The end of the fall sports season has officially arrived, as athletes from across Mesa have already jumped into winter sports seasons.
The beginning of yet another round of prep sports allows the time to reflect on what was a successful season for several teams.
Here’s a look at how each school fared in the fall sports season.
Red Mountain has long been home to successful athletics programs, and this year is no different. Its football program made it to the 6A Conference championship for the first time in 18 years, while the girls and boys cross country teams finished fourth and sixth in state, respectively. The boys golf program tied for seventh place in state this season, while Sydney Bryan and Kailani Deedon helped elevate the girls to a fifth place finish.
In the Pool, the Girls swim program finished third overall in the Division I 200-yard medley and fifth in the 400 relay freestyle to place fourth overall. The boys also had success this season, finishing 11th.
Desert Ridge’s swim program dove headfirst into the conversations as one of the best in the state after impressive performances across the board at the championship meet. Luke Walker placed first in the 200-yard individual medley and came in second in the 500-yard freestyle. Camron Pazand improved Desert Ridge’s team score with a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle, while Essias Smith captured gold in the 100-yard butterfly. Karina Harr, the daughter of Desert Ridge coach Brock Harr, finished fourth in the girls 100-yard butterfly. Desert Ridge’s girls finished ninth overall in the state while the boys placed third.
While the swim team handled business in the pool, the Desert Ridge football program did the same on the field. The Jaguars rattled off four wins in a row to win the region title before losing in the quarterfinals of the 6A playoffs. The volleyball team, meanwhile, also made the postseason as the 13-seed while Halle Swinney represented the Jaguars in the singles badminton tournament.
Mountain View’s swim program once again showed why it is one of the best in the state, as Emma Becker took gold in the Division I 100-yard backstroke and third in the 200 individual medley. Becker helped lead the girls swim team to a third place finish this season, while the boys enjoyed their own success in sixth.
The cross country program represented the school in the top-10 of both the boys and girls race, as the two finished fourth and eighth, respectively. Mountain View’s football program, once a powerhouse in the East Valley, entered the 6A Conference playoffs as the 15 seed. But that didn’t stop the Toros from upsetting second-ranked Brophy in the first round. Mountain View lost the next week to Liberty, but it was one of the biggest upsets the state has ever seen.
Skyline was represented in the post season by several of its teams, including Stephanie Quinones and Priscilla Mendoza. The pie entered the Division I badminton doubles tournament, but ultimately fell in the first round.
Tatum Jellebers and Jade Boyles helped lead the boys and girls cross country programs to top-12 finished at the state meet, as the boys finished seventh and the girls 11th. The volleyball team, led by legendary coach Venese Hiapo, made it to the 6A Conference playoffs.
For the first time in four years, the Mesa High football program finished with a record above .500, as the Jackrabbits finished 6-4 overall. While they may have missed the playoffs, it’s something first-year coach Chad DeGrenier and his staff can build on for next season.
The Mesa volleyball program made the postseason play-in tournament but ultimately fell to Queen Creek.
Dobson was represented in the Division I swim meet by Carson Hamblin, who finished sixth in the boys Division I 100-yard butterfly and fourth in the 100 backstroke. He helped lead the team to a 14th place finish.
The Mustangs took strides under first-year coach Bill Godsil despite having a 3-7 record. With talent coming into the program at the lower level, Dobson should continue to improve over the next couple of years.
Westwood’s teams fought week in and week out but struggled on occasions. The football program, led by alum Kyle Ide, went 2-8 this season but will look to improve next year.
The boys swim program finished 19th overall at the state meet.