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When 41-year-old English teacher Christian Fuller was asked to be the next head coach for a struggling golf program, his first thoughts weren’t on the downhill side of the green.

“I want to improve this golf program, get the community involved,” Fuller said, who was named head coach of the Camp Verde High School golf team over the winter.

Leading a group of young golfers for the spring 2011 season, Chris Fuller gets ready to head to Prescott on Friday, Feb. 18, as the new head coach for the Camp Verde High School golf team.Camp Verde Athletic Director Mark Showers reported the change in January that Fuller would be taking over for longtime head coach Steve Stone.

Fuller, an Akron, Ohio, native, graduated from Akron Firestone High School in 1988.

An all-sport athlete, Fuller competed in football, basketball and played well enough in baseball to be on the All-City team at catcher his junior and senior seasons.

Fuller then attended the College of Wooster and played one year of baseball before suffering a career-ending injury.

“I was behind the plate and a batter swung through and hit my glove hand. It was catcher’s interference and I broke my hand. Since then, every time I catch my hand swells up so I stopped playing,” Fuller said.

Fuller received his degree in English literature in 1992 but found himself working in sales in the wireless industry for nearly 15 years.

Fuller went back to school and got his master’s in education with a focus in language arts in 2009, hoping to catch on somewhere as a teacher and a coach.

“I decided I needed a change,” Fuller said. “I was looking at different career options and I wanted to teach and be a coach.”

Since English teachers are a dime a dozen in Ohio, according to Fuller, there were jobs in Connecticut, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona.

Camp Verde Principal Bob Weir contacted Fuller in July 2009 to fill the open English teacher position, and within 10 days Fuller found himself in town.

In the spring of 2010, Fuller coached the Camp Verde Middle School baseball team, but was asked to stay with the high school this spring and coach golf.

“I’ve been an avid golfer since I was 10. When I was in college, I caddied at the local country club. I didn’t play in high school but that’s only because I was more into football,” Fuller said.

When he isn’t teaching English or a golf swing, Fuller finds himself spending his free time with Lisa, his wife of just over a year, and her two young boys.

The duo like to hit the movies and watch foreign films together. Fuller also likes to play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, the video games.

“I told my kids that at the high school and they give me a little crap but it’s OK. I love music. I don’t like video games, but for some reason I like Rock Band,” Fuller said.

Fuller says he can’t wait to get the season under way in a few weeks and is happy to be where he is in life.

“I thought I could have an impact on the program here at Camp Verde, which is why I took the job. I’m excited for the season to begin,” Fuller said.

The four-time defending 4A-II conference state champions went through a new experience Saturday, Feb. 12: second place.

In the first Division III Wrestling State Championships at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley this past weekend, the Marauders came one point shy of tying, and two points within claiming their unprecedented fifth straight championship.

Logan Addis, top, practices his technique with fellow Mingus Union High School wrestling teammate Dillon Lightfoot on Jan. 18. Addis finished his high school wrestling career by winning his third state championship title in Prescott on Saturday, Feb. 12.Forty-seven schools stood in the way of the Mingus Union High School wrestling team’s fight for a title, but only one found a way to beat them — Thunderbird High School.

Thunderbird scored 158.5 points, or exactly 1.0 points more than Mingus [157.5] to claim the first Division III state championship.

Also making it to the podium was Rio Rico High School, which finished a distant third place, scoring 127 points.
In fourth was Safford High School with 103.5 points and wrapping up the top five teams in the state was Amphitheater High School with 78.5 points.

Other notables included Blue Ridge High School which finished sixth overall with 60 points while old 3A conference powerhouse Payson High School finished 10th with 47.5 points.

After the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board made the decision to realign the schools to save money on state championship tournament costs, Mingus knew it was going to be tough to five-peat.

In the past, the more than 250 Arizona schools fought over six state championships in wrestling; now there are only four handed out by the AIA. Only about 200 of those schools actually have wrestling programs, but losing two trophies can be difficult.

The Marauders also went through a coaching change, hiring Mingus alum Klint McKean over the summer to take the reins of one of the best wrestling programs in the state, if not the country.

Despite the overhaul, the Marauders responded like the champions they are to take second overall in a much tougher field than in the past.

McKean did an excellent job taking over for longtime Head Coach Tom Wokasch according to several wrestlers and other coaches on the staff, making it an easy transition for Marauders fans.

Mingus wrestlers Logan Addis, Justin Zaske and Matt Chavez each earned an individual state championship Saturday in front of a raucous wrestling crowd in Prescott Valley.

Addis claimed the 145-pound state title, defeating Page High School product Sheldon Yellowman in the process to win gold.
Addis finished 44-3 overall this season, and is considered one of the best wrestlers to ever walk the halls at Mingus.

