A couple of Wednesdays back, Jason Barkac of Tempe Marcos de Niza won the shot put and the high jump at a meet against Phoenix Mountain Pointe.
The throw (45 feet, 4 inches) and jump (6 feet, 1 inch) would have been in the top 10 of the 5A-II state meet last year.
It should be noted he did that after volleyball practice.
Barkac is the second-leading hitter on the Padres’ volleyball squad.
“He was hanging around a couple of the volleyball players and he came to a couple of open gyms in January, and I looked at him and said, ‘Wow, I haven’t seen that many people catch on to the sport that fast,’” Marcos volleyball coach Scott Miller said.
“Now he is one of my go-to players, one of my top two hitters.”
But neither track nor volleyball is his best sport. Barkac is the Marcos punter and has been consistently booming the ball 45 yards in workouts, while also playing tight end and defensive end.
“I got some letters so hopefully I can go somewhere,” he said of his college hopes. “But that’s going to be hard because they want me to play club volleyball but I can’t do both.”
If he had to choose?
“I would have to go with football,” he said. “My parents really want me to try football and I really want to get into college because I would be the first in my family to get through college. That’s my goal, doesn’t matter what sport.”
LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Arizona Youth Lacrosse League’s (AYLL) state title games are set for tonight at Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School.
The doubleheader kicks off at 7 p.m. with the Division II game between Chandler Hamilton and Tempe Corona del Sol. The Division I title game follows at 9 between Phoenix Brophy and three-time defending champion Scottsdale Chaparral.
This is Chaparral’s sixth straight year in a title game. It has won the last three state titles and four of the last five. Brophy got Chaparral’s attention earlier in the season by ending the Firebirds’ 49-game winning streak.
POUNDING PADRE: Tempe Marcos de Niza’s Amanda Gerlach hit three home runs this season. According to the school’s Web site, Gerlach’s homers put her in a tie for fourth on the school’s all-time list. She’s also believed to be the first Padre in school history to hit multiple home runs in a single game after she hit two against Phoenix Camelback on Monday.
BALLARD BACK: Former Phoenix Mountain Pointe boys basketball coach Sam Ballard is a volunteer assistant at Grand Canyon University. Ballard resigned from Mountain Pointe last week after 10 years at the school to pursue college coaching and will now work under Scott Mossman. Ballard will continue to teach history at Mountain Pointe.
SOFTBALL SIGNING: Coronado softball player Andrea Ortega has signed with Fresno State. She leads East Valley 4A batters with a .727 average (32-for-44) and has four home runs and 22 RBIs on the year.