Tori Anne Day - Jan 18, 2012
Tori Anne Day

School: Higley

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 4.8

Peaking too early? More like just beginning.
Tori Anne Day is a sophomore starter on the Higley girls soccer team currently ranked No. 1 in power points in Division II, Section 1. She leads the team in goals (more than 20) and assists.
A National Honors Society student, she's also a member of student council and part of the school's Key Club, a service organization run by kids.
Offseason? What offseason? She plays clubs soccer for the Gilbert Arsenal and is active in her local church.


Matt Nichols - Dec 30, 2011
Matt Nichols

School: Red Mountain

Sport: Soccer (Boys)

GPA: 4.43

Is there anything Matt Nichols doesn't do well?

A senior captain for the boys soccer team which advanced to the championship match of the Dobson Mustang Invitational, he's also a National Merit Semifinalist.

He goes well beyond the classroom and soccer field. Nichols was a recipient of the Youth Arts Award, a bass vocalist on the All-State choir program at Red Mountain and was the school's Most Outstanding French Student for two consecutive years.


Jillian Leslie - Sep 29, 2011
Jillian Leslie

School: Perry

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.0

Apparently playing three positions in softball isn't enough for Jillian Leslie.

The Perry junior plays first base, third base and even pitches. She was a first-team All-Region player last year for the Pumas, but that's only the beginning.

Jillian has completed about 80 hours of community service since her freshman year. She earned a lot of her community service through the "Teen Court" program at Perry. She is also a member of National Honors Society, participates in leadership conferences and teaches at her church.

She has Division I softball colleges in her sights.


Melissa Dunn - Sep 19, 2011
Melissa Dunn

School: Red Mountain

Sport: Cross Country (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

For the past two seasons Melissa's been one of the Lions' top runners, and is at again with 9th and 14th overall finishes in the Lions' first two invites this season as Red Mountain took second place overall in both. Thanks to her unweighted GPA is 4.0 (un-weighted), she's ranked No. 2 (out of 771) in her class and is part of the National Honors Society.

Dunn also volunteers at her church through the religious education program teaching fourth and fifth graders, and is part of Relay for Life each year.

There's more. Dunn is a lifeguard, which means CPR certification education each year, along with Life Guard Certification and Water Safety Instructor certification so she can guard and teach swimming lessons to all ages (including infants and adult water aerobics).


Jessica Guffey - Jul 30, 2010
Jessica Guffey

School: Desert Mountain

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.6

Jessica Guffey hit .319 with a team-leading five home runs for Desert Mountain last year, but that's not the only place she excels. The senior is also one of the better students at the school, sporting a 4.6 grade point average and a membership in the National Honor Society. Guffey also takes part in Peer Leadership, where she works with kids with Down's Syndrome.

Guffey is undecided on a college destination, but would like to continue playing softball. She plans on majoring in kinesiology and opening up her own physical therapy center after finishing school.


Jessica Simpson - May 10, 2010
Jessica Simpson

School: Highland High

Sport: Softball

GPA: 3.98

The way Jessica Simpson tries to manage her days boils down to school, practice and then “chill-out time.”

“Chill-out time,” however, is mostly comprised of volunteering to work the information desk at Banner Gateway Desert hospital in Gilbert.

Given the Highland pitcher’s desire for a future in medicine, at least this National Honors Society student’s 3.9 grade point average, Golden Scholar Athlete winner (at least a 3.8 GPA for three consecutive terms. She’s won it three times in high school) and future pitcher at Bakersfield College has an idea what’s coming in college.

“It’s going to be crazy,” she said of a future juggling pre-med classes and softball while attempting a social life.

She has one for sure, but she also takes extra science classes and hasn’t missed a day of school since third grade.

“I had to push myself a couple times to go,” she said. “A few times I probably shouldn’t have been there.”

Her attendance streak may be in bigger jeopardy if her obstetrics or pediatrician hopes ultimately pan out. That’s a lot of sick kids to see every day.


Raianna Dobbs - Mar 25, 2010
Raianna Dobbs

School: Queen Creek

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.0

Sometimes you have to dive in from day one.

Raianna Dobbs tried it last year as a Queen Creek freshman. She was convinced by a friend to try out for the school’s volleyball team (which she made) while playing club soccer in the fall. Then came high school soccer in the winter and softball in the winter.
A three-sport varsity athlete as a freshmen is impressive, but combine that with a 4.0 GPA, and her head nearly exploded.

“I figured out I wasn’t getting any sleep and my friends would still be there if I disappeared for awhile,” she said.

Only a sophomore, Dobbs has been a go-to player for a young Queen Creek softball team which is contending for a 4A Division I state championship. The Bulldogs reached the 4A-II quarterfinals last year and returned most of their starting lineup while moving up a division.

While hovering at .400 for a second straight season, Dobbs isn’t afraid to chime in to help teammates when she sees fit, especially with this year’s freshmen group.
Given her disposition and personality, it’s little wonder she has an eye on being a nutritionist or personal trainer:

“I want a hands-on job because I think I’d get bored easily, and help people feel better about themselves.”


Zachary Nasipak - Feb 15, 2010
Zachary Nasipak

School: Hamilton

Sport: Soccer (Boys)

GPA: 4.7

Zachary Nasipak rounded up the soccer boys for a little geometry.
It was a day off, but some Hamilton soccer players were in coach Nick Markette’s office on the whiteboard, trying to come up with mathematical formulas to solve for the area of a funnel.
Huskies coach Nick Markette has a math background and is close to getting his doctorate degree, but kids who approach him are deferred to Nasipak.
“He has a strong sense of priorities and where’s he going and wants to do.”
A junior defender on the soccer team, Nasipak scored the game-winning goal against Desert Vista to win the Fiesta Region this season and the game-winner against Mountain View in the first round of the playoffs. The Huskies eventually played in the program’s first state championship match before falling in overtime to Corona del Sol.
He also has a 4.7 grade point average and was voted the student of the year for math and English, and is active in church groups.
“He’s one of those kids who’s letting some of the social pull go to the wayside,” Markette said. “He’s not a recluse at all, but he’s willing to sacrifice some of that for academics.”
For both soccer and academia, the likes of Carnegie-Mellon, Brown and Claremont McKenna are schools of interest so far, with an interest in engineering.


Mark Mazzucco - Feb 11, 2010
Mark Mazzucco

School: Mountain View (Mesa)

Sport: Basketball (Boys)

GPA: 4.47

Mountain View boys basketball guard Mark Mazzucco has plenty to look forward to during the final few weeks of the season.
The Toros recently clinched the Central Region championship and are on the short list of favorites in the 5A-I tournament.
But once the season is over, Mazzucco will still have plenty to do.
The junior partakes in a variety of clubs and volunteer services. He is in student council, helps read to kids in special education classes, volunteers at soup kitchens and will soon begin volunteering at a hospital.
Mazzucco said the different experiences have helped him appreciate his life.
“It does help,” he said. “You really don’t understand how good you have it” until seeing others who are less fortunate.
Mazzucco takes a variety of advanced placement classes, with Spanish his favorite. He hasn’t picked a college, although UC San Diego is a possibility.
Mazzucco said that when the state tournament ramps up he will get really busy, and sometimes during the middle of the week it will wear him down. But he said he lives by the words of his English teacher when he gets discouraged.
“My English teacher told us, ‘You pay now and play later, or play now and pay later,’” he said. “I try to follow that.”


Dean Wenger - Jan 25, 2010
Dean Wenger

School: Queen Creek

Sport: Basketball (Boys)

GPA: 4.33

For most freshmen, the leap to high school is a tough transition in itself.
For Dean Wenger, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Queen Creek ninth grader not only had to acclimate to his new surroundings, but he played football in the fall, and he is now a starter on the varsity basketball team.
Although it’s early in his academic career, Wenger has also posted a 4.33 grade point average in challenging classes.
Wenger said these last couple months have been some of the busiest of his life.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Wenger said. “Basically I come home from practice, do my homework and go to sleep.”
He is taking pre-Advanced Placement classes and enjoys science.
Most of the week, it’s non-stop action. Luckily, though, he still has his Saturdays.
“That’s the day I usually try to relax,” he said.


