Archive for: June 2014

ASU Head Coach Todd Graham and His Knack for Success

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Just two seasons into his tenure at ASU, head football coach Todd Graham has revived a program in dire need of change. In 2012, Graham led the Sun Devils to their first winning season (8-5) in five years. In 2013, his 10-2 regular season record earned him the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

Graham instills a quiet confidence in his players and coaches and it trickles down to the fans, alumni and community. There has been a lot said about Graham’s affinity to change positions at a moment’s notice but he has said “this is a destination job” about coming to Arizona State.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

His coaching career began in the spectacle of “Friday Night Lights,” coaching for a dozen years in Texas and Oklahoma before being hired by Rich Rodriguez as linebackers coach at West Virginia University.

He would go on to lead the Tulsa Golden Hurricane defense to two bowl games in three seasons as defensive coordinator before he was offered his first head coaching gig at Rice University.

Graham’s impact was immediate at Rice, he took a one-win Owls team to their first bowl game in 45 years, finishing 7-5 and earning Conference USA Coach of the Year.

Graham accepted a significant pay increase and contract extension to stay on with Rice, but Tulsa came right back into the picture. The Golden Hurricane wanted Graham back, offering him the head coaching position. Graham returned to Tulsa in 2007.

Once again, Graham’s culture of success was nearly instantaneous at the helm of Tulsa’s football program. In his four seasons, Graham’s Golden Hurricane collected three 10-win seasons, three Conference USA West Division titles and three convincing Bowl victories.

Former Tulsa and Arizona State head coach John Cooper, who lead the Sun Devils to a Rose Bowl victory in 1987, is one who has recognized Graham’s knowledge and success.

“I don’t think I can say enough good things about Todd Graham,” Cooper told the Tulsa World. “If I was named the head coach of some school tomorrow, I would send my entire coaching staff down to Tulsa to learn a few things.”

The big payday loomed for the “Coach du jour,” and the University of Pittsburgh called the loudest. A storied program producing the likes of Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett, the Pitt Panthers would be the school where Graham would make his mark…or so he thought.

With only 24 hours to decide on whether to leave Tulsa, Graham now admits that the move was hasty and ultimately a mistake.

graham Tcup“I take responsibility for being at a place for one year and leaving,” he told Lisa Horne of Fox Sports. “I made a mistake. The mistake was I probably should have never gone to Pittsburgh in the first place.”

“I’m from the South, he explained. “[Pittsburgh] was a different cultural change for me. I did not feel comfortable.”

After a successful high school career, Graham received numerous accolades as a defensive back at East Central University even though he entered college at 5’9”, 132 pounds.

Following ECU, Graham made it as far as NFL training camp with the Arizona Cardinals whose 1987 media guide called him a “ferocious hitter,” so he is more than satisfied to call Arizona home and put down roots.

Welcome home, coach.

Arizona State Scores Big With Scottie Graham Hire

Scottie

ASU’s Athletic Director Ray Anderson returned to the National Football League Players’ Association, not because he was unhappy at ASU, but to lure away executive Scottie Graham to the desert.

Scottie Graham has become ASU’s Senior Associate Athletics Director.

Graham brings a “breadth of experience” according to Anderson. He served as the NFL’s Director of Player Engagement for the past three and a half years and as a regional director for a dozen years prior to that.

sparky scottie“He will be an asset to Jean Boyd’s national championship-caliber academic staff,” said Anderson in a university press release. “He will also bring his talents to designated sports in operations and program development.”

Scottie Graham will bring a surge of energy to student athlete development at ASU. DieHard Devil caught up with Graham as he settles into his new position.

“I worked closely with (Ray) Anderson at the NFLPA,” Graham told DHD. “He was definitely a mentor for me, and I let him know if there was ever an opportunity for me to further my career, I was available.”

“The main thing that I will show the student-athletes is persistence,” said Graham. “Doing your best every day, not just in their chosen sport, but in their everyday lives. This will not only make them better players but also make them better people.”

The ultimate finished product should be yet another benefit to ASU and its athletes. “We are going to focus on the student in student-athlete. We are going to strive for academic excellence, increased graduation rate—and above all, integrity.”

