Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Ten outstanding athletic accomplishments from 2012-2013May 19, 2013
Ten outstanding accomplishments to note from the just-completed 2012-2013 season featuring athletes from the East Valley and southern Arizona. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, only a list I selected:
Cibola's Bernie Montoya: Three consecutive individual cross country titles and eight track titles -- three each in the 1,600 and 3,200 in his illustrious career. Montoya won the D-I cross country title for a third time back in November and brought home the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 for a second time a week ago. Montoya shaved off two seconds off his junior year winning time in the 800, nine seconds off his time in the 1,600 and almost a dozen seconds off his 3,200 (a sub- 9-minute time). Add to that last summer's victory in the mile at the prestigious Dream Mile at Icahn Stadium at Randall's Island near New York City. Montoya is headed back to defend that title this weekend (May 25) with plans to surpass his winning time of 4:01.32 and perhaps go under four minutes. Best part is Montoya is continuing his running career in state -- at ASU.
Chandler's Dalton Brady: Became only the 28th wrestler in state history to win four individual titles. Brady won his first two at 112 pounds (2010 and 2011) and the third at (120) in 2012. This past February he moved up several weight classes to help team performance and won in a very tough title match at 138 with Cesar Chavez's Dajour Reece, 5-3. Brady heads to Utah Valley State to continue his career.
Corona del Sol's Casey Benson: Benson helped the Aztecs and coach Sammy Duane Jr. to a second straight Division I boys hoops title. Benson took on more of a leadership role and became more of go-to-guy at the end of games. Made the transition remarkably well after the adjustment took a few games to kick in. The senior to be has the ability and help with him come this winter to entertain thoughts of a third straight title
Queen Creek's Matt Guida: The Bulldogs junior running back rushed for 2,829 yards and scored 31 touchdowns for the unbeaten (14-0) and D-II state champs. He rushed for 100 yards or more in every game, including 167 in the title-game victory over Desert Edge, 9-7. Guida averaged a whopping 13.8 yards per carry.
Chandler's Ky Westbrook: Westbrook, a junior sprinter/thrower, was denied a three-event win last year at the D-I state track meet, finising second to Buena's Ashley Weber in the shot put. This year Westbrook took top honors in the shot (45 feet 2 1/4 inches) to go along with her repeat, blazing efforts in the 100-meters and 200-meters.
Red Mountain's Bre Macha: The junior pitcher turned in another outstanding year in the circle and at the plate. She pitched her third consecutive complete game victory in the state softball title game. For Red Mountain it was a fourth straight big-school championship. Macha pitched all five games at state and the Lady Lions were in control in all of them, thanks in great degree to her pitching.
Catalina Foothills Rachana and Kirtana Bhat: The duo repeated as Division II doubles champs and were more dominant in doing so in 2013. Their finals win was by a score of 6-2, 6-4. Their first four matches they prevailed 6-0, 6-1 or 6-0, 6-0. A week prior to state, the Bhats lost a match to their finals foes -- Ironwood Ridge's Marissa Baca and Kelsey Brown. Rachana Bhat is a senior and is moving on to play tennis at New Mexico. Rachana won the 4A-I singles title in 2010 as a freshman. Kirtana is a sophomore with doubles crowns for her effort thus far.
Mesa Mountain View's Kat Simonovic: Simonovic put and exclamation point on a top-notch, four-year swimming stint by winning the 200 free and 100 fly in the D-I state meet in November. Simonovic totaled eight first-place finishes for the Toros (seven individual titles and one relay title). She finished second in the only other inviidual event she entered in her freshman year.
Highland's Bryce Farabee: Farabee won a second consecutive D-I diving title in dominating fashion -- a whopping 76 points over the runner-up. Farabee proved the three=sport athlete is not dead, even a Division I school such as Highland. Farabee was a starter this past and played two years on the basketball team. He also played and started on the volleyball teamm, which won the state title a week ago by sweeping host Gilbert High in three sets.
Desert Vista's Danielle (Dani) Jones: The Thunder sophomore appears primed to be one of the dominant runners in track and cross country the next two years. Jones won the 800 and 1,600 this year, wresting the 1,600 title from Xavier's Sarah Fakler. Jones was second to Fakler in this year's 3,200.