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MHS

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The Maricopa High School baseball and softball teams start of their seasons by hosting home tournaments this week.

The Pinon-Huffman Baseball Tournament is Feb. 20-23 in Maricopa and Casa Grande.

Wednesday’s competition begins at 3:30 p.m. with McClintock playing Poston Butte, followed at 6 p.m. by Maricopa against Tempe. Meanwhile, Casa Grande is hosting Seton Catholic, Dobson and Apache Junction.

Play continues Thursday and Friday with the same game times. Maricopa plays Poston Butte at 6 p.m. Thursday and McClintock at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday, the top four from the Maricopa and Casa Grande sites play.

The 12th annual Krystin Diehl Softball Tournament will take place Feb. 22-23 at Maricopa High School.

Teams playing in the tournament include Florence, Higley, Maricopa, Mountain Point, McClintock and Yuma Catholic.

Pool play games start on Friday at 4:00 PM. Bracket tournament action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the championship game slated to start at 3 p.m.

For both tournaments, admission for adults is $5, students $3, age 6 and under free. AIA Passes only are accepted.

For more information on the tournament call Maricopa High School at 520-568-8100, ext. 4008

Maricopa High School's 24PinTech repairs and refurbishes tech devices. They are asking Maricopans to donate old tech they no longer need at a recycle event Saturday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

It’s a great time to get rid of your old devices. The information technologies program at Maricopa High School is hosting its annual technology recycle day Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Senior Lucas Dial, a service technician in the department’s student-run 24PinTech, said the program is again partnering with Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology (AZStRUT). They welcome all tech materials except “large old-style CRT monitors,” printer ink and toner or other hazardous materials.

Most of the donated devices will be put to use in the information tech program on campus once they are refurbished by the students. Anything that cannot be used at MHS will go to AZStRUT, which then donates the equipment to schools and nonprofits.

The tech students it’s a taste of real-life tech support employment.

“We get experience talking to people and refurbishing equipment,” Dial said. “We’ve written up procedures for it.”

Students and teachers can use 24PinTech to repair their devices free of charge. The program, comprised of juniors and seniors with IT certification, charges only for any needed parts. The instructor and advisor for the program is Brad Chamberlain.

Anyone wishing to recycle old tech Saturday can follow the signs from the office (45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.) to the teachers’ parking lot.

Lucas Dial is a certified service technician for 24PinTech.

Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

MHS Theatre Company presented a trio of plays with student-directed productions for its winter showcase in the Black Box Theatre at the Performing Arts Center. The students presented “Title of Show,” “Curious Savage” and “Silent Sky.” The showcase was part of a fund-raiser to send 19 students to the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska. The troupe’s big spring musical is “Fiddler on the Roof,” scheduled for April 25-27.

Senior Jayla Johnson, junior Tayler Coleman and sophomore Shakira Gillespie head upcourt at Millennium.

The Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team wrapped up their extended season in the quarterfinals of the 5A state championship bracket Thursday.

Facing Arizona’s top team, the Millennium Tigers, the Rams fell 71-35. It capped a 21-9 year for Maricopa.

“They fought the entire time. In following them throughout our season, that’s one thing that hasn’t stayed consistent,” first-year head coach RaShawn Calvert said. “In going into games, we start bad and then pick it up. Tonight, I can definitely say they fought from start to finish.”

With four players over six feet tall, the formerly 6A Millennium was physically daunting and aggressive, leaving Maricopa with awkward match-ups. The Tigers ran to a 24-8 lead in the first quarter. Though Maricopa stuck with them in the second to trail 40-21 at the half, Millennium went on a 22-6 tear in the third.

Calvert said she was proud of her team’s accomplishments, saying no one picked them to end up in the quarterfinals. The Rams also saw what they need to do to get to the next level.

“It’s working on everything. It’s getting mentally prepared, physically prepared,” Calvert said. “We saw the best. We saw No. 1 [Millennium]. No. 2 [Gilbert] was in our region. We know what we’ve got to prepare for. We know our weaknesses. We know moving forward what we’ve got to work on.”

