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When the day finally came that Camp Verde High School senior Mike Boler was able to walk across the stage, shake hands with his teachers and accept his diploma, instead of thinking about the future, Boler reminisced about the past.

Senior Mike Boler poses for a shot during graduation. Boler made the honor roll this year with a 3.2 GPA and is looking to continue his education in the fall. “It was a great feeling to finally get something I’ve worked hard for, but all I could do was think about the past and how much fun high school was,” Boler said.

Camp Verde football Head Coach Luke Steege shared a fun story about his first memory of Boler when he recalled the first time they went to Blue Ridge High School to play a football game.

“We stayed Thursday night in a hotel because we played Friday and the boys started a Madden tournament, so of course, I had to play in the Madden tournament,” Steege said.

Steege went on to say Boler picked the Dallas Cowboys as his team in the tournament, his favorite team in the NFL, and of course, Steege picked the Arizona Cardinals.

“I hate the Cowboys,” Steege said laughing. “He ended up beating me, and to this day he’s never let me forget it.”

Boler grew up in Camp Verde and found himself admiring Brett Favre, a gunslinger quarterback who played for the Green Bay Packers over 1,800 miles away from his hometown.

Favre, along with Zach Houser, Camp Verde’s senior quarterback when Boler was a freshman, are the biggest reasons why Boler wore No. 4 throughout his high school career in football and baseball.

Boler was a four-year varsity letterman in baseball, starting at shortstop all four seasons and lettering three years in football.

Boler also played varsity basketball his freshman season, then returned to the court this past season to play out his senior year.

“At the time I was looking at shoring up my baseball skills so basketball went on hold I guess,” Boler said.

The move worked for baseball as he was the unanimous choice to be the 2A Metro 1 MVP this past season and was a first team All-State selection this spring.

Despite his many athletic accomplishments at Camp Verde, including being responsible for 1,000 total yards of offense and 10 touchdowns the first five games of the football season in the fall before breaking his arm, Boler is even more proud of something else.

During his senior year academically, Boler recorded a 3.2 GPA and made the honor roll, something he won’t soon forget.

The 19-year-old high school graduate is planning on pursuing a college degree, hopefully a two-year associate’s degree at Southwestern College, a small private school in Phoenix where he might get a chance to play baseball.

He has other options, but according to Boler, the new coach at Southwestern is interested in him playing for them.

In the meantime, Boler will be a part of the Wildland Fireman group this summer, which is something he wouldn’t mind doing when he gets older.

“I knew a few guys on the engine, I took a few classes and I’m ready to go to work this summer. It’s something I would like doing as a career,” Boler said.

Knowing Boler, Steege said if there was ever something you needed done, Boler is the guy you go to, and he spoke of trust.

“If you needed something done, he would get it done, and you don’t have to worry about him ever. That says a lot about him,” Steege said.

Boler has done well for himself so far and with his parents Mike Sr. and Colleen behind him and his older sister Morgan and his younger sister Shelby by his side, there isn’t anything this young man can’t accomplish.

Anyone involved in one way or another with Mingus Union High School, whether it’s a player, teacher, coach, alumnus or just a casual fan, can usually point out 49-year-old Bob Young in a crowd, or has at least heard his name before.

Originally from Phoenix, Young came to Cottonwood in 1986 and for the most part, has stayed to not only raise a family of his own, but a family of athletes that have spread across the country.

Head Coach Bob Young is responsible for many successful sports programs at Mingus Union High School. Young has coached football, basketball, softball and baseball during his 25-plus years with the Marauders. In that time, he’s won nearly 20 region championships and two state titles.Since graduating from Camelback High School in the late ’70s when Phoenix was still somewhat a one-road city, Young has had quite a life in sports as an athlete himself, and as a coach.

Young knew in high school he wanted to become a coach, and knew he had to become a teacher to do so.

Before getting into coaching, however, Young attended Arizona State University and was a three-year varsity letter winner for the Sun Devils baseball team from 1980-82.

This was the same team Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home run king and most famous ASU alum, played for a few years later.

After a few years of coaching football, basketball and baseball in the Dysart School District at the junior varsity level, Young decided to try the college game.

“I went to South Mountain Community College for one year. After that, I decided high school was for me,” Young said laughing.

