Before sports coverage in Sedona begins for 2018, let’s take a look back at the top five stories of 2017. The list highlights some of the best performances on the field and court, while one emphasizes a story that carries more significance outside the lines.
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At the conclusion of his junior season, Sedona Red Rock High School catcher Wyatt Ross proved he was one of the state’s top bats. Ross had a batting average of .596, on-base percentage of .676 and a slugging percentage of .912; good for seventh, sixth and 20th in all of Arizona, respectively. He only struck out three times.
A hybrid sport worked its way into the Village of Oak Creek. Canyon Mesa Country Club became home to the first footgolf course north of Loop 101 in Phoenix. The sport combines the skills and knowledge needed to play golf and soccer, and players travel from Camp Verde to Flagstaff to play.
Sedona Red Rock High School’s cross country team was revived after a one-year disappearance. Class of 2016 alum Wyatt Stevenson, a successful Scorpions runner in his own right, took the reigns of the program. The 12-member team had just three seniors and eight freshmen, boding well for coming seasons.
Verde Valley High Performance Swim Team swimmer Carlos Lattanzi rose to become one of the top swimmers in Arizona for his age group, 11- to 12-year-old boys. Lattanzi ascended to own the No. 1 time in every breaststroke event in the short course yards season: 50-, 100- and 200-yard. He took second in his age group and sixth overall at the Holiday Swim Festival, one of the short course yard season’s most prestigious events with top swimmers from five states, earlier in December.
Lattanzi also owns Arizona’s top time in the 400-yard individual medley for his age group and had six No. 1 times to his name after the Holiday Swim Festival.
The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival had its biggest and best turnout in its third year of existence. Seventy-five vendors along with three food trucks and five breweries took over Posse Grounds Park in March for the two-day event attracting nearly 3,000 riders from across Arizona and other states.
Riders enjoyed live music while filling up on beer and food between riding some of Sedona’s iconic trails. Also, Phase II of the Sedona Bike Skills Park opened in July, featuring a dual slalom course.
The Scorpions girls basketball team had its best-ever season in 2016-17, according to head coach Dave Moncibaez, reaching the semifinals of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Conference 2A state tournament for second consecutive year [the first time it was known as Division IV]. It won 30 games while losing just two, marching its way to an undefeated Central Region campaign with an average margin of victory of 32.3 points and 35 points across its entire schedule.
A bid for an undefeated season lasted until the final game of the regular season, a loss to eventual Conference 3A runner-up Page High School. The other was to Leading Edge Academy - Gilbert in the state semifinals. The team won two tournaments: The Red Rock Hoops Classic and the Lady Badgers Winter Classic in Prescott, defeating two Conference 5A and two Conference 4A teams along the way.
Junior guard Liza Westervelt was named Central Region player of the year and earned recognition from the Arizona Republic, making its All-Conference 2A team. Players from north of Phoenix rarely receive such recognition.
The track and field team had a good showing at the AIA Division IV state championships, held at Mesa Community College on May 5 and 6, with 11 medal-winning performances: 10 individual and one relay. Senior Hannah Ringel brought home her third straight state title in the shot put, throwing
39-11.5, more than six feet further than the runner-up. Ringel was runner-up in the discus, too.
Senior Joe Glomski was a double champion, securing gold medals in the triple jump and long jump. At the Mingus Invitational on April 7, Glomski became Arizona’s No. 1 long jumper when he leapt 23-09.75. It also slated him No. 16 in the entire country at the time.
Senior Sophia Perry had the surprise performance of the meet, taking second in the long jump with a 16-06.5. Also taking home medals were junior Collier Trcic in the triple jump [33-11], junior Julia Koss was second in the pole vault [10-03] and senior Xan Hawes was third [10-0].
Sophomore Drake Ortiz was fourth in the pole vault [12-06]. The 4 x 100-meter relay team of Glomski, senior Dawson Stevenson, senior Luke Doerner and junior Javi Pacheco took third.
Junior Chenoa Crans battled injury to place fourth in the 300-meter hurdles. As a team, the girls finished third and the boys fifth. After the first day, the girls were first and the boys second.
Red Rock swimmer Parker Reed shattered a barrier in his senior year. Formerly Sarah, Reed competed as a transgender boy; he almost did not compete at all though and was only going to be a team manager.
But after the first day of practice, he was convinced to return to the water, and on Oct. 16, the AIA Executive Board approved his appeal to officially compete with the boys. During dual meets throughout the season up to that point, he had competed with the boys, but would have been unable to at the small school state championships or AIA state meet.
At the AIA Division III state championship preliminaries on Nov. 3, Reed swam on the 4 x 100-yard freestyle relay team. He also swam the preliminaries of the 100-yard butterfly.
What he did eclipses wins and losses and broken records. His courage to compete in a sport in which gender is clearly identified by what the athletes wear made it all the more meaningful. It is to be commended, especially during what has been a tumultuous year that saw a lot of change in our society, landing it at the top of this list.
“To my knowledge, it’s the first time Sedona Red Rock has had a transgender athlete, and it’s awesome he was part of our team and [it was] Parker, who I’ve known for years,” head swimming coach A. Jay Bronson said. “He brought so much more to the team, he brought us together. He showed us that the issues we may have had paled in comparison, and he was able to stand up and be proud.
“He did an awesome job as a swimmer, let alone as an individual, and I was really happy it was with our team and us.”