From champs to near misses, the teams that shaped the ’09 local sports landscape
Valley Christian players salute the fans with the school fight song after their victory over St. Johns in the 2A semifinal game. Nov. 21, 2009.

Desert Vista boys win state track and field title

Desert Vista sprinter Spencer Chase accomplished his goal by breaking the state 400-meter dash record and the Thunder boys track and field team accomplished its mission by winning its third consecutive 5A-I state track and field championship.

Other individual gold medals went to Desert Vista’s Michael Ingrassia in the boys 300-meter hurdles, Alec Hsu in the pole vault, Matthew Yalung in the high jump and Lee Williams in the boys shot put. The Thunder boys 4-by-800 relay team won another championship.

Desert Vista’s Shaylah Simpson won the girls pole vault championship as the girls team placed third in the meet. 


Click here to see a slideshow of memorable sports moments of 2009.  

Mountain Pointe wins boys volleyball

Mountain Pointe’s boys volleyball team wins its seventh 5A-I state championship with a five-game victory over Gilbert. Nathan Fuller had 19 kills and Jared Morrison had 17 kills for the Pride in the title match.


Mountain Pointe football undefeated in regular season

Mountain Pointe’s football team makes a one-year turnaround from a 2-8 record in 2008 to an undefeated 10-0 regular season and East Valley Region championship.

The Pride stretch that record to 12-0 through the 5A-I state playoffs before losing to Mesa, 14-10, in the semifinal round.


Queens of the beach

Longtime beach volleyball partners and Desert Vista teammates, Anna Gott and Betsi Metter, won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior beach Volleyball national championship in July at Hermosa Beach, Calif.

They became the first Arizona team to win the title.


Desert Vista loses in marathon

After a scoreless marathon 100 minutes, two overtimes and seven rounds of penalty kicks in the state 5A-I girls soccer championship, Phoenix Xavier finally gets a game-winner to beat Desert Vista for the title.

It was the second time in three years that the Thunder, who had a 16-4-4 season, finished as the runners-up in the state tournament.


Thunder boys golfers 2nd

Despite not having a golfer among the Top 10 individual finishers, Desert Vista had its best season in school history, finishing second to four-time Chandler Hamilton in the state 5A-I boys golf championship at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix.


Desert Vista swim: public school champs

Desert Vista’s boys and girls swim and dive teams were runners-up to private schools, Phoenix Brophy and Phoenix Xavier respectively, in the state 5A-I championships in November, claiming the mythical “public school” titles.

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.


DV girls jump prove a force to be reckoned with

Desert Vista runners (junior Megan Kupres, sixth, and freshman Jenna Mack, eighth) placed in the Top 10 helping Desert Vista’s girls cross country team finish second in the girls state 5A-I state cross country championship in November. The Thunder boys finished third.


Pride badminton finalist

Mountain Pointe finished second for the second consecutive season in the state 5A-I badminton championship in November, losing to Phoenix Xavier, 5-2.

The Pride’s doubles team of Sienna Martinez and Holly Phillips swept through the field in winning the state individual doubles.


Horizon girls volleyball reaches semifinals

The Horizon Honors girls volleyball team had the best season of any team in the school’s history when it reached the semifinals of the state 2A championship.

The Eagles were an underdog in the state tournament, but they took state champion Valley Christian to five games and a match point in the semifinals before losing 18-16.


Valley Christian football boots jinx

Valley Christian’s football team beat the two-year St. John’s jinx and went on to win the state 2A football championship.

The Trojans, who had been knocked out of the playoffs by St. John’s for two consecutive years, beat the Redskins 26-24 in the semifinals, then beat Willcox 41-32 for their first title since 2005.


Valley Christian volleyball

Nobody will say the Trojans didn’t earn it.

With the state’s best player (at virtually any classification) in Chanel Brown, Valley Christian brought the championship back home after an eight-year drought. The battle-tested Trojans – who played up to Class 4A and 5A comeptition all season – were pushed mightily in the semifinals by Horizon Honors, but regrouped to win the final over defending champion Thatcher, 3-1.


– List compiled by Larry Ward

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