Kyle Heck - Jan 19, 2010
Kyle Heck

School: Dobson

Sport: Basketball (Boys)

GPA: 4.2

Kyle Heck is versatile on the court, able to play point guard or off the ball.
In the classroom, he also likes to bounce around.
With stellar grades, the senior won’t have much trouble getting accepted to the vast majority of universities in the country.
But it’s deciding on his emphasis which could be tricky.
“I’m really interested in business and marketing,” Heck said. “I want to go into something like that. I also like computer engineering. Learning is just interesting. I’m really starting to get into English. We’re talking about different novels, and I like figuring out what different things mean.”
Clearly, Heck isn’t short on options.
California-Lutheran, Overland (Ohio) College, Arizona State and Washington University in St. Louis are on his list of possible college destinations.
He’s still got time to make that crucial choice. On the court, though, the intelligence helps Heck come to conclusions much quicker.
“It helps you make better decisions,” he said. “You can think ahead, know where you are going and know what your plan is.”


Sarah Hanson - Jan 11, 2010
Sarah Hanson

School: Westwood

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 4.45

The day after her Mesa Westwood soccer team's bus was hit by another car, Sarah Hanson couldn't wait to get to physics class.
No one was injured and the bus was still working when the team was cut off by another driver and couldn't stop in time while travelling to the Horizon Tournament in December.
If only she knew how fast the bus was going upon impact, Hanson could have estimated the the degree of impact.
She never could, but her fascination with numbers, math and science is why the three-sport honors student with a 4.45 grade point average sees engineering in her future.
Her present, however, consists of three Advanced Placement classes (math, calculus and history), advanced-level English and Level 4 Spanish.
"If you give me some random objects I’ll make them into something new, and I like seeing other ways of doing something that aren’t as straightforward," she said.
Only a junior, Hanson has finished in the top 20 in cross country and top 10 in track so far in high school while the Warriors are trying to pluck a final soccer playoff spot in 5A Division I.
She's eyeing Harvey Mudd College in tiny Claremont, Calif., a math and science-emphasis school of about 700 students which would fit nicely with her small-college desire.
She's also volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club and raises money for cancer wellness facilities in the East Valley which aid cancer patients and their families.


Tate Huber - Jan 5, 2010
Tate Huber

School: Mountain View (Mesa)

Sport: Wrestling

GPA: 3.6

Mountain View senior Tate Huber knows the importance of focus. As a wrestler, he knows that a momentary lapse in concentration can be the difference between winning and losing.
Huber has also learned the value of focus in the classroom, a big reason why he’s been able to build a 3.6 unweighted GPA. So it’s good that the wrestling season is relatively short.
“During the season, it’s harder to stay motivated to do academics,” Huber said. “It’s harder to stay focused.”
Huber, who went 32-11 last year as a junior and finished third in 5A-I at 145 pounds, said his favorite subject is English. It’s also his most difficult.
“I love to read and write, but I just hate to do it for a grade,” said Huber, who enjoys writing short stories. “I feel like if I’m just writing for fun, then I’m free and thinking freely. If I have an assignment, I feel restricted.”
Huber’s plans for after his career at Mountain View are to complete his two-year LDS mission and then attend college.
“I know I’m going to college, but I don’t know what I’m going to major in,” Huber said.


Alex Zemezonak - Dec 14, 2009
Alex Zemezonak

School: Pinnacle

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.3

Something had to give.

There was football, soccer, student government, student council and an hour each day set aside as an aide to special needs kids.
In this case, it was student government, but Alex Zemezonak learned from his older brother, Max, to keep the schedule super saturated.
“I don’t think he does much else except stuff he does at school and sports,” Pioneer coach Dana Zupke said with a chuckle.
It’s been quality over quantity. Alex, a 4.3 weighted student, had 1,000 total yards on offense (mostly because of his 44 receptions), plus the 5-foot-7, 150-pound senior kicked 41 extra points and nine field goals. He was a first-team Desert Valley Region all-region selection and will play in the Arizona Football Coaches Association All-Star game next summer.
Washington State has shown interest in him as a kicker, same with San Diego State and NAU (where his brother plays football). Some Division II and III schools are looking at him as a receiver.
He's also a first-team all-region soccer player for Pinnacle.
“He’s going to have some options,” Zupke said.


Brett Hundley - Dec 1, 2009
Brett Hundley

School: Chandler

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.9

When Brett Hundley can sneak in a round or two of "Call of Duty" on his video game console, it’s a good day.
Chandler’s junior quarterback is always on the go during football season. He wakes up at 5 a.m. to run three miles with his dad. After that, it’s off to school. That’s followed by football practice until 6 p.m., and then homework.
Hundley has kept up on the field and in the classroom. His on-field performance has already garnered him three scholarship offers to play Division I football. With a 3.9 grade point average, there is no worry of falling short of the academic requirements, and even the most prestigious schools can take a look at him.
Hundley tries each night to get done with all of his obligations by 8 or 8:30, giving him a precious hour of free time to play the video game before going to bed.
And then, it starts all over again.


MaryJo Kolze - Nov 13, 2009
MaryJo Kolze

School: McClintock

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Keeping up with McClintock senior MaryJo Kolze is likely a full-time job itself.
The Chargers’ starting setter on the volleyball team, Kolze was the team captain the last two years and led McClintock to the state tournament.
But Kolze’s on-court accomplishments don’t really compare to what she does off the court. She’s ranked No. 1 in her senior class with a 4.0 unweighted GPA, all while being in marching band, pep band, symphonic band, and president of three school clubs and a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, and Phi Theta Kappa (the International Honor Society for Two-Year Colleges).
“I’m the type of person that likes to do a lot,” Kolze said. “It’s hard for me to have to pick and choose activities, because I want to do everything.”
Kolze even recently began participating with the schools speech and debate team, as if her plate wasn’t full enough.
Kolze said she wants to continue her volleyball career in college and study to become a doctor and a researcher.
“I know what I want to be, but not sure where I’m going,” Kolze said. “I’ve narrowed it down to a few choices, some big schools, some small.”
No matter where Kolze continues her education, it’s a safe bet she’ll continue to be a busy person.


Chris Aguirre - Oct 27, 2009
Chris Aguirre

School: Perry

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.2

Chris Aguirre's 2009 football season is over unless Gilbert Perry makes a lengthy run in the postseason.
The junior kicker recently had surgery for a hernia that will sideline him for the rest of the season, but there is still plenty to keep him busy while awaiting the start of the high school soccer season in early December.
Aguirre is junior class president as well as a member of DECA and National Honor Society.
"I probably spend about 10 hours a week working with clubs and being class president," Aguirre said. "We plan dances, spirit weeks, stuff like that. DECA will get going more next semester."
With a year and half of high school remaining, Aguirre is fairly certain of his academic pursuit after high school.
"I'm looking to go into pre-med."
Despite the early end to football, Aguirre can at least take with him one key moment in Perry's season. The Pumas won their third straight game in early September when Aguirre booted a 27-yard field goal with two seconds left to beat Sierra Vista Buena, 16-13.
"That's a highlight," Aguirre said. "I've been kicking since my freshman year. Coach (Preston) Jones said there would be a day they'd need me to kick a field goal."
The only other time he felt as nervous was a in club soccer game in the quarterfinal round. He was the final person on his team to kick in penalty kicks and he needed to score for his team to win.
“I made it, got it to the corner and the keeper didn’t have a chance,” Aguirre said. “If I would have missed, we’d have gone on to more penalty kicks. I felt the pressure.”


Ragen Riggs - Oct 19, 2009
Ragen Riggs

School: Higley

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.761

One day, Ragen Riggs will perfect the art of saying no.
Perhaps when she’s a supervisor or company president or even a mother, Riggs will use the two-letter word with great skill and gusto. But for now, Riggs can’t say no and that makes her a very busy person.
”I almost didn’t go out for track last year, but I couldn’t make myself do it,” said Riggs, a senior at Gilbert Higley High School. “Everything I do, I love. When I’m in a sport or a class, I give my all to those things.”
Riggs has done some sport, every season, all three-plus years of high school. In the fall, she’s on the volleyball team. During winter, she’s on the soccer team. And she finishes off her year with track and field. Riggs even ran cross country as a sophomore, but went back to volleyball.
Riggs does all of that as well as student council and still has maintained her perfect 4.0 GPA (4.716 weighted), and has held steady at No. 2 in her class rank.
“I have never gotten a B, ever, in my whole life,” Riggs said with equal parts pride and surprise. “I have to get my school work done and I can’t slack, but I’m a bit of a procrastinator and that puts a lot of pressure on myself.”
Learning to deal with pressure will be a good skill for Riggs, who plans on studying nursing in college. Pressure and a lack of sleep is a common job trait for nurses, and Riggs’ busy schedule means she is already accustomed to both.
“I’ve really had to balance everything, but the earliest I go to bed is 10:30,” Riggs said. “When we have two or three games per week, I’m always up late finishing things. It’s been hard, but it’s manageable.”


