Wed, Nov

The Mingus Union High School boys cross-country team might have realized just how good it could be this season, finishing second overall as a team over the weekend at the annual Ray Wherley Invitational in Prescott.

Juan Wells - Mingus RunnerMingus seniors Juan Wells and Colin Garttmeier dominated the field, finishing first and second overall respectively.

Wells won the annual event in Prescott on Saturday, Sept. 10, finishing first overall with a 16:54.47 time, barely edging out his teammate. Garttmeier took second overall with a 16:54.57.

“It was good to see Colin [Garttmeier] get a chance to win a race. He’s a middle-of-the-pack runner usually so when he jumped out in front for awhile it was great. He’s never won a race in his life so when he was in front, it was like watching a different runner. Him and Juan [Wells] did very well,” longtime Mingus Head Coach Jim Bostwick said.

The Marauders had four runners in the top 30, with sophomore Gustavo Banks finishing 21st overall with a 18:25.69 time while senior Lane Gehl was 26th overall with an 18:40.56 time.

Mingus finished second overall as a team behind Mountain Ridge High School, while Bradshaw Mountain High School took third overall.

As for the girls, Mingus had three girls in the top 50 with senior Emma Schraner having the most impressive day. Schraner took third overall with a 17:37.47 time.

Junior Skyler Storie was 16th overall with an 18:46.81 time while freshman Anisa Urueta was 36th overall with a 19:29.18 time.

The Mingus girls finished sixth overall as a team with Catalina Foothills High School claiming the top prize.

“All the kids did well. This could give them all the confidence in the world heading into the bulk of our schedule,” Bostwick said.

With the Ray Wherley Invitational out of the way, Mingus will turn its focus to the Four Corners Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The Four Corners Invitational is scheduled to take place at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff with an official start time of 9 a.m.

At the Payson Invitational this past weekend, the Mingus Union High School volleyball team finished 7-5, and tied for fifth place out of 21 teams.

Mingus Union High School volleyball player Bailey Maybery serves to Camp Verde High School’s team during an away match which the Marauders took in three games on Aug. 29. The Mingus team fell to Prescott High School in the same number of games on Thursday, Sept. 1.According to first-year Marauders Head Coach Brian Herman, the early season tournament is a good chance to figure things out without having to worry about affecting his team’s playoff standings.

“We put several players in different positions and really get a look at what we have,” Herman said. “Overall we played well. We had some matches in hand that we let slip away, and we matched up well with every team there.”

These types of tournaments don’t count toward the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls like regular season matches do, according to Herman.

Mingus currently sits ranked No. 23 in the Division III power point rankings with a 1-1 overall record.

The Marauders opened the season with an easy 3-0 win Aug. 30 over rival Camp Verde High School then lost to visiting Prescott High School on Thursday, Sept. 1, 3-0.

At the Payson Invitational, the Marauders finished 3-3 in pool play, defeating teams like Ceasar Chavez, Northland Preparatory and Show Low high schools. Mingus beat both Joseph City and Coconino high schools in cross pool play, 1-0.

In the Payson tournament, teams played only one game against one another during pool play. In bracket play, teams played a best-of-three format.

Mingus opened bracket play with 2-0 victories over both Safford and Blue Ridge high schools, but lost a tough one to Florence High School, 2-1.

The Marauders wrapped up the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Payson High School.

With a 1-1 [7-5 tournament play] record, Mingus travels to Chino Valley High School on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The Cougars are 3-0 to start the 2011 season, having defeated Williams High School on Aug. 30, 3-2, and Seligman High School twice on Sept. 1, 3-0. Mingus and the Cougars get under way Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Mingus doesn’t return home until Tuesday, Sept. 13, when it plays host to cross-valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School at 6 p.m.

With the dust having settled after a whirlwind off-season for the Mingus Union High School football team, the focus now shifts to winning football games.

Quarterback Luke Simmons looks for a man downfield at  practice Tuesday, Aug. 23. Simmons is the favorite to start Friday,  Aug. 26, when the Mingus Union High School football team travels to Blue Ridge High School.“The boys trained hard in the summer, and we’ve had some good practices the last few weeks. We’ll do what we always do, and we’ll continue to work to get better,” longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.

There’s no telling what the 2011 season will bring for the Marauders, who are in the midst of change.

A year ago, the Arizona Interscholastic Association made one of its biggest decisions in decades, realigning Arizona schools by throwing out the conferences and regions of old and introducing divisions and sections.

For Mingus, the 4A-II conference and Grand Canyon region it played in for nearly two decades is gone, traded for Division IV [Section III].

The Marauders will still see a few old Grand Canyon rivals this fall in Flagstaff, Coconino and Bradshaw Mountain high schools, but only because they are within the proximity of Mingus geographically.