Maricopa is losing six seniors, including last season’s Region Player of the Year Jayla Johnson. However, a contingent of juniors and sophomores also saw plenty of playing time this season and stepped up as leaders when necessary.

In Monday’s semifinals at the Wells Fargo Arena, Millennium will face No. 12 Casteel while Gilbert takes on No. 3 Horizon.

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File photo

Two big quarters in the middle of the game lifted the Maricopa Rams out of the 5A round of 16 Tuesday and into the state quarterfinals.

The Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team defeated Marana on the road, 58-48. That was despite a slow start and Marana’s attempt at a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Tigers were seeded eighth, just ahead of the Rams’ ninth-place ranking, but were without their standout, Anabella Muscoreil, who was injured a week ago.

Neither team could get an offense firing in the first quarter. Maricopa had only a 6-5 lead at the end. Then the Rams went on an intense offensive run while the defense stayed tight and left the Tigers little room to maneuver. Maricopa outscored Marana 20-8 in the third and 22-16 in the fourth to move ahead, 48-29.

The Rams held off a 19-10 surge by the Tigers for the victory.

Jayla Johnson led all scorers with 28 points. Jene Brown had 12 points, followed by Tayler Riley-Coleman with six, Brooke Smith with five, Destinee Chavis with three and Italy Brookshire and Shakira Gillespie with two apiece.

That sets up Maricopa (21-7) to face the powerhouse Millennium team (23-4) that is the top seed in the conference. They have not played each other this season. The quarterfinal game is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Millennium High School in Goodyear.

From Feb. 7, 2019. Photo by Kyle Norby

High school girls’ basketball teams have extended their seasons as the Sequoia Pathway varsity upset No. 4 Jefferson Prep in the Canyon Athletic Association quarterfinals.

The Pumas won 47-39 Monday night to advance to the semis of Division 2. Aleina Estrada scored 24 points for Pathway, bringing her season total to 371.

Kymani Bledsoe put up 12 points, and Jasmin Nafarrate scored seven and had 5 offensive rebounds. Alicia Lewis scored three, and Destiny Rosales had two.

The Pumas, seeded fifth, next play Saturday against top seed Desert Heights at Valley Lutheran High School at 6:15 p.m.

In the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team plays tonight at Marana High School in the 5A round of 16. The Rams are seeded ninth. Marana is eighth. Game time is 7 p.m.

Other Maricopa teams that qualified for the playoffs bowed out early. The Pathway boys’ basketball team lost to top-ranked Eduprize-Gilbert, 102-28, in the CAA round of 16 on Friday. In AIA play, the MHS girls’ soccer team lost to Casteel in the first round 4-0 Saturday.

Jayla Johnson leads the Rams past Independence. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Overcoming a cold start, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team won its play-in contest against Independence, 54-41.

The Rams scored just six points in the first quarter, but team defense kept them close to the Patriots until the shooting started to coming together.

“Our defense was our offense tonight,” MHS head coach RaShawn Calvert said. “As much as we could create and keep our intensity up and stay positive even though things weren’t falling for us, our defense brought us the energy and carried over and created some points for us.”

Senior Jayla Johnson led the Maricopa scoring with 19 points, eight of her team’s 15 points in the second quarter as the Rams moved past the Patriots for good. Independence was ranked 24th to Maricopa’s ninth.

The Rams got scoring out of nine players.

“It was a decent prep. Every game, I think, is a prep,” Calvert said. “Every team has something different to offer. We’re all fighting for the same thing. Whether it’s the last team in the state or the first team in the state, everyone’s coming with their best play, their best players, everything that they’ve got.”

MHS had sloppy moments, and Calvert said that just wouldn’t do deeper in the playoff bracket.

“We’ve just got to know the little mistakes we made here isn’t going to make the cut for the playoffs,” she said. “We’ve got to clean it up and get prepared for what’s next for us.”

Though injured late in the game, senior Italy Brookshire scored 10 points. Brooke Smith had six point, Jade Placer five. Shakira Gillespie and Destinee Chavis scored four apiece. Tayler Coleman had three, Kat Gores two, and Jene Brown one.