About James “Scottie” Graham

  • 45 years oldScottie Head
  • Excelled as a Division I running back at Ohio State and was named a team captain in his senior year
  • Went on to be drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets in 1992
  • Played for the Minnesota Vikings for four seasons, and became the team’s leading rusher in 1993
  • Earned his Master’s degree in Black Studies from Ohio State in the off-season
  • Played his final season in Cincinnati in 1997

Due to his time at tradition-rich Ohio State University, I asked Graham how he would elevate Arizona State to the level of that of the Buckeyes.

“Tradition is developed by strong leaders,” he said. “The leaders set the standards as good citizens, and the rest will fall in to place.”

Ray Anderson is proving to be that type of leader in his short time at the helm of Sun Devil athletics. He is quietly filling the athletics department with several experienced, knowledgeable and dynamic leaders.

“You reach a certain point in your life when it’s no longer about you,” Scottie Graham said. “I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the students.”

Arizona State Football: Your Cheat Sheet for the Newest Members of the Defense

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Much has been made about the Arizona State defense, or lack thereof, since the end of the 2013 season. The team ranked fourth in total defense in the Pac-12, allowing only 372.4 yards per game. They also led the conference with 21 interceptions and an amazing five pick-sixes.

Let’s not forget the two-time Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year in Will Sutton and fourth round NFL pick in linebacker Carl Bradford.

The defense will be replacing a near-devastating nine players. The success of Todd Graham’s third campaign will be predicated on the talent and more importantly, the preparation, of the athletes below.

Many of these newest Devils will be expected to step up and strap on their helmet in just eleven weeks.

Here’s a quick reference for the newest members of ASU’s defense.

Chad Adams

The speedy defensive back from Coach Todd Graham’s old stomping grounds of Allen High School in north Texas comes from a superstar program. The Allen Eagles were ranked as the No. 2 high school team in the country with a perfect 16-0 record. Adams led Allen to back-to-back Texas 5A Division I State Championships. Adams was ranked by Scout.com as the No. 47 cornerback in the country while 24-7 Sports placed him at No. 68.

Kweishi Brown

kweishi

The El Cajon, Calif. native comes to Arizona State played two years at Grossmont Community College and will have three years to play two in Tempe. A four-star recruit according to ESPN, Brown is ranked as the No. 3 junior college cornerback in the country and No. 24 overall junior college prospect. Brown will most likely battle redshirt freshman William Earley for the boundary corner position left vacant by Rashad Wadood.

Darrius Caldwell

Hailing from the southeast corner of the country, Caldwell hails from Atlanta, Ga., and played at the University of Illinois and junior college ball at Pearl River Community College in Hattiesburg, Miss. The big, bruising linebacker in similar to Carl Bradford in his size, speed and physicality. Caldwell can also play at the defensive end position and was ranked the No. 4 junior college defensive end in the country by ESPN and the No. 26 weak side defensive end prospect in the country.

Connor Humphreys

The monster defensive lineman out of Portland, Ore., had multiple offers including nearly every Pac-12 school, Boise State, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Humphreys led Central Catholic to an undefeated 14-0 record and the Oregon Class 6A State Championship. Ranked as one of the top defensive end prospects in the country, the four-star recruit was rated at No. 8 in his position by Rivals.com. 24-7 Sports also ranks Humphreys as the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Oregon. The second team All-American from USA Today participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

MIR

Ismael Murphy-Richardson

Ismael Murphy-Richardson

The local boy made good, Murphy-Richardson from Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, Ariz., has it all. He lines up on both sides of the ball at wideout as well as linebacker. The 6-foot-4 linebacker was heavily recruited nationwide with offers from powerhouse programs including Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Murphy-Richardson was ranked as high as No. 21 at his position by Rivals.com while Scout.com rated him as the No. 65 overall prospect in the region.

Armand Perry

Perry comes to the Valley from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev., and can make an immediate impact in the secondary at either the cornerback or safety position. At just under six feet tall, Perry has good size to go along with his blistering speed. Perry received rankings as both a corner (No. 91 by Scout.com) and a safety (No. 101 by 24-7 Sports.) Perry earned All-West Regional honors after his senior season at Bishop Gorman High.

 

Christian Sam

A teammate of Chad Adams at Allen High School, Sam was a defensive leader, earning the Defensive MVP of the 2013 State Championship Game. Everybody knows how big high school football is in Texas and Sam was the defensive star of the best team in the state. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker will mesh nicely with a veteran corps of linebackers looking to make a big noise. Sam was rated the No. 27 linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and Scout.com ranked him at No. 47.

