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Slowly but surely over the past 20 months, Camp Verde High School has been upgrading its weight and locker rooms.

Using his own trailer, football players and building materials as well as money left over from three district funds, Cowboys head coach Steve Darby has been able to add a coaches’ office, a padded floor, new weights and even an upgraded locker room downstairs in his two years working in the CVHS athletic facility.

Camp Verde High School recently got some updates to its weight room, including new free weights. Head football coach Steve Darby enlisted the help of his players and wood shop students to help with a series of upgrades to the facility.

Since arriving as CVHS head football coach in 2013, Darby has sought the funding support of principal Bob Weir and athletic director Mark Showers to upgrade the weight room in order to stay competitive with the other two high schools in the Verde Valley as well as bigger private schools to the south “who have quite a bit of money,” Darby said.

“It’s tough for a public school to compete against that,” he said. “Mingus and Sedona have both had voter-approved bonds to improve their school facilities — Sedona has a phenomenal weight room. We’ve asked several times and have not been able to get those.”

With the returning football players taking the lead in the building — and with some help from woodshop students cutting two benches and weight platforms — the CVHS weight room now has a ventilated, completely rubberized floor padding fully reupholstered equipment, two new weight platforms and some added barbells, dumbbells and kettle bells.

“I’m a general contractor, so I have all the tools,” Darby said. “Fortunately, I’m an extremely persistent person and I’ve been bugging Mark and Bob every week for two years on this. I won’t let it go.”

For more photos and the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 22, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Will Davis and Henry Smith were not smiling after games Friday, April 10, against Sedona Red Rock High School.

The head baseball and softball coaches at Camp Verde High School were not pleased after their respective teams were shut out and narrowly averted a first loss in Division III, Section IV, to the Scorpions.

Senior Madison Garcia got her final batter to ground out with the bases loaded to salvage a 4-2 win.

The 5-0 shutout of Davis’ baseball team hurt worse. The second loss in a row for the Cowboys [10-9] dropped them out of the top 24 playoff seeds and, with a 1-4 Section IV record, solidly into the lower tier of sectional competitors.

Smith’s daughter, Taya, and Garcia at least continued two of the best pitching performances in Division III, which the Cowboys needed from Garcia, who struck out 13 Scorpions but didn’t leave her head coach any happier.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

The Camp Verde High School softball team established a No. 6 ranking in Division III and extended its winning streak to eight with a 12-2 win April 1 at Horizon Honors High School.

Senior Sharli Macdonald slides safely into third base against Monument Valley High School. Camp Verde High School’s softball team is on an eight-game winning streak. The Cowboys’ next game is against Division III power Payson High School.
Juniors Taya Smith and Dusty Dowdle each batted in three runs, with Smith needing just three innings to get her team-leading ninth win on the mound.

“I’m really confident in our team, the way we’re playing right now,” said Smith’s father, head coach Henry Smith. “We’re preparing for the state championship, [and] I feel like [Payson] is a preview of one of the state playoff games, at least.”

Going into a Tuesday, April 7, matchup at Coronado High School, Smith had 89 strikeouts — fifth in Division III.

After spotting the Eagles two first-inning runs on two hits April 1, Smith shut them down the next two innings to bolster her 2.46 earned-run average, which ranks 10th among all Division III pitchers.

Overall, the Cowboys have a record of 17-3 and 8-1 in games that will help out their state tournament seed — which started at sixth in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s first Division III power rankings.

That ranking would climb into the top five with home wins over rivals Payson and Sedona Red Rock high schools beginning Thursday, April 9.

The Cowboys are searching for their first victory this decade over the Longhorns, who have had CVHS’ number in their past eight games, winning all of them.

For the full story and more photos, please see the Wednesday, April 8, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Michael Malloy is nothing if not versatile.

Michael Malloy runs his warm-up lap before practice starts. Part of the Camp Verde High School track team, his events are discus, 200- and 400-meter dashes, and the 4x400 relay.