Young made it to Cottonwood, taking an opportunity from a little known 4A school named Mingus and the rest, as they say, is history.

Softball was the first head coaching job Young took at Mingus, but he transferred to baseball after one season and stuck with it for eight years.

In 1995, Young was named head football coach, but he doesn’t give credit to himself for the program’s turnaround.

“Bill Rudolph was the one responsible. Mingus football was a joke then, winning one or two games a year. They just didn’t compete at all. Bill convinced the players then to work hard in the offseason in the weight room and after a few years, the Marauders started to become a respectable team,” Young said.

In the 25-plus years Young has coached at Mingus, whether it was football, baseball, basketball or softball, he still believes the best team he’s ever been around was the 1997 4A state championship football team that finished the season 10-0-1.

“That team just clicked, they came together at the right time. The freshmen worked their butts off for four years, and when they were seniors, they were rewarded,” Young said.

Young isn’t the only family member with success in sports. His oldest son Spencer Young was an All-Arizona baseball star and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays and played with them for a few years in the late 1990s.

Head Coach Bob Young is responsible for many successful  sports programs at Mingus Union High School. Young has coached football,   basketball, softball and baseball during his 25-plus years with the  Marauders. In that time, he’s won nearly 20 region championships and two  state titles.Young is currently on his third stint as the head baseball coach at Mingus, having left twice for various reasons, and his second stint with the football team.

In that time, Young has won 11 regional championships with football and more with baseball while earning one state championship in each sport, football in 1997, and baseball in 2009.

In 1997, Young won his 150th game as a head coach in football, and he brought his win total into the 180s after this season.

What’s the reason for all this success? Young has the answer.

“Having high expectations is one thing, but having kids willing to pay the price is the biggest tool to success. If they buy in to our system, things will work just fine,” Young said.

For now, Young is happy where he is and isn’t planning on leaving any time soon. He says the Cottonwood community and Mingus is where he wants to be, and he believes it will stay that way for a long time.

“This is my home, it’s my family’s home and we like it here,” Young said.

With the spring sports season over, parents and athletes are getting a chance to attend banquets and get a round of applause for their efforts on the field this season.

There were 23 student-athletes at Camp Verde High School this spring who received All-Region and All-State awards.

In baseball, the 2A Metro champion Cowboys made it all the way to the 2A conference finals this season but it wasn’t without the help of a few players who had great seasons.

senior mike boler celebrates after his team beat Valley Christian Academy in the 2A conference state semifinals May 14. Boler was selected as a first-team All-Region performer as well as an All-State selectee.Mike Boler, Curtis Hawk, Taylor Mathews, Aaron Stutzman and Andy Minner were selected to receive a first team All-Region award for the 2A Metro 1.

Randy Justus was handed an honorable mention award.

Boler and Hawk were also nominated for the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association All-State team and Boler will play in the North-South 1A-2A All-Star game Saturday, May 29.

In softball, Roque Parker, Cami Ligon, Shelby Mulcaire, Alexis Kinney and Amy Allen were selected first team All-Region performers while Shayna Sterrett and Megan Teague were awarded honorable mention.

The Cowboys were 2A Metro region champs this season.

In track and field, Deborah Truncali, Emily Showers, Cassie Alvarez and Jessica Reay are first team All-Region award winners for their 4x800-meter performance at the 2A Metro region invitational, taking first overall.

Making second team All-Region are Trent Fogelson, Marissa Simons, Katie Wilson and Jessica Melendez.

Receiving honorable mention All-State awards are Amanda Showers and Fogelson.

The 4x800 team getting the region award was also named to the second team All-State for finishing second in the event at Arizona State University two weekends ago.

In golf, there is no first, second nor honorable mention awards but the top 10 in the region meet get a medal, qualifying sophomore Wilfred Tewawina, who took ninth overall.

With graduation just around the corner, spring athletics at Mingus Union High School have come to a close but there were a few individuals nominated for All-State and All-Region awards that need recognition.

In baseball, Hunter Zwart earned first team All-State honors for his performance on the diamond this season.

senior shaun mccarty was named a first-team All-Region performer and will play in the 4A-II North-South All-Star game Saturday, June 5, at Surprise Stadium on 7 p.m. Zwart will join Shaun McCarty and play in the 4A-II North-South All-Star game which takes place Saturday, June 5, at Surprise Stadium at 7 p.m.