Lesley Le - Oct 12, 2009
Lesley Le

School: Chandler

Sport: Badminton

GPA: 4.5

You’d carry an agenda calendar book everywhere if you had Lesley Le’s schedule.
Most days she’s at school for 11 hours taking eight classes, playing violin in the school orchestra and playing for the Wolves badminton team.
They’re not gym classes either: Statistics, calculus, physics, U.S. history, Spanish, a theory of knowledge class plus orchestra. On weekends, she’s either playing her strings or swinging racquet strings.
“I’m taking two more (classes) than everyone else,” she said. “It feels like twice as much but it isn’t.”
Her violin started when her family received one as a gift years ago but never touched. Badminton came courtesy of her older sister, Nga, who won the 2006 state doubles championship.
The goal is to make it to Princeton and eventually become a doctor someday, but she’ll have to get past her fear of blood.
If not, there’s always psychology or architecture.
The wizadry behind this unyielding schedule?
“Time management,” she said. “It’s something I had to work on since freshman year because it was a lot easier back then.”


Cyrus Way - Oct 5, 2009
Cyrus Way

School: Paradise Valley

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.0

Cyrus Way isn’t the flashiest player on Paradise Valley, but he’s been a big part of the team’s success the past three seasons.
The senior linebacker has been contributing since his sophomore season, as the Trojans made extended postseason runs in his first two years. This year he has 18 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a half sack.
Paradise Valley coach Donnie Yantis first met Way when he attended football camps put on by the Trojans before he was in high school, and Way has been a fixture on campus since that time.
“He’s been here every year since,” Yantis said.
Yantis said Way is the type of guy who gives it his all no matter what task is put in front of him.
“He’s a very intelligent kid who works very hard,” Yantis said.


Brandon Bialkowski - Sep 22, 2009
Brandon Bialkowski

School: Gilbert

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.0

The calls are rolling in. He's already got an offer to Princeton. Harvard and Brown have also shown interest in the academics and football potential of Bialkowski. It's a dream perhaps on the verge of reality for the left-handed Tigers quarterback.
"That has always been a goal of mine to play in college and go to a good school," Bialkowski said.
Good school meaning a heady one in terms of academics such as the Ivy League programs that have knocked on Bialkowski's door.
After starting slowly the first week of the season, Bialkowski has reeled off a 291-yard passing effort against Glendale Mountain Ridge and could have topped the 200-yard mark last week had a few more passes been tucked away that were catchable.
Bialkowski knows that's part of the game so he's trying to remain patient. He's also patient in hoping that Stanford might join the list of suitors.
"That's where I'd really like to go," said Bialkowski, who plans on being a pre-med student.
"I've always been interested in anatomy and science. That's the direction I'd like to go."


Tevin Hood - Sep 15, 2009
Tevin Hood

School: Hamilton

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.58

Genetics only goes so far.
Chandler Hamilton senior defensive lineman Tevin Hood is 6-foot-1, 275 pounds. He is a heavyweight wrestler, squatted 450 pounds 10 times this summer, and he’ll line up at defensive end on occasion to take advantage of his quickness.
Some of those attributes come from his biological father, former Cardinals lineman Eric Swann.
But he was raised by his mother, Roseyn (an assistant principal at Hamilton) and his step-father. Those two are a big reason why Hood has a 4.58 grade point average, is a National Honors Society student and part of Chain Link, a school program where upperclassmen teach and mentor incoming freshmen.
“I always say to his mom, ‘Wow, you’re lucky to have him,’” Huskies assistant coach Steve Zeiders said. “He’s special.”
Hood was part of a defensive line rotation last year, but had his best game of the season in the 5A Division I state championship against Phoenix Brophy with four tackles.
He has scholarship offers from Ivy League schools, was invited to a USC camp he couldn’t attend and has drawn Stanford’s attention.
That list will grow if this season continues. He already has 16 total tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles through three games.
“He’s an exceptional kid, and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of kids like this in recent years,” Zeiders said.


Lorena Aceves - Sep 9, 2009
Lorena Aceves

School: Gilbert Classical Academy

Sport: Cross Country (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Not comfortable with being just one face among thousands, Lorena Aceves decided to take a different route and enroll at Gilbert Classical Academy.
“I wanted smaller classes and I really did not want to go to a normal high school,” Aceves said. “I was looking for a smaller campus.”
Aceves has found everything she needs at GCA and has thrived. Aceves has a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA and is the top runner on the Spartans’ cross country team.
For Aceves, the ability to stay on top of up to four hours of homework at night plus a varsity sport comes from a personality that doesn’t allow procrastination.
“I don’t like leaving projects for the last minute,” Aceves said. “I like to leave time so I can finish and leave time for my other projects.”
For a runner like Aceves, it’s no surprise that time is something she’s good at managing.


Molly Denton - Sep 2, 2009
Molly Denton

School: Hamilton

Sport: Golf (Girls)

GPA: 3.7

It’s all in Molly Denton’s mind.
It’s helped the Chandler Hamilton senior relieve anxiety and frustration with her golf game and it could be her pathway to college and beyond.
There’s a lot to keep track of. Between trying to help the golf team win a 5A Division I state championship, AP classes, church volunteering and a part-time job in an ice cream/yogurt shop, her mind has its own motor.
She’s taking psychology classes, an interest which began a couple years ago on the recommendation of Huskies golf coach Kevin Krahenbuhl.
“I would get so angry and it would affect the rest of my game,” Denton said. “I’ve been doing a lot better this year.”
With an influx of freshmen coming in, Denton knows she’s not a top three player on the team, another reality a sports psychologist has helped.
“You expect to move up after a couple years and this year I knew we’d have three freshmen above me, and I’ve tried to improve,” she said. “It’s been difficult but they were good and you support them. Everyone gets along.”
That’s another helpful use of a sports psychologist, and her interest in the field. She’s looking for a scholarship, be it golf or academic-related. There’s interest in Arizona State and Northern Arizona, but Oregon State also occupies her mind.
“I don’t even know why, but I’ve always wanted to go outside Arizona and have never been north,” she said.


Hayden Tippett - Aug 25, 2009
Hayden Tippett

School: McClintock

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.56

If you wanted to spend any leisure time with Hayden Tippett this year, you probably already missed your chance.

Once the school year starts, he barely stops.

Tippett is a three-sport athlete at Tempe McClintock who is also dedicated in the classroom. He participates in football, wrestling and track and is ranked fourth out of 359 kids in his graduating class. He has a weighted grade point average of 4.56.

“The single most important skill a kid learns in high school is their ability to manage their time,” McClintock football coach Mike Gibbons said. “There’s time for everything, and Hayden proves it.”

And he isn’t just a busy-body. He excels in everything he does.

Tippett led the McClintock football team in tackles last season and was chosen first-team all-region in the 4A-I Desert Sky. He won the region wrestling title in his weight class and also won the region in the shot put and discus throws.

“He pulled off the whole trifecta,” Gibbons said.

Tippett is garnering interest from Ivy League schools to play football next season.


Justin Gardner - Aug 17, 2009
Justin Gardner

School: Basha

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.67

Justin Gardner can’t seem to stay in one place on the football field. A tackle one season. Guard the next. Now back to tackle for his senior year.
But it’s his third year in the starting lineup, and the academically-gifted Gardner handles it as flawlessly as he does the classroom.
“I guess some of my ability (academics) is natural, but I have to work pretty hard to maintain,” Gardner said. “I’d say I study about four hours a day.’”
Gardner, who would like to major in some form of engineering, likes to watch movies and play golf with friends in his spare time. He’s especially eager for the season to start as Basha eyes another playoff trip.
“We’re going to have a real good line,” Gardner said. “We finished first in a lineman competition at ASU this summer. We’re strong at the line positions. Lots of guys who have played a lot.”
Gardner’s days this fall arer filled by calculus, AP physics, AP government, AP English, seminary and football. An older brother has attended ASU majoring in electrical engineering.
Staying home or near home wouldn’t be all bad, but his dream -- perhaps not far-fetched -- is to attend an Ivy League school.


