When 17-year-old Sedona resident and student Brad Lenzen began his high school sports career at Sedona Red Rock High, fellow students and coaches wouldn’t give the young man a chance.

Standing nearly 6-feet, 4-inches tall, Lenzen is a gangly fellow, or a steel string bean one might say.

At first glance, one might not think this kid is a football player, or any kind of athlete all together.

Chris-Brad-LenzenHis interesting, if not quirky, personality and his heart make up the player his teammates see today. Although he isn’t the fastest, the strongest, the quickest, or the most talented, Lenzen’s big heart is the one thing that gives him a chance to succeed.

Always the first to show to practice and last to leave, Lenzen worked his way through the laughter during his freshman year.

“No one accepted me because they didn’t think I was good enough,” Lenzen said.

At the time, Lenzen was hobbling around like one leg was shorter than the other as he broke his leg during a skateboarding accident while with friends at a skate park.

Refusing to quit, Lenzen still tried to go out for the basketball team at SRRHS but had to painfully stop and let the leg heal. He tells the story that not being able to play basketball pained him more than the leg ever did.

By his sophomore year, Lenzen made his way onto the baseball team but received minimal playing time, if none at all at the varsity level, but was an outfielder on the junior varsity.

Still, this young man wouldn’t quit.

During his junior year, Lenzen tried out for the Scorpion football team just to see what it was like.

Throughout the season, Lenzen showed up every day to practice, played harder than anyone and gave more effort than one can imagine on a team that finished the season 2-8.

Lenzen rarely played, but his spirit began to grow in football and it quickly became the one sport where he felt, well, not so out of place, he admitted.

During the spring and summer of 2009, Lenzen put in countless hours on his own, training, getting ready for his big senior season.

On any given day during the tail end of the school year, Lenzen could be seen running and sprinting his heart out on the dirt back fields of SRRHS.

Every step he took was one step closer to making sure his senior year was going to be a good one.

“I wanted to make sure I was strong enough, and in shape enough, to make it through a tough football season. I just wanted to play the game and have fun, and I thought I needed to show everyone that I could,” Lenzen said.

Working tirelessly in the weight room and even sharpening his tackling skills on his own using an old football dummy found lying in the weeds behind SRRHS, Lenzen began to feel he was prepared for the 2009 football season.

Lenzen even worked on his catching skills with sophomore quarterback, and friend, Jack Johnson, running routes until the light in the sky no longer allowed him to do so.

“I wanted to be ready for any position, but more importantly I wanted to not let my team down. I want to win a state championship and I don’t want to hold my teammates back because I can’t do something on the field,” Lenzen said.

A 3.10 GPA student and fan of playing the drums, Lenzen walked into the first day of practice back in August ready to go, quite possibly more ready than anyone else on the team.

Since that time, Lenzen has done enough to earn the respect of his teammates and his coach, Rob Lezcano.

“I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see this kid grow. He’s opened up more than any kid I’ve known in the last two years. He’s worked so hard and he deserves success,” Lezcano said.

During the first two games of the football season this last month, Lenzen has been on the field almost every play, starting at left tackle on offense and on the defensive line.

Against Williams High on Sept. 4, Lenzen shed his blocker and made his way to the Vikings quarterback and sacked him, dropping him to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Over the loud speaker, Lenzen was given credit for the sack and fans immediately cheered as Scorpion teammate Champion Max Boehm Reifenkugel raised Lenzen’s arm right there on the field like he just won some heavyweight prize fight.

“I saw all the people cheering and clapping and I knew then it was all worth it,” Lenzen said.

Lenzen’s story is one of heart, determination and pure will which is why the young man has been nominated for the inaugural High School Football Rudy Awards.

Everyone’s seen the movie “Rudy,” a tale about Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger who went through difficult times to make a college football team at Notre Dame University.

According to the Web site www.highschoolrudyawards.com, “Rudy stands for ‘Dream Big, Never Quit’ and ‘Always have a Positive Attitude.’”

