East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra


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  • Keeping the Faith: Some memories need to go

    There is fascinating new research now being conducted in the field of “Superior Autobiographical Memory.” Researchers have found a small group of people, only about a dozen or so here in North America, which remembers almost everything about their lives. And when I say “almost everything,” I mean almost everything.For example, there is Louise Owens, a woman now in her late thirties, who can recall every single day of her life since she was 11. She can call from her memory most any detail of her existence down to every meal she has ever eaten, the exact clothes she wore on any given day, and when asked about a specific date, she can even tell you what the weather was like on that date.I would love to have more than a few conversations with this small but remarkable group. I would love to see them put their near super-human powers to work (or watch one of them demolish a game of Trivial Pursuit with a group of unsuspecting players).And I hope we learn a great deal about the human brain from them, maybe even make some advances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s or dementia because of them; but I do not envy them. No, I have a hard enough time trying to forget some of the things from my past as it is. I can’t imagine the mental anguish if I had Superior Autobiographical Memory.The things that lodge like splinters in our brains the deepest are those times and occasions when others have hurt us badly; when we have been wronged; or when we have been violated, mistreated, cheated or harmed. It is impossible to forget these things no matter how many times we are told that “time heals all wounds” and no matter how many times we are counseled by our pastor, priest, or rabbi that we should “forgive and forget.” Forget? No amount of counseling, therapy, hospitalization, or medication – nothing short of a lobotomy – could erase the pain from our memory banks.So most of us do not have to have invincible brain power to recall every day of our lives to suffer from the past; just a few of the days that we remember all too well are sufficiently painful enough. At least those few days are enough for me. The answer to this pain is not in the forgetting. The answer is in the forgiving. I don’t use the word “forgiving” or “forgiveness” glibly, because forgiveness isn’t easy. It certainly isn’t some buzzword from a sermon or a trivial, corny bumper sticker that says something like “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”

  • Basha promotes Gerald Todd as new football coach

    Through all the swirling rumors and guessing games, Basha stayed inside the walls.Gerald Todd was named the third football coach in school history on Wednesday morning, according to an email from athletic director Brent Rincon.Todd has been at Basha since 2006, where he has served as an asst. coach under former coaches Tim McBurney and Bernie Busken, and as a social studies teacher.Todd takes over for Busken, who resigned last month after four years at the school, including a 6-6 record in 2013. Spring football begins in a couple weeks.Prior to coming to Basha, Todd had a couple stints at Carlsbad High (N.M.) as both a teacher and an assistant coach (1997-99, 2001-06) with running backs, and later as offensive coordinator. He also coached in Texas from 1992-1995 and 1999-2001.Todd played and began his coaching career at Abilene Christian University (Tex.) in the early-to-mid 1990s.  He graduated from Abilene Christian with a degree in political science in 1989 and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from New Mexico State in 2002.

  • Red Mountain track sets school records

    In coaching circles, the cliché regarding exceptional athletes is, “This kind of athlete does not come along very often.” For the Red Mountain High School Girls’ Track Team, the saying would be, “These kinds of athletes do not come along very often together.” Enter seniors Tayler Jameson, Abbie Sharkey, and Kristiana Warth, a trio of pole vaulters who have been competing at the highest levels in the state for several years. With all three clearing 12 feet in the indoor season, the girls are in rare company in terms of the number of athletes over a mark for a season at one school.Much of the credit is of course due to their dedication to their discipline, but they’ve had help along the way from current pole vault coaches Cara Manis and Blair Howland as well as elite vaulters Dean and Jill Starkey. Combined with an early start in vaulting years ago, the results thus far in their careers is quite noticeable. “All of our coaches have done a great job pushing us to big meets,” says Warth. “It has been great having all three of us at those meets to push each other and make sure that we support each other on our best and worst days.”What is more amazing is their ability not only to push and support each other on the track, but also in the classroom. With GPA’s of 3.64, 3.952, and 4.729, and class ranks of 163, 90, and 6, Warth, Jameson and Sharkey, respectively, each lady has opened opportunities to progress to college and be successful. “My commitment to track gives me less time for homework, but it forces me to make good decisions about the time I dedicate to homework,” says Sharkey. “It also makes me more focused when I’m doing homework because I know I need to get it done correctly the first time.”But in all their time at Red Mountain there have been ups and downs for sure in each of their careers. Jameson suffered a stress fracture in her foot her Sophomore year, Warth spent much of her Junior year fighting a quad injury, and Sharkey had a lingering ankle and elbow injury that hampered her results at times. However, as their head coach, Brent Krieg, says, “They have remained positive, upbeat, and always dedicated to the process of improving, learning, and working hard for their goals. They have unconditional support for each other and lead our team both on and off the track.”With the end of the season looming, results are definitely important. However, the ladies remain confident in their bond as athletes. “It helps when we travel to big meets like Arcadia, the Chandler Rotary, and State because we have teammates who are competing right next to each other and we know we have each other’s back,” said Jameson. This is the atmosphere that Red Mountain coaches have instilled since taking over the program. “Our athletes are expected to be supportive of their teammates no matter the event in which they compete. The culture we’ve created in the past couple of years is partly a by-product of these pole vaulters’ willingness to compete against each other while at the same time hoping that each of them does better every meet.”The question will remain whether the formula works by the end of their high school careers, but for the trio of vaulters their grades, training, and competition has led them to several options for the future. Yet, their biggest impact has been to help create a team of athletes who care for each other, work hard, and cherish the success based on process. Truly, “These kinds of athletes do not come along very often together.”

