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Fall season championships bring medals, emotion

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Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 2:00 pm

It was a whirlwind of a weekend with state championship events and tournaments all over the Valley.

The fall sports season - except for football - came to an end.

All of those 5 a.m. cross country practices, laps in the swimming pool and dig drills on the volleyball court since the teams came together in August were designed to prepare all of these squads for Nov. 6.

That was an awful quick four months.

But how fast were area athletes when it counted most?

Let's rewind to all of the action:

Cross country

Desert Vista has a standard that is hard to match in the state.

The girls team finished second in the Division I meet and the boys were third and yet there was a haze of disappointment hanging over their tents at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.

Mountain Pointe enters each season with high expectations as well, but the Pride had some struggles in 2010 as the girls finished seventh and the boys 16th.

In Class IV Horizon Honors came up short of matching last year's fifth-place finish in the boys meet by coming in seventh.

As far as individuals go Desert Vista's Brittany Tretbar had the best finish coming in third, using a final kick to separate herself from Mesa Mountain View's Brianna Decker to finish in 19 minutes and 5.30 seconds.

"It's an amazing feeling," Tretbar said. "My pace was exactly what I wanted. I hit the first mile in 6 minutes. It was perfect."

The Thunder had three runners finish in the top 15 as Megan Kupres was 11th and Yasmine Yacut was 14th with times of 19:39.45 and 19:52.24, respectively, on the 3.1-mile course.

But it wasn't enough to catch nationally ranked Xavier as the Gators finished with 37 points and Desert Vista was second with 94 points.

"The biggest thing we talked about the last two weeks was pushing the human spirit," Desert Vista coach Doug Christofis said. "We wanted to push the human limits and see where we could get, and they responded."

Pacing Desert Vista's boys was senior Ryan Maack (16:14.32) as he was seventh overall with sophomore Ryan Dykstra (16:18.68) finishing 10th and sophomore Carter Macey (16:25.46) 17th.

Mountain Pointe was paced by Daniel Riley (17:13.92) for the boys and Cera Hassinan (20:02.58).

Horizon Honors was led by Brad Fullman (16:53.0) and freshman Mikaela Martin (21:42).

"I was very happy that I was able to beat some people that I have never beaten before," Fullman said. "The difference is I was able to break mental barriers at this race."


The new setup for state swimming where many of the old Class 5A Division II top programs were moved into Division I proved to make the meet extremely difficult.

The Mountain Pointe boys, who went undefeated in meets all season, ended up seventh and the Desert Vista girls, in part due to a disqualification, finished fourth at the Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa.

Both squads expected to challenge for second place, but came up short.

The Mountain Pointe girls were sixth and the Desert Vista boys were 19th.

For Mountain Pointe, sophomore Clara Jenck showed some promise, earning two third-place finishes. She actually had the best preliminary time in the 100 backstroke going into the meet.

"For the 200 free I want to be all-American," said Jenck, adding that she needs to work on her turns and other fundamentals.

The Desert Vista 200-medley relay of Mickey Melosi, Katie Olsen, Lauren Torres and Mary Geavaras easily won their event, beating Mountain View by more than 3 seconds.

Olsen started the day with a second-place finish in the 200 individual medley but ended it with an impressive win in the 100 breaststroke, clocking an all-America time of 1:02.00, more than three seconds ahead of Xavier's Elaine Casap. It was her second straight win in the event.

"Improvise, you have to swim when you have to swim," Olsen said when asked how she competes while under the weather. "It was a good swim, under the circumstances, I'm happy with it."

Mountain Pointe's Zach Bradley was fourth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 individual medley. Jeff Ding was seventh in the 200 IM and eighth in the 500 free.

The Mountain Pointe 200 medley relay of Bradley, Connor Engelmann, Ding and Connor McCook was fourth. Engelmann was fifth in the 100 breaststroke.

Connor Dignan of Desert Vista was third in diving, scoring an all-America mark of 407.7 points.


The Horizon Honors girls lost to No. 1 seed and eventual runner-up Thatcher, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 in the second round at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

The Eagles, the 16th seed, actually gave Thatcher its toughest match until the later lost to Northwest Christian in the finals.

Desert Vista's season also came to an end at the hands of the top seed as Phoenix Xavier won 25-18, 25-19 and 25-11.

The Gators were as steady as they come, never being forced to call a timeout in an attempt to curtail a Thunder rally, and have a good chance of winning their fourth straight 5A I title on Wednesday against Chandler Hamilton.

The Thunder never backed down from Xavier in the state semifinals match but at the same time didn't back it up with their best match, either.

"That wasn't our team," Desert Vista coach Molly West said. "I don't know if it was the atmosphere, our youth, but we never got things going."

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Jason P. Skoda
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