The award is based on not the most gifted player, or the best stats, but rather it is a search for gridiron athletes who demonstrate what Rudy calls “The Four Cs”: character, courage, contribution and commitment. Passion, inspiration, and motivation are other qualities the award stands for.

In the last two months, Lenzen and his parents have gone through the paperwork, and he has made a few cuts and is one of the last remaining candidates in the country to be in the running for the award.

“I’ve seen the movie and I consider myself lucky to even be mentioned in the process. Rudy did all that work and never played until that last play. It

was an amazing story,” Lenzen said.

Three finalists will be chosen and the winner of the High School Football Rudy Award is given a $20,000 scholarship to his college of choice and gets to meet the real Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger at the awards ceremony Saturday, March 6, 2010.

“In the end, I’m just here to play football and have fun. I’m pleased to be a part of something so special here in Sedona,” Lenzen said.

That attitude is what just might win Lenzen this award.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

If Sedona Red Rock High head football coach Rob Lezcano could pass a law stating his Scorpions need only to play the second half, skipping the first half entirely, he probably would do so.

For the second straight week, Sedona football fans watched their team fall behind early, this time to rival Williams High. The Scorpions couldn’t recover as they dropped to 0-2 [0-0, 3A-West] on the season, 27-24.

Sedona kicked off to Williams and the Scorpion defense held the Vikings offense to three-and-out, forcing them to punt.

srrhs-f-ball-9-9On Sedona’s first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Pedro Ortega Jr. pitched it to junior wideout Troy Loparco for what looked like a sweep play.

Williams overplayed it as Loparco was ready for it, firing a rocket 30 yards downfield to wide open senior receiver Ben Fazekas.

If Fazekas caught the ball it was 6-0 Sedona, but unfortunately he dropped it, and instead the Scorpions had to settle for second down with 10 yards to go.

“I knew they would overplay that sweep play because we ran it a few times last week with success. I called the right play and Troy [Loparco] made a great throw but Ben [Fazekas] just dropped it. Ben is a great player for us and will catch many touchdowns for us this season, just not this time,” Lezcano said after the game.

The play shifted the entire course of the game as Williams went on to take a 20-0 lead at halftime as the Scorpion defense had trouble stopping the Williams offensive attack which totaled 155 yards in the air and 170 yards on the ground.

“It’s like we come out hesitant to play football in the first half. We know what to do, we just don’t do it,” senior tailback Dylan Watkins said.

Watkins certainly brought his “A” game against Williams on Friday, Sept. 4, carrying the ball eight times for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

He caught two balls for 13 yards, had a punt return for 11 yards and had two kickoff returns equaling 50 yards, not to mention he led the team in tackles with 16 on the night.

The mood is certainly different in the second half around the Scorpion bench this season, making it one of the more enjoyable Sedona football teams to watch in recent years.

Watkins gave Sedona its first score with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter to make it 20-6, Williams.

The score rejuvenated a Scorpion team looking for something positive and the boys took it from there.

Watkins’ name again would pop up to begin the fourth quarter as the senior back scampered 70 yards for a touchdown on Sedona’s first offensive play of the quarter to make it a 27-12 game.

Senior kicker Ryan Cadigan was nowhere to be found on the sidelines, forcing Sedona to go for two for the second time on the night. The two-point conversion was no good, keeping the score at 27-12.

It was not reported where Cadigan was, but he was not in uniform for the entire contest against Williams.

Missing their best kicker hurt the Scorpions in the long run as they did their best to come back against Williams in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns in the period.

The Scorpions would recover a fumble on the ensuing Williams possession as sophomore safety Bradley Cox fell on top of it to give Sedona the ball back with 11:32 remaining in the game.

The halfback pass from Loparco to Fazekas was called again by Lezcano and worked to perfection this time, giving Sedona another score to make it 27-18 with 11:22 to go.

“They were all worried about the fumble they just had and we didn’t wait to go for it all,” Lezcano said.