Mingus’ Justin Zaske took first overall in the 152-pound weight class division, defeating Brandon Bodea of Fountain Hills High School in the title match. It was only the fourth loss all season for Bodea.

As for Chavez, he claimed the 152-pound title with his win over Zach Yazzie from Higley High School.

Zaske finished 37-9 this year while Chavez was an impressive 44-2 overall in 2010-2011.

Other notables individually for Mingus included 119-pound Cody Heflin who was 30-11 overall this season. Heflin finished second overall after losing the state championship match to Greg Ornelas of Safford. Ornelas did not lose a match this season, finishing a perfect 38-0.

Hank Goettl, wrestling in the 130-pound division, lost to Rio Rico star Dakota Beach in the title match. Beach was 38-1 overall this season while Goettl was 38-8.

Dillon Lightfoot finished fourth overall in the 135-pound third-place match, losing to Brad Lindsay of Flagstaff High School to finish 40-11 overall this season.

Brandon Luttrell won his third-place match, defeating Anthony Chavez of Amphitheater to finish 16-2 overall this season.

Before 54-year-old Kent Winslow was hired in the fall to be the head coach of the Marauders baseball team, he didn’t expect to be asked to coach at all.

“I had no idea,” Winslow said with his big southwestern smile that could stretch across the Arizona desert.

Winslow looks more the part of an Old West cowboy rather than a baseball coach, or a rancher in a new wild west movie with Clint Eastwood or these days, Jeff Bridges.

“My wife got a job in Prescott so we felt the Lord was leading us back to the area and we were glad to make the trip,” Winslow said.

After Winslow changed out of his everyday clothes and into the white and red uniform of the Mingus Union High School baseball team, suddenly, he fit the part.

Head Coach Kent Winslow was hired in the fall to coach the Mingus Union High School baseball team this spring. Winslow played baseball for Grand Canyon University, Gonzaga University and Central Arizona College. Winslow will take the reins of a program that won back-to-back 4A-II state championships in 2008 and 2009.Originally from Cottonwood, Winslow spent his high school days at Buena Vista High School in Sierra Vista.

Winslow played four sports for the Colts and was a varsity letter-winner in football, basketball, baseball and even one year in wrestling.

Winslow graduated in 1974 and went on to Central Arizona College to play baseball for two years as a catcher.

This, of course, wasn’t the only stop for Winslow who made a career out of moving what seemed like every two or three years.

Winslow played one year for Gonzaga University, and one season for Grand Canyon University before receiving his degree from Northern Arizona University.

As an assistant baseball coach under Alan Flitcraft at NAU, Winslow earned his degree in physical education with a double major in industrial arts in 1980.

He taught at Santa Cruz Valley Union High School for three years, but decided to go back to school to get his masters in education.

“The list gets longer for my masters,” Winslow said with another big smile. “Hope you’re ready to write.”

Texas A&M, the University of Arizona and the University of Wyoming were just three places he ventured in six years.

Winslow finally settled down to teach and coach baseball at Salpointe Catholic High School for nearly 10 years.
Winslow came to the Marauders after leaving Casa Grand High School last year and began teaching physical education at Mingus in August.

“This seems like a nice place. I’ve been to a lot of places. It feels good. There is a tradition of excellence here. Anyone that’s coached baseball here has been a good person and I hope to add to that,” Winslow said.

When 17-year-old Camp Verde High School softball star Roque Parker signed her letter of intent Jan. 19, it was a realization of something she’s wanted for years.

“I’ve always wanted to go to school and play ball,” Parker said while sitting in a classroom going through what is to be the first of many interviews once getting to school. “I’m very excited. It’s really cool that I’m going to play college softball.”

Parker, who is originally from Camp Verde, signed to play third base and pitch for Glendale Community College.

For Camp Verde, Parker has pitched for the Cowboys over the last few years and was a big part of the 2009 team, which claimed a 2A conference state championship when she was a sophomore. Camp Verde defeated Wilcox High School, 4-2.

Roque Parker, a senior on the Camp Verde High School softball team, will play third base for Glendale Community College in 2012. Parker led the Cowboys to a state championship in 2009 and she hopes to do the same in her senior season, which begins Monday, Feb. 7.Parker also plays club softball for the Verde Valley Heat and Head Coach John Brown, who is the current head coach at Sedona Red Rock High School.

Of course, there’s more to Parker than just softball.

The Camp Verde native enjoys the hunt now and again with her father, Marlin Parker, and is currently an honor roll student with a 3.9 grade point average.

Parker is an only child, but certainly doesn’t act like it, having worked hard for everything she’s gotten.