The AIA began making the transition in the fall of 2010, with individual sports feeling the difference during the 2010-2011 school year, and team sports starting their new way of life this fall for 2011-2012.

A schedule for all team sports this school year, not just football, will be made based on geography, instead of the size of school enrollment. In the end, Mingus football may benefit.

Instead of Young worrying about how to beat Thunderbird and Williams Field high schools, the two teams that played for the 4A-II title last year, he’ll have to worry about Blue Ridge and Show Low high schools, the two squads which played for a 3A conference state title instead.

In fact, Blue Ridge is Mingus’ first opponent this year when the season kicks off Friday, Aug. 26. The Marauders are making the trip to Pinetop-Lakeside this Friday, with a kickoff set for 7 p.m. Show Low defeated Blue Ridge in the 3A state title game last November, 20-17.

For Young, his offseason was rougher than most coaches, having left the Mingus program at the end of last school year for a job at Prescott High School, only to change his mind and return to the Mingus campus by the July 4 holiday weekend.

Mingus welcomes him back with open arms, especially since he’s 67-21 since 2004, bringing home five region championships and making it to the state championship game in 2007 during that time.

Young’s last state championship came in 1997, but the Marauders are in the discussion every year and 2011 is no different.

Like every season, Mingus has a big senior class with 22 leading the way this fall, and the group is sure to be on its toes this fall.

Top senior returners include Carlos Abrigo, Andrew Hickey, Dillon Lightfoot, Brandon Morales and Jordan Westover.

Abrigo could be in the backfield this season and see plenty of time at cornerback while Hickey is a solid receiver, but he is even better with his foot as the team’s kicker.

Morales is one of the top linebackers on the team while Lightfoot is another defensive back to watch out for. As for Westover, he should see time on both sides of the ball this season for Mingus.

With Ronald Morones having graduated last May, the starting quarterback position is available with three guys looking to lead Mingus in 2011 under center.

Juniors Luke Simmons and Chandry Rice and sophomore Marshal Shill battled throughout the summer during seven-on-seven tournaments, and they carried over their friendly competition to practice in August. Simmons looks to be the favorite to start Friday night.

Other top returners this season include junior wide receiver Andrew Garcia, junior defensive back Zach Pelletier and junior lineman Jordan Welborn.

As for the schedule, Mingus is set to play five games within Division IV this season including Blue Ridge, Chino Valley, Cortez, Payson and Snowflake high schools.

The most intriguing game comes in the regular season finale Friday, Oct. 28, at Camp Verde High School.

Just 15 miles apart, the two schools haven’t locked horns on the football field for over 20 years. Mingus is 7-0 all-time against Camp Verde, with the last victory coming in 1988, winning 41-7.

The first round of the Division IV state playoffs are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4.

Backed by family and friends and flanked by his mother, Toni Glenn, right, and his former coach, Bob Young, left, 2009 Mingus Union High School graduate and football player Robert Ortiz, center, signs his letter of intent to play football for Dakota State University on Thursday, Aug. 4. Ortiz will be a wide receiver and kick returner for the Trojans. He is scheduled to leave for South Dakota on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Ortiz has two years of eligibility left.Cottonwood resident Robert Ortiz signed his letter of intent at a local pizzeria Thursday, Aug. 4, to play football for Dakota State University in the fall, giving friends and family something to celebrate.

It’s been a long time coming for Ortiz, who graduated from Mingus Union High School in May 2009.

In the last two academic school years, Ortiz attended Scottsdale Community College, playing one year of football for the Artichokes. Ortiz had a 3.31 grade point average at SCC and plans to do the same at Dakota State.

Ortiz originally wanted to stay at SCC one more semester in an effort to graduate this December with his associate degree. He set up several college visits however, basically marketing himself to colleges around the country, hoping to play football for someone in January.

“That’s why I went to a few campus visits this summer,” Ortiz said. “I went to Dakota State at the end of July and they liked what I had to offer after playing in a seven-on-seven game.”

Ortiz explained the coaching staff came up to him, asking him what it would take to get him in a Dakota State uniform this fall, instead of next season.

“I came back July 25 from the visit, and by July 26 they called saying they had a complete package for me, and I wouldn’t have to pay anything,” Ortiz said with a smile.

By July 27, Ortiz gave his verbal commitment and a week later he was in front of family and friends making it official.

Ortiz admitted he put a lot of thought into the decision, stating he had several conversations with teammates and coaches at SCC, and they all said it was the right move.

“They basically just said I can’t pass up the opportunity. I can’t wait to get going,” Ortiz said.

He didn’t hesitate to mention that football is his life and there isn’t much room for other hobbies. Ortiz believes all his hard work is paying off by getting this scholarship to go to Dakota State.

Ortiz earned three varsity letters playing for Head Coach Bob Young and the Marauders during the 2006 through 2008 seasons. He also played basketball and ran with the track and field team in the spring.