With 4:16 to go and Williams driving, trying like crazy to put this game to bed, senior Dylan Shugrue intercepted a Darius Brown pass and returned it 55 yards to give Sedona another chance.

Ortega and his offense took advantage as Ortega hid the ball well on a handoff and walked into the end zone on the left side to give Sedona another score, making it 27-24.

Sedona again failed the two-point conversion, making them 0-4 on the night which ended up being the difference in the game.

The Scorpions would get one more last gasp at a victory as Ortega set Sedona up with a 37-yard broken play run with 46 seconds remaining.

“This group of players we have here have worked so hard to get here and it shows with our determination. It’s the best football team I’ve been on here and I think we’re ready to start winning,” Ortega said after the game.

Ortega had eight carries for 88 yards on the night including the touchdown and completed two of seven passes for 11 yards.

With 18 seconds to go, sophomore Jack Johnson was called upon to heave the ball into the end zone, but didn’t have much time in the pocket, throwing the ball too early.

As it landed near the end zone without a Sedona receiver within 10 yards of it, the air went out of the stands as Williams needed only to down the ball to end the game.

“We were prepared so well for what Williams was going to do. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to. The boys were in position to do it, and they didn’t, and that’s why we lost,” Lezcano said.

Next up for the Scorpions will be another home game, this time against rival Camp Verde High on Friday, Sept. 11.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

In dire need of a winning season, the Sedona Red Rock High football team went to work this last month with lunch pail and hard hat in hand.

Second year Head Coach Rob Lezcano began his interview stating this August was the hardest training camp ever assembled in Scorpion football history.

He was happy to report most of the boys made it through the gauntlet and now await a team to take their aggression out on.

“Although this is only my second year as head coach of the Sedona program, I have worked with a few other head coaches here throughout the years and I’m sure this pre-season was one of the most difficult things these kids have been through,” Lezcano said.

SRRHS-football-action-8-26Lezcano and his coaching staff are adamant about their players being in shape this season and getting ready to take on a full 10-game schedule. With only 27 players on the roster, they’ll need to be.

Losing has become the norm for the Scorpions, having posted a 13-37 [9-19, 3A-West] record since the 2004 campaign.

The last three seasons have been brutal however, with a 4-25 [2-16, 3A-West] overall record since the 2007 campaign. To make matters worse, the team was 3-11 at home in that time span.

Last season the Scorpions did double their win total from the previous year by going 2-8 [1-5, 3A-West] on the season but scored only 148 points and gave up 443, making the margin of loss almost 30 points a game.

Lezcano, however, is one of the more positive men a person could ever meet, and he admitted doubling their win total last season was his goal, and this year, doubling up again is his newest goal.

“I knew coming in we were going to struggle, and two wins was what I thought we could manage. This season, I would like to get four wins. Now obviously, winning more games than four is what we want, and maybe we can do that if we keep the mistakes to a minimum this season,” Lezcano said.

As always, these young players will work hard regardless of the score. Give them credit for that. Lezcano said the mistakes must be kept to a minimum this year, and they must hold on to the ball more if they are to be successful.

With 27 players on the roster, Sedona has only 11 coming back from last season and 16 new faces to work with.

Thirteen players graduated from last season including top performers Sammy Holeyfield, Chris Kamas, Travis Bernard, J.P. Laws, Keith Thorne, Max and Luke Keckeis and Carter Jones.

While Holeyfield rotated in at quarterback last season, Bernard put up big numbers on the ground with 166 carries for 886 yards and seven touchdowns.

Jones was also dominant for the Scorpions having led the squad defensively in tackles with 80.

This season, top returners include senior tailback Dylan Watkins, senior center Colton Langmack, senior defensive end Champion Max Boehm Reifenkugel, senior guard Zach Saxman and senior quarterback and linebacker Pedro Ortega Jr.

Each of these players will play a pivotal role this season for the Scorpions if they are to be successful.