Parker is a part of the National Honor Society as its president at Camp Verde, she is a sentinel for the local National FFA Organization, is a part of the key club and is the secretary for student council.

“I’m involved in a lot and I enjoy it. It gives me something to do,” Parker said.

Parker spends whatever spare time she has left shopping and being with her family or showing animals at the Verde Valley Fair.

After softball and getting her basic classes out of the way at GCC, Parker hopes to attend a four-year school and earn a degree in athletic training.

“I want to stay involved in sports once I’m done and athletic training is a way to do that. My dream job is to be an athletic trainer for the Denver Broncos,” Parker said with a big smile.

Junior forward Torey Braly continued her stellar season Tuesday, Feb. 1, this time on the biggest stage Arizona high school soccer has to offer in the 4A-II conference state playoffs.

Torey Braly sprints downfield with the ball Jan. 4. Braly scored three goals in a 3-0 win for the Mingus Union High School girls soccer team Tuesday, Feb. 1. Mingus beat Liberty High School in the first round of the 4A-II conference state tournament.Braly recorded a hat trick in a -0 win for the Mingus Union High School girls soccer team Tuesday, advancing the Marauders to round two.

“Torey [Braly] is an exceptional athlete,” Mingus Head Coach Buddy Rhodes said. “In my opinion, she is one of the best forwards in the state, regardless of region or conference.”

Braly certainly proved her coach right Tuesday against Liberty High School at the Reach 11 Complex in Phoenix in round one, recording the hat trick and improving on her own school record of goals scored in a season with 39.

The Marauders began the match like they were running in mud, but Braly tried to change that with a goal in the fifth minute to give Mingus a 1-0 lead.

The girls in white continued to struggle in the first half, missing many opportunities to score but in the end, the defense continued to do its job.

“You have to also keep in mind we have a stellar defense. We’ve been keeping other teams out of the goal which allows our offense to open up and go score,” Rhodes said.

In the second half, Mingus did just that, passing and weaving, giving Braly a chance to get her hat trick.

Braly netted her second goal in the 58th minute, and her third in the 64th minute to give the Marauders a 3-0 advantage and eventually the win.

Mingus goalkeeper Courtney Hageman didn’t have much work Tuesday, recording only two saves as the Lions didn’t mount much of an attack.

Junior Taylor Brott took over between the posts with 10 minutes to go and continued to do good work for the Marauders, keeping the shutout intact and helping Mingus advance.

With the 3-0 win, Mingus improves its record to 13-3 [4-0, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall this season.

Mingus went into the state playoffs with a No. 4 ranking, which matched it up with No. 14 Liberty.

The Marauders will have a few days of rest and practice before they lace up their cleats again against No. 11 Higley High School, which upset No. 6 Williams Field High School, 4-3.

The match against Higley in round two of the state playoffs will take place Saturday, Feb. 5. A place and time is yet to be determined.

After going scoreless in the first half, the Mingus Union High School boys soccer team turned it on offensively, scoring four goals Saturday, Jan. 22, to defeat visiting Page High School, 4-1.

Marauders midfielder Alex Hickey knocks a Sand Devils player aside to get control of the ball during a Mingus Union High School home game against Page High School on Saturday, Jan. 22.“The way we are playing, any team is beatable. We go into matches confident and that’s a good thing,” Mingus Head Coach Cade Densmore said.

The Marauders took an impressive 37 shots against the Sand Devils, while allowing Page to shoot only four times.

Mingus goalkeeper Gilbert Quidera recorded three saves, allowing only the one goal in the second half.

Junior forward Williams Dominguez was the star of the show Saturday, recording a hat trick for the first time this season.

Dominguez completed his masterpiece with a one-on-one breakdown of the Page defense and beat the goalkeeper in the 67th minute for his third goal of the day.

Dominguez’ first goal came in the 48th minute on an assist by junior Charlie Ramirez while junior Austin Strobel had the second assist when Dominguez scored in the 58th minute.

Ramirez scored the third goal for Mingus in the 65th minute Saturday, with Dominguez recording the assist to make it 3-0 Marauders.

After the hat trick goal to make it 4-0, Page found a crease in the Mingus defense with a few backups in the game to bring the score to 4-1 which was the final.

With the victory, the Marauders get themselves over .500 for the first time this season at 7-6-1 overall. Mingus is 2-1 in 4A-II Grand Canyon region action.

Mingus is ranked No. 14 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls, which were released early Wednesday, Jan. 26.

“Our goal from the beginning was to get into state by power points,” Densmore said.

Even if Mingus finishes 2-0 in its last two matches, they still could wind up in third place in the Grand Canyon. Only the top two teams get an automatic bid to the state tournament in February.

