When I sat down to write my list of Top 10 sports stories of the year, I ran into a problem: There were too many great performances. But since journalists aren’t known for their great math skills, I figured it was a great excuse to have a Top 10 list with 13 stories.
And even with a bonus three stories we still recognize that we left off a number of great performances and athletes.
So this week, I’m writing about the Top 5 through 10(D) and next week, you’ll find the Top 4 in these pages.
5. Immaculate Heart’s Amity “Hostility” Brown
Like Summerset, Brown concluded her career with a state title in the high jump. Brown won the Division IV girls high jump title with a jump of 5-1. For Brown it was her second state title. She came up short as the favorite as a sophomore, but got her first title in 2015 and ended her senior season with her second.
Brown was a multi-sport athlete. She was a dominant force on the volleyball court, where she earned the “Hostility” moniker, and was also one of the top players on the school’s girls basketball team.
6. Blake Martinez Drafted
Former CDO and Stanford standout Blake Martinez was a fourth round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers. Taken with pick No. 131 in the draft, the 6-2, 237-pound linebacker quickly impressed the Packer brass and not only made the team but has seen consistent action as a rookie.
He has played in 11 games this season, amassing 64 tackles and picking off one pass. All has not been perfect for Martinez, as a knee injury has plagued him late in the season. He missed three straight games and only had one tackle in his return on Dec. 18.
7. Pusch Ridge Swimmer wins two titles
Pusch Ridge’s Will Newman won a pair of state titles at the Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, finishing first in both the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Backstroke.
8. CDO Thrower Turner Washington
CDO thrower Turner Washington set an Arizona state record in the discus and temporarily had the longest throw in the nation for this season.
Turner threw for 202 feet at the Casa Grande Kiwanis Invitational on April 1. His throw was tops in the nation for 24 hours. The next day Adrian Piperi threw for 204 feet at a meet in Austin, Texas.
Then this fall Washington committed to the University of Arizona to accept a track scholarship.
Washington came down to Arizona and Alabama, and made a recruiting visit to Tuscaloosa just prior to choosing the home town Wildcats
9. Ironwood Ridge/Pusch Ridge girls soccer
Both the Ironwood Ridge and Pusch Ridge girls soccer teams advanced to their respective state semi-finals.
Ironwood Ridge’s season came down to a final penalty kick as the Nighthawks fell to Salpointe 4-3 in the penalty kick phase in the Division II girls soccer semi-finals.
After 80 minutes of regulation and another 20 minutes of overtime, it came down to penalty kicks. The Nighthawks failed to convert on their first two kicks, while Salpointe made one of two and took the win as each squad converted their final three attempts.
Pusch Ridge saw their season come to an end with a 2-0 loss to Tanque Verde in the Division IV semifinal.
10(A). Ironwood Ridge and CDO girls volleyball
Both the Nighthawks and the Dorados had amazing seasons. The teams went to the semi-finals of their respective state tournaments.
CDO went 25-14 overall, after winning just 13 the year before and were 13-4 in the regular season. The 8th ranked Dorados won their region before making their deep postseason run.
While the Nighthawks’ overall record was not overly impressive, 22-19, they not only played in some of the toughest tournaments in the state, but travelled to California to play some of the toughest opponents the Golden State had to offer.
Their regular season was something else. The Nighthawks went 13-4 in games that counted towards the postseason, finishing second in one of the toughest regions in the state.
10(B). CDO Golf
CDO’s Jonathan Walters tied for second in the Division II boys golf championships and helped guide the Dorados to a fourth place finish.
Walters shot a two-day total 144, finishing two strokes behind state champion Gavin Cohen of Catalina Foothills. After carding a 73 on the first day, he tied Cohen for the best second day total of 71.
10(C). Ironwood Ridge Baseball
The Nighthawks baseball team was one win away from the title game but lost their final two games of the tournament to see their season come to an end.
Tucson High beat Ironwood Ridge 10-0 in the final game of the elimination bracket.
The Nighthawks won their first four games of the tournament, but fell for the first time in the double elimination tournament to Greenway 5-2.
The Nighthawks finished the season 23-10-2, but after the season Head Coach Dennis Toia stepped aside to become an assistant at Pima College.
10(D). Pusch Ridge boys tennis
The Pusch Ridge boys tennis team capped off a remarkable season by advancing to the finals of the Division II state team tournament, but came up one win short of a state title.
The Lions fell 5-0 to state power Catalina Foothills in the final match of the year. The Falcons not only won their 11 overall state championship, but their third in a row. Pusch Ridge had won two Division III titles but moved up to Division II.