“I think we can be successful this season. We just have to continue to work,” Ortega Jr. said.

Of course Sedona has a few young and talented players including sophomore quarterback Jack Johnson, sophomore linebacker Andrew Rippy and safety and wideout Bradley Cox. All are expected to start, with Johnson getting half the snaps this season under center.

Other top returners include senior wideout Ben Fazekas, senior tackle Chris Brad Lenzen and sophomore guard Jason Marcy.

“I’m excited for this season to start. I love football and I think we can win a few games this season,” Fazekas said.

As for those new faces, the Scorpions have 16 of them, one of which played as a freshman, moved away, then came back for his junior year in Troy Loparco.

The top newcomers include junior wideout and corner Jamison Cunningham, sophomore guard Jordan Pickett, sophomore wideout Soren Johnson and sophomore tight end Colton Trcic.

Also, Sedona soccer player Ryan Cadigan is expected to be the kicker this season for the Scorpions.

The freshman roster this year includes Keenan Crans, Rawlin Carpenter, Zane Saxman, Josh Serin, Ryan Ramirez, James Gould, Alex Riccobene and Kade Gallegos.

“We don’t have much experience out there right now but we do have the talent; it’s just a matter of getting these kids playing time,” Lezcano said smiling while at practice Aug. 19.

The Scorpions will travel north to open their season in Flagstaff on the campus of Northern Arizona University on Friday, Aug. 28.

Sedona is paired with Page High in the Walkup Skydome with an official kickoff time of 5 p.m.

Kickoff was originally scheduled for 2 p.m. but was moved to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, according to Sedona Athletic Director John Parks.

The first home game for Sedona will come against Williams High on Friday, Sept. 4.

Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Holding J.V. Adams in his arms after J.V. fell off his horse tending cattle on the family ranch in Cedar City, Utah, Don Adams felt the overwhelming sense of helplessness.

Not knowing what to do for his beloved grandfather except comfort him, Adams began to realize what his life calling just might be.

“I don’t ever again want to be in a place where I can’t help a person,” Adams said with a sour look on his face, almost seeing the painful memory flash before his eyes.

Doc-Adams-1-8-21Grandfather Adams slipped into a coma that day nearly 28 years ago and later passed away, leaving the Adams family heartbroken.

Although a tragic beginning to the road Adams follows to this day is still painful, the rest of his chosen path has the highlights of a man dedicated to helping others within the community.

A pole vaulter and football player for Hanford High, Adams attended the University of Southern Utah to pursue a degree in computer science in 1981.

In 1984 after graduation, Adams used his grandfather’s memory for motivation, along with a small skiing accident, and attended Palmer College, a chiropractic school in Iowa.

Adams quickly took to the profession, especially after the skiing accident gave him that feeling of helplessness again.

“A friend of mine knew a chiropractor and he fixed me. I went right back to skiing competitively and that’s when I knew what direction I could go to help people,” Adams said.

Finishing the course work in record time, Adams moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to practice for Tom Toia Chiropractic in the beginning of 1987.

At the end of 1988, Adams and his wife at the time, Stephanie [the two have since divorced], moved to Sedona where he would work for Hugh Ilstrop Chiropractic.

Shortly after, Adams took over the business and later named it Adams Chiropractic, which is now located in West Sedona.

Adams is widely known for his work with Sedona Red Rock High as an unofficial team doctor.

Since SRRHS opened in 1994, Adams has been a part of every football team to date, helping hundreds of kids with their injuries and being a part of their young lives.

“I enjoy working with the young people in our community, watching boys grow up and become young men. I enjoy watching these athletes move on in their lives and become productive members of the community,” Adams said.

A man who doesn’t normally talk much, Adams opened up the flood gates in response to questions of his experiences and stories he might have of SRRHS athletics as we sat at a local pub over a drink.

Nearly an hour and a half later, Adams looked up and said with a big smile, “I can’t believe I have so many stories, so many memories.”