Next up, Mingus is scheduled to travel north to rival Flagstaff High School on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Official start time is set for 3 p.m.

The Camp Verde High School wrestling team finished with a 3-1 dual meet record at the most recent nine-way match Jan. 12.

Camp Verde High School’s Adilene Ruiz is pronounced the winner of a wrestling match in the 160-pound weight class Jan. 12. Camp Verde hosted the meet and went 56-22 with 36 pins to finish 3-1 in duals. Camp Verde lost to Show Low High School.Camp Verde defeated Monument Valley, 64-18, Bourgade Catholic, 57-22 and Greyhills Academy 48-27. The Cowboys’ only defeat came at the hands of Show Low High School, 42-39.

The biggest story of the nine-way event last week for the Cowboys was their continued success despite missing key figures to their team.

Camp Verde forfeited six points in every dual meet because of illness and other various injuries. Add those six points to the Show Low match, and the Cowboys finish a perfect 4-0.

“The nine-way meet was a good day for the younger wrestlers for the Cowboys,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Bob Weir said. “They were able to mix into the varsity lineup, filling in spots for some of the injured wrestlers.”

Despite plenty of young wrestlers getting experience, a few of the older, more seasoned grapplers for Camp Verde still got some work in.

Sophomore Heath Carroll, wrestling at 130 pounds, finished a perfect 4-0 in his matches Jan. 12 while 135-pound senior Roman Bux was 2-0 with one pin fall.

Alex Anzar tries to pull his opponent’s arm back to force a pin during a wrestling match in the  140-pound weight class Jan. 12. The sophomore finished 3-0 with two pins on the day.Junior Derrick Brown went an impressive 5-0 with three pins while wrestling in the 119-pound weight class and 140-pound teammate Alex Anzar finished 3-0 with two pins.

“These young wrestlers are looking good and on their way to a possible state championships,” a hopeful Weir said. “They continue to dominate at their weight class.”

Other standouts included 103-pound junior Michael Cassillas, who finished 5-1 with four pins, and 135-pound senior Maleah Eppinger, who was 4-0 with three pins.

As a team, Camp Verde was 56-22 overall with 36 pins against the four schools.

Next up for the Cowboys is a trip to the Payson Invitational on Friday, Jan. 21.

The invitational runs through Saturday, Jan. 22. An official start time in Payson this coming weekend was unavailable at press time.

Camp Verde will return home Wednesday, Jan. 26, to wrap up varsity competition at home where the Cowboys
will be celebrating their seniors.

According to Weir, the seniors will be honored before the final dual meet with an estimated start time of 5 p.m.

Junior forward Torey Braly decided it was her time to step into the spotlight Saturday, Jan. 15, as she recorded a hat trick in a 7-0 win over visiting Mohave High School.

More importantly, Braly set the school record for most goals scored in a season with 30.

Junior Torey Braly points to her teammate looking to get her the ball in a match Jan. 4. Braly scored a hat trick Saturday, Jan. 15, in a 7-0 win over Grand Canyon region rival Mohave Valley High School. Braly’s three goals gave her the scoring title for goals in a single season by one player with 30.“Torey [Braly] is one of those special athletes that comes along every once in awhile,” Mingus Union High School girls soccer Head Coach Buddy Rhodes said. “The previous school record was 27 goals in one season and she passed that against Mohave. She’s an exceptional athlete.”

With three matches left on the schedule this season, the first coming Wednesday, Jan. 19, against Sunnyslope High School, Braly is sure to add to her own record tonight to cement her name in Mingus lore.

After losing three in a row dating back to the Las Vegas Invitational championship match on Dec. 4 and the two matches after, the Marauders have pieced together a nice run, claiming their sixth straight win Saturday.

The streak started with a thrilling 1-0 victory over new rival Sedona Red Rock High School on Dec. 14, and continued Saturday against a lowly Mohave team.

Mingus scored five goals in the first half and finished the game with seven on 23 shots on goal.

The Marauders’ defense held strong as well, allowing only three shots on goal by the Thunderbirds, who managed only three corner kicks.

Senior goalkeeper Courtney Hageman recorded three saves against Mohave, keeping the shutout intact Saturday.
It is the second straight shutout for the Mingus defense. The Marauders beat Bradshaw Mountain High School on Jan. 11, 7-0.
Adding to Braly’s three goals, Amanda Randolph, Allyn Backus, Dalis Sealey and Mackenzie Mabery each added a goal in the rout.

With the victory, Mingus improves its record to 10-3 overall this season and 2-0 in the 4A-II Grand Canyon region.
The Marauders are 6-2 overall in Arizona Interscholastic Association power point matches, making them No. 6 overall in the polls.

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