The Chandler Spotlight Dinner on Tuesday provided an inspiring conclusion to the high school football careers of players from Chandler’s high schools.
Chandler Youth Football and Cheer plans to host the event every year following football national letter-of-intent signing day. The Chandler Unified School District joined on as the presenting sponsor based on the success of the inaugural event last year.
“After years of dedication in the classroom and on the football field, acknowledging these student-athletes amongst their peers and the Chandler community is a rewarding experience that will provide a memory that will last a lifetime,” said Dee Grayer, president of Chandler Youth Football and Cheer.
“This event is designed to inspire our youth football players and to reinforce the notion that academics and athletics are equally important. With hard work and dedication to both, they will have the opportunity to achieve every goal that they set out to accomplish and maybe one day it could be them at the podium and in the spotlight,” Grayer said.
The following players (with college choices) were honored:
• Basha: Quinn Evans (Stanford), Troy Graham (Northern Arizona).
• Chandler: Mark Anthony (California), Harold Bernard (Stanford), Damien Edwards (South Florida), Dion Jordan (Oregon), Kurt Mangum (Washington).
• Hamilton: Justin Artis (Adams State), Covaughn DeBoskie (California), Mark Hulse (Montana), Patrick Jamison (Arizona State), Justin Peters (Fort Lewis), Gerell Robinson (ASU).
The players were not the only ones honored at the banquet.
The ‘Giving Back’ Award recipient this year was presented to Velocity Sports Performance of the East Valley. Last year’s award recipient was former Chandler High School standout Adam Archuleta, now of the Chicago Bears.
Chandler Youth Football and Cheer also recognized the coaches of their championship teams from the 2007 season.
The Pee Wee Level (9-12-year-olds) Chandler Blitz won the Arizona state championship recently and went on to the American Youth Football Championships in Orlando, Fla., where it made it to the championship game.
The Midget Level (11-14-year-olds) Chandler Red Raiders won the Arizona state championship and also advanced to nationals, finishing third.
The Junior Pee Wee Level (8-11-year-olds) Chandler Rattlers won the Central Arizona Youth Football League championship.
Chandler Youth Football and Cheer is a member of American Youth Football, the nation’s largest youth football and cheer organization.
Chandler Youth Football and Cheer is a nonprofit organization whose objective is to make the program available to all interested youths in the area and teach good sportsmanship, fair play, a love for the game of football, and the fundamentals of cheerleading.
For information visit www.chandleryouthfootball.com or call (480) 598-9244.
STATE MEET AHEAD
Chandler-based Desert Lights Gymnastics will host the 2008 Optional State Gymnastics Meet April 4-6 at Chandler High School.
The state’s leading female gymnasts Levels 7 through 10 will compete for individual and team championships in vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.
Two Level 10 Desert Lights gymnasts, Holland Davis and Avery Wolin, have received scholarships to attend colleges this fall.
Davis, a 17-year-old Mesa resident and a senior at Mountain View High School, has received a full gymnastics scholarship to Brigham Young University. A gymnast for more than 12 years, Davis qualified for the 2007 Level 10 regional championships in Utah.
In her 2008 season, she was awarded first place all-around at the Battle in Seattle March 1 and took home the Harley-Davidson leather jacket first-place prize.
Holland said her gymnastics goal is to be a “positive team leader and make nationals this May.”
Wolin is an 18-year-old resident of Ahwatukee Foothills and a senior at Phoenix Desert Vista High School. After placing first at state in her Level 9 season on vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around, Wolin suffered a serious arm injury that sidelined her for eight months the following year.
She returned to competition as a Level 10 in 2007, placing in the state finals and as a regional qualifier. At regionals, she was one of two Desert Lights Level 10 gymnasts to qualify as an alternate to the national Junior Olympics.
This season, she has won medals in floor, vault and bars. Wolin was awarded an academic scholarship to Arizona State.
State championship competition begins with Level 10s competing at 4 p.m. on April 4; Levels 8 and 9 compete on April 5, and Level 7s compete on April 6. Sessions start at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
A detailed competition schedule is available online at www.desertlightsgymnastics.net or by calling (480) 940-4041.
Know someone who deserves mention in East Valley Victories? E-mail or call Billye Jill Paulson at email@example.com or (480) 898-6862.