Giving Thanksby Andy Morales on Nov. 21, 2012, under Sports
These are the coaches, parents, players, teams and things that made my “hobby” of covering high school and youth sports so worthwhile during this past season.
First off, I’d like to congratulate all the athletes that won a state championship this fall:
Billy Comeaux (Sabino), golf.
Krystal Quihuis (Salpointe), golf.
Salpointe Girls Golf Team, coach Michele Murphy.
Salpointe Girls Swim Team, coach Chad Castillo.
Sara Borendame (Ironwood Ridge), 100 Breaststroke.
Salpointe 200 Medley Relay Team: Cecelia Croman, Zoe Romanoski, Michelle Trujillo & Natalie Ward.
Jason Alentado (Catalina Foothills), 100 Butterfly.
Rio Rico Boys Cross Country Team, coach Stephen Schadler.
Andy Trouard (Salpointe), Cross Country.
Kyle Cajero (Pusch Ridge), Cross Country.
The Ironwood Ridge football team is still in the hunt….
Coaches who went above and beyond for their athletes, for their programs and for the good of all Southern Arizona kids. (They also helped me out…a lot).
First off, the Ironwood Ridge girls golf team benefited tremendously from first-year coach Rob Springs and his assistant coach Justin Bubser.
Springs was a softball and wrestling coach at Palo Verde in 1982 before moving to continue his post-graduate studies. Interestingly, Springs coached wrestling, tennis and gymnastics while he was studying in Korea.
His youngest daughter Ellen Springs graduated from Ironwood Ridge last year and became the first golfer from the school to earn a college scholarship (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University).
The one aspect that helped Springs earn recognition here above all else was his push to host the first girls golf tournament in Southern Arizona called the “Inaugural Nighthawk Invitational Golf Tournament.”
With each player and team needing qualifying scores, Springs stepped in to help make that happen for all programs and kids.
CDO boys golf coach John Farbarik was always handy with scores for all girls and boys in Southern Arizona. He is a stat junky and that is a good thing in my book. I couldn’t have done a lot of things without his help.
I’m also grateful and hopeful for the improved health of Salpointe girl’s coach Michele Murphy. Murphy almost missed her championship season due to breast cancer treatment. In the great scheme of things, high school golf may be a little thing, but it’s the little things that help us live.
Elmer Yazzie runs a great Cross Country program at Pusch Ridge as does Tim Bentley at St. Augustine. For small schools, their programs are always competitive with the bigger ones.
Not only that, they made me feel welcomed at their meets and invitationals and I never had to ask for anything. I only wish that “welcoming” and “grateful” “small school” attitude would be put to use at some of the bigger schools. But that is a mirror of how life is I guess….
I no longer hear the question, “Why are you here?” When I show up at small schools like I used to four years ago. Now it’s, “Thanks.” and “How can we help you?”
Matt Johnson at Ironwood Ridge, Nemer Hassey at Cienega and Salpointe coach Dennis Bene are class acts. Always grateful and I never try to get in their way like I see others in the media do.
Glenn Posey (Sunnyside), Justin Argraves (Tucson) and Jorge Mendivil (Empire) also standout in my book.
I think I was the only guy who wrote more than one story on the athletes and teams that play fall soccer. I would have done it anyway because they deserve to be treated equally, but coaches Mark Harting and Steve Lord made it more than worthwhile for me.
They always do.
First-year Ironwood Ridge swim coach Anne Fitzsimmons should be the role model for all swim coaches.
I know a lot of kids but I cannot tell who is in lane four when he or she has a swim cap and goggles on but Fitzsimmons always made sure I knew who everybody was and made all times available – not only to me, but to everyone. Her parents and swimmers just needed to sign on to Facebook after a meet and all the scores were there…..
Fitzsimmons also worked more than I did….
Girls Volleyball gets kind of lost with Football dominating the newsprint but coaches such as Ironwood Ridge’s Bill Lang, Alysha Ramirez (Rincon), CDO coaches Lindsay Sebring and Wendi Ousley, Heather Moore-Martin (Catalina) and David Thistle (Catalina Foothills) are part of my “A” team.
In short, I am very thankful for coaches who have rosters handy, stats and use MaxPreps. I don’t have a staff of clerks working for me. It just makes my life easier.
As far as parents from the fall sports go, there are too many to list individually but I am thankful for the ones who made me feel like I was a part of their family. They know who they are…..
I am thankful for the stories I get to tell. My job is to promote kids – not sell newspapers.
Let me just list a few of my favorite stories from 2012…
I am thankful that I still get to do this (although I don’t know for how much longer) and I am thankful for all my readers. You can come up and talk to me at anytime if you see me at games and my email address is listed above.