 

DeAndre Scott

The quick and nimble defensive back comes to Arizona State all the way from Imhotep Charter High School in Philadelphia, Pa. The name might not sound familiar to most, but it is also the same high school that produced wide receiver Jaelen Strong. The three-way athlete excelled in the secondary but also played offense, scoring four touchdowns in his senior season as well as trying his hand at kicking and punting. Scott was ranked the No. 49 defensive back in the nation by Rivals.com while 24-7 Sports ranked him as the No. 57 safety prospect.

Tashon Smallwood

A big-time get for Coach Graham, Smallwood is anything but small. At 6-foot-1 and 292 pounds, the Fresno, Calif., product was heavily recruited by big-time programs like Alabama, Miami (Fla.) and Wisconsin. Smallwood will be an amazing addition to the defensive line along with Jaxon Hood and Marcus Hardison. The four-star recruit was ranked as high as No. 19 at the defensive tackle position by Scout.com and the No. 38 overall prospect in the West region.

stuckey

Dalvon Stuckey

Dalvon Stuckey

Heading back to the junior college ranks, Stuckey also played at Pearl River Community College in Hattiesburg, Miss., with Darrius Caldwell. A huge player with amazing size and strength, tipping the scales at 308 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame. Stuckey, out of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., originally signed with Florida State out of high school but instead played at Pearl River. Rivals.com named Stuckey the No. 1 junior college defensive tackle prospect in the country and the eight-best overall prospect. Another hot commodity, Stuckey had myriad offers from SEC and ACC schools including Alabama, Florida, Clemson and Miami (Fla.)

 

Class of 2014 Arrivals: A Quick Reference for the Newest Members of the Sun Devil Offense

ChampLife

Summertime in Arizona means three things—blazing hot temperatures, women in sundresses and football training camp.

“Hell Week” began on Monday and several football players took to twitter voicing their commitments through the hashtag, #SunDevilChampLife.

Eric Lauderdale committed to the grind, Quinn Bailey committed to eating healthy and Jalen Harvey committed to “the opportunity that the Sun Devils put in front of me.”

As Fall camp nears, we decided to put together a quick reference for each new player on the Sun Devil Offense.

 

Quinn Bailey

Offensive lineman Quinn Bailey out of Higley High School was coached by former Arizona State lineman Jon Hargis. The towering lineman comes in at 6-foot-6 and tips the scales at 302 pounds. Bailey earned first team All-State honors in division III and placed within the top 90 offensive tackles in the country by the top three ranking services.

 

Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage

 

The running back out of Peyton, Colo., had several of the Sun Devil faithful on edge on National Signing Day because he was snowed-in and couldn’t get to a fax machine to send his NLI. Ballage chose Arizona State over offers from Big 10 powerhouses Michigan and Nebraska. 24-7 Sports named the four-star recruit the No. 27 athlete prospect in the nation as he played every position other than offensive line in high school.

Colton Gerhart

Quarterback Colton Gerhart is also a top baseball prospect out of Murietta, Calif. The youngest of three Gerhart boys, Colton is looking to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, Toby and Garth, who are both on NFL rosters. Sun Devil fans will remember Garth from Arizona State and Toby, who excelled in the backfield and on the diamond for the Stanford Cardinal.

 

Jalen Harvey

Jalen Harvey

Jalen Harvey

The 6-foot-2, 185 receiver out of El Cerrito, Calif., comes to Arizona State as a highly-sought after prize. The four-star recruit was heavily recruited by most of the Pac-12 Conference after being ranked the nation’s No, 29 receiver by ESPN and the No. 15 overall recruit in talent-rich California by 24-7 Sports.

De’Chavon Hayes

Hayes comes to the desert from Richmond, Va., via Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn. The junior will have three years to play two and will mesh nicely in the backfield with D.J. Foster. Hayes was tabbed the No. 2 junior college running back by both ESPN and Rivals.com.

 

Sam Jones

The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native weighs in at 285 pounds and his quickness and agility make him able to play any position on the offensive line. The four-star recruit was ranked as one of the top overall recruits coming out of Colorado and No. 23 in his position nationally by ESPN.