“I can jump, I can run, I can throw,” Malloy said. “My goal is to reach automatic State qualifying. I’m getting there.”

The Camp Verde High School senior ran the 200 meters in less than 24 seconds March 11 at the Skydome Classic — a top five finish and top 25 overall time in the event that should qualify him for the Division III state track and field championships next month in Mesa.

Malloy, who has also sprinted in the 100 and 400 meters as well as for three different relay teams, has also been needed to bring balance to a program with two girl throwers who have already automatically qualified for State.

“By accident, a couple of times, my coach has put me in five events,” he said. “You can’t do five events.”

With a consistent push from throwing coach Pam Edgerton, Malloy showed he could support senior Curtis Corder in the discus March 28 in Buckeye, when he tied for 32nd in Division III with a throw of 109 feet, 1 inch.

“She’s really been busting our butts,” Malloy said. “We do complain about her and think she’s mean, but she’s probably the best coach we could possibly get because she knows exactly what she’s doing and where we need to be. She’s willing to push us to our limits.”

Malloy, who has a 3.1 GPA, hasn’t had time for much else his final year at CVHS outside of exercise and homework.

“Being in two college classes, it kind of takes up a lot of my time,” said Malloy, who is trying to get a couple of college classes out of the way following his brother, Ryan, to Northern Arizona University in the fall. “I find my mind actually works better when I exercise. When I don’t exercise, my mind doesn’t want to work.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 8, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

The mystery of the Division III, Section IV schedule beckons the Camp Verde High School baseball team after a doubleheader road sweep.

Sophomore catcher Easton Braden hauls in a pitch from Camp Verde High School pitcher Logan Conrad during the Cowboys' home loss to Wickenburg High School. The Cowboys returned to the plus side of .500 with a doubleheader sweep Saturday, March 28, at Williams High School.

Cowboys pitchers didn’t break much of a sweat Saturday, March 28. They didn’t have to.

Prior to a six-inning six-hitter by sophomore Ezekiel Casillas, junior Logan Conrad hurled a five-inning, two-hit shutout of his own in 12-2 and 14-0 baseball victories.

The wins put head coach Will Davis’ Cowboys [9-7] back on the positive side of .500 as they look for their first Division III, Section IV win Wednesday, April 1, at Horizon Honors High School.

After a 3-1 loss at Sedona that perpetuated a 19-inning drought of extra-base hits for the Cowboys, Davis challenged his entire batting order to hit better against Payson and Winslow.

“We need to have a better approach at the plate,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to pick better strikes, that’s definitely the important thing.”

The Cowboys responded positively, holding off a late three-run comeback for the victory over the Longhorns and shut out the Bulldogs on March 18.

“We’re definitely getting better in the last two weeks,” Davis said. “We had much better wins over Payson and Winslow.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 1, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Despite two straight losses Friday, March 20, for the first time since last spring’s Gracie Haught Classic at Payson High School, Camp Verde High School remains one of the early favorites to win the Division III state softball championship.

Freshman Kaycie Williams drives a pitch during Camp Verde High School's 14-0 win at Sedona Red Rock High School. Williams had two runs batted in against the Scorpions and also finished up an 11-0 no-hitter Friday, March 20, over Sunnyslope High School in Payson.
Junior staff ace Taya Smith struck out six Santa Cruz High School batters over six innings for the complete-game, 12-4 win in the Classic consolation bracket championship Saturday,
March 21.

“We see a ton of improvement throughout the whole team,” said Smith’s father, head coach Henry Smith. “We fixed some major flaws with this tournament, now we’re fine-tuning mechanics — a close play on a single hit now should be an out, things like that.”

In their five wins at the two-day Payson tournament, the Cowboys [13-3] averaged more than 11 runs per game.

