State soccer playoffs kick off this week

The Class 5A-I state high school soccer championships get under way this week, with the boys and girls teams from both Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista earning spots in their respective 16-team tournaments. The No. 10 Desert Vista and No. 7 Mountain Pointe boys were slated to open tournament play against one-another Tuesday night at Mountain Pointe. On the girls side, No. 5 Mountain Pointe hosts No. 12 Phoenix Trevor Browne, while No. 6 Desert Vista welcomes No. 11 Mesa Desert Ridge. All games are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Check for full reports following each game.


Local gymnast Catour selected to U.S. National training squad; Rawhide to host national gymnastics showcase

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Stephanie Catour was recently invited to join the U.S. National Gymanstics Team training squad, a group of elite gymnasts trained Marta Karolyi.

Catour, who lives in Ahwatukee, has trained exclusively with coach Lisa Spini. For the last year, Spini has also coached Gilbert’s Stephani Skinner – also invited to the U.S. training squad  at her state-of-the-art facility, Desert Lights Gymnastics in Chandler.

In February, Spini will host the 36th annual Fiesta Bowl Invitational, the second longest-running gymnastics competition in the country.  Because of the top-rated elite gymnasts it produces, the Fiesta Bowl has been selected as part of the inaugural Nastia Liukin Cup Series. Nastia Liukin, 2008 Olympic medalist, is scheduled to attend the meet, along with many current gymnastic champions. 

More than 700 top gymnasts from across the country will compete in the event on February 5-7 at the Rawhide Pavilion in Chandler.  Tickets can be purchased at the door and start at $12 for adults and $6 for children 6 to 13.  Children 5-and-under are free.  Passes also can be purchased for the entire weekend.  Information can be found at The top two winners will advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup in March in Worcester, Massachusetts. 


Altadena 8th-grade girls finish 12-0, win title

The Altadena Middle School 8th-grade girls won the Kyrene District soccer tournament Jan. 25 by defeating Pueblo Middle School in the final, 5-1 at Tempe Sports Complex. The Panthers, coached by Tyson Sylvia, and led by captains Nicole Gefrides, Nicole Hicks and Lauren Owens, compiled a perfect undefeated season of 12-0. The girls outscored their opponents during regular season play by 54-7.

In the semifinal Altadena beat Kyrene Middle school, 2-0 in overtime penalty kicks. Nicole Hicks and Anna Kirschner scored the goals to send Altadena to the finals. Goalkeeper Corrine Carlton is credited for the shutout and only seven goals scored on the Panthers during the entire season.

The Panthers came out strong on Jan. 25 scoring with ease. Nicole Gefrides is credited with the hat trick, with assists by Demali Britton and Ashley Briese.  Other goals came from a corner kick by Nicole Hicks that was knocked in by Erika Jackson. Late in the game, Lexi Power knocked the final goal in to solidify the strong victory for the Panthers. – Information submitted by Elaine Hicks


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