 

Eric Lauderdale

Eric Lauderdale

Eric Lauderdale

 

Another junior college transfer by way of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., originally hails from the land of peaches in Fayetteville, Ga. The tall, dynamic receiver will make an immediate impact for the Sun Devils as he was unanimously ranked as a four-star recruit by all services and also rated in the top four of all junior college receivers in the country by all.

 

Tyler Whiley

Arizona State’s poster child for the ‘Stay True to ASU’ campaign. The Scottsdale receiver from Chaparral High School was one of the state’s most lucrative national prospects and was heavily recruited by Michigan State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The highly athletic Whiley excelled as a two-way player, both at receiver and defensive back.

 

Manny Wilkins

Saving the best for last, the jewel in Coach Graham’s 2014 recruiting crown is quarterback Manny Wilkins. The towering quarterback out of Novato, Calif. is the heir apparent to take over this squad after Taylor Kelly’s final season. Wilkins is the highest-rated quarterback to sign with Arizona State in the past decade and his early commitment fueled the rest of the class. He tirelessly stumped for Arizona State convincing a number of California’s top prospects to visit and sign with the Sun Devils.

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Sharp Corners: Sun Devil Damarious Randall vs. Omar Bolden

No. 3

Defensive backs at Arizona State have traditionally taken a back seat to the stellar play of the defensive line or linebackers in the House of Heat. With the NFL chock full of big names like Terrell Suggs, Vontaze Burfict and most recently Will Sutton and Carl Bradford, it is easy to see why the secondary would tend to be overlooked.

Omar Bolden

Omar Bolden

The battle for the no.3 has been passed down from current NFL safety, Omar Bolden who wore the “magic number” for four years in five seasons in Tempe to Damarious Randall, who will play his second and final season for the Sun Devils this fall. Randall is looking to do Bolden proud by bringing more great plays to the number.

In 2007, as a true freshman, Bolden played in all 13 games and was named starting cornerback in the fifth game of the season.

Randall made his first appearance in the second game of the 2013 season and made his first start against Notre Dame—also the fifth game of the season.

Both players made an immediate impact when given the chance to shine. In Bolden’s first start, at Stanford, he intercepted a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.

In Randall’s first start against Notre Dame, he tallied a game-high 17 tackles along with 1.5 tackles for loss.   

Although Bolden and Randall come from opposite ends of the country with Bolden from the inland empire of California and Randall from the panhandle of Florida, both players found their way to Arizona and have been dominant on the gridiron, with many taking notice.

Accolades for Bolden include first team freshman All-American nods from the Football Writers Association of America and Scout.com while receiving second team recognition from Rivals.com and College Football News.

Damarious Randall

Damarious Randall

While Randall was at nearby Mesa Community College, he was named NJCAA first team All-American, and earned the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award along with first team All-Conference and first team All-Western States Football League.

Bolden was drafted in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos despite missing the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL. In his final season in 2010, he racked up 52 tackles, 37 solo and 3 for a loss of eight yards. He also nabbed three interceptions for 85 yards and a forced fumble.

Randall’s numbers were a step up from Bolden’s in 2013. He recorded 71 tackles, 48 solo and 5.5 for a loss of 19 yards. He also picked off three passes for 90 yards and forced two fumbles.

In a defense that will only be returning a handful of starters, Randall has the chance to shine in his senior season and meet Bolden in the NFL.  

Maroon Maroon Wine: ASU’s Revived College Ave. Welcomes Alumni-Owned Postino Cafe

 

ASU Art ANX

TEMPE, Ariz. — The neighborhood around Sun Devil Stadium is quickly evolving. College Avenue in particular is becoming an impressive stretch between the House of Heat and the university.

First we welcomed College Avenue Marketplace which includes street level eating establishments just north of the modern ASU Foundation building at University. Then came the University House(formerly named Hub Tower), the ultra-hip, high-rise student apartment complex where Veteran’s Way meets College Avenue.

Also on tap for the new gateway along College Avenue is a street scape known as the ASU Recruitment Walk. The focal point of the area will be the 1950s-style red-brick schoolhouse that once housed ASU football’s weight room during the Frank Kush era and most recently, the ASU Art Annex.

Postino Wine Cafe

Postino Wine Cafe

The 7,000+ square foot Annex just south of the University House is being re-purposed to house two separate 3,500 square foot restaurant spaces including the aptly named Postino ANX.

The wildly-popular Wine Café that originated in Arcadia before opening two more locations in the valley, one on Central in uptown Phoenix and one in downtown Gilbert.