Of course, many of the tales are not suited for print, but Adams was reminded by them why he does what he does.

Seen on the sidelines of almost every home football game, Adams also began working with the boys basketball program in the late 1990s.

Eventually, Adams’ oldest daughter Loren was old enough to attend SRRHS and played basketball.

Adams traveled everywhere with the team, even to places like Parker and River Valley, a mere four hours away from Sedona.

Seeing Loren through high school and donating his time as team doctor, his youngest daughter Katie came up next and was not only a basketball player, but a volleyball player as well.

Adams once again followed his youngest around to almost every volleyball and basketball game. He even got a chance to be an assistant coach for the girls basketball program under John Cunningham for her sophomore and junior seasons.

Now a senior, Katie is into volleyball and basketball once again and Adams plans on being there for all of it.

“It is my great joy in life to watch my two daughters grow up and become great people. They are special people and it’s been exciting to see them grow,” Adams said.

Adams’ very expensive hobby, as he calls it, is something he says he’s thankful for. Adams said it helps him stay young because he is a kid at heart.

Adams loves the generation of high school kids, he went on to say, and he’s thankful for having the ability to be a part of their lives and help them through a very innocent time.

Of course, Adams didn’t want to forget to mention a new love in his life, girlfriend Sue Ellen Barker, who attends plenty of road trips and is a frequent fan at many Scorpion athletic

events while Adams is working the sidelines.

With his youngest child moving on after this season, Adams doesn’t know what the future holds for him in Sedona, or in SRRHS athletics.

He hopes whatever he’s doing, he will still find time to continue to help people and be a part of their changing lives.

So if you see “Doc” Adams on the sidelines this school year, go up and shake his hand, give him a hug, and thank him for what he’s done in this community.

I know I have.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The age-old argument of what activities can be called a sport, or those that can’t, is never solved and is always based on personal opinions, never fact.

bodybuilder-8-19Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, cross country, track and field and softball are all mainstream sports, but what about those that aren’t?

How about ... body building?

Now hold on sports fans, don’t start arguing yet.

According to the definition on www.dictionary.com, a “sport” is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and is often of a competitive nature.

Funny how the first sport they give in the list of examples is “racing” ... I’ll leave that be.

But body building, requiring hours upon hours of weight training, cardio activity, harsh diets and most of all mental toughness, should certainly be considered a “sport.”

Just ask 33-year-old Sedona resident Eric Mikulewicz what he thinks about body building. One wouldn’t need to get 10 feet from Mikulewicz to realize what great shape this guy is in.

A Buffalo native, Mikulewicz and his family moved to Sedona in 1990 and he attended Mingus Union High as a freshman.

Finding the weight room was easy in high school, but Mikulewicz’ first love was baseball.

The three-time varsity letterman and two-time All-Region performer for Mingus played at shortstop, second base and pitched during his four-year career.

Although baseball was a passion, the weight room took more and more of his time after Mikulewicz graduated in 1994, and became his biggest love.

“Since I was young I was always a big guy. I responded pretty well to the weight room in high school and I continued the training after,” Mikulewicz said.

By the age of 26, Mikulewicz got serious with the weights and hasn’t turned back, dedicating his life to staying in shape, being healthy and achieving the look that body builders want.

The first question asked of Mikulewicz was how healthy can body building really be and he had this to say:

“What people need to understand is it’s a lifestyle. You must diet perfectly because 85 percent of what your look turns out to be is the diet,” Mikulewicz said.

He went on to say he’s had no health issues at all, and watches every little thing that goes into his body.

At 218 pounds, Mikulewicz said he usually competes once a year in July at a weight of 175 pounds, or the middleweight division. The last competition was July 18 in Phoenix when he weighed in at 175.4 pounds.

Yes, that’s right, he’s gained 43-pounds since the competition only a month ago.

“It’s not uncommon for body builders to gain 35 to 45 pounds after competition. Most gain 15 pounds the next day,” Mikulewicz said.

