Pusch Ridge’s Will Newman won a pair of state titles at the Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. 

Newman improved his preliminary time by over 4 seconds to win the 200 Individual Medley. He then dominated the 100 Backstroke, winning the 100 Backstroke state title by 3.9 seconds.

His teammate Jared Weinberger also placed in a pair of events. He was 6th in the 100 Butterfly and 7th in the 200 IM. 

On the girls side Isabella Black also had a pair of top-4 finishes, She was the state runner up in the 50 Freestyle and 4th in the 100 Freestyle. 

Nina Weinberger was the only other Lion girl to qualify for an event final of an individual race, taking 8th in the Breaststroke. She was also 14th in the 50 Free Style.

Haley Johnson was 16th in both the 100 Backstroke and the 100 Butterfly.

The Lion boys were 9th, while the girls were 13th in the state. 

 

Signing Day

A number of area athletes signed National Letters of Intent last Wednesday to continue their athletic careers at the next level.  No school had more athletes sign than Canyon del Oro High School. Nine Dorados officially chose their colleges during a ceremony that afternoon. 

Track and Field standout Turner Washington signed with Arizona. One of the best throwers in the nation, Turner verbally committed to the Wildcats in late October. 

“Turner Washington is one of the best young throwers in the U.S.,” said University of Arizona Head Track Coach Fred Harvey. “He is also a local product. Turner’s father, Anthony, is a former World Champion in the discus throw. Turner’s uncle also played football here at Arizona. He is a very humble young man and is motivated to be the best. He is a soft-spoken person, but an intense competitor.”

Cross Country standout Katie Bruno will run next year at Pima College. 

Seven softball players will move on to play college softball. Arianna Acedo and Arianna Felix both signed with Cal State Bakersfield. Acedo batted .417 with 4 home runs and 25 RBI’s as a junior, while Felix hit .321 and was a terrific fielding second baseman. 

Wendy Castro Jimenez hit an astounding .521 last season in 63 plate appearances and signed with Wisconsin. 

“Wendy Castro Jimenez is a physical, powerful left-handed hitter and pitcher,” said Wisconsin softball head coach Yvette Healy. “ She can crush the ball, and pick it at first. She’s brilliant academically, selfless, and driven. Wendy will no doubt be successful on the field, in the classroom and in life. We thrilled to 

recruit yet another elite player from the state of Arizona.”

Jordan Quevedo is off to UTEP, while Hayley Basye and Christine Bellavia will stay in state at Embry Riddle and Grand Canyon University respectively. Bailey Thompson signed with Seattle University.

“Jordyn will definitely add some speed that is much needed to our lineup,” said UTEP Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk about Quevedo. “She will definitely be fun to watch in the outfield.”

Ironwood Ridge saw six athletes sign during a morning ceremony and two more make their college decisions that day. 

Four softball players signed for the Nighthawks, led by Annika Baez who will play at Indiana. Baez batted .455 with 41 RBI’s as a junior. 

Julia Roberts and Mackenzie Judge will attend Fort Lewis College and Santa Barbara City College, while Sydney Brown will play for Angelina College. 

On the baseball side Drew Hill and Dylan Kaiser signed with Colorado School of Mines and Cornell College respectively. Hill was 3-0 with a 3.33 ERA last season and also batted .286 in just 26 plate appearances. 

Their baseball teammate Jacob Allen verbally committed to Cal State San Bernardino and will sign with the team this week. 

“I am extremely excited to play at Cal State San Bernardino,” Allen said. “I would like to thank my parents, family and School coaches for all the support they have given me. It has always been a dream of mine to play college baseball. I give all the glory to God and I can’t wait to play at the next level.”

Nighthawk swimmer Brittany Manifold has committed to swim for Ohio State next season. 

Marana’s Kiley Lynn signed to play softball at Western Oregon, while Basis Oro Valley golfer Trevor Hecht signed with William and Mary. 

After overcoming a knee injury her sophomore season, Pusch Ridge’s Bree Olson signed to play basketball with Colorado Christian. The 5-10 Olson led the Lions in scoring as a junior, averaging 11.9 points per game. She also averaged 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals a contest.  

 

State Accolades

Former Mountain View and current Pima College wide receiver Jeff Cotton was selected first team All-WSFL/ACCAC and first team All-Region at wide receiver. The sophomore will be nominated for NJCAA All-American consideration. He racked up 837 yards on 43 receptions with six touchdowns as he played and started in all nine games this season. He was first in the conference averaging 93.0 yards receiving per game.

Former Ironwood Ridge and current Cal Baptist basketball player Lexy Ram was named PacWest Conference Freshman of the Week. She averaged 6.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals in her first five games of her career. She scored 10 points in her collegiate debut against Simon Fraser, shooting 4-of-5 from the field.

Even the pros are getting honored. Former Canyon del Oro and current Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler as awarded the the American League Gold Glove. He had a .988 fielding percentage this season. 

 

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