Chase Cartwright - Aug 13, 2009
Chase Cartwright

School: Corona del Sol

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.7

Chase Cartwright likes staying ahead of the curve. The senior had a 4.0 GPA last spring, is at college freshman-level math classes and entering his third year as the starting quarterback at Tempe Corona del Sol.
Between academics, football and the college recruitment process, there’s not much time left over, but he’ll always make time to be an informal tutor for others.
“I love helping students and others,” he said. “I take pride in helping others. I help when asked to, whatever it is just to give them a helping hand when they need something.”
He also wants the Aztecs to go a step further this season. Corona started last season 8-0, but suffered consecutive losses to then-Central Region rivals Chandler Basha and Phoenix Desert Vista to end the regular season.
Corona pounded Laveen Cesar Chavez to open the playoffs, but struggled offensively in a quarterfinal loss to Mesa Mountain View.
“We have that taste and we’ll let it out when we have the chance again. We have no time to waste about being bitter," said Cartwright, who finished the year with 1,294 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. "I’m over it, I think a couple guys are a little bitter but we’re ready to make our mark as this team and stop worrying about the last one.”
Thankful that Idaho and Northern Arizona already offered him scholarships, he’s not in a hurry to decide. His hope is a couple more option-style plays in the playbook for him and running back Michael Lange (1,418 yards, 20 TD last season) will open up the offense and perhaps indirectly help Cartwright at the next level.
He went to football camps this summer at half of the Pac-10 schools, plus Boise State, but will worry about college selections after the season.


Nate Scola - Oct 3, 2008
Nate Scola

School: Apache Junction

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.75

Nate Scola is the starting quarterback for Apache Junction and has led the Prospectors to a 4-1 mark in the team’s first five games. He has passed for 232 yards and two touchdowns while leading the team with 433 yards rushing and seven more scores on the ground. He also ranks as one of the team’s top defensive players, racking up two sacks, an interception, and 44 tackles. Two weeks ago against Queen Creek, he made two crucial fourth-quarter red-zone tackles, including the final one on fourth down, to seal an Apache Junction victory.

According to his coach Rich Milligan, Nate exceeds any expectations placed upon him on, or off, the field.

“Nate is by far the most competitive person I’ve ever coached,” Milligan said, “even in the classroom. … When he misses a question on a test, he wants to know what he did wrong and how he can improve himself and get better. You don’t see that a lot with kids his age.”

Nate currently maintains a 3.75 GPA as a member of the National Honors Society. He has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, promoted literacy by reading to elementary school students and helped in the community by partaking in clean-up projects.


Jordan Fraser - Sep 22, 2008
Jordan Fraser

School: Basha

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.5

Along with starting on Chandler Basha’s football team and running track, Jordan Fraser maintains a 3.5 GPA while taking a full course load of AP classes. He has volunteered at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church every Sunday since fifth grade and was one of only two Basha male students to be nominated and selected for the American Legion Boys State program.

In February 2007, Fraser’s 12-year-old sister Abigail was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. While juggling his school, sports and extra-curricular activities, Fraser also embraced the role of big brother and helped his other younger sister, Megan (11), deal with the situation.

“He had every opportunity to fall apart,” said his mother Melissa, “especially with his father and I were focused on other things. But he really stepped up, continued to excel in school, continued to play sports, and really took charge of his destiny instead of doing the easy thing … and coming unglued.”

Fraser, a safety, has a huge game against Glendale Deer Valley on Sept. 12. He finished with nine tackles, returned a blocked punt from around midfield for a touchdown and also returned a fumble to the 4-yard line to set up another Basha touchdown.

“He’s a leader on and off the field,” said Basha football coach Tim McBurney, “both for the team and the school. He has great character. It is an easy job to coach a player like that.”


Laura Bohning - Sep 11, 2008
Laura Bohning

School: Corona del Sol

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.4

Laura Bohning is a multi-sport athlete who excels in many facets of high school life aside from just sports. She had a great junior season in 2007-08 with Tempe Corona del Sol’s state runner-up softball team, finishing second on the Aztecs with a .404 batting average. She drove in 37 runs in 36 games, stole five bases and hit eight doubles in 114 at-bats on her way to first-team All-Central Region honors and a spot the All-Tribune 5A first team.

“She has a quiet leadership,” said softball coach Jeep Ray. “She doesn’t do a lot of talking, but leads by example. She is always one of the first at practice, and one of the last to leave.

“She was always asking for more grounders, more fly balls, just more of everything,” Ray said. “She was a great utility player, filling in at every position on the field aside from catcher and center field … wherever we needed her.”

Laura is a member of the National Honors Society and has a 4.4 GPA. She has also found time to volunteer at a variety of charity organizations, including the Tillman Foundation, Kids Voting USA, the Ronald McDonald House and several softball camps. She was part of the school band as a freshman and sophomore and ran cross-country her sophomore and junior seasons.


Aaron Borenstein - Jun 25, 2008
Aaron Borenstein

School: Saguaro

Sport: Baseball

GPA: 3.9

Scottsdale Saguaro senior Aaron Borenstein is a leader on and off the field. The Sabercats first baseman is currently hitting .330 with 10 doubles and has yet to make an error at first base.

Borenstein was named team captain as the starting catcher last season, but when he realized that the Sabercats’ new transfer was a solid catcher, he stepped up as team captain and showed his leadership skills when he approached coach Ryan Dyer with a selfless proposition.

“He came to me and voluntarily offered to move to first base,” said Dyer. “He was willing to make the sacrfice for his team.”

A clearly versatile and smart player, Borenstein earned honorable mention all-region (Desert Sky) in 2007, led his team to 20-11 record this year, and helped Saguaro to a stunning 10-6 upset over No. 6 Apollo in the first round of the 4A-I State playoffs.

“Aaron thrives off of pressure. He love big games,” said Dyer. “He pushed his teammates to perform and succeed in the state tournament.”

Borenstein will continue his baseball career next year at Johns Hopkins University.

“Aaron’s not your typical kid. He is dedicated to his education and found a way to balance atheltics with it,” said his father Mark Borenstein. “He may not be the most talented player on the field, but he has the biggest heart and the most dedication.”


Caitlin Melnychenko - Jun 18, 2008
Caitlin Melnychenko

School: Chaparral

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.1

Junior Caitlin Melnychenko has been the starting catcher for Scottsdale Chaparral since her freshman year. As a sophomore in 2006, she was the team’s leading hitter, batting .476, and helped lead her team to the 4A-I state championship in 2007.

Caitlin was twice awarded the team’s “Firebird Award,” presented by the coaches to the team’s overall leader. This season, Melnychenko has caught every inning despite playing with a broken wrist.

“The most amazing thing about Caitlin is that she caught 56 innings with a broken left wrist, her catching hand, and only has two passed balls all year,” said Firebirds coach Wes Little.

The Firebirds have two of the top pitchers in the state with Mackenzie Popescue and Rae Ball, so Melnychenko’s importance as the team’s lone catcher cannot be measured in numbers.

“She handles two top-line pitchers and does a great job keeping our pitchers calm and focused on the task at hand,” Little said.

Caitlin also keeps up a 4.1 GPA as well as participating in a multitude of extracurricular activities. She writes for the school newspaper, takes part in community service activities, and helps Little teach and instruct middle school students.

“She is the true definition of a student-athlete,” Little said. “She’s always willing to do anything she can to help, including working in the community.

“We would not have had the success we’ve had without her.”


Vanessa Villar - Jun 3, 2008
Vanessa Villar

School: Skyline

Sport: Softball

GPA: 3.7

Vanessa Villar finished the 2008 season with a .486 batting average, seven doubles, 17 RBIs and 17 stolen bases for Mesa Skyline.

Villar has been a mainstay in the Skyline outfield for the past three years. Because of this, the center fielder emerged as one of the team’s leaders both on and off the field.

“She takes control of the outfield. She’s one of those unspoken leaders. She doesn’t yell and scream, she does it through her effort,” Skyline coach Jim Faul said.

“She committed to everything in the offseason such as the weight training and summer league games. She works hard and her batting average and fielding percentage have gone up each year.”

Villar finished with .952 fielding percentage and 43 outfield assists.

Off the field, she has taken part in the team’s many volunteer efforts including campus beautification, little-league clinics and toy drives.

Villar, a senior, plans to pursue a career in nursing.


Stephanie Beeman - May 22, 2008
Stephanie Beeman

School: Highland High

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Stephanie Beeman led Gilbert Highland to the 5A-I state championship this past season, the fifth title in school history and first since 2005.