He explained a lot of the weight is water weight, or weight a person can gain from just eating bread, or heavy pastas.

During the “off season,” Mikulewicz is usually around 9 to 10 percent body fat. In the six weeks leading up to a competition, he can get as low as 3 to 4 percent.

Mikulewicz did admit the weeks leading up to a body building competition can be stressful on the body, which is why many only do one, maybe two shows a year.

During the “off season,” Mikulewicz lifts weights five days a week and has three or four days of cardio activity.

In the weeks leading up to the competition, he spends his time in the weight room seven days a week and does cardio every day.

As for the diet, easily the hardest part for anyone to do, Mikulewicz can eat up to eight times a day.

Chicken, fish, and lean ground beef is usually on the menu at 10 to 12 ounces a sitting. One or two servings of complex carbohydrates are included as well like yams or pasta, per meal.

“We have to eat so many meals because a few weeks from the show, yeah, you’re tired and you have to keep the energy level up. Sometimes I wonder what the hell am I’m doing this to myself for, but in the end, I want to achieve that look,” Mikulewicz said.

It’s taken Mikulewicz 17 years to learn how to be safe about body building, and he consults on a regular basis with professional body builders in Phoenix.

“This is truly the hardest sport anyone can get involved in,” he added.

The question that lingers in anyone’s mind, especially these days, is steroids.

Mikulewicz immediately stated the bottom line is anyone who wants to achieve something great has to do all the work and taking short cuts isn’t how it gets done.

“I’m not going to say steroids isn’t a part of body building because it is, but I don’t do them, and have no part in them. It’s nothing I would consider,” Mikulewicz said.

Mikulewicz spends his time at Snap Fitness in Cottonwood working out and getting ready for the next show, and in his spare time he coaches a baseball team for the Sedona Little League.

After placing third at the NPC Arizona Open in Mesa on July 18, one of the largest body building shows in Arizona history, Mikulewicz hopes to do better next year and continue his hard work in the weight room.

“I love this sport. I like the way I look and I look forward to more success at future shows,” Mikulewicz said.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The Verde Valley’s favorite volleyball team is back for more this fall as the Sedona Red Rock High girls look to continue their quest for a 3A state championship, something they missed out on last year.

Ranked No. 4 going into the 2008 3A state volleyball championships last November, the Scorpions were handed a tough draw and lost in the first round to Holbrook High, 3-1.

A 3-1 defeat might sound like a lot to the normal volleyball fan but a line score of 25-21, 25-27, 23-25 and 16-25 is as close as it gets, folks.

SRRHS-volleyball-8-14The loss signaled the end of one of the best seasons in Sedona volleyball history as the Scorpions finished 16-4 overall including a perfect 12-0 mark in the 3A-West, earning themselves a regular season region title.

With last year’s successes now in the past, Sedona Head Coach John Parks and his volleyball team look to the immediate future. With two weeks of practice already under their belts, it’s looking like these Scorpions are primed to make another run at a state title.

“I’m mostly concerned about team chemistry at this point. We have the talent to win. It’s a matter of how we gel together in the coming months,” Parks said.

Sedona will look to replace the irreplaceable as 2008 3A-West MVP and senior Hayley McCord graduated along with teammate Tori Talkington.

The pair, especially McCord, Parks said, is one of the best, if not the best, leaders he’s ever had in the Scorpion volleyball program.

Talkington and McCord were “team first” players Parks said, and replacing them this season will be tough.

The talent is certainly there as the Scorpions return eight players from last year’s team, three of whom are seniors.

Those seniors include setter Logan Reilly and middle blockers Shelby Brekke and Katie Adams.

Reilly and Brekke were first team All-Region performers last season and Adams received an honorable mention award.

Other top returners include four juniors in outside hitters Chelsea Strong and Rachel Cook, defensive specialist Sarah Schlener and setter Ashtian Swartz.

Strong was nominated by league coaches as a second team All-Region performer.

