Spotlight on Jameson Bevans: Trying to repeat as state boys volleyball champs is not easy and Jameson Bevans and his Highland teammates are finding that out as the first month of the volleyball season comes to a close and they sport a record of 4-4.
‘‘We knew this year would be hard,’’ said Bevans, a 6-foot-4 opposite for the Hawks. ‘‘All of us knew from last year how much work it takes. This is a different team, and we have to learn every match.’’
Bevans didn't set out to be a volleyball player. In 1998, he hung around the gym while older brother Josh, a basketball and volleyball player, played for Highland. Jameson planned on playing football and basketball in high school back then when he was 9.
But ‘‘I didn't know a lot about it; I just hung around and shagged balls at the gym,’’ Bevans said. ‘‘I found out I liked it. I dropped the other sports. I've played volleyball year-round since I got to high school.’’
With Highland working in several new players this year in a bid to three-peat, Bevans has been the steadiest so far. He's led the team in kills in half of its matches to date.
‘‘All around he's been our best,’’ Highland coach Vee Hiapo said. ‘‘He started out as a setter (freshman year). He's played opposite since and usually is able to shut down the other team's best hitter.’’
How about those Wildcats: Mesquite's boys volleyball team knocked off defending state champion Highland Tuesday to extend its perfect record this season to 20-0 and 4-0 in the Fiesta Region. Mesquite has quietly built a solid program under coach Gary Durrett and this could be a breakthrough year if the first month is an indication.
Mesquite will compete in the Mooney Invitational today and Saturday. The Wildcats will do so today without seven of their players — all of whom are at a choir competition in California. The choir members of the team alternate singing the national anthem before Mesquite's home games.
The Wildcats are led by Rusty Durrett, Scott Duncan and T.J. Packard. Durrett, the setter, leads in assists and kills. Duncan leads the team in kill efficiency. Packard has stepped up his game offensively of late. He had a team-high 10 kills against Highland on Tuesday. The Wildcats have won the only invitational they've competed in so far, taking the title at last weekend's Marana Mountain View Invitational. They beat Tucson Sabino in the finals and Tucson Catalina Foothills in the semis of the 16-team tournament.
Knights still making news: St. Mary's junior guard Jerryd Bayless has been named to the fourth team of the 50th annual Parade All-America high school boys basketball team. The team is selected by coaches, scouts and recruiters throughout the country.
There are 40 athletes from 18 states on this year's teams. Bayless made a verbal commitment last fall to attend Arizona when his prep career concludes.
On the girls side, St. Mary's senior guard Dymond Simon scored 14 points to help the West beat the East 80-76 in the McDonald's All-American game Wednesday in San Diego. Simon also finished runner-up in the 3-point shootout, one of the skills competitions held before the game. Simon is headed to Arizona State this fall.
Turner keeps rolling: Horizon’s Buddy Turner, the Tribune's male swimmer of the year the past two seasons, won three events last week at junior nationals in Orlando, Fla. Corona del Sol junior Samantha Maxwell set a junior national record in winning the 50-yard breaststroke.
Brophy commitments: Six football players from Brophy's 5A Division I state championship team look to continue their careers in college.
Mike Callaghan, a first-team all-state safety, will walk on at Arizona State. Tyler Chastain, a first-team all-state defensive end, will play at the University of San Diego alongside teammate and Desert Valley Region co-defensive player of the year Troy Taylor.
Tackle Matt Gariboldi is headed east to Brown, while fellow first-team all-state lineman Moose Veldman will play for Columbia University. Wide receiver Matt Smith — recently named Arizona's player of the year by American Football Monthly magazine — will be a preferred walk-on at the University of Nevada.
TOPS free physicals day coming: Sign-ups are in progress for TOPS’ (Team Of Physicians for Students) eighth annual free sports physicals day. The event is set for 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 22 at Phoenix Sunnyslope High School and open to athletes from middle school to community college.
These are comprehensive screenings and take between 1 and 2 hours to complete. They include electrocardiograms.
To participate in the free physicals program attendees must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be obtained from coaches throughout Maricopa County. Interested student-athletes can obtain the form online at www.aztops.org or by contacting Tammy Baxter at the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association at (602) 266-6699.
Compiled by Les Willsey, Brad Falduto, Mark Heller and Steve Burks