The girls now wait to find out their opponent in Round 1 of the 5A state bracket, which is played Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the high seed.

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Girls’ basketball and soccer teams from Maricopa High School will be competing in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s play-in tournaments Thursday.

After two losses to end the season, the basketball team was ranked ninth, one position away from automatically qualifying for the state bracket. The Rams (19-7) will host No. 24 Independence (9-9) at 7 p.m.

The top eight teams in the 5A bracket are Buena, Desert Mountain, Gilbert, Horizon, Marana, Millennium, Sunrise Mountain and Verrado.

By coincidence, the MHS girls’ soccer team will also play Independence on Thursday. Ranked 18th, the Rams (8-9-1) will be on the road to face the No. 15 Patriots (11-7-1). The game in Glendale starts at 6 p.m.

On Senior Night, Maricopa High School girls basketball senior Italy Brookshire, Jene Brown, Jayla Johnson, Destinee Chavis, Jade Placer and Divere Brown joined coach RaShawn Culvert in celebrating a winning year and their 19th victory with two games left in the regular season. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

It’s been a winning season that is just turning tougher as the playoffs approach.

Ranked eighth in Arizona’s 5A conference, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team has two games left to play with the state bracket on the line. Their final opponents of the regular season, Casteel and Gilbert, have both defeated the Rams this year.

“It’s going well, but we’ve got more goals we want to reach,” head coach RaShawn Calvert said. “We’ve got to take them one at a time and hopefully come away with the win and then lead into the playoffs.”

Teams ranked in the top eight at the end of the season automatically qualify for the state bracket. Teams ranked nine through 24 must go through the play-in tournament to earn a place. The Rams are 19-5 overall.

“They came in with goals they wanted to set, goals they wanted to reach,” Calvert said. “Regardless of changes with new people, for the most part it’s been the same group. We just had to figure out a way to get as far as we wanted to get.”

They are third in the 5A San Tan Region behind Gilbert and Casteel. Gilbert is ranked second in 5A statewide. Tuesday, Maricopa won its final home game, a 46-33 victory over Higley.

Calvert said team chemistry has improved throughout the season.

“Just playing together offensively, knowing each other, I think that’s improved the most,” she said. “New players, new coach at the same time, you got to get to know them, they got to get to know me. But chemistry has gone really well and has improved, I’d say, every single game.”

Of the five teams that have defeated the Rams this year, three were 5A teams, one was 3A Chinle, and O’Connor is in 6A. All but one have winning records, the outlier being 5-19 Campo Verde, which faced the Rams when they were dealing with injuries.

Consistency has been a sticking point for Maricopa.

“Whether it’s defensively or executing our plays, we’ve got to get more consistent, especially against the tougher teams,” Calvert said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to if we want to get the win.”

The girls next play Casteel (13-10) on the road Friday at 7 p.m. The Colts previously defeated the Rams, 43-28. Maricopa ends the regular season Feb. 5 at Gilbert (18-5), which earlier defeated the Rams, 73-40. How the Rams perform in their final two games will impact their ranking and the state bracket.

Submitted photo

MHS Theatre Company took 30 students to compete in 20 events at the Arizona Thespian Regional competition known as CAFT Jan. 26.

Eleven Maricopa High School students qualified for nationals this summer in Lincoln, Nebraska. Theater instructor Alexandra Stahl said the group musical piece received a perfect score from all three judges.

Superior ratings went to:

Group Musical: Kjirsten Lemon, Aidyn Curtis, Taryn Story, Hannah Panter, Antonio Gonzales, Brandon Korittky, Alexia Esquivel, Kade Kruse, Alex Hurley, Haley Raffaele and Joey Russionello
Monologue: Antonio Gonzales
Monologue: Aidyn Curtis
Monologue: Emma Schrader
Monologue: Emmeline Boothe
Solo Musical: Taryn Story
Solo Musical: Genevieve Burno
Solo Musical: Fallon Fruchey
Duet Musical: Brandon Korittky and Antonio Gonzales
Duet Musical: Julie Goodrum and Chloe Seekings
Stage Management: Keara Burke