Beeman averaged just less than 10 points a game for the season, but scored a game-high 16 points in the state title game, including a crucial 3-pointer late in the game to seal the victory. As captain of the team, Stephanie took the team on her back and proved her leadership on the court.

“We had a very young team this year, and she took charge and led the team in the right direction,” said Hawks coach Miner Webster. “Her biggest asset on the court was her leadership skills.”

Off the court, Beeman has excelled in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA.


Kim Pestalozzi - May 5, 2008
Kim Pestalozzi

School: Corona del Sol

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.5

Junior Kim Pestalozzi averaged 13.4 points per game this season for Tempe Corona del Sol, but her talents on and off the court don’t end there.

Kim had the third-highest free-throw percentage in school history, hitting 79 percent of her shots from the line and was in the top five in the 5A-I Central Region in scoring, 3-point average, steals, and assists.

When she’s not playing basketball, Pestalozzi plays club soccer in the fall and spring. Between varsity and club basketball and two seasons of soccer, Kim still maintains a 4.45 weighted GPA and attends several honors classes.

“As a player, she cares more about the team’s overall success than she does about her own individual accolades," said her mother, Lisa Aubuchon. "She does whatever it takes to win.”

According to Aztecs girls basketball coach Pat Reed, “she’s one of those athletes you wish all your player would play like, she always gives 110 percent.”


Sabrina Alvarado - Apr 23, 2008
Sabrina Alvarado

School: Chandler

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.3

Junior guard Sabrina Alvarado is a important piece to the Chandler High School girls basketball team. Although not a starter, Sabrina brings things to the basketball court that every team needs.

“She contributes a lot,” Wolves coach Luann Ewan says. “She was on the varsity team last year as a sophomore and is a very good defensive player.”

According to coach Ewan, Sabrina is an even better person than athlete. “I had Sabrina as a freshman honors kid, and she was kind of a quiet kid. What made her stand out was that she was a little more mature than the rest. I never heard her say anything unkind about anybody. She always helped everyone. She is the kind of kid that any parent would love to have. She is a gifted athlete and student.”

Sabrina is a member of the National Honors Society and does a lot of volunteer work. She tutors grade-school students from Galveston Elementary School in Chandler. “It is very sweet to see her work with them. They all love her because she treats them with respect and kindness.” coach Ewan said.


Aley Rohde - Apr 7, 2008
Aley Rohde

School: Pinnacle

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 3.8

Freshman center Aley Rohde led the Pinnacle girls basketball team to a second place finish in the 5A-II state tournament.

Rohde finished the season averaging 15.6 points per game, and 9.9 rebounds per game. She helped Pinnacle finish the year with a 29-5 overall record and 7-1 record in the 5A-II Pima Region. She also was named all-tournament team captain in the Bradshaw Mountain Lady Bears Classic, a tournament the Pioneers won.

Aley’s coach, Jackie Van Patten, says that despite her success as a freshman, Rohde still remains dedicated to improving as a player.

“She has a strong desire to take the team back to the state title game,” says Van Patten. “She learned a lot from this year’s tournament and wants a chance to win it all.”

According to her coach, Aley’s skill on the court is just half of what makes her such a special player.

“Aley is a smart girl both on the court and in the classroom.”


Mari Greenberg - Mar 19, 2008
Mari Greenberg

School: Desert Mountain

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 4.7

Senior Mari Greenberg captained Desert Mountain to the state tournament this year after a storied career with the Wolves.

Greenberg, who scored 17 goals this season, ended her career with mulitple school records. She scored 70 goals to break the old mark of 65 while also setting records with 187 points and 83 starts. She will be attending Lehigh University next year on a full scholarship. She has also accumulated a GPA of 4.7 while studying the in the International Baccalaureate Program.

“Mari was the MVP of our team this year,” beamed her coach Liam O’Shea. “She was a leader on and off the field. She had a big part in everything we did this year as a team.”


Malia Magazzeni - Mar 10, 2008
Malia Magazzeni

School: Highland High

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 3.3

Junior Malia Magazzeni has been a member of the varsity basketball team since her freshman year.

She averaged seven points and eight rebounds per contest this season for the Hawks.

Coach Miner Webster called Magazzeni a very hard worker who is conscientious in everything she does.

“She is a very good defender and rebounder,” he said. “Her offensive game is gradually coming around, but her greatest asset to our team is on the defensive end.”

Webster also said that Magazzeni is a pleasure to not only have on the team, but also in the classroom.


Anne Munsil - Feb 28, 2008
Anne Munsil

School: Scottsdale Christian Academy

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Senior Anne Munsil is a three-year letter winner in basketball and softball at Scottsdale Christian High School and has also played varsity volleyball. She earned first-team all-conference and all-region (Central) last year in basketball as a junior, and the guard is senior captain this year.

Munsil is a member of the National Honors Society and has earned an A in every class she has taken at Scottsdale Christian.

“As the only senior on our team she brings almost all the leadership. She sets the tone for us, and our young girls look to her as a mentor,” Eagles head coach Matt Barreiro said. “Without her we probably wouldn’t be winning any games that we have been.”


Bryan Behrens - Feb 5, 2008
Bryan Behrens

School: Brophy College Prep

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.0

Senior Bryan Behrens started at quarterback at Brophy Prep for the last three years winning two 5A Division I state championships including this past season.

Behrens was named to the Class 5A All-Tribune first team and also was awarded the Distinguished Senior Award.

Behrens is undecided about where he will play in college with Princeton and Brown being two of the more notable options.

Coach Scooter Molander said he is recognized by his peers as one of the top two or three in his class.

Behrens participated in the Loyola Project community service program.

Molander said Behrens has improved not only as a football player, but also as a person.

“Its fun to see a guy like him develop as a person,” he said. “He was really thrown into the fire his sophomore season.” “He really took it upon himself his senior year to become a leader.”

Behrens will leave large shoes to fill for whoever replaces him at starting quarterback next season.

“He will go down as the grestest quarterback in the history of Brophy,” Molander said.


Tanner Martin - Jan 28, 2008
Tanner Martin

School: Brophy College Prep

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.1

Senior Tanner Martin was the starting center for the 5A Division I state champion Brophy Prep. Martin, a captain who received the Outstanding Senior Award, was also named Class 5A All-Tribune Honorable Mention for the Broncos.

Martin is a National Merit semi-finalist, an AP scholar with distinction and is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Coach Scooter Molander said Martin was a key component in their state championship season.

“He was clearly a leader,” Molander said. “He was tremendous in terms of his improvement from his junior to senior year, which was important in us winning the state championship.”

Molander called Martin a very respectful person.

“He is not a guy that is going to tell you what he is going to do, he just goes out and does it,” he said.


Brandon Large - Jan 3, 2008
Brandon Large

School: Westwood

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.0

Senior Brandon Large recently completed his second season as starting quarterback for Westwood High School’s varsity football team. He was awarded First Team All-Region Quarterback this year and was chosen by players as a Westwood team captain for this past season.

Large’s greatest asset is his athleticism, said Westwood varsity football head coach Eddy Zubey.

“He’s agile, he can run and he’s got a good stiff arm,” Zubey said. “He’s a hard worker. He plays three sports and didn’t miss any summer workouts.”

Large is also the starting power forward on Westwood’s varsity basketball team and the pitcher for the varsity baseball team.

Large volunteered as a coach for the juniors division of Little League baseball and girls Powder Puff football at Westwood.

Outside of sports, Large concentrates on his AP English and government classes.


Alex Harris - Dec 6, 2007
Alex Harris

School: Mountain View (Mesa)

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.0

Senior Alex Harris played seven games this season as starting quarterback for Mountain View High School’s varsity football team before breaking his foot during the game against Basha High School.

Harris, who also runs outdoor track, was brought up from the JV football team his sophomore year to compete in the playoffs for the varsity team, said Mountain View head football coach Tom Joseph.

“He’s a good role model for the other kids on the team,” Joseph said. “He’s a student of the game, and he’s also very coachable.”

Harris takes classes in AP Physics, AP Calculus, and AP Government. He is also president of the Mountain View football club, a Toro Links mentor and volunteers for Save the Family of Mesa.

“Harris is a hard worker and has got a great work ethic in the classroom and in anything he does,” Joseph said. “He’s a great young man.”


