Another great year of high school sports has come to a conclusion and I have enjoyed writing about the events, athletes, coaches and administrators in my area of coverage – from Fountain Hills west through Scottsdale and into Phoenix, the southwest, northwest and north Valley and northern Arizona.
Here are some of athletes who I have written about or seen in the heat of battle, whose accomplishments are worth remembering . . .
Jorian Baucom, Phoenix Pinnacle, girls soccer: Was an active force for four varsity seasons, capping the run with a Division I state title. Committed to LSU.
Ryne Benson and Cody Williams, Anthem Boulder Creek, boys volleyball: Benson’s strength and left-handed power and Williams’ all-around game were key elements for the Jaguars as they upset top-seeded Mesa for the state championship.
Redmond Delmar, Kayenta Monument Valley, football: The quarterback helped keep his team afloat in Division III for most of the season.
Bryce Dickerson, Phoenix Christian, boys basketball and golf: Suffered a horrific broken leg in the state tournament and worked his way back to play in a few golf matches for the Cougars.
Tyler Frost, Phoenix Greenway, baseball: Led the Demons to the state title with a shutout of Nogales despite an injured finger on his throwing hand. Also was a tough out on offense, serving mainly as the team’s leadoff hitter.
Alliesandra Fuller, Buckeye, girls basketball: The 6-foot-3 was a pillar of strength in the middle and moved well for her size with a nice shooting and passing touch that helped the Lady Hawks reach the Division II state tournament.
Collin Gabel, Scottsdale Chaparral baseball: The versatile pitcher and infielder was the emotional leader for the Firebirds.
Michael Humphrey, Phoenix Sunnyslope, boys basketball: The 6-foot-9 senior developed himself into one of the state’s top players and top students, headed to Stanford. Also played quarterback on the Vikings’ football team.
Carlos Johnson, Phoenix Shadow Mountain, boys basketball: The sophomore had explosive power on the break or underneath the basket for the Division II state crown.
Khalia Lanier, Phoenix Xavier Prep, volleyball: One of the state’s most powerful hitters, she led the Gators to the Division I state title and was azcentral.com’s Player of the Year.
Elijah Marks, Goodyear Desert Edge, football: One of the state’s top receivers, with a combination of size, speed and hands.
Matt Munsil, Scottsdale Prep, football/basketball: One of the small schools’ top all-around athletes. Was azcentral.com’s Small School Football Player of the Year as a receiver.
Hannah O’Sullivan, Phoenix Xavier Prep, golf: Was state individual champion for her first two seasons , leading the powerhouse team to more titles. Has a chance to be perhaps the top player in state history by the time she graduates.
Tyler Phillips, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, baseball: The big, strapping catcher is developing into a tough, reliable backstop with power. Hit two home runs in one game and paid the price for it, getting hit on the wrist by a pitch, but managed to remain in the game.
Luke Rubenzer, Scottsdale Saguaro, football: The quarterback set season and career records for touchdown passes and was a dual threat on the ground. Led the Sabercats to the Division III title and will play at the University of California-Berkeley.
Sarah Sponcil, Phoenix Veritas Prep, girls volleyball: One of the state’s top players who improved her game by playing sand volleyball on California beaches during the summer. Will play collegiately at Loyola-Marymount in California.
Jasmine Stauffacher-Gray, Phoenix North Canyon, track and field: One of the fastest athletes around, winning the 400 and 300 hurdles at the state meet.
Olivia Struckman, Scottsdale Chaparral, girls soccer: Always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and put the ball in the net on a consistent basis all season.
Jenny Thompson, Phoenix Sunnyslope, girls volleyball: Not as tall as some, but unleashed extreme power at the top of her jump to make her a top outside hitter and one of the main reasons why the Vikings captured the Division II championship.
Dedrick Young, Peoria Centennial, football: Came into his own as a junior in 2013 as a linebacker and even more so as a running back that was very difficult to bring down.
Charles Youvella, Keams Canyon Hopi, football: One of the smallest players with one of the biggest hearts, suffered a fatal head injury while playing running back against Phoenix Arizona Lutheran.