Zwart also earned 4A-II Grand Canyon region MVP for his .467 average and a team-leading nine home runs and 41 RBIs.

McCarty was nominated to the All-Region first team along with Logan Stewart.

Austin Rogers received second-team All-Region honors and Todd Scalf got honorable mention.

For the Marauders track and field team, the girls were outstanding this season, earning a 4A-II Grand Canyon region championship.

Torey Braly was nominated for the second-team All-State award for finishing second in the 100-meter hurdles at Mesa Community College two weekends ago.

Leslie Kincaid received a first-team All-State award for taking first in the pole vault and Courtney Hageman received second-team All-State votes for her performance in the pole vault as well.

In boys tennis for the Marauders, senior Alexander Lineberry was named the Grand Canyon region MVP, making him a first-team All-Region selection.

Teammates Bobby Lee and Andrew Hickey were nominated to the All-Region first team after taking first in doubles a few weeks ago in the Grand Canyon regional meet.

Jonathon Witt and Austin Strobel received honorable mentions.

freshman torey gillies pitched well enough this season for her Mingus Union High School softball team to be recognized as a second-team All-Region performer.The Mingus softball team had plenty of awards to go around at their banquet.

Senior catcher Tessa Fanning was named the Grand Canyon region MVP for her .611 batting average, nine home runs and 52 RBIs during the season with 42 runs scored. Fanning led the Marauders in all four categories this season.

McKenzie Ricca was nominated as a first-team All-Region performer, her second in as many seasons, while Sabrina Ortiz, Cassie Norman and Leshea Taylor were also first-team All-Region award winners.

Torey Gillies was named a second-team All-Region performer and Angelina Saucedo received honorable mention.

New this year to the Grand Canyon region, Bailey Mabery received the sportsmanship of the year award while Ortiz was named All-Academic player of the year with a 4.1 GPA, good enough for top five in her class.

After beating Valley Christian Academy [3-1] in a thrilling 2A conference state semifinal game Friday, May 14, the Camp Verde High School baseball team was unable to keep the Cinderella slipper on and lost to Bourgade Catholic High School, 6-5.

CV_baseball_5-19_Hawk_10The state championship game Saturday, May 15, at Peoria Sports Complex was filled with drama but Bourgade Catholic’s Eric Martinez, a big left-handed hurler who pitched the last three innings to earn a win, took all the fun out of if for the Cowboys, striking out five of the final nine outs to get his team a title.

“We didn’t have a dominating player. That big kid they had, he was pretty good; he hit and he pitched. He was a force. We have a bunch of good kids but not a dominating player and it made the difference,” first-year Camp Verde Head Coach Steve Hicks said.

Martinez certainly made the difference in the state championship game as the Cowboys couldn’t seem to catch up to his fastball.

To start the game, Bourgade Catholic was able to put up three runs on the board in the top of the second inning, chasing Cowboys starting pitcher Tanner Rezzonico from the game after only 1? innings pitched.

Hicks brought in senior Mike Boler who started three double plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the 3-1 win over Valley Christian the day before from shortstop.

Boler pitched the seventh to earn the save against Valley Christian after Curtis Hawk was outstanding, going six innings and allowing only one run.

In Saturday’s game, however, Boler was being asked to go more than just one inning and wound up doing a decent job.

“We were hoping Tanner [Rezzonico] was going to give us a little more but Mike [Boler] did a great job. We knew this was a good hitting team. I didn’t want to bring in Mike this early,” Hicks said.

At the plate, Camp Verde managed 10 hits on Bourgade Catholic pitching, but only one against the lefty Martinez in the last three innings.

“We had to fight through it. We did our best. That’s pretty much it,” sophomore catcher Andy Minner said after the game.

In the bottom of the second inning before Martinez entered the game on the mound, Hawk hit a towering home run into the left field bullpen to make it a 3-1 game, proving to everyone in the other dugout Camp Verde wasn’t going away.

Bourgade Catholic made it 5-2 in the top of the third but the Cowboys rallied for three more in the bottom of the third to tie it, 5-5.

