Peering through the crystal ball: Taking a stab at what’s to come in 2014 - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Peering through the crystal ball: Taking a stab at what’s to come in 2014

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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:32 pm | Updated: 9:42 pm, Fri Apr 11, 2014.

It’s a hard assignment to complete — predict the next year in sports.

If it was that easy I’d have a 800 number offering my top five picks while screaming into the microphone and wearing bad suits at 2 a.m.

With that said, we are willing to take a shot at it. Some will be serious, some will be tongue-in-cheek and all will probably be wrong.

For fun we took a look at last year’s predictions to see how we fared and apparently last year’s crystal ball was a little cloudy as I missed most of the predictions.

I said Alex Bambic would win a third state wrestling title for Desert Vista, but that was easy pickings. I also said the Thunder would take a step back from the top three, which came to fruition, but I said Mountain Pointe would get its first state placer since 2010, but the Pride is still looking heading into the last month and a half of the season.

I added the DV soccer program would get two semifinalists and one finalist. Close. Both the boys and girls teams made the finals.

I hit on the departure of a major Mountain Pointe coach (Fred Mann).

I said the Cardinals would retain Ken Wisenhunt and draft Matt Barkley. Ouch. The rest of my pro picks were nearly as bad.

And yet I am back for more in 2013.

Let’s start with the professional ranks and the Diamondbacks.

I liked the Mark Trumbo move, but not sure the pitching staff will when balls that normally should be caught fall in to extend innings.

They will make a play for Japan import Mashhiro Tanka, but general manager Kevin Towers settles for right-hander Matt Garza as the top of the rotation in 2014 as they secure the final wild card spot. Oakland wins the World Series over the Dodgers.

The Cardinals continue to be third fiddle in the NFC West, but get into the playoffs next year with less wins than they have in 2013. Denver wins the New York Super Bowl in February.

The Suns continue to play their way out of the lottery, but get the lottery pick from the Lakers they picked up in the Steve Nash trade. The Heat keep it rolling with another title.

The Coyotes struggle with consistency all season to scrape into the postseason, but see an early exit. Chicago beats Boston for the Stanley Cup.

Now on to the stuff that really matters — the high school scene.

Gridiron guesses

Winning a second straight state title might be asking a little too much of the Pride considering the loss of a great senior class, but making the postseason shouldn’t be a problem.

The Pride returns 3/5 of the offensive line, two talented running backs in Paul Lucas and Brandyn Leonard and everyone seems to think Garvin Alston, as long as baseball doesn’t take precedent, will be very good at quarterback, while the defense will be anchored by linebackers Austin Cronen and Keondre Churchwell.

A semifinal berth is in order in 2014, but we need to see more before really believing they are a true title contender.

Desert Vista will get closer to the seven-win season area after a disappointing 5-5 campaign as they return to the postseason in 2014.

Hoop dreams

It’s not exactly going out on the limb here considering the Thunder is ranked No. 1 and won its first 12 games, but here it is anyway — Desert Vista wins the Division I girls basketball state title.

The Pride girls get their fifth straight 20-win season, but fall short of the semifinals.

None of the boys teams make a huge impression in the postseason.

Diamond talk

The Mountain Pointe baseball team makes a real strong run at the state title and gets to at least the semifinals with some strong arms backing the lineup that includes Ernie de la Trinidad, Bryce Redaja, Jake Alexander and Cole Tucker.

Thunder power

The Desert Vista girls push Chandler for the Division I state title behind a four-medal performance by Dani Jones, but the Wolves have too much depth.

So there it — 2014 in a nutshell — is.

Now, just don’t hold me to it.

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

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Jason P. Skoda
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