There have been highs and lows from the 2012-2013 athletic year.

There were several impressive individual and team accomplishments, as well as the usual hand-wringing when changes came about from the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The year ended on a tragic note when Higley district athletic director and former Mountain Pointe registrar Art Wagner was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound two weeks ago.

With the tassel already moved from right to the left by the senior class, here is our 2012-13 Year in Review:

Shrinking champion

Alex Bambic became the second Desert Vista wrestler to win three state titles, doing so at three lower weight classes. Bambic wasn’t challenged much his senior year in winning the 182-pound title after winning at 195 as a junior and 215 as a sophomore. He is moving on to Central Michigan after giving some thought to attending West Point Prep Academy.

Speed sophomores

Mountain Pointe sophomore Paul Lucas finished the year owning the school record in the 100, 200 and 400 and won the state title in the 100 and 400 while finishing second in the 200. He is talking about a 10.1 in the 100 with Olympic hopes. With what he has shown in just two years, it is hard to doubt him. Desert Vista’s Dani Jones won the 800, 1600 runs, finished second in the 3200. Her endurance and drive will have her chasing no one other than her own records in the years to come.

Eight is great

Mountain Pointe won the badminton state title for the eighth time, but first since 2007. The doubles team of Geneva Heinkel and Sabrina Martinez finished off their Xavier counterparts to secure the championship, 5-2. Martinez and Heinkel have been together all four years of high school, improving and dreaming of bringing coach Pom Brown her second state title. Second-seeded Mountain Pointe finished off an undefeated season and came through on its own expectations of winning the title, which was heightened in the regular season by easily handling the top-seeded Gators. The other team members were Kiyoko Hashimoto, Vi Koka, Larae Keso and Tegan Wambold, as the total team effort led to the program’s eighth state championship.

Next man up

The Desert Vista boys cross country won its fifth state title since 2002, with this being the most unlikely after losing top runner Carter Macey to an injury. The program used the mantra of ‘Next man up’ throughout the year and the Thunder did just that as Jacob Walimaa, Ryan Dykstra, Alex Hoyt, Tyler Bonebright and Ryan Smith all finished in the top 27 led by Walimaa’s 10th-place finish.

One and done

Aaron Windler resigned after one year at the helm of Mountain Pointe boys basketball. The team played its best at the end and seemed to build momentum for the offseason, but it came to halt when news broke that Windler decided to resign as the family was expecting, and since welcomed, an addition to the family.

Cruel finish

The Desert Vista boys golf team and family members started hugging and posing for pictures in anticipation of ending a three-year run as state runner-up only to have Mountain View shoot 10-under on the second day to beat the Thunder by one stroke. It was heartbreaking for the players once it became known. The good news was that junior Matt Liringis became the first Thunder to win the individual title with an 11-under par 133 at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.

Chemistry test

The Mountain Pointe football program made a point of extracting a selfish, negative attitude that derailed the 2011 season. The result was a run to the first state championship game, going 9-1 in the regular season including a last-second win over Hamilton to open the year. The offense was explosive and defense was small but athletic. It was a great formula that enabled to the Pride to get to the championship game before playing uncharacteristically against Hamilton in the title game.

Mid-season dustup

The Desert Vista girls basketball program was in a bit of disarray in January after an incident led to first-year coach Jaysie Chambers-Sheppard being asked to resign. When she chose not to, she was eventually fired after several complaints. J’ontar Coleman, the junior varsity coach, took over the program and did well enough to earn the full-time job heading into the 2013-14 season.

Doubling up

The Desert Vista soccer teams made the Division I state finals a community event as both the boys and girls programs finished as state runners-up. The girls lost to Xavier in a 1-0 tense battle that left the players devastated. The boys were done in by a brewing dynasty at Brophy as the Broncos won 2-0 after several suspended players took over the second half. Despite the defeats, the Thunder brought together both programs with a distinct style and passion.

Game of the year

The Mountain Pointe boys basketball team that pushed eventual state champion Corona del Sol to three overtimes before falling in the second round of state tournament and it is considered one of the best games Arizona hoop fans have ever seen.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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