To raise money for the Nebraska trip, MHS Theatre Company is presenting three plays repertory-style in February. See all three for $5 in the Black Box Theatre inside the Performing Arts Center for the Winter Show Series:

Feb. 12, 7 p.m.: “The Curious Savage”
Feb. 13, 7 p.m.: “[Title of Show]”
Feb. 14, 7 p.m.: “Silent Sky”
Feb. 15, 7 p.m.: “The Curious Savage”
Feb. 16, 2 p.m.: “Silent Sky”
Feb. 16, 7 p.m.: “[Title of Show]”

The troupe will also have a presentation of event sometime before spring break to help raise money to send the students to Nebraska.

MHS Theatre Company’s spring musical will be “Fiddler on the Roof” April 25-27 in the PAC auditorium.

Maricopa High School is over capacity and getting newly enrolled students every week, which forcing MUSD to consider its options for building a second high school. Photo by Jim Headley

With a high school already more than 200 students over capacity, Maricopa Unified School District is making moves for short-term solutions while weighing options for the long term.

In a special meeting Wednesday, the governing board approved placing eight almost-new portable buildings on the east side of campus to accommodate 16 classrooms. The plan is to place four or more portables on a strip of land between the baseball and softball fields and the others in the north section of the parking lot next to the band room. As planned, the portables would take up about 24 parking spaces that are rarely used.

The governing board followed the recommendation of Principal Brian Winter and rejected an option that would have placed all the portables in the stadium parking lot, a plan that would have discarded 82 parking spaces heavily used during events.

The main purpose of the special capital-improvements meeting, however, was looking at the needs in space and upkeep for the entire district. According to Winter, the high school already has enrollment of more than 2,330.

Mark Rafferty, a partner at Facility Management Group, said the demographic projections for the high school are “astonishing.”

“We see a high school population growing by 1,600 students in the next six years,” he said.

Rafferty presented the needs and estimated costs of changes needed around the district as MUSD creates its capital improvement master plan. He said a second high school is a necessity.

“If you put a shovel in the ground tomorrow, you’ll only be a year behind,” he said.

Main capital costs

  • $83 million – Construction/property purchase for a second high school
  • $24 million – “life cycle” maintenance projects over six years, such as replacing HVAC, roofing, weather proofing, carpeting, asphalt to correct normal wear and tear at existing facilities
  • $14.5 million – Energy-conservation projects such as LED lighting district-wide, solar shading devices and energy management system for HVAC
  • $11 million – a rough estimate for technology projects district-wide
  • $9.6 million for additional activity rooms at six elementary schools, a need universally expressed by principals.
  • $3.2 million – Transportation upgrades of six new buses and two white fleet vans every two years for six years

The estimated total for capital projects is $148 million.

However, board member Patti Coutre said the technology portion did not take into account the current inventory is new, paid for by override funds.

“The override moneys are not figured in that estimate,” she said.

Rafferty said cutting some planned facilities from the new high school costs could get the total to $98 million, and having all new technology paid for by the override could move it closer to $75.

Don Brubaker, principal architect at One Architecture, said a new high school campus would require 65-80 acres. He said a “starter” high school had to have at least space to accommodate teaching, but support space like a cafeteria, gyms and arts programs could be compromised.

Board member Torri Anderson said she did not think two schools sharing some facilities would be viable.

“Our current facilities aren’t going to support another group of students,” she said. “I just don’t see both high schools being able to utilize the current high school facilities as far as for sports, band, that sort of thing. I think it’s unrealistic for us to just go with a starter high school.”

“You’ll need a piece of property that will accommodate the ultimate growth,” Brubaker said.

Rafferty said Arizona School Facilities Board was already looking at the numbers for Maricopa High School because of the profound rate of growth projections. SFB has asked the Legislature for at least partial funding for school space ($22.5 million) and school land ($3 million).

The district also has to consider the shrinking capacity at its two middle schools, especially Desert Wind. Since sixth grade was moved out of the elementary schools to the middle schools, Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells have been full while most of the elementary campuses are below capacity. If the option of moving sixth grade back to elementary is eliminated, the district may have to consider a third middle school soon.

