Kennard picks USC
After months of speculation, Desert Vista’s Devon Kennard, the top-ranked high school defensive end in the country and eighth-rated overall recruit, announced in February that he accepted an offer to play at the University of Southern California.
Nguyen wins 2nd singles tennis championship
Andy Nguyen will be a tough, if not impossible, act to follow in the Mountain Pointe boys tennis program.
Nguyen won the second of his two state 5A-I singles championships as a senior in April before heading to Harvard University. He also won the title as a sophomore, was the runner-up as a junior and won the doubles title with partner Erik Sheldon as a freshman. Nguyen was also named the boys tennis Player of the Year by the East Valley Tribune (a sister paper of the Ahwatukee Foothills News).
Jones, Currie run wild
Mountain Pointe running backs Davon Jones and De’Andre Currie run for a combined 3,497 yards and 51 touchdowns on a Pride football team that goes 12-1 to set a school record for victories in a season. Jones caught 16 passes for another three touchdowns.
Claye flies at Oklahoma
While his Mountain Pointe classmates were anticipating graduation last spring Will Claye was already a National Colligate Athletic Association All-American in the triple jump and long jump, as well as the triple jump record holder at the University of Oklahoma.
Clay, who graduated from Mountain Pointe in January, went on to break his own record and win the NCAA Division I triple jump championship on his 18th birthday in June.
Morrison Tribune volleyball ‘Player of the Year’
Jared Morrison, a volleyball player who Mountain Pointe coach Fred Mann called a “student of the game” and the most improved player he had seen in 16 years of coaching, is named the East Valley Player of the Year (the East Valley Tribune is a sister newspaper to the Ahwatukee Foothills News).
Carrillo a 140-pound king
After finishing second a year earlier, Desert Vista senior Ben Carrillo won the 140-pound division 5A-I state championship with a dominating 15-8 victory.
Carrillo’s Thunder teammate Colton Kierman was the runner-up in the 171-pound class while freshman Robbie Mathers placed third in the 103-pound class.
Desert Vista’s Olsen smashes state swim record
Desert Vista’s Katie Olsen broke the state record in winning her second consecutive 100-yard breaststroke championship. She also won the gold medal in the 50-yard freestyle.
Mountain Pointe hires Norris Vaughan
Looking to turn around a 2-8 football team, Mountain Pointe talked to several high-profile coaches before hiring Norris Vaughan, who had been 47-5 at Wickenburg, to head up the program in early January. In six months Vaughan and his staff guided the Pride through its first undefeated regular season (10-0) and second seed in the state 5A-I football playoffs. Mountain Pointe lost to Mesa in the semifinals but finished with a 12-1 record, best in the school’s history.
Checker flag at Daytona
Darren Law, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident for the past 15 years and professional race car driver, was a member of the Brumos Racing Porsche Riley team that won the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in February. Other members of the veteran team were Phoenix native, Buddy Rice, David Donohue and Antonio Garcia, who won the road course at the Daytona Motor Speedway by 0.167 second, or less than a car-length, in the closest finish in the history of the 24-hour endurance classic.
Tops in international field
Ahwatukee Foothills resident and student at Rick Savagian’s Mountainside Martial Arts Center, Nico Luna was named the Top Male Competitor, the equivalent of the Most Valuable Player, from among 1,300 martial arts practitioners at the 45th annual National Japan Wado-Ryu Invitational Martial Arts championships in September.