This very well might be the absolute craziest week of the high school sports season.

The winter sports teams began practice on Monday. That first week or so is always a bit nuts as paperwork can sometimes dominate just as much as time in the gym.

It's the final week of the football regular season with the two area programs sitting at 7-2 and in line to host a playoff game next week if they can manage to post another win.

The first round of Class 5A Division I girls volleyball state tournament started Tuesday night with Desert Vista as the fourth seed and Mountain Pointe as the 10th with the quarterfinals on Thursday and semifinals on Saturday.

The Pride was feeling good after beating Desert Vista, but have since had injuries, including top hitter Erika Papadaes, forced to change things up the final week of the season, but coach Fred Mann hoped to have everyone back in time for their match against seventh-seeded Highland.

The Thunder took on 13th -seed Yuma Kofa and if they got past the first round coach Molly West was happy with the bracket draw.

"It looks good," she said before the tournament. "You never look past your first opponent, but it is hard not to when the bracket is in front of you. If we play like we can we have a good set up."

DV beat Kofa in three sets and MP lost in four sets despite leading late in several of the games.

The Horizon Honors volleyball squad made the Class 2A field as the 16th seed and travel to Prescott Valley for Thursday's first-round game at Tim's Toyota Center. A win over No. 17 Camp Verde pits Horizon Honors against No. 1 Thatcher on Friday.

The swim and dive championships for Division I begin Thursday at the Mesa Aquatic Center and finish up Saturday with the finals. The Mountain Pointe boys and Desert Vista girls are headline teams heading into the final weekend.

"State is going to be tough," Desert Vista senior Stephanie Shober said. "There are more (qualifying) teams and better swimmers. It is going to make state so much tougher, but the coaches will have us ready."

Taking the baton so to speak for the final leg of the week are the cross country teams.

The Horizon Honors boys are feeling good after finishing second, led by Brad Fullman's third-place finish, in its sectional and the girls team qualified three competitors, including Mikaela Martin, who finished fourth at the sectional meet, for the Class IV state meet at Cave Creek Golf Course.

"We are very happy with how we are performing right now with the boys team," Horizon coach Lura Beets said. "We have a week to get those times down at the state meet. It is a tough course but most of them have run it before so they will be ready."

The Division I meets are at noon for the boys and 12:30 p.m. for the girls with Desert Vista hoping to pull off a double title weekend, while Mountain Pointe has qualified squads from both genders and will make a push for the top 10 in each.

The Thunder boys are chasing Phoenix Alhambra, the only team to keep coach Chris Hanson's program from winning all Class 5A Division I titles and the DV girls are after nationally-ranked Phoenix Xavier.

The Thunder has beaten Xavier in the Doug Conley Invite and the sectional as the Gators sent out its JV team. They can be sure to see the real thing on the line Saturday.

"You go into some races with certain strategies and maybe that strategy is, "Hey, let's not run too hard and save ourselves for the next big one,'" Desert Vista girls coach Dough Christofis said. "I got to tell you that was the strategy going into the sectional race, but Xavier's pace was a strong one and those kids put it out there. I don't think I'll ever do that again. If you're my runner and I have you in a race, you're racing.

"I think otherwise you begin to confuse these kids."

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