Keep an eye on the Dobson High School girls basketball team in the next few years. The players likely coming into that program don't know a thing about losing — literally.
Rhodes Junior High School recently finished off its second straight undefeated season, going 20-0 one year after sporting a 19-0 mark under second-year coach Ryan Myers.
"I knew we had the talent to go undefeated in our second season, but we were a shorter team this year," said Myers, who also coaches the boys track team at Rhodes and teaches Spanish at the Mesa school. "The parents were a great help and made it possible."
The Rhodes ninth grade team began the season with a 65-59 victory over Stapley Junior High on Nov. 21, and finished it off Feb. 3, beating Hendrix Junior High, 41-17. Along the way, Rhodes also beat freshman teams from Xavier, Mountain Pointe and Corona del Sol high schools. Most of the girls have played together for several years in the Dobson youth basketball program.
Members of the 2005-06 squad are: Maaike Albach, Kayla Anderson, Melissa Becker, Melinda Bokel, Talia Camacho, Laticia Delgado, Andrea McKinney, Lexi Peterson, Bailee Roth, Shelby Simonson, and Ericka VanMarche. Team managers are Kelly Brown, Kathleen Czaia and Molly Mardany.
The Desert Youth Hockey Association Phoenix Firebirds Bantam squad (14-year-olds) made history on Sunday, when it became the first Tier I team from Arizona to advance to the USA Hockey national tournament by beating the Texas Alliance Bulldogs 3-2 in the regional championship game in Denver.
"It's like the baseball Little League World Series," team manager Steve Ferber said.
The national tournament is March 29-April 2 in Rochester, N.Y.
Members of the Bantam team are Daniel Anderson, Aaron Ave, Kyle Beattie, Jacob Cole, Richard Coyne, Eric Ferber, Ryan Garber, Chris Gartner, Shane Gleason, Shawn Hunter, Brandon Martin, Luke Moffatt, John Murray, Colten St. Clair, Luke Stedman and Kyle Verdino.
Several members of the Arizona Fencing Center located in Mesa, competed at the sport's Junior Olympics, Feb. 17-20, in Hartford, Conn. The club, founded in 2002 by Rick Moss, boasts internationally known fencing Masters Adrian Colcisca and Florin Paunescu as members of its staff. The club's best finish at the Junior Olympics was posted by Rebecca Moss, who is ranked ninth nationally among her peers, with a third-place finish out of 204 competitors in junior women's foil. Moss also wrapped up a seventh-place finish in junior women's epée (170 competitors).
Also representing Arizona Fencing were: Joshua Bodine (junior men's foil); Nicolas Goodall, Adam Killpack and Philip Wiener (junior men's sabre); Shannon Young, Natalie Vie, Megan Plachecki, Nicole Tilley, Allison Lindbloom, Alexandra Huber (junior women's epée); Christa Laser and Huber (junior women's foil); Michael Fenech, Elliott Bartell, Hans Miles (cadet men's epée); Goodall (cadet men's sabre); Lindsay Young and Tilley (cadet women's epée) and Melanie Hipple (cadet women's sabre).
50 Used to be Old, a Mesa-based slow-pitch softball team, won the 50-59 age category gold medal at the recently completed Arizona Senior Olympics 2006 State Games.
The ALC Sun Devils, also based in Mesa, finished second in the 50-59 group of the four-game competition. The Pinnacle Nissan Sidewinders also won gold in the Men 65-69 and the Men 70+ divisions.
Local competition, from Feb. 23 through March 5, was held at various sites around the Valley. The state games are the qualifying site for athletes going on to the national games, which will be in Louisville, Ky., June 22 - July 8.