Sophomore opposite hitter Katie Furlong is the youngest of the eight returning players for Sedona. She made headlines during a freshman campaign last season with her surprising play under pressure.

Five senior newcomers also made the Scorpion volleyball team this season in opposite hitter Jesse Powers, setter Kayla Parks, outside hitters Stephanie McIlroy and Lakeeda Wilson along with Jacqueline Strong.

The other newcomer is sophomore opposite Eilis Bracken, a junior varsity player from last season.

When asked how he plans to balance playing time when there are only six spots on the floor and 14 players on the roster, Parks had this to say:

“It’s my job to find what works. I will play the players that give us the best chance to win. There shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve had my discussions with the coaching staff and the players. They all know where they stand.”

Parks went on to say his team strength this year will be the blocking part of volleyball, adding this is the most size he’s had in a long time.

Of course one looks to the schedule for the 2009 season and if there was one game to point out it would be the Mingus Union High matchup Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The cross-valley rivals will meet up right here in Sedona with Mingus holding the upper hand after beating the Scorpions last season.

Before the Scorpions play Mingus they will look to fine-tune their game in the first matchup of the season against Orme High on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Official starting time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

When asked how he felt about hitting a two-run, walk off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the Sedona Summer Softball League title for his A Day in the West team Thursday, Aug. 6, catcher Eric Mikulewicz smiled brightly.

“It was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Mikulewicz said laughing, obviously poking fun at most athletes and their normal response to a sports reporter’s questions.

“No,” Mikulewicz laughed again. “It was pretty cool. Before I came up I told myself I was going to hit a home run. It’s awesome to play a championship game that was so close.”

With A Day in the West claiming a 14-13 victory and the title, Mikulewicz is easily the MVP of the Sedona Summer Softball League championship game with a 3-4 night including two home runs and five RBIs.

softball-championship-8-12A Day in the West found themselves trailing 13-10 in the bottom of the sixth inning after PJ’s Village Pub put up four runs in their half of the sixth to take the lead.

Center fielder Pedro Ortega Jr. singled to start the rally, while starting pitcher Angel Betancourt followed behind him with another single to put runners on first and second with two outs.

Jeff Bragg stepped to the plate next and earned a walk off PJ’s Village Pub pitcher Ryan Terryn to load the bases, still with two outs.

Shortstop and A Day in the West team captain Pedro Ortega Sr. found himself in a good count and singled to right field to drive in his son and Betancourt to make it 13-12, PJ’s Village Pub.

During the play, Bragg unfortunately ran too far past third base and was tagged out on a force play for the third out, ending the inning with A Day in the West down one.

“It was a good pitch to hit and I swung hard. This was a great game to play. Everyone played well on both sides,” Ortega Sr. said.

Betancourt returned to the mound for A Day in the West and promptly shut down PJ’s Village Pub in the top of the seventh inning, throwing up a zero on the board and giving his team a chance to win it during last ups.

In the bottom of the seventh, mainstay first baseman Will Alldredge earned a walk which brought Mikulewicz to the plate so he could play the hero card.

Ortega Sr. thought PJ’s Village Pub wasn’t going to give Mikulewicz anything to hit after he slammed a home run in the bottom of the third inning as part of a six-run rally for A Day in the West.

“Yeah, I was sure they were just going to pitch around him,” Ortega Sr. said.

On a 3-1 count, Mikulewicz got a fat pitch over the middle of the plate and swung hard, making the ball disappear into the Sedona summer night sky.

A Day in the West players immediately ran out from the dugout and began to jump up and down like little kids while members of PJ’s Village Pub walked off in disgust.

“You have to give credit to PJ’s Village Pub. They played great this year. They got better every week; you could see it in their play,” Ortega Sr. said.

On the night, Ortega Sr. was 3-4 with two RBIs, while Betancourt was 2-4 with two RBIs and Alldredge was 2-4 with two runs scored.

Betancourt is also credited with the victory on the mound going seven innings and allowing 13 runs to score.