  • 2013-2014 All-Tribune Girls Basketball

    All-Tribune First TeamName                        School          Yr.   Pos.   CommentEmily Wolph         Desert Vista        Sr.     G      POY candidate averaged 15.3 PPG, 2 RPG, 2.2 APG and 2.7 SPG for Div. I state championsCecily Wilson           Mesquite         Sr.     G      Tribune POY was already good defender but made huge strides offensively between junior and senior year to lead elite Div. I teamCamille Zimmerman   Tempe Prep   Sr.     F       Despite double- and triple- teams she averaged 25.4 PPG, 13 RGP and shot 85 percent FT; Headed to Columbia after record-setting seasonJulia Barcello    Seton Catholic      Sr.      F       Gatorade POY in AZ for 2013-2014 averaged a double-double for three consecutive years and Seton’s career leader in rebounds (1,390) and blocks (282); Headed to Colgate in fall

  • 2013-2014 Tribune Girls Basketball Player of Year: Cecily Wilson

    Coach was insistent and parent was hesitant, but the kid and her team ultimately thrived.With what Cecily Wilson described as athleticism that “we don’t know where it came from,” the Mesquite senior guard was born and raised on defense. So when Wildcats coach Candice Gonzales met with Cecily and her father, Craig, between her junior and senior year to discuss her role this season, the family was taken aback.Gonzales said she could be a good defender and a big-time offensive player. It was a complete contrast to Cecily’s upbringing and mindset.They balked, but Cecily proved her coach and her team right and became the 2013-2014 Tribune Girls Basketball Player of the Year.She worked with Dana Hawkins (club coach and father of Mountain View guards Arnecia and Armani Hawkins) last summer to improve her mid-range shot, footwork and fundamentals, sometimes several hundred shots per day.“I just shot until my arms fell off,” she said.

  • Photos: Hamilton vs Mountain Pointe baseball

    The baseball game between Hamilton and Mountain Pointe at Hamilton High School on Friday, April 11, 2014.

  • Photos: Hamilton vs Mountain Pointe baseball

    The baseball game between Hamilton and Mountain Pointe at Hamilton High School on Friday, April 11, 2014.

  • 2013-2014 Tribune Girls Soccer Player of Year: Jazmarie Mader

    Sometimes kids can still surprise, and because of it, an “I told you so” is now always available to Jazmarie Mader.The Basha senior knew she had a future in soccer, but there was nothing synonymous between “Basha,” “soccer” and “success.” A miserable freshman year on the field left Mader moping and browsing.Hamilton was nearby, had “academy” programs for all its sports in place, and success followed. Mom was ready to move, but Jazmarie, who’d been home-schooled until she enrolled in high school, wasn’t.“I’d made friends and didn’t start the process of making friends over again,” she said. “The first time (in public schools) was a big transition for me, but I didn’t want to be trader.“It was quite the talk with my mother. She was all for switching and I thought I should stick it out and grow.”Rather than being a “next,” she and her fellow soccer class of 2014 wanted to be a “first,” but it became a steep hill to climb. After miserable freshman and sophomore seasons — including a best friend who opted not to play as a sophomore — her junior year was a close call before ultimately being left out of the playoffs by the power rankings formula despite a difficult schedule.

  • 2013-2014 All-Tribune Girls Soccer

    All-Tribune First TeamName                          School          Yr.    Pos.   CommentJazmarie Mader            Basha           Sr.      F       Tribune Player of the Year was the Chandler district POY led Bears to first postseason since 2007Melinda Gutierrez        Gilbert            Jr.      F       Terrific season for surprising Tigers with 18 goals, 12 assists; played big against top competitionReggie VanDevender  Seton Catholic  Jr.    F       Finished with 22 goals and nine assists for 53 points for Div. III runners-upBri Hatch                    Highland         Jr.      MF      Hawks as most dangerous player on the field in most games.

Tackle The Trib!

Boys Basketball

Last Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 | Compiled by Tribune

# Division I Division II
1. Corona del Sol 4-0 Cat. Foothills 5-0
2. Pinnacle 2-0 Gilbert Christian 0-1
3. Mountain View 1-0 Sahuaro 3-2
4. Hamilton 5-0 Shadow Mtn. 4-0
5. Mesa 4-1 Salpointe 4-2
6. Gilbert 3-1 Cienega 0-0
7. Sunnyslope 5-0 Buena 3-0
8. Perry 5-0 Marcos de Niza 0-0
9. Desert Mtn. 2-2 Paradise Valley 3-1
10. Chaparral 2-2 South Mtn.

Girls Basketball

Last Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 | Compiled by Tribune

# Division I Division II
1. Desert Vista 6-0 Saguaro 4-3
2. Dobson 6-0 Bradshaw Mtn. 7-0
3. Hamilton 0-0 Marcos de Niza 4-3
4. Highland 6-1 Mtn. View (Marana) 2-2
5. Westview 5-2 Seton Catholic 6-1
6. Millennium 4-1 Flagstaff 0-1
7. Mtn. Pointe 5-1 Williams Field 5-2
8. Mesquite 5-2 Thunderbird 4-3
9. Mtn. View 3-4 Pusch Ridge 5-0
10. Basha 1-0 Peoria 3-1

Best of Mesa 2014: Teachers

The best teachers of Mesa, as voted by our readers, talk about what it feels like to shape the...


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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]