CV_baseball_5-19_Minner_2Taylor Matthews and Aaron Stutzman singled, putting runners on for Minner who singled to bring in Matthews. A few errors later, it was tied 5-5.

Matthews and Stutzman were a combined 5-8 on the day at the plate while the rest of the team was 5-22.

In the top of the fifth, sophomore center fielder Cody Rayburn had a bead on a line drive to the gap, caught the ball at first, but then dropped it to allow Bourgade Catholic to put a runner on third with no outs.

The next batter for the Golden Eagles grounded out to second, scoring the run to take a 6-5 lead, which wound up being the final.

“We did everything possible to win, but we came up short. We had high expectations but we never thought we would be here. It was a privilege,” Boler said.

CV_baseball_5-19_Hawk_1Over the next few days, the 21-9 Cowboys will look back at this season and be disappointed in the outcome but over time, they will be proud of what they accomplished.

When asked if his team actually thought they would get to the 2A state title game when they started practice three-plus months ago, Hicks had an interesting answer.

“Well, I think it’s always the goal; there are always variables to get here. You always come up against good teams. We beat good teams all year long, we’ve grown, we’ve become better players, better people, more mature and we’re growing ... that’s why we’re here,” Hicks said.

“We knew we could beat any team, but there’s a lot of good teams. When you get to the playoffs any team can win it,” he continued.

“Any team” almost did.

With their first region championship in nearly 30 years under their belts, the Mingus Union High School girls used that momentum to take third overall at the 4A-II track and field state championships.

At Mesa Community College, the Marauders tied for third place with 56 points. Notre Dame Preparatory took first with 81 points while Desert Edge High School came in second with 71 points.

Mingus_Girls_Track_Region_Champs_5-19_2Mingus tied with Cactus High School who also had 56 points while Greenway High School wrapped up the top five with 37 points.

“I’m happy with the finish to the season this year. Our girls did great and it’s one of the better teams to come through here,” Mingus Head Coach Jared Stone said.

For a team that practices every day on dirt, third place isn’t half bad. The Marauders don’t have a regulation track at their school, just a dirt circle around the football field. This also means Mingus never has a home match. Ever.

The girls weren’t the only ones at MCC on Saturday, May 15, as the boys took 26th overall with six points.

Liberty High School claimed the title while Thunderbird High School took second and Rio Rico High School wrapped up the top three.

Perhaps the best performance of the day came from sophomore Torey Braly who finished second overall in the 100-meter hurdles with a 15.31 time.

“To see that kid run as hard as she did was great. It would have been something else for a sophomore to get first in that race,” Stone said.

Braly was a part of the 4x100-meter relay team that set a new school record that stood for nearly 30 years, running a 50.37 time which was good enough for fourth overall.

There was one state champion in the group for Mingus in Leslie Kincaid who took first overall Saturday in the pole vault with a 10-foot, 6-inch try.

Courtney Hageman came in second with a 9-foot, 9-inch try.

The best finish for the boys came in the 3,200-meter run where Juan Wells ran a 9:56.84 time, good enough for sixth overall.

Despite all speculation and the naysayers out there telling everyone the Camp Verde High School baseball team doesn’t deserve a No. 4 seed, isn’t really that good, and shouldn’t have gotten a first-round bye in the 2A conference state playoffs, the Cowboys didn’t listen and have now silenced the critics.

RezzonicoThe No. 4 Cowboys easily defeated Williams High School on Friday,

May 7, 19-6, then dismantled Northwest Christian Academy in the quarterfinals by the final score of 11-1.

These two wins are two of the biggest in Cowboys baseball history and the offensive attack has punched Camp Verde’s ticket to the 2A final four, which is scheduled to begin Friday, May 14, at the Peoria Sports Complex.

They won’t be playing on one of the side fields though, as these Cowboys have earned the right to make it to the show, one might say, playing in the big stadium at 7 p.m., May 14.

“We played two great games and our pitching was good, too. We’re all excited to play down there this weekend,” first-year Camp Verde Head Coach Steve Hicks said.

In the Northwest Christian game, Curtis Hawk took the ball for the Cowboys and was fantastic, pitching six innings of one-run baseball while allowing six hits and striking out two.

