The spring sports season had more fizzle than sizzle.
The first seasons of the school year were going to be hard to match, but other than the track teams most of the area squads struggled to meet expectations or failed to qualify for the postseason.
The exception was softball, as Desert Vista (12-14) played nearly all freshmen and sophomores and managed to win a Division I playoff game before being knocked out by No. 1 seed Gilbert.
“I definitely think we are one heck of a team,” Arredondo said. “I think we lost some of the games — we beat ourselves — and I do think we are a very outstanding team and we have a lot of potential for the future.”
Mountain Pointe is supposed to be further along in the building process, but the reality is their young superstars will be seniors next year. Pitcher Kristen McCann and catcher Hannah Hoban have progressed tremendously, but the wins haven’t followed.
The Pride earned the 12th seed, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of considering where the program was not long ago, but they didn’t take advantage of it with a loss to No. 20 North Canyon in the first round of the DI state playoffs.
The baseball teams also had short lived postseason stays as Desert Vista was knocked out in the first round by Desert Edge with a senior-laden team, and Mountain Pointe earned a first-round bye but couldn’t get past Gilbert.
The Pride began the year nationally ranked but never put it all together, while Desert Vista ranked as high as No. 3 in the power rankings but a regular season slump down the stretch bled into the postseason.
Both teams, however, will be better off if the underclassmen follow the approach each senior class displayed this year. They played the game right; just couldn’t win when it mattered most.
“This is a very, very special group,” Pride coach Brandon Buck said. “You don’t normally see 16 boys come on to a baseball team. They’re going to be missed, but they’ve left a great legacy.”
Another bright spot was the Desert Vista girls tennis team, which advanced to the state semifinals before losing to Chaparral, with a team poised to be nearly as strong next year with only one senior playing a prominent role.
Junior Melissa Kahn made the quarterfinals in the individual state tournament as did junior Yolena Carlon teamed with senior Tori Kammerzel.
“It was a good year,” Thunder coach Angel Singer said. “We had a tough round (at quarterfinals). We thought we’d get at least one into the semifinals.”
The other tennis teams have some promising young players — Mountain Pointe’s ViAnn Pham and the Thunder’s duo of Yusuf Saleem and Aditya Bollam on the boys side — that could take the next step up in 2015.
Boys volleyball also saw early exits, but it was to be expected with Desert Vista, which lost in the first round, using a lineup almost of entirely new starters after a semifinal run the year before and Mountain Pointe, which lost in the second round, was in transition after Brian Steiner took over legend Fred Mann.
Horizon Honors had a difficult spring with all of the team sports failing to make the postseason, had only one athlete score points at the Division III track meet in Mikaela Martin (3,200) with the highlight being senior Chris Senna finishing third in the DIII golf tournament.
Most of the success came in the Division I state meet with several individual champions along with Desert Vista finishing second in both the boys and girls standings.
The Thunder had the usual suspects — distance runner Dani Jones, thrower Makenzi Holmes-DiGiovine, pole vaulter Vanessa Davis — win titles, but also had some newcomers like the boys 4x100 relay team earn gold with two freshmen and two sophomores and the 4x800 girls relay team, which posted the third best in Arizona history, all returning next season.
The best example of what the spring was like — lots of potential with some success but left feeling like it could have been more — could be found in Mountain Pointe’s Paul Lucas.
The junior came in with the state’s best time or distance in four events with hopes of bringing home four golds. He won the long jump and the 100-meter dash, but not without consequence.
A right hamstring strain kept him out of the 200 and 400 to put a damper on a terrific season overall.
“It’s part of God’s plan,” Lucas said. “It happened for a reason. I have more to look forward to and that’s all I can focus on now.”
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