A Day in the West got to the championship game by beating The Other Team, 13-3, just an hour before, setting up a great Sedona Summer Softball League game for everyone to see.

A Day in the West won the spring title last season and now this year, they took home the trophy for the summer season, making them one of the more successful softball teams in Sedona during recreation league play.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Fifty years ago when players would get hurt, coaches would yell and scream “rub some dirt on it and get out there,” challenging their young men and women to get over their personal pain for the team’s overall well-being.

Bumps and bruises, ankle sprains, knee pain, shoulder stress and body fatigue was just another day at the office and usually how athletes experienced their daily lives.

With nowhere to turn, athletes would return to the field of play despite their pain and unknowingly risk further injury.

Careers would come to an end much earlier then anticipated. Frightful, agonizing pain filled the athletes’ life after sports as they thought to themselves, “maybe I should have been more careful.”

SRRHS-sports-medicine-8-7As we get closer to the year 2010, the world of athletics has certainly changed. This isn’t to say athletes don’t live through pain now, because they certainly do. Better training regimens, diet and coaching has turned today’s athlete into a monster, a freak of nature one might say.

Of course a big part of all this change is today’s athletic trainer, or sports medicine doctor.

A doctor you say?

Yes. A doctor that specifically treats athletes on and off the field in an effort to keep them healthy so they can participate in what they love, sports.

Randy Boardman, a 49-year-old Cottonwood resident, is an athletic trainer working out of the Verde Valley Medical Center who works with student-athletes at Sedona Red Rock High and Mingus Union High.

Seen walking the sidelines at many sports between the two high schools including football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball, Boardman has become well-known in the Verde Valley.

“My parents moved to Flagstaff almost 30 years ago and I attended Northern Arizona University and was interested in the engineering program,” Boardman said.

“After two years, sports medicine caught my interest and I never looked back.”

Starting in 1984 at VVMC, Boardman began working with the athletes at Mingus and in the last two years has begun his work with Sedona athletes as well.

Boardman believes sports medicine is not only a way to help injured athletes but to help prevent injuries as well, something he takes pride in.

“Whether it’s giving strength and conditioning programs to coaches or helping the athletes prevent serious injury by walking them through the right way to do things, I think it’s my job to make sure we take care of those in need,” Boardman said.

Recently, Boardman shared with Sedona cross country Head Coach Harry Schneider a program to keep his athletes hydrated so they don’t lose focus on the course. He also gave tips to Head Coach Bob Murphy for Sedona boys basketball on ankle programs to help keep them strong for the season.

Boardman explained that pain is a part of an athlete’s life and so are injuries, but being smart about those injuries can make a difference in a young athlete’s life.

“Right now athletes at Sedona and at Mingus are just kids. They are just learning what their bodies can do physically and mentally and part of my job is to show them the proper way to do things so injuries can stay at a minimum and they can maximize their potential,” Boardman said.

Boardman, a father of three and husband of 29 years to Joni, spends anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week working with high school athletes here in the Verde Valley after his full-time job at VVMC is complete.

An athlete himself in high school, Boardman enjoys watching and playing sports and knows how physically demanding they can be on a young person’s body.

As for the athletic trainer in him, Boardman is glad to be a part of the lives of many young athletes here in the Verde Valley.

“I see how much time coaches give to their athletes here and I want to do the same things. Help them help themselves is the way I see it,” Boardman said.

For now, Sedona doesn’t have the athletic training program that Mingus does where juniors and seniors at the high school actually get to shadow real life trainers and work in the field, but Boardman hopes one day it will happen.

“Sedona has worked well with me and I thank John Parks and Dr. Don Adams for all they’ve done to help move the program along. These kids deserve it,” Boardman said.

Adams has been involved with Sedona since the beginning in 1994, and the two have worked together numerous times to make sure these athletes stay healthy.

“In the end I just want to help and be there for the kids to improve their lives physically and mentally, and I think we’ve done that,” Boardman said.

 

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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