Ortiz has two years of eligibility left and plans on using every bit of it at Dakota State while studying and earning a degree in physical education. He added the transition from SCC to Dakota State will not be a hassle either, as all his credits earned at SCC will transfer over nicely.

Dakota State is located in Madison, S.D., and is led by third-year Head Coach Josh Anderson.

Anderson has athletic ties to the state of Arizona, where he led the Payson High School football team for three seasons between 2006 and 2008 and was the head man in charge at Chino Valley High School from 2003 to 2005.

Ortiz won’t have long to rest before shipping off to South Dakota. He leaves Wednesday, Aug. 10, to start his career with the Trojans.

“I have two years of eligibility left, and I’m really excited to get out there and get going,” Ortiz said.

Finishing out of the top 20 at state in 2010, the Mingus Union High School swimming team is looking forward to another shot at proving itself.

Mingus Union High School senior Colin Mount practices  25-yard sprints at the Cottonwood Community Pool with the rest of the Marauders swimmers Monday, Aug. 29. Mount is one of the top returners for the Marauders in 2011.Second-year Mingus Head Coach Erin Estes said her swimmers know qualifying for state in 2011 is wide open, as the Arizona Interscholastic Association made it a little easier.

“Our swimmers know it’s wide open if you want to go to state this year. Individuals can qualify now too, giving many of our kids a big chance,” Estes said.

Over 30 student athletes came out for swimming this August, giving the Marauders a good mix of kids, experienced and young.

“We have a relatively young roster. The boys will have to work very hard this year with plenty of new swimmers. The girls have a well-seasoned group along with some younger kids as well,” Estes said.

Top returners for the boys include senior Colin Mount who is outstanding in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Junior Ryan Adams, who was named captain last week, is solid in the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley.

Sophomore Dylan Wilber, who made varsity as a freshman, returns in 2011 to improve in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly.

Newcomers for the Marauders boys include a pair of sophomores worth watching in Jared Cutshaw and Nicolas Adams.

Cutshaw is a distance swimmer, competing in the 500-yard freestyle event, while Adams is a 100-yard butterfly specialist.

For the girls, senior state qualifier Kyla Furey returns and will shift this year from the 200-yard individual medley to the 200-yard freestyle event, according to Estes.

Junior Lacy O’Connell returns to compete in the 100-yard freestyle event while sophomore Katheryn Knowles, a state qualifier in the 100-yard breaststroke in 2010, returns to compete in the breaststroke along with the 200-yard individual medley.

Top newcomers for the Mingus girls include three solid sophomores in Monica Soliz, Courtney Warner and Francesca Fettanni.

Soliz is a 100-yard backstroke performer while Warner is looking to improve in the 500-yard freestyle event and 200-yard individual medley.

As for Fettanni, she’s the top 500-yard freestyle swimmer Mingus has this season and she won’t be looking to give up that title anytime soon.

The Marauders open the 2011 season at Flagstaff High School on Friday, Sept. 2. Mingus will return home Thursday, Sept. 8, to host a three-way between the Marauders, Flagstaff and Sedona Red Rock High School.

First swim is set for 4 p.m.

Sheila Brown, a senior on the Mingus Union High School volleyball team, nails the ball over the net during practice Tuesday, Aug. 16. The team faces Camp Verde for the first game of the season Tuesday, Aug. 30.The 2011 version of the Mingus Union High School volleyball team will be different from the last few years of competition.

Mingus has a new coach in Brian Herman, who was the assistant under longtime Head Coach Audrey Islas for three years. He was hired over the summer and is looking to bring the Marauders to the next level.

Mingus graduated several seniors last May including Amanda Randolph, Lashea Taylor, Kayla Dixon and Jessica Zaske. They were the cream of the crop in 2010, leaving this year’s squad with plenty of questions to answer and a lot to prove.

Mingus’ schedule is a little different than in the past, playing in Division III [Section I] within the new Arizona Interscholastic Association alignment.

In 2010, the Marauders finished the season with a 9-9 overall record and were 5-3 in the 4A-II Grand Canyon region.

Although the region technically doesn’t exist this season, Mingus still has old region rivals Coconino and Flagstaff high schools on the docket for 2011.

Mingus was swept by Amphitheater High School in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs in November 2010, 3-0. Again, the 4A-II no longer exists, as the AIA traded it for Division III.

Nevertheless, this year’s group is looking to succeed and continue making the state playoffs, something the program has accomplished in the last three seasons.

Top returners for Mingus include seniors Cortlin Sandoval, Sheila Brown, Vanessa Vera and Taylor Brott.

Sandoval returns as libero while Brown and Brott will take turns at right outside hitter. Vera should be the defensive specialist for Mingus when the season gets under way Tuesday, Aug. 30, at cross-valley rival Camp Verde High School.

