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Sedona Red Rock High School traveled to the Division III state golf championships seeded third overall Friday, May 15.

Senior Jasper Herrick prepares to putt for Sedona Red Rock High School on the third hole of Seven Canyons Golf Course. At the Division III state golf championships at Antelope Hills Golf Course in Prescott, Herrick shot an 81 both rounds to finish third on the Scorpions team and 24th overall.
After 36 cold, wet, wind-blown holes at Antelope Hills Golf Course, that’s exactly where the Scorpions finished Saturday, May 16.

“We roller-coastered back and forth, slogging through two days of miserable cold, windy and wet conditions with a fair amount of casual water on the courses,” said Dennis Mobley, SRRHS head golf coach. “At one point, we actually had a three-stroke lead on the field only to be nosed out by our nemesis Northwest Christian in the last two holes.”

Statistical team leader Keagan Webster, a junior, and four Scorpions seniors combined to shoot the second-best second round of the tournament May 16, but it was not enough to overcome a three-stroke deficit to second-seed Northwest Christian High School.

“The fun was in the five-team race for the second-place trophy between us ... Scottsdale Prep” and Estrella Foothills and Payson high schools, Mobley added. “The other schools were well behind this group.”

Ultimately, the state’s top three spring high school golf teams would play to their seeding in Prescott. SRRHS would still perform well enough to have the best score among all Division III public schools, as both the Crusaders and top-seed Valley Christian High School are private institutions in north Phoenix.

“It is quite coincidental to see so many top quality junior golfers matriculate at the same small private school,” Mobley said. “In our school’s 21-year golf history, this is the seventh time we have won the public schools state golf championship. Only private schools defeated us in 1997, 1999, 2001 [and] 2006.”

For more photos and the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Sedona’s only major league team in Little League competition scored its 10th victory against just two losses on the season Monday, May 18.

Moses Marasco dives safely back into second for the Diamondbacks, Sedona’s little league Majors team, after changing his mind about trying to stretch a double into a triple. The D-Backs defeated visiting Camp Verde, 16-4, Monday, May 18, at Posse Grounds Park.
The Diamondbacks didn’t have to swing for the fences at Posse Grounds Park when they could go inside the park for home runs three consecutive times, including a grand slam in the second inning, in a 16-4 run-ruling of the Camp Verde Mariners.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that in 16 years of coaching,” head coach John Johnson said. “They were back-to-back-to-back, and weren’t on errors — we just happened to hit the gaps.”

On most nights, it would have been enough for Big Park Community School students Joey Johnson and Moses Marasco to go all the way around the bases the hard way, turning their respective shots to left-center field and down the right field line into two inside-the-park home runs in a row.

But those feats were mere follow-up to fellow pitcher Matthew LeBlanc’s identical achievement, only with the bases loaded — turning a drive to the right-center field gap into a grand slam.

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 22, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Cancer is a bitter enemy for many Americans. But it is an adversary that one 15-year Sedona resident wants to fight in a month as the lone American.

Jennifer Yates, left, talks with Caroline Johnson about her Ironman race during her fundraiser at Azadi Fine Rugs in Tlaquepaque. Yates' goal is to reach $20,000 to participate in the Sunday, June 14, half-triathlon in Staffordshire, England, to raise money for cancer research. Yates, a breast cancer survivor, was the only American selected for the 70.3-mile race.
A Verde Valley Sanctuary board member, Jennifer Yates has raised nearly $5,500 toward being the only United States representative Sunday, June 14, on the Chef Gordon Ramsay charity team at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire, England.

Yates raised more than $4,000 for the half-triathlon Tuesday, May 12, at a Tlaquepaque fundraiser, where she spoke about the battles she and her family have had to fight just to confront this charity challenge — which will also raise money to fight world hunger, spina bifida, meningitis and children’s palliative care.

“This has been a big undertaking for me,” Yates said. “I’ve always been an athlete — it got me through a lot of traumatic experiences in my life — and I survived.”

Yates, who will turn 50 in August, has never participated in a triathlon or any other sports competition since she was in school.

“My extent of swimming was twirling in the pool,” she said. “That’s it. I have been blessed with a team of local coaches ... preparing me for this grueling event.”

These include U.S. Masters swimmer Paul Cate and former professional football player Paul Burke, coaches whom she has been training with since mid-January.

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 15, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Head coach Dennis Mobley's self-described "best golf team" in the history of Sedona Red Rock High School will be ranked third overall in Division III and bring an extra Scorpion to the state tournament Friday and Saturday,
May 15 and 16, in Prescott.

Senior Savanah Cooper tees off on the third hole of Seven Canyons Golf Course. Cooper will be one of six Sedona Red Rock High School golfers traveling to the Division III state tournament, which the Scorpions are one of the favorites to win, Friday and Saturday,  May 15 and 16, in Prescott.
Seniors Savanah Cooper, Jasper Herrick, Skylar Richardson and Gary Schlee will join junior Keagan Webster and sophomore Neil Smith in the quest to bring home the first state golf title since 2002 for Mobley and SRRHS [22-1].