But they remain unable to solve the host Longhorns, who no-hit CVHS, 5-0, on March 10 in the Cowboys’ only non-tournament loss to date. It marked Camp Verde’s eighth straight loss to Payson in an annual rivalry going back to 2012.

“We’re not that far from giving teams like Payson and Nogales a great game,” Smith said. “The girls got better as the tournament went on, which is what we need in order to make some noise in the state tournament.”

Since that game, in the three games leading up to Gracie Haught, CVHS steamrolled its opponents by a combined score of 48-8 — including a 14-0 one-hitter of Sedona Red Rock High School in which Smith and freshman Kaycie Williams teamed up to strike out 10 Scorpions over five innings.

“She’s an outstanding pitcher, Taya,” said Mike Keider, Scorpions head coach. “She had a lot of movement and speed: She had to have been throwing in the high 60s or low 70s. We hadn’t seen anyone like her.”

For the full story and more photos, please see the Wednesday, March 25, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Camp Verde High School hopes rivalry redemption will get its baseball team back on the positive side of .500 after the Cowboys dropped their second straight game Thursday, March 12, 10-4 at home to Wickenburg High School.

Dust explodes from sophomore catcher Easton Braden’s glove Thursday, March 12, after the Wickenburg High School batter swings at and misses the Camp Verde High School pitch.
CVHS hopes to come back from an 0-3 start after it fell behind, 3-0, to the Wranglers in a stormy first inning, failing to come any closer than four runs in any inning afterward. A 19-inning drought of extra-base hits continues.

After traveling Tuesday, March 17, to cross-Valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School, the Cowboys [5-5] return home Wednesday, March 18, to host the Bulldogs of Winslow High School.

The game will be a rematch of the Cowboys’ 13-5 loss Feb. 26 to the Division III quarterfinalist at the Falcon Invitational at Fountain Hills High School.

“We’ve just got to hit the ball better,” head coach Will Davis said. “We field and pitch the ball OK, but we’ve got to have a better approach at the plate. We’ve just got to pick better balls and strikes, that’s definitely an important thing.”

Sophomore Ezekial Casillas struck out six and gave up just two earned runs in the final four-and-one-third innings, but the damage had already been done.

Senior shortstop Ezra Church scored two other runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but only sophomore Ryan Cain could bat in a run or manage multiple hits for the Cowboys.

As a team, CVHS scattered just six singles against the Wranglers after Payson High School allowed seven Cowboys singles March 10 in a 8-7 road loss at the Longhorns — one that came down to the final at-bat.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, March 18, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Junior Vance Tewawina and senior Brett Worth each shot under 40 at their first home match, but they weren’t enough for Camp Verde High School to come out ahead in its first two spring golf contests.

Junior Joel Beauty was second to tee off for Camp Verde High School’s golf team in its home opener Thursday, March 5, against Sedona Red Rock High School. The Cowboys fell 19 strokes short of the Scorpions.

Worth, the fifth and final rung on the Cowboys varsity ladder, shot a 38 — the best round of any CVHS golfer Thursday, March 5, on the front nine holes of Verde Santa Fe Golf Course. One stroke behind him was Tewawina, whose three-over-par was identical to last year’s opening round at home.

“Vance missed the state tournament last year by a nose hair,” said Chris Fuller, Cowboys head golf coach. “He had four qualifying rounds going into the last round of the year, so there was a lot of pressure on him.

“This year, it’s a little different: I think it’s going to be a little bit tricky, a little bit more challenging. But he’s going to be solid all year long.”

In another Arizona Interscholastic Association tweak of postseason qualification standards, the 10 best individual Division III golfers who are not on either the eight section-winning teams nor the next-best eight teams will all qualify for the state tournament Friday and Saturday, May 16 through 17, in Prescott.

“They take your top seven rounds and factor in the difficulty and slope of the course, and so forth,” Fuller said. “It’s going to be difficult to look into the future, but I have confidence our kids are going to pull it off.”

For the full story and schedule, please see the Wednesday, March 11, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.