Corey Vaughan - Nov 27, 2007
Corey Vaughan

School: Seton Catholic

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.24

Two-year varsity starter Corey Vaughan played running back and linebacker for the Seton Catholic High School football team.

“On the field he’s a very intelligent kid, a leader,” said Seton Catholic’s head football coach Rodger Schenks. “He knew what everyone was doing, so if anyone had a question, he could help them out, (acting) almost like another coach on the field.”

Vaughn, a senior, finished the season with 187 carries for 812 yards, six touchdowns and 62 tackles, Schenks said.

Vaughn is also the staring point guard on Seton Catholic’s varsity basketball team.

In addition to taking AP physics at Seton Catholic, Vaughn is enrolled in a calculus II course at Arizona State University and a C++ computer science class at Mesa Community College.

In his spare time, Vaughn does peer tutoring and participates in the National Honor Society. He also serves as treasurer of Seton Catholic’s Olympic weightlifting club.

“He’s well liked in the community,” Schenks said. “People like to be around him because he’s a positive leader.”


Tori Papp - Nov 20, 2007
Tori Papp

School: Corona del Sol

Sport: Cross Country (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

With the help of sophomore Tori Papp, Corona del Sol’s varsity cross country team placed sixth in the state meet this season, a jump from 19th place last year.

“(She’s) helping to take this program from one of the worst in the
state to one of the very best,” Corona del Sol girls’ cross country coach Jon Drury wrote in an e-mail.

Papp received all-region honors as a varsity runner her freshman year and took the Tempe JV city champion title this season, Drury said.

“She ran JV so that a senior would be allowed to run her final race as an Aztec,” Drury said. “This just proves how much of a team player she is.”

Papp, who holds anywhere from the third to sixth spot on the team, runs an average mile of 6:34, Drury said.

Papp also participates in track and soccer. She was recently chosen as a captain of Corona’s JV soccer team.

Outside of sports, Papp maintains a 4.0 GPA while taking honors Spanish, biology and algebra.

Drury said off the course, Papp is still a competitor.

“She always wants to be the best,” Drury said.


John Jones - Nov 13, 2007
John Jones

School: Pinnacle

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.5

Although senior John Jones’ primary sport is baseball, he plays outside linebacker for Pinnacle High School’s varsity football team during the fall season.

“He’s coachable, disciplined and is pretty quick,” said Pinnacle head varsity football coach Dana Zupke. “He’s got good speed.”

Jones, who broke his hand at the start of this season, his second on varsity, has retuned to play for the past several weeks, Zupke said.

When he’s not playing football, Jones concentrates on AP courses in biology, government and economics. He is also a member of the Pinnacle High School Crazies student athletic booster club.

“(Jones) is a very hard worker both in the classroom and in the weight room,” Zupke said. “He’s a quiet, very respectful, just all-around nice kid.”


Jon Black - Nov 6, 2007
Jon Black

School: Higley

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.75

Senior Jonathan Black, a member of Higley High School’s varsity football team since his sophomore year, plays offensive tackle and defensive nose guard.

“His strength is he’s a very team-oriented individual and very well liked by his teammates,” said Higley head varsity football coach Jim Beall. “He’s one of those players that you like because he’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – off the field he’s the meekest person you’d meet in the world, but on the field he’s all business.”

Black dedicated this football season to his brother, a freshman at Higley High School, who was recently diagnosed with a tumor in his tibia and is now unable to play football, said Jon’s father Matthew Black.

Off the field, Black maintains a 3.75 GPA while taking AP literature and AP precalculus. His academic rank is 63 out of 481 seniors. Black is also involved in his local church, Beall said.

“He’s just a very giving, caring young man,” Beall said. “He’s willing to give anything he can to help others.”


Zachary Abel - Oct 30, 2007
Zachary Abel

School: Mesquite

Sport: Wrestling

GPA: 3.75

Junior Zachary Abel, who plays nose tackle for Mesquite High School’s varsity football team, is recovering from a concussion that occurred during game action in September.

“He was chosen for the ‘12th Man Award’ by his coaches following the Mesquite game against Basha - the first game he'd been unable to play - for his enthusiasm as he encouraged the football team from the sidelines,” said Crista Abel, Zachary’s mother. “He hasn't been able to work out with the team but attends practice daily.”

As a sophomore competing on the varsity wrestling team, Abel received the “Most Disciplined Wrestler” award.

“He’s a hard worker,” said Mesquite’s head wrestling coach Jeff Alexander. “He leads by example…when we’re doing conditioning, he doesn’t complain.”

Abel is a member of the National Honor Society and is a trainer for A World of Difference. Abel’s other interests include archery, which he has been practicing since the age of 6, Crista said.


Jarison Johnson - Oct 22, 2007
Jarison Johnson

School: Red Mountain

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.46

This season, senior Jarison Johnson returns to playing running back full time for Red Mountain High School’s varsity football team. Johnson, who also returns kickoffs, split time with a senior at running back last year and took over the position after the senior player was hurt, said Red Mountain varsity football offensive coordinator James Fisher.

“I think that Jarison combines his speed with his strength,” Fisher said. “He’s pretty strong in the weight room…and (weighing) about 175 pounds, he’s pretty strong for that size. He carries the ball a lot for us.”

Jarison, who upholds a 3.46 GPA, also participates as a sprinter on Red Mountain’s track team, running the 100- and 200-meter dash and the 4-by-100-meter relay, Fisher said.

“One of the things Jarison does is he can relate to a lot of different kids,” Fisher said. “He doesn’t just hang out with one group.”


Melissa Hultstrand - Oct 15, 2007
Melissa Hultstrand

School: Mesquite

Sport: Golf (Girls)

GPA: 4.5

For the past two seasons, junior Melissa Hultstrand played number one on the Mesquite High School girls’ varsity golf team. Her team did not qualify for the 2006 Arizona Interscholastic Association 5A Division I State Championship, yet Hultstrand qualified individually, where she shot a final round 74 to finish tied for 12th place out of 88 participants.

This season, Hultstrand shot an even par 35 at Viewpoint Golf Resort in Mesa to spur Mesquite to victory over Red Mountain High School.

“She’s a hard worker,” said Mesquite girls’ varsity golf coach Jeff Koury. “It’s amazing how disciplined she is when it comes to practicing golf. She’s got so much patience.”

Hultstrand’s dedication extends to her schoolwork. As a sophomore, she excelled in honors-level chemistry, math and English courses. She also participates in Mesquite High School’s Wind Ensemble and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society.

Kay Jeanquartier, Hultstrand’s private golf teacher of eight years, said Hultstrand is aspiring to play college golf.

“She’s dedicated to the game,” Jeanquartier said. “She’s such a good student, so I’d imagine she’ll choose some place highly rated academically in addition to having a good golf program.”


Christopher Veto - Oct 5, 2007
Christopher Veto

School: Hamilton

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.61

This season marks Christopher Veto’s second year starting at center for the Hamilton High School varsity football team, the defending 5A-I state champions.

“He’s strong, he’s aggressive and he knows where to put all our guys in terms of positioning on the field,” said Huskies head football coach Steve Belles. “He’s kind of like the quarterback of the offensive line and does a great job for us.”

Veto achieves A’s in all of his classes and is academically ranked No.10 out of 699 seniors, said Steve Kanner, Veto’s guidance counselor. Veto is also president of the National Honor Society.

Veto is involved in the community through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Chandler’s Mayor's Youth Commission.

“He’s a well-rounded, all-American kid,” Belles said.


Molly Barlow - Sep 27, 2007
Molly Barlow

School: Seton Catholic

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Junior Molly Barlow, an outside hitter on Seton Catholic High School’s girl’s volleyball team, helped lead her team to victory in the 2005 and 2006 State Championships.

“Everything in volleyball, she does it well: passes well, serves well, hits well, digs well,” said Seton Catholic head volleyball coach James Felton. “She’s definitely our most complete player.”

Barlow also plays basketball, varsity softball and club volleyball. She still finds time to tutor fellow students and volunteer at a local church childcare center.

Barlow, academically ranked No.16 of 114 juniors, is a member of the National Honor Society and Students Against Drunk Driving, said Seton Catholic counselor Jerry Mullin.

Several D-I and D-II colleges are in the process of recruiting Barlow to play volleyball.

“She’s usually really happy and peppy, and she’s a fun person to have on the team,” Felton said.


