July 27, 2005 - Wade McLean Pool, 1200 W. Emigh Road, belonged to the Northwest July 23 at the 2005 Pima County Swim Team Championships. Northwest squads finished in the top three spots among the 10 teams competing in the event. In one of the closest championship meets in the program's history, the Wade McLean Tiger Sharks edged out the Marana Marlins 569 points to 551. Not far behind the Marlins was the Thad Terry Stingrays, a team composed of swimmers from the Northwest YMCA, 7300 N. Shannon Road.

The win for the Wade McLean Tiger Sharks snapped an unprecedented run of championships for the Marlins, who had won the past 10 league titles. Only one other team, the Flowing Wells Dolphins had previously won a league championship in the league's 13-year existence.

In a testament to the league's growth and development, the Sopori Serpents scored 51 points in the meet. Although the Southern Pima County-based squad finished 10th out of 10 teams, it improved on the zero points it tallied at last summer's title meet.

With 472 swimmers in its program, the Pima County Swim Team is an inexpensive club for swimmers to compete in during the summer. Swimmers, ranging in age from 5 to 18, pay just $20 for the entire season. This summer marked the second year that Wade McLean pool was used for the volunteer-based league championships.

Rodeo Drive

The rodeo season concluded July 24 with the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo.

Erin Parsons once again dominated Arizona girls. The Marana High School grad took home top 20 finishes in four events: barrel racing (3rd and 14th), girls cutting (8th and 16th), goat tying (6th and 12th) and breakaway roping (4th). Fellow Marana students Mike Allison and Ryan Alexander each captured second place finishes in Gillette. Allison grabbed his in bull riding on July 22, and Alexander earned his in calf roping on July 18.

Oracle resident Wyatt Althoff claimed 4th and 11th place finishes in the steer wrestling portion of what is considered the world's largest rodeo.

Arizona's girls as a team finished 22nd overall, tied with Illinois at 635 points, just ahead of Florida and North Dakota. The boys faired better, finishing 11th with 1,830 points ahead of Alberta, Canada. Combined, Arizona ended the four-day event in 14th place with 2,465 points.

The Arizona High School Rodeo Association will pick back up again in September when school gets back in session.

Step to the plate

A newly formed Oro Valley softball league is looking for players. The men's league, operated by Pathway of Hope Foursquare Church, will begin league play Aug. 21 at Coronado K-8 School, 3401 E. Wilds Road. The league will consist of four teams, with play every Sunday night. Experience is not necessary, just a glove and a desire to have fun. As the church grows, league director Jeff Garcia is hopeful it can add more interactive events such as tennis, golf, hiking and a mom's stroller walk. Anyone interested in playing can contact the league at 668-2933 or can visit www.pathwayofhope.net.

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