Three juniors return as well for the Marauders in Kalina Boysen, Delaney Scanlan and Bailey Mabery. Boysen is by far the best middle blocker for the Marauders while Scanlan should be the top setter on the team. Mabery will find her way at outside hitter this season.

Sophomore Angel Chavez returns after a stellar freshman campaign in 2010. Chavez should be the top left outside hitter for the Marauders this season according to Herman.

“Angel [Chavez] isn’t real big, but she hits it really hard,” Herman said. “As for Delaney [Scanlan], she is an incredible setter and she gets better and better every day.”

When asked what he thought his team’s strengths were so far in the first week and a half of practice, Herman reported the hitting for the Marauders is strong.

“We look pretty strong hitting, but we’re weak in the middle right now which is why we have two sophomores at that position. For the long run, having two young girls there will help us out but they have to improve every day,” Herman said.

As for the schedule, Herman believes this year’s list is much tougher than last year with two matches against Prescott High School, Sedona Red Rock High School and Flagstaff this season.

“We usually only play those teams once, but this year, we get to see them twice,” Herman said.

Other tough teams the Marauders will see this season include Bradshaw Mountain and Cactus Shadows high schools.

“We play a few teams outside of our division so I’m not sure if it’s going to help us or hurt us. I think it will be beneficial to us because we’ll see tougher teams right away, so we’ll be ready if we make the playoffs,” Herman said.

After the Camp Verde match on Aug. 30, Mingus plays host to Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 1, in its home opener. Official start time is set for 6 p.m.

Justine Taylor, 14, readies herself on the blocks for a 50-yard butterfly event during the Verde Valley Invitational at the Cottonwood Community Pool on Saturday, July 30.Thirty years of competition has taken place in the pool for Northern Arizona swim teams at the Verde Valley Invitational, but there hasn’t been a team that dominated like the Clippers did this past weekend.

For the Cottonwood Swim Team, second-year Head Coach Erin Estes and her group of swimmers blew all attending teams out of the water like the last scene of “Jaws.”

The boys were most impressive for Cottonwood on Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30, at the Cottonwood Community Pool, taking first overall with 1,019.50 points.

That total nearly doubles the score of second-place finisher Bullhead City Swim Team, which finished with 544 points.

The Sedona Swim Team finished third with 505 points while the Needles Swim Team took fourth with 490 points. The Prescott Valley Swim Team wrapped up the top five with 349 points.

For the girls, the Clippers were just as dominant, scoring 1,247 points for first place while Bullhead City took second with 672.

Sedona was third with 643, Needles was fourth with 381 and the Payson Swim Team was fifth with 351 points.

Altogether, the Clippers recorded 20 first-place finishes and had 56 medals combined, an impressive feat.

“They all looked good. We had a lot of swimmers in the pool over the weekend so it was impressive,” second-year Cottonwood Head Coach Erin Estes said.

Top performances for the Clippers include 8-year-old Cassidy Gallegos, who finished first overall in the 50-yard freestyle event with a 50.52 time.

Gunner Tillemans, 10, won the 50-yard freestyle with a 32.82 time while 14-year-old Anthony Wokasch took first with a 200-yard freestyle time of 2:18.20. Wokasch was first in the 1,650-yard freestyle event as well with a 21:58.33 time.

Tillemans also took first in the 100-yard individual medley with a 1:30.37 time and was first in the 25-yard butterfly event with a 18.83 time.

Other top performances include 8-year-old Bella Lockhart, who took first in the 25-yard backstroke event with a 24.07 time, while 10-year-old teammate Rylie Burke was first in the same event with a 20.49 time.

In the 50-yard backstroke event, 12-year-old Isaiah Wright was first overall with a 36.89 time while 17-year-old Kyla Furey was first in the same event with a 32.30 time.

Dylan Russett, 8, was first in the 25-yard butterfly with a 32.07 time and 14-year-old Francesca Settann was first in the 100-yard freestyle with a 1:06.75 time.

Former Mingus Union High School standout Sarah Raber, 19, was first in the 50-yard breaststroke event with a 34.91 time.

As for the relays, the Clippers won the 100-yard medley relay with a 1:24.16 time. Burke, Tillemans, 9-year-old Emma Warner and 10-year-old Fletch Fangman were on the team.

Wokasch and Settanni teamed with 14-year-old Justine Taylor and 13-year-old Sean Williams to take first in the 200-yard medley relay with a 2:21.30 time.

Shannon Knowles, 16, Ryan Adams, 16, Mikiel Block, 17, and 17-year-old Colin Mount were first in the 200-yard medley relay as well in their age group with a 1:58.72 time.

The Verde Valley Invitational is the last Clippers meet of the summer, but for many of the older swimmers, the Marauders’ swimming season begins next week.

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