Nathan Jameson - Sep 21, 2007
Nathan Jameson

School: Mesquite

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.41

Junior Nathan Jameson overcame knee surgery his freshman year and shoulder surgery his sophomore year to become an offensive lineman on Mesquite High School’s varsity football team this year.

“Nathan and his running mate on his side of the line…have been the most part consistent part of our offensive lineup to this point in the season,” said Mesquite High School football coach Mike Reardon. “He’s just a very intelligent player. He’s very coachable and doesn’t make too many mental errors at all.”

As a freshman, Jameson lettered in track and won the freshman title for shot put at the Gilbert city track meet.

Outside of sports, Jameson maintains high grades in three AP classes and one honors class. He is an accomplished trumpeter and member of the National Honor Society.

“He’s very dependable,” Reardon said. “He’s only a junior, so he’s got a lot more to learn.”


Nathan Walker - Sep 13, 2007
Nathan Walker

School: Dobson

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.1

Senior Nathan Walker is the starting free safety and the backup quarterback for Dobson High School’s varsity football team.

“Nathan is just an incredible kid,” said Dobson High School football coach Tom DeMassa. “He never misses practice and knows all the blocking assignments for every kid on every play.”

Walker received varsity letters for football and outdoor track his sophomore, junior and senior years. He runs hurdles in track and qualified for the state competition last year.

Walker also competes and teaches classes in grappling, a sport similar to ultimate fighting, DeMassa said.

Walker excels academically as well, boasting a 4.128 GPA. He will leave high school with close to 24 college credits earned through Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses, said Dobson High School counselor John Boggess.

Outside of school, Walker has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.

“He’s pretty much a role model for how young people should be,” DeMassa said.


Anna Gott - Sep 4, 2007
Anna Gott

School: Desert Vista

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Junior Anna Gott and teammate Betsi Metter placed first with 61 points each in the 2007 Arizona Region Junior Beach Program’s 18’s division, winning the title of Arizona Junior Beach Champions.

“Volleyball Magazine” mentioned Gott, who also plays club volleyball, in its “Faces of the Beach” feature in its August 2007 issue. She was also invited to the USA High Performance Beach Camp, which hosts high-caliber beach volleyball players, said Desert Vista varsity volleyball coach Molly West.

“I’m fortunate because Anna can play two positions really well,” West said. “She’s capable of setting just as well as libero. Truly, I think she’s the best libero in the state.”

Gott holds the Desert Vista school record of 27 digs in a match. Anna finished last season with 517 digs, breaking the school’s previous record of 408 digs.

She has competed on indoor courts across the country, including those in Colorado, Nevada, Florida and Minnesota.

“Anna’s volleyball IQ on the court is so high in terms of her ball control,” West said. “She makes us that much better in the back court with her defensive skills.”

When she’s not busy digging and passing balls, Anna focuses on her schoolwork, maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“She’s the complete package and a great kid,” West said.


Mattie Denton - Aug 24, 2007
Mattie Denton

School: Hamilton

Sport: Golf (Girls)

GPA: 3.2

Mattie is a senior on the Hamilton golf team and enrolled primarily in honors-level courses. She also sings with the school choir in Schola Cantorum.

“The fact that she takes a lot of honors classes and is constantly busy with extra-curricular activities is really impressive. It’s amazing she’s able to excel in AP honors classes,” says Hamilton golf coach Kevin Krahenbuhl. “She plays good golf and is one of the leaders of our team because she has been here for so many years.”


Christine Moses - May 23, 2007
Christine Moses

School: Chandler

Sport: Softball

GPA: 3.8

Christine is a junior who plays first base for the Chandler softball team. She has a 3.8 GPA, and is a member of the National Honor Society. But perhaps her most important attribute is the uplifting attitude she brings to her team.

“She is always positive. Win or lose, she always focuses on the bright spots,” says Chandler coach Kerry Crosswhite. “She’s involved with several community service projects, and is a good kid and all-around person.


Kristy Kellogg - May 10, 2007
Kristy Kellogg

School: Paradise Valley

Sport: Softball

GPA: 4.2

Kristy, just a sophomore, is one of only two Paradise Valley student-athletes whom plays three sports and was named as an AIA scholar athlete. She currently plays several different positions for the Trojans softball team, and carries an impressive 4.2 GPA.

“She has a wonderful personality and a real humbleness about here,” says Paradise Valley Athletics Secretary Wendy Smith. “You have to be very well-organized and a bright kid to do what she does.”

Kristy also plays for the school’s golf and soccer teams, and is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers her time for several charitable causes.


Jami Michaud - Mar 29, 2007
Jami Michaud

School: Mountain View (Mesa)

Sport: Track and Field (Girls)

GPA: 4.2

While competing as one of the top pole vaulters in the state, Jami carries a 4.2 GPA, and has attained several academic honors. She was also a 2nd runner-up in the Arizona Junior Miss competition.

On the track, she is currently tied for the state lead with a mark of 11-feet, 6-inches. Perhaps most impressive, is the fact that she missed almost all of last season after suffering a serious arm injury, yet has rehabilitated from the injury to perform as one of Arizona’s best pole vaulters.

“I think it’s an amazing story because she broke her arm last year after breaking the sophomore record, and had a rod put in her arm where the bone snapped,” said Mountain View coach Joe Sullivan. “She’s doing this year what she would have done last year (had she not got hurt), and we’re trying to get her to 12-feet before the season is over.”

Sullivan indicated next year Jami is leaning toward attending Paradise Valley Community College, which has a highly-regarded pole vaulting team.




Jon Davis - Mar 21, 2007
Jon Davis

School: Horizon Honors

Sport: Basketball (Boys)

GPA: 3.8

John lead Horizon Honors this past season by scoring 20 points per game and grabbing seven rebounds each contest, as the school recorded its best finish ever in reaching the 2A state quarterfinals. He was named to the 2A All-Metro team, and carries an impressive 3.8 GPA.

“John is a great kid and a natural leader for our team. He handles the ball really well, is a good shooter and can create his own shot,” said Horizon Honors coach Andy Acedo. “He also gets involved in community service projects and helped out this season with the Special Olympics.”

Davis, a 6-3 forward, is looking to play basketball at the collegiate level.


Gannon Conway - Mar 7, 2007
Gannon Conway

School: Higley

Sport: Wrestling

GPA: 3.8

Gannon was the East Sky Region wrestling champ in the 215-pound weight class, and he finished second overall in the state. He was also an All-Tribune football selection as an offensive lineman for Higley. He has a 3.8 grade point average.

“Gannon is an extra-hard worker,” says coach Higley wrestling coach Louie Campitelli. “But what really stands out about Gannon is he is a gentleman and the nicest kid off the mat, just a great kid. On the mat he took care of business and did what he had to do.”

Gannon is likely headed to Mesa Community College next year to play football, before he takes a two-year religious mission and then attends a four-year college.


Kayla Pedersen - Feb 27, 2007
Kayla Pedersen

School: Red Mountain

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.3

Likely one of the best prep basketball players Arizona has ever seen, the Red Mountain star will head to college basketball power Stanford after she graduates. But in the meantime, Pedersen is averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds per game while leading the Mountain Lions through a deep run in the state tournament.

Pedersen also excels in classroom, where she maintains a 4.3 GPA.

“There have not been too many like her, she’s pretty special the way she handles herself,” says Red Mountain coach Martin Appel. “She’s a mature kid who is a great decision maker, and she’s no different in the classroom than on the court.”

Pedersen recently broke the 5A career scoring record previously set by former Mountain Pointe star Nicole Powell, who also chose Stanford for her college playing career.


Rachel Werner - Feb 20, 2007
Rachel Werner

School: Xavier College Prep

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 4.0

Rachel was a senior defender for the Xavier girls’ soccer team that made it all the way to the 4A-II state semifinals. She is a 4.0 student and considering several colleges for next year, including Georgetown and Kansas.

“The biggest thing about Rachel was she played forward for her first three years, but was able to convert to defense this year,” said coach Barb Chura. “The best way to describe her is consistent, and that she just gets the job done. She’s very versatile and consistent on the field.”


Brock Fultz - Feb 12, 2007
Brock Fultz

School: Queen Creek

Sport: Basketball (Boys)

GPA: 3.5

Brock has kept his GPA above 3.5 while excelling in two sports for Queen Creek. In addition to averaging 15 points a game, he has established himself as one of the leaders of the basketball team.

“With a lot of sophomores and freshman on the team, he is our leader and the other kids look up to him,” said Queen Creek coach Troy Gibson. “He has accepted that role and is committed to being another coach on the floor.”