The offense came alive in the first two innings to take a 5-1 lead but in the bottom of the fourth scored five more runs to make it a 10-1 affair.

Camp Verde tallied one more run in the bottom of the sixth to 10-run rule Northwest Christian and send themselves to the final four.

Mike Boler was 2-3 with an RBI and three runs scored while Taylor Matthews was the big hitter on the day, going 3-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.

The Cowboy offense had 16 hits against Northwest Christian, keeping the bases busy all morning long.

Randy Justice was 2-3 with an RBI while Hawk was 2-4 with an RBI. Tanner Rezzonico also pitched in, going 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The 20-8 Cowboys will now turn their attentions to No. 8 Valley Christian Academy, a baseball powerhouse the last few years in the 2A conference.

Camp Verde will face off against the Trojans on Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

In the other semifinal game, defending state champion Pusch Ridge High School will take on  

No. 6 Bourgade Catholic at 3:30 p.m. at the stadium.

If the Cowboys can get past the Trojans, Camp Verde will play for a 2A state title on Saturday, May 15, in the stadium.

First pitch for the championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

With a good crowd on hand the No. 3 Mingus Union High School baseball team was able to escape an upset bid by the visiting No. 14 Seton Catholic Preparatory Sentinels in eight innings, 3-2.

When asked if he expected this kind of effort out of Seton Catholic on Saturday, May 8, in first-round action of the 4A-II conference state playoffs, second-year Mingus Head Coach Bob Young responded with certainty.

“I really was; Seton is a good team. Generally, with power points, the lower seeds are still tough, they played a good schedule and lost some close games. The last three years we’ve had tough first-round games.”

Saturday’s contest made it three years in a row now in which Mingus’ opponent took them to extra innings in a first-round state playoff game.

So far, Mingus is 3-0 in those games and the Marauders are, of course, the two-time defending state champions, leading to the question, is this Mingus team capable of winning an unprecedented third straight title?

After watching senior hurler Shaun McCarty pour his guts out Saturday, that answer would be “yes.”

“Shaun [McCarty] was gutsy. We expected that from him. We knew if we were going to do something this year he had to come up big for us, and he did,” Young said.

Young said he and the coaching staff kept asking McCarty, “Are you OK?” and he always responded with, “I’m fine.”

“If we went to the ninth inning, he would have gone out there for us,” Young said.

McCarty went all eight innings for the Marauders, throwing nearly 120 pitches while keeping the Sentinel bats at bay to give his Mingus offense a chance to win it in the end.

In eight innings, McCarty faced 31 batters and allowed only two earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven.

This is the first game this season McCarty was able to pitch longer than five innings, but don’t read into it too much, as most of those games Mingus 10-run ruled their opponent.

In the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday, Mingus trailed 2-1 to a Seton Catholic team drooling over the possibility of a first-round upset.

Senior catcher Logan Stewart had other ideas however, leading off the inning with a triple to put the tieing run on third with no outs.

After senior Shawn Rojas struck out, junior middle infielder Cruz Chavez came up big with a double to left center field, scoring Stewart to tie it, 2-2.

McCarty went out in the eighth inning and with his defense behind him, retired the side to give the Mingus bats another chance at winning it.

To start the bottom of the eighth, senior Hunter Zwart doubled down the left field line to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with no outs.

Junior Ronald Morones stepped to the plate next, knowing full well what he had to do.

“Everyone in the world knew he was bunting right there. With their bunt defense they put on with the first baseman charging, we teach to push the bunt past the pitcher and he did exactly that,” Young said.

MUHS_baseballMorones squared to bunt early, and while the Seton Catholic first baseman charged, their second baseman covered first.

Morones couldn’t have rolled it out there any better, pushing it past the pitcher and as the first baseman slipped, the ball skipped right past them both, allowing Zwart to scamper home to win it, 3-2.

The RBI bunt single sent Mingus fans into a frenzy and the Marauders players charged the field with excitement.

Second Round

The 23-6 Marauders will now look forward to playing Liberty High School in the second round of the 4A-II state playoffs Wednesday, May 12.

Mingus will send Zwart to the mound against the No. 6 Lions with a first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Liberty defeated No. 11 Cactus High School in its first-round game, 5-2, and is 22-6 overall this season.

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