Two local high school softball programs that many in the sport consider potential gold mines are looking for coaches.
Eight-year Sabino coach Galen Paton resigned last month and Catalina Foothills coach Candace Abrams left the Falcons program after one season to take a graduate assistant position coaching softball and to pursue a master’s degree.
Athletic directors at both schools are searching for replacements.
Paton’s tenure included the 2005 Class 4A state championship, an 8-0 win over Goodyear Millennium and sending plenty of talented players onto collegiate success.
Maybe most notable among the recent Sabino stars is University of Kentucky standout Molly Johnson (class of 2006), who was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team in spring 2007 and was a second-team All-SEC performer as a sophomore in 2008.
Paton’s most recent star was 2008 graduate Karissa Buchanan, a freshman expected to play this spring for the University of Arizona.
“We have so much potential and we need a coach that can put in the time and effort to build a program,” Sabino athletic director John Kramkowski said of the vacancy.
As for Foothills, school athletic director Jody Brase hopes to name the new coach in October.
“The players and I were sad to see (Abrams) go,” Brase said. “She did a fantastic job coaching for us.”
Short season for Hopper
The freshman college football season of 2008 Amphi graduate Ronald Hopper is over almost before it began.
The running back walked on to the Pima Community College team this fall, made the team last month and three days later was named a starter and told he would be given a scholarship.
But he tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in the final minute of the team’s season-opening loss last week at Phoenix College.
“I was tackled from behind and then six guys, along with two of my players, fell on top of me,” said Hopper, who said he heard six pops in his knee.
Hopper, who was also a sprinter on the Amphi track team last spring, rushed for 1,159 yards and 11 touchdowns last year as a senior for Vern Friedli’s Panthers.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder said he won’t let the knee injury stop him from working his way back to the field.
“I’ll be back,” Hopper said. “I ain’t done. I am just getting started, so look out.”
Golf invitational canceled
High school girls golfers were supposed to be hitting the links Friday and Saturday at Cienega’s Bobcat Classic golf invitational.
Instead, a lack of interested teams and dwindling participation forced the school to cancel the event it had run since 2004.
At its peak, the tournament featured 13 teams, according the Cienega athletic director Whitney Holland.
Two years ago, participation began declining. The 2007 event had just five teams.
When the school had just three teams giving early commitments to attend this year, the invitational was canceled. Holland said the school will look into hosting the event again in 2009.
Odds and ends
• Five southern Arizona boys golf teams are participating in the Mesa Dobson Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
The 27-hole tournament (9 holes Friday afternoon and 18 on Saturday), will feature Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Mountain View and Tucson High.
• Around 450 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade kids from around southern Arizona are expected to be participating in the sixth annual Kiwanis de Amigos Rattle Snake Run on Saturday morning at Christopher Columbus Park. The event begins at 8.
• The two 2006 Tucson Citizen Football Players of the Year – Salpointe’s Kris O’Dowd and Canyon del Oro’s Aaron Tevis – find themselves in some big games at the college level Saturday.
O’Dowd, the sophomore starting center for the No. 1 Southern California Trojans, plays against No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Tevis, a redshirt freshman at linebacker for Boise State, plays in the team’s homecoming game Saturday against Bowling Green.
Tevis had eight tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up in the Broncos’ season opening win Aug. 30 over Idaho State.
“Coming out for my first time, I thought I did pretty well,” Tevis told the Idaho Statesman on Thursday. “But I can’t be complacent. There’s a lot more stuff I need to get better at.”
Got some high school sports news for the prep notebook? E-mail high school sports editor Geoff Grammer at firstname.lastname@example.org