Brock is also an All-State baseball player, and will go on a two-year mission after graduating from high school.


Ashleigh Barkley - Feb 2, 2007
Ashleigh Barkley

School: Xavier College Prep

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 3.5

Ashleigh plays the forward and midfield positions for Xavier, and has accepted an athletic scholarship to play in college at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“She has invested a lot of time in the program and her contributions to the team have been great,” said Xavier coach Barb Chura. “She creates things on the field because of her skills and ball handling. She often draws several players from the opposing teams, and that creates scoring opportunities for other players on the team.”


Morgan Whitman - Jan 24, 2007
Morgan Whitman

School: Highland High

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 3.7

Just a sophomore, Morgan has already established herself as one of the integral members of the Lady Hawks’ basketball team. She has demonstrated her versatility by playing as both a guard and forward, and is one of the team’s statistical leaders in a number of categories.

“She came in as a freshman with pretty good skills and was ready to start,” said head coach Miner Webster. “She’s smart and makes good decisions, which is very important in basketball.”

In the classroom, Morgan has earned mostly A’s in the classroom while registering a 3.7 grade point average.

“She’s quiet and doesn’t say a lot, but just goes about her business and is a solid young lady,” said her coach. “You dream about having kids like Morgan on your team.”


Courtney Callahan - Jan 17, 2007
Courtney Callahan

School: Desert Mountain

Sport: Soccer (Girls)

GPA: 4.3

A senior varsity captain at Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School, Courtney Callahan carries an impressive 4.3 grade point average, and is one of the on-the-field leaders for the Wolves. She plays both the forward and midfielder positions, and has tallied three goals and three assists through the first 15 games of the season.

“She is going to Wellesley, which is a great college, so that shows she’s very intelligent,” says Desert Mountain coach Liam O’Shea. “We’ve moved her into positions on the field where she can control the game for us. She’s an incredible dribbler, is able to make a couple defenders miss and leave them in the dust.”

Courtney is also a member of the National Honor Society and the International Baccalaureate programs. She has received an athletic scholarship to attend the prestigious Massachusetts school, and has also been offered academic scholarships to Arizona Sate University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.


Michelle Berry - Dec 21, 2006
Michelle Berry

School: Pinnacle

Sport: Basketball (Girls)

GPA: 4.02

Michelle has excelled both in the classroom and on the hardwood during her four years at Pinnacle High School. She is a four-year honors student, and is captain of the varsity basketball team.

“She has been on the honor track all four years of high school and her work ethic to her academics is astounding,” said coach Jackie Van Patten. “She knows that
there is life after basketball, and her grades are just as important as her performance on the court.”

Michelle also participates in volleyball and was named the team MVP this year. Her plans for college include becoming a pharmacist, and if the opportunity presents itself, to continue playing basketball.


Ryan Frazier - Dec 11, 2006
Ryan Frazier

School: Desert Mountain

Sport: Football

GPA: 3.89

Ryan was a first team All-Desert Valley Region defensive back this year, as he compiled 83 tackles, including 49 solo. He hauled in a school-record eight interceptions during his career, and was a three-year starter.

Ryan is also now playing in his third year for the Desert Mountain varsity basketball team.

“He is a young man of strong character and is a leader of our team. He is one of those kids that every coach would like to have – he is a team guy, does everything you ask of him without reservation, handles himself with class on and off the basketball floor, but mostly, he competes,” says basketball coach Todd Fazio. “Ryan is a team captain and, along with a couple other guys, the glue to our basketball family. He is a type of kid that you look forward to coaching each day.”

Ryan also has donated his time to several organizations, including the Special Olympics, the American Foundation for the Blind, and The Salvation Army.

Ryan intends on going to medical school to become a surgeon, and has aspirations of playing college Football. He has not yet selected the college he will attend.


Efstathios (Stathis) Kondylis - Nov 30, 2006
Efstathios (Stathis) Kondylis

School: Chaparral

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.4

Efstathios (Stathis) Kondylis is a senior linebacker and kicker for the Chaparral High School football team. He is also a National Merit Semi-Finalist and a member of the National Honor Society. He is taking all Honors and AP classes.

Varsity Head Coach Ron Estabrook said, “Stathis is an outstanding member of the football team.” He said Kondylis began his senior season without a starting position but worked himself into the No. 1 kicker position, as well as starting outside linebacker. “The real story behind the success of Stathis is his work ethic and determination to be better,” the coach said.

This season Kondylis kicked 37-, 38-, and 42-yard field goals. He also handled kickoffs and PATs. Estabrook called Kondylis an outstanding example for his teammates, noting that he leads by example and shows good sportsmanship at all times. In addition to his athletics and academics, Kondylis is active in the Interact Club, which does regular community service projects in the Valley.


James A. Cappuccio - Nov 17, 2006
James A. Cappuccio

School: Chandler

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.36

James Cappuccio is a starting lineman for the Chandler Wolves football team, rotating in at offensive guard or tackle, and playing defensive tackle and end. Coach Jim Ewan describes Cappuccio as “truly one of our most versatile linemen.” His stats in regular-season play include 16 tackles total, 5 solo and 11 assists.

Cappuccio ranks 21st in his class of 645, and is enrolled in all honors classes. He is in the International Baccalaureate program, and is also a member of National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.

Cappuccio also plays lacrosse and soccer for Chandler High and is active in his church. He hasn’t made a college decision yet.




Bryan Berens - Oct 27, 2006
Bryan Berens

School: Brophy College Prep

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.3

Bryan Berens, quarterback for the Brophy Broncos, is a junior enrolled in all honors and AP classes. Vice President Adria Renke said Bryan has earned A's in all classwork since he started as a freshman at Brophy. On the field, Bryan stepped in as quarterback last year when the starting QB moved out of town. As a sophomore, Bryan led the Broncos to their first football state championship title in 2005, and is helping the team defend the 5A-Division I title this season. In addition to his athletic and academic success, Bryan was the recipient last spring of the school's AMDG Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on a BCP student. AMDG stands for a Latin phrase that means "For the Greater Glory of God." It is awarded to one student each year who exemplifies doing all he can to use his gifts to the best of his ability to serve God and others. Bryan is a member of the National Honor Society and is active in community service through his church and school.


Kyle Newhall-Caballero - Oct 13, 2006
Kyle Newhall-Caballero

School: Gilbert

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.6

Kyle is a senior at Gilbert High School and is one of the featured quarterbacks of the Fiesta region. He also plays on the basketball team as a power forward. Athletic director Steve McDowell says that by the end of this season, Kyle will hold every passing record at the school. Kyle is in all honors and AP classes. He has not yet committed to a college.


Britt Danneman - Oct 3, 2006
Britt Danneman

School: Chaparral

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.691

Britt has played Varsity volleyball the past two years, and has been with the Chaparral volleyball program since her freshman year, according to coach Jayme Crowley. “She’s a very solid player and a great team player,” Crowley said. Britt and her teammates captured the 4A-I Volleyball State Championship last year and are working this year to defend the title. Off the court, Britt is an honors student, taking AP and college classes. She is an officer of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society clubs at Chaparral. Britt is also active in the community and is volunteering on an election campaign in this fall’s Governor’s race.


Jason Schartz - Sep 27, 2006
Jason Schartz

School: Paradise Valley

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.118

Jason participates in two Varsity sports at Paradise Valley High School, football and wrestling.

He plays fullback and linebacker and has played varsity since his sophomore year. He also wrestles in the 215-pound weight class. Has been wrestling at the varsity level since his freshman year. He has twice received AIA Scholar/Athlete honors.

Jason is a tutor in the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, which targets students who want to go to college and improves their academic skills to prepare them for honors and Advanced Placement courses.


Anjuli Hale - Sep 20, 2006
Anjuli Hale

School: Mesa

Sport: Volleyball (Girls)

GPA: 4.07

Anjuli is a senior and plans on attending Colorado State University with a major in Veterinary Medicine. Anjuli plays volleyball, soccer and softball. She is also involved in the Republican Club and Disney Club.


Aleesha Miller - Sep 13, 2006
Aleesha Miller

School: Mountain View (Mesa)

Sport: Swim/Dive (Girls)

GPA: 3.548

Aleesha is in her 4th year on the Mountain View girls' swim team. She won the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle and anchored the winning 200-meter and 400-meter free relays in Mountain View's win over Desert Mountain on Aug. 29.