ASU Alumni-owned Upward Projects which includes the foursome of Craig and Kris DeMarco and Lauren and Wyatt Bailey are excited to bring their establishment to fans, alumni and students of their alma mater.

Each of them has history in the surrounding area, having worked at or around Mill Avenue. Craig honed his early bar skills at Balboa Café and while Lauren studied art at Arizona State, she actually ended up working at the Art Annex.

Craig also noted how deep their connection is to ASU, and the significance of them being alumni and huge Sun Devil fans while restoring the ASU building. The structure was a perfect match for them in that they like to capture the original essence of the buildings that their restaurants occupy.

Like their other Postino locations, you’ll see the large roll-up garage doors on College Avenue that offer an indoor-outdoor element of Postino locations. Their newest location will create both a casual and sophisticated “social vibe,” which should be a nice touch in the immediate area surrounding Sun Devil Stadium.

College Avenue Commons between Veterans Way and University Dr.

College Avenue Commons between Veterans Way and University Dr.

Postino ANX is scheduled to open before the fall semester and ASU Football’s season-opener.

With the creation of Postino ANX, the DeMarcos and the Baileys are proving that they are DieHard Sun Devils.

The revamping of College Ave. is far from done.

The new College Avenue Commons, a multi-purpose, five-story building on the west side of College at Seventh St. is nearing completion. The building will house:

  • the ASU School of Sustainable Engineering
  • the Sun Devil Marketplace which is an impressive collection of small specialty stores
  • a massive home for ASU apparel, gifts, books and student supplies
  • open green patio areas for people to enjoy

Maricopa High School Scores Big With New Football Coach Chris McDonald

Gold Ball

As we look back and bid a fond farewell to the 2013-14 school year, congratulating the 2014 senior class; school administrators are looking to the future. In the regular meeting in February, the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board approved the hiring of longtime Hamilton High School assistant football coach Chris McDonald to lead the Rams’ varsity squad.

The vacancy left behind by departing head football coach and athletic director Cory Nenaber, also opened up the opportunity to bring in a new athletic director. Mark Cisterna comes to Maricopa after a dozen years as an athletic director with the Gilbert and Apache Junction school districts. Cisterna will head up the athletic programs at all three schools in Maricopa including Maricopa Wells and Desert Wind Middle Schools.

Head football coach McDonald also brings a desire to teach and lead. McDonald received his certification to teach secondary mathematics and taught Algebra and Geometry while at Hamilton receiving the “highly qualified” designation. McDonald also recently received his Master’s degree in Education Leadership.

Head coach Chris McDonald

Head coach Chris McDonald

McDonald, a longtime Tempe resident, a three-sport athlete that excelled in football, basketball and track graduated from Corona Del Sol in 1998, went on to run track and play football at Mesa Community College before graduating from Arizona State University in 2002.

McDonald told InMaricopa that he would not be moving to Maricopa as of now.

“My family and I currently in the Ocotillo/Chandler area so it really only takes 20-25 minutes to get here which really isn’t a big deal at all,” he said. “In fact, I kind of like the drive as it gives me time to reflect on what I need to get done that day.”

McDonald brings a deft football pedigree, during his eight year tenure at Hamilton High School as an assistant coach, the Huskies have advanced to the State Championship at the most competitive level, six times—and walked away with the Championship on five of those trips.

Five Division I State Championship titles in eight years is an amazing feat and Highland head coach Steve Belles is highly revered with a 70-3 record in his eight years at the helm. McDonald was fortunate enough to join the coaching squad with Belles and only knows how to win.

“I am quite honored and excited to be a part of the Maricopa community,” McDonald said. “I look forward to building upon a solid foundation and create another asset to the school and community with our football program here at Maricopa High School.”

McDonald says that the biggest difference between Hamilton and Maricopa is the commitment and culture. “The culture over there has trickled down into the youth level and expectations are kind of built in at an early age,” McDonald told me. “I think over time my goal is to implement that type of attitude and culture here in the Maricopa community.”

Rams LogoMcDonald is selling a new level of commitment and a swift change in the culture while still building on the momentum that Coach Nenaber and his staff had over the past decade. The change in culture will not only come on the football field, but in the classroom and throughout the community as well.

“If we can get ALL players to buy into what we are preaching in terms of giving maximum effort not only on the football field, but in the classroom and community then I think we’re going to be a pretty good football team.”

