Thank you for taking a peek at East Valley Victories. No, Lace ’em Up has not been abandoned. It will still appear weekly on the recreation page, but under a new name — “Get in the Game” — and in a modified format.
Through East Valley Victories, I hope to tell of accomplishments outside the coverage that the Tribune’s professional, college and high school beat writers provide.
Accomplishments such as that of the Mesa Eastern Moccasins, a Pop Warner football team that advanced to the national tournament last fall in Orlando, Fla. The Moccasins, a junior midget team of 10-13-year-olds, were the 2005 Arizona state and Westcon (region) champions. They finished third at nationals.
Or the United States Tennis Association Super National Winter Championships in December that featured 533 of the top-ranked junior players in the country. Ten area residents qualified for the tournament, including Alexandria Griffin, Craig Kessler, Kristen McWilliams and Courtney Byron, all from Scottsdale, Amanda Martin of Tempe and Kacie Wagner of Gilbert.
But East Valley Victories will be about more than kids competing at a national level. It’s about accomplishments by athletes of all age levels in your neighborhood.
It’s about people such as 14-year-old Kevin Andert, who convinced his father Stephen to run in the P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon to raise money for diabetes. Stephen Andert’s father-in-law struggled with diabetes until he passed away about 15 years ago.
They finished the race in 2 hours, 35 minutes, and raised more than $85,000 for the American Diabetes Association.
Or another “family” story about the Red Mountain Rugby Football Club of Mesa, which vice president Matt Williams described as an extended family.
“We’re always ready to help each other in any way,” Williams said.
The club, composed of police officers, firemen, teachers, doctors, students — you name it — began defense of its Arizona Rugby Federation title in January.
But more about them in a future column.
OK, by now you get the direction East Valley Victories is heading, but it won’t get there without your help.
If you’ve got a story to tell, or an accomplishment you want to brag about, I want to hear about it.