All-Tribune First Team
Player(s) School Yr. Comment
Madison Clarke Xavier Fr. POY was runner-up in Div. I singles and catalyst behind Gators’ march to team state title
Lidia Csernak Hamilton Jr. Third consecutive top-4 finish in Div. I singles makes her arguably best in SE Valley
Naida Ortega Chandler Sr. No. 1 singles/doubles player all four years; 4.34 GPA headed to ASU with AIMS Tuition Scholarship
Scarlet Rush/Maggie Cohen Xavier So./So. Div. I state champions in doubles and as a team, Cohen went undefeated at No. 2 singles
Demi Daniels/Maizy Porter Mtn. View Jr./Jr. Third place in Div. I doubles also won Mesa city tournament; Both also top singles players
Mary Frances Byron Desert Mountain So. 2nd in Kiwanis tournament singles; 4th in Div. I state doubles
Player of the Year: Madison Clarke, Xavier
Coach of the Year: Laurie Martin, Xavier: With no seniors on the roster, the Gators went undefeated for the first time Martin’s seven years at Xavier, won the Division I team state championship, and coached the doubles state champions and singles runner-up.
All-Tribune Second Team
Player(s) School Yr. Comment
Ally Breece/Gabbi Chernak Chaparral Jr./Jr. Div. I doubles quarterfinals and top singles players for team state runners-up
Sarah Rutkowski Corona del Sol So. 15-3 record and Tempe district champion at No. 2 singles and doubles
Melissa Kahn Desert Vista Fr. Only loss in regular season was to Div. I-champion Courtney Amos (Salpointe Catholic)
Rany Ly Apache Junction Sr. Div. II singles quarterfinalist often boasted unstoppable serve
Kelsie Sanborn/Caitlin Railson Notre Dame Sr./So. Undefeated until Div. II state tourney, ended up with third-place finish
Julia Ortiz Chandler Fr. Widely considered best up-and-comer by EV coaches after Div. I quarterfinals appearance
Apache Junction: Jody Dutra, Alyssa Villegas-Mickell Stepp; Arcadia: Kate Byrne, Sam Goett, Hannah Minkaosi; Basha: Carissa Kaye, Rahgan Jensen, Katelynd Leseuer; Cactus Shadows: Katie Radez, Annie Weber; Campo Verde: Alex Block, Haley Jones; Chandler: Jordan Hammel, Julia Ortiz; Chandler Prep: Sarah Mohr; Chaparral: Alex Hoffman, Mackenzie Nickerson; Corona del Sol: Maia Castiglione, Rachel McKay, Hannah Pfotenhauer, Tien Tran; Coronado: Alexa Vitola; Desert Mountain: Kaley Hicks, Kristi Lee; Desert Ridge: Alexandria Ordoveza; Desert Vista: Jennifer Kahn, Tori Kammerzell, Carolyn Rath; Dobson: Nicole O’Donnell; Gilbert: Callie Branyan, Adriana Stines; Hamilton: Marissa Gautier, Candace Rizzi-Wise; Highland: Malea Lunt; Higley: Amanda Kennedy; McClintock: Kaylee Wong; Mesa: Gloria Tukuafu; Mesquite: Myloan Hoang, Samantha Just, Diane Savaresa; Mountain Pointe: Viann Pham, Carla Poplawsky; Mountain View: Hanna Nelson; Notre Dame: Caroline Eversman; Paradise Valley: Bobbie Le; Perry: Gianne Veloria, Sydney Madsen; Pinnacle: Emily Barkenbush, Shannon Headley, Kelly Maroney; Poston Butte: Amber Arden; Red Mountain: Nikki Mitich, Taylor Thornton, Stephanie Wood; Saguaro: Bailey Archer, Taylor Brodie, Michelle Fournier, Summer Sularz; San Tan Foothills: Brittany Cherry, Lindsey Dubey; Scottsdale Christian: Kirsten Voorhies; Skyline: Morgan Daily, Kyrstal Ybarra; Westwood: Kellee Richards; Williams Field: Camille Del Risco ; Xavier: Madison Majerle, Kendra Mahoney, Emily Serrano
Memorable Moments from the 2012 Season
• Xavier spent much of the past decade as a bridesmaid. The Gators made it to the team state championship match in four of the past six years, and finished second all four times (including 2010 and 2011). Meanwhile, Tucson Salpointe had won six titles in the past eight years. They met again in 2012, but despite no seniors on the roster and three returning starters, Laurie Martin’s young Gators came out swinging. An injury to No. 1 player Madison Clarke didn’t slow the Gators, who won 5-1 to claim their first team championship since 2003.
• A change to the competitive level of the state tournaments brought mixed reviews. In previous years, the tournament included a 128 student-athletes for the individual tournaments, where every school could send two doubles teams and two singles players. It made for a long, hot tournament for the players, coaches and fans, and made most first-round matches pushovers. Coaches felt the reduction to 64 was a good move, but instead of weeding out players or schools that many felt didn’t deserve to play in the tournament based on ability, it was a widespread reduction in which schools can only send a doubles team and one singles player. Many coaches believe it left some of the better players out of the individual tournaments.
• An already-saturated scene of top underclassmen added a flurry of freshmen who exploded in high school tennis this spring and will ascend further in the coming years. In addition to POY Madison Clarke (Xavier) and Melissa Kahn (Desert Vista), Chandler’s Julia Ortiz reached the Div. I quarterfinals in singles, has won USTA tournaments and also placed in the state meets for track and cross country. Watch out for Basha’s top three, all of whom were freshman this season. Charles Johnson’s Bears have a wealth of underclassmen moving up through the ranks, as does Hamilton, Corona del Sol, Notre Dame and Desert Mountain.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.