McDonald knows what it takes to get there and will strive to make this team the best that it can be.

“I think my experiences at Hamilton have allowed me to see first-hand the level of commitment and organization needed to be at the top of the mountain when the season ends,” McDonald said. “Everything takes time and we have a long ways to go but I think the potential to reach the pinnacle is attainable here.”

After a 2013 season that saw the Rams go undefeated at home but winless on the road, I would say that Coach McDonald has his work cut out for him. Thankfully, he has the right attitude, level of commitment and desire to make this Rams’ football program better than anybody ever realized.

“These kids need to understand what it truly takes to hold up a gold ball at the end of a season.”

Maricopa High School Spring 2014 Sports Wrap-Up

Spring WrapSchool is out and the long, hot summer is upon us. The Maricopa Unified School District welcomes two new members to its ranks with Athletic Director Mark Cisterna and head football coach Chris McDonald.

McDonald joins a relatively new batch of head coaches at Maricopa High School with Andrew Pollak finishing his first year at the helm of the baseball team and Chris Ansley heading up the softball team for his fourth season.

Pollak’s baseball team started off the season well. Winners of six of their first ten games, the Rams looked to put to rest any questions about the team’s inability to stay competitive. Senior pitcher Dallas Speer was 3-1 and Tristan Hartley was 2-1 in that time frame and the future looked bright for the Rams.

Unfortunately, Maricopa would hit hard times and would only grab two more wins throughout the year to finish 8-17 overall with a 2-9 section record. It wasn’t all bad news for Coach Pollak and the varsity baseball squad as the February 27 game vs. the Arizona Charter Academy set the record for highest single-game on-base percentage (.733), in program history.

Dallas Speer

Dallas Speer

Even in the March 25 defeat at Catalina Foothills, the Rams tied the program record with fewest strikeouts (0) in a game.

Sophomore Tyler Rapp led all batters (15 + appearances) with a .323 batting average and paced the team with 19 runs scored. Junior Nick Diaz led the team with 12 RBI, three home runs, and was tied for the team lead in triples (1) and hits (21).

Senior Tristan Hartley shared the team lead for hits and led the Rams with two doubles Senior Noah Anderson tied for the team lead in triples.

Of the 11 teams in division II, section six, three players earned postseason accolades. Diaz was named to the 2nd team while Hartley and Rapp were selected as honorable mentions.

The softball team had a bit of a bumpy start to the 2014 season, losing three of its first four games including a 25-0 loss to Xavier Preparatory. Ansley’s squad would turn the season around when they hosted the annual Krystin Diehl Tournament, winning six straight and outscoring opponents 52-4 to take home the trophy.

The Lady Rams would split the next eight games with big wins over Horizon Honors, Seton Catholic and Coronado, scoring double digits but also suffering tough losses to Flowing Wells and Salpointe Catholic, both in Tucson.

A late season swoon doomed the softball team as they dropped their final nine games of the season. Heartbreaking losses to Cibola (12-10) and Poston Butte (8-6) ended the season and the Rams finished 11-16 overall, 1-8 in section.

Chelsea Trejo & Madi Moncel w/ Coach Ansley

Chelsea Trejo & Madi Moncel w/ Coach Ansley

Sophomore pitcher Yasmin Santa Cruz finished the season 3-1 with 3.75 ERA while fellow sophomore Amber Cramer ended up with a 4-3 record and a 3.85 ERA. Junior Victoria Andrade led all pitchers with 49 strikeouts.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior catcher Madison Moncel fueled the Rams with a monstrous .436 batting average and 34 hits. Moncel was tied for the team lead with 26 runs and three triples.

Keeping up with Moncel in runs was senior Chelsea Trejo while senior Madison Byrd and junior Shay Barney were tied in the triples category. Junior Isabel McCloskey powered the team with 35 RBI and nine doubles.

Moncel signed her letter of intent earlier this year and will be heading to Colby Community College in northwest Kansas. The educational futures for the outgoing seniors of Maricopa baseball and softball players are promising even without athletic scholarships.

When asked of Moncel if she knew of any players going off to college, Moncel replied “Yeah, actually, a lot of them. Mainly all of the baseball/softball players.”

Regardless of what the final records were, I would say that both coaches could be considered a success with all graduating seniors going off to college.