"We will be using six players at State because they all deserve to be there," Mobley said. "Keagan ... has been our most consistent and successful golfer coming down the stretch."

The Scorpions will be playing five players each day, with a different fifth going the first round, on the south course of Antelope Hills, than on the north course Saturday, May 16.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

He has won 354 Major League Baseball games and the most Cy Young Awards of any pitcher in the history of the sport yet remains an outsider to its Hall of Fame.

Roger Clemens, the pitcher with the most Cy Young Awards in the history of baseball, was in the Verde Valley for golf and for his wife, Debra, who is selling jewelry at a local gallery. He took time out of that schedule to demonstrate to players at Sedona Red Rock High School how he would approach the plate before delivering his fastball.
That exclusion, after three years of eligibility, is how allegations of Congressional perjury and steroid use have followed Roger Clemens into retirement since 2007.

But if any of that bothers “Rocket,” as he was known in his hard-throwing days for the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, he showed no sign of it while visiting in the Verde Valley with his wife, Debra, who is selling jewelry at a local gallery.

Roger Clemens, the former Major League Baseball pitcher with the most Cy Young awards in the history of baseball, autographs a baseball Thursday, May 7, for senior Kevin Schweiss, left.With the help of friends Jerry and Roxanne Foley, Clemens showed some local high school players some hitting and pitching pointers, signed autographs and took pictures Thursday, May 7.

In an exclusive interview with the Sedona Red Rock News, Clemens, father to four sons — two of whom are baseball players themselves — reflected on the highlights of a 24-year major league career as well as his family and professional legacy.

For Part 1 of the interview, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News. For Part 2, please see the Friday, May 13 issue. More photos are in each issue.

As the school year draws to a close, it feels like the end of an era in Verde Valley sports.

George Werner

In most sports, the Arizona Interscholastic Association has realigned Camp Verde, Mingus Union and Sedona Red Rock high schools into different divisions and sections for the next three years.

That means that in football, for instance, the Cowboys and the Scorpions will still play each other, but only for bragging rights.

Less explicable is Mingus Union High School’s baseball and boys soccer teams playing in a lower division than their counterparts in softball and girls soccer. Eight days later, head girls soccer coach Thomas “Buddy” Rhodes retired after a highly successful decade with the Marauders.

State small schools championships at Clarkdale-Jerome School are on hold, at least for basketball — cancelled this season due to scheduling conflicts. This had been an annual tradition between the Navajo Nation and Verde Valley League teams for nearly 30 years.

Add to those changes dozens of departures of on-campus coaches as well as young athletes, particularly from the Sedona area, and those who stay become even more deserving of notice.

Don't forget to follow @sedonanews on Twitter for the latest updates regarding all the news affecting Sedona and the Verde Valley.

For the full column, please see the Wednesday, May 6, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

In its first game of the Division III state softball tournament, Sedona Red Rock High School’s season succumbed to a six-run, sixth-inning avalanche from Snowflake High School.

Senior Sophie Copenhaver works on driving the ball out of the park during a recent Sedona Red Rock High School softball practice. Copenhaver, who will be playing college softball at Illinois Wesleyan University, will be one of three graduating SRRHS starters who will need be replaced from a team that finished second in its second and eighth in Division III.
Errors once again were the story in the Scorpions’ 14-4 second-round loss in Peoria, according to head coach Mike Keider. Three errors led to the fifth and final loss of the season for SRRHS, but those were just the ones included in the official scorebook.

“We actually had five errors, not taking into account throwing errors that advanced runners,” Keider said. “You can’t have five errors and expect to win against a caliber of a team like that.”

A hard-hit ground ball through the legs of sophomore shortstop Courtney Howard went all the way to the left-field fence for an inside-the-park, three-run home run.

“Why my left or center fielders weren’t backing her up on that, I don’t know,” Keider said. “After that, they were pretty dejected.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 8, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The return of the Sedona Senior and National Tennis Rating Program Tournament is giving local players like Dr. Stuart Osher the opportunity to shake the rust out of their racquets.

Stuart Osher gets set to rip a forehand return during hitting practice Monday, May 4, at the Sedona Red Rock High School tennis courts. The retired oncologist was tuning up for the Sedona Senior and National Tennis Rating Program Tournament beginning Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m.

“I’m trying not to embarrass myself,” the retired Los Angeles oncologist of 32 years said during a recent hitting practice on the Sedona Red Rock High School tennis courts, host to the three-day tournament that begins Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m.

“You clean up well, Doc,” reassured hitting partner Larry Lineberry, United States Professional Tennis Association master pro and director of the tournament. “We’re pretty good — we’re going to wear this ball out.”

As soon as those words came out of Lineberry’s mouth, Osher’s next volley fell short and into the net.

“Now why did you say that for?” growled Osher in frustration. “Right at that moment.”

Osher, who has played tennis since he was a 14-year-old in Flint, Mich., will still be the youngest player in his age division at the tournament, the proceeds from which benefit local junior tennis programs and the SRRHS tennis teams.

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 8, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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