 days
of excitement lie ahead for the next installment.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association makes a sincere effort
to improve and simplify its competition format, but the state's
governing body cannot get them all right.
Southern Arizona high school teams and athletes set a new
standard during the 2006-07 season. Good luck trying to surpass
It took Michelangelo more than four years to complete the
Sistine Chapel. Even Leonardo da Vinci needed six years to finish
painting the Mona Lisa.
Something occurred to Tamara Pridgett one day
while playing soccer as a young girl.
I am a huge tennis fan. For my money, Wimbledon is the best
annual sporting event behind March Madness. More importantly,
Southern Arizona high school tennis teams and players have been so
dominant in my lifetime that it feeds my anti-Phoenix spirit.
The instant the Ironwood Ridge boys basketball team lost in the
Class 4A-I state championship game in February, its chances for
success in 2008 looked grim.
Carly Bradford grew up within walking distance
of Sahuaro High School, Southern Arizona's most successful softball
program with eight state championships and a penchant for churning
out college ballplayers.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, musical geniuses
that they are, have a song called "Throw Away Your Television." I
can't imagine a more appropriate tune under the current
Like most high school freshmen, Cholla wrestler Dylan
José is untrained in the ways of the world, unexposed to
much of anything outside his native Tucson.
In their first-ever varsity softball game, March 9, 1993, the
Sahuarita Mustangs looked so woeful at times they might have wished
they never had taken the field.
Right hand dangling lifelessly at her side, Sahuaro senior
tennis player Brette Hoyt charges the net and hits
a left-handed drop shot with such precision and spin that her
opponent is helpless.
Bob Newman took a job at Marana High School in
1972, fresh out of college at NAU, and instantly had a number of
opportunities at his feet.
I often have the privilege of hearing high school sports news
before most people do. It is the job's No. 1 perk.
Canyon del Oro's boys basketball team started 11-0 this year.
Six wins came in the watered-down Boyd Baker Invitational, so you
can understand why some did not buy into the CDO-is-legit
There are some great perks in having a high school enrollment of
24 students. Fielding a basketball team is not one of them.
Harold and Margret
Thomas knew nothing about the Tombstone High
School wrestling program a week ago.
To Glendale Cactus soccer coach Garrison
Harmann, Chris Maier was the kid from
Sabino who scored the goal to win the 4A state championship in
Tucson's most-revered athletic facility, McKale Center, will
open its doors to some of the area's most elite basketball programs