The study of the capital improvement situation has been ongoing the past five months as MUSD officials consider asking taxpayers for a bond on the November ballot. At the next regular meeting of the board Jan. 23, Superintendent Tracey Lopeman is asking to work with consultants on a bond-election plan. (The board will also consider selling vacant land it owns.) Rafferty said even if a bond election were successful it would take up to three years to reach a date of occupancy in a new high school. But the necessity of another high school was not a point of debate.

“At the very least,” said board member Joshua Judd, “we see from the demographic information, that is something we clearly cannot do without.”

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Bernadette Russoniello

By Bernadette Russoniello

At Maricopa High School, the No. 1 reason students cite for not planning to attend a two-year or four-year college after graduation is “I cannot afford to go to college.” Yet the federal government offers billions of dollars in aid for students, while private foundations and businesses offer hundreds of millions in scholarship dollars. Where is the disconnect?

Grants and scholarships are free money. They do not get reported as income, they are tax-free, and never have to be paid back as long as students meet the qualifications.

Here is a quick overview of some of Arizona’s most generous scholarship programs.

Flinn Foundation: Students must be in the top 5 percent of their class, have an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or better and earn top test scores to be eligible to apply. Twenty Flinn Scholars will be awarded a full tuition waiver, housing, meal plans, books, technology and foreign travel stipends at any of the three state universities.

Dorrance Foundation: Awards up to 36 students $12,000 per year to assist with their studies at one of the three state universities. Students must be the first generation to attend college, minimum 3.0 GPA, minimum 1120 SAT or 22 ACT and demonstrate financial need.

National Merit Scholarship is awarded to the top 1 percent of test scores in the state. Students must take the Fall PSAT as juniors to be considered for this award. Typically, universities waive tuition and give generous scholarship packages to both National Merit finalists and even semi-finalists. At our in-state universities, the typical package is about $18,000 per year.

Barack Obama’s Scholarship at Arizona State: Students applying to ASU must have a family income below $42,400 and meet one of the three academic competencies for ASU – 3.0 GPA, top 25 percent of class or 1040 SAT/22 ACT. The Obama Scholarship covers all direct costs of attendance (tuition, housing, food). Candidates must apply to ASU and submit FAFSA before Jan. 1.

Lumberjack Scholarship: Students attending NAU will receive a full tuition waiver ($10,000 per year) for maintaining all A’s and B’s through their high school career. This year, MHS has 18 Lumberjack Scholars earning more than $1 million in academic scholarships.

In addition to these major scholarships, there are hundreds of local scholarships ranging from $500-$2,500 that students can seek out and apply for. Scholars who want the dollars need to start planning and researching now, not wait until the spring semester of senior year to look for assistance.

Bernadette Russoniello is the Career and College coordinator at Maricopa High School. She can be reached 520-568-8100, ext. 4218.


This column appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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Zach Kondravy goes upside-down in winning two matches. Photos by Kyle Norby

Maricopa High School wrestling hosted two teams Wednesday in a home dual that was also Senior Night. The Rams defeated Camelback 29-20 and McClintock 45-9.

Zach Kondravy defeated both of his opponents on the day in the 138-pound class. Rams who defeated one opponent were Gabriel Garcia at 106 pounds, Xavier Rose (113), Jonathan Childers (126), Connor Paine (145), Hunter Taylor (182) and David Onquist (152).

MHS is scheduled for the Doc Wright Invitational Friday and host Horizon and Notre Dame Prep Jan. 23 at 4 p.m.

Jene Brown (20), Jayla Johnson (12) and Italy Brookshire set up defense against Casteel. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

On a night the Maricopa High School girls basketball team suffered a rare loss, the Rams honored two of their own for reaching the 1,000-point scoring mark for their careers this season.

Tuesday, the girls took on conference foe Casteel. Despite a strong start, field goals became elusive, and the Rams lost 43-28. It moved their overall record to 16-4. It was their second loss in the 5A San Tan section. It was also an upset win for the Colts, who were ranked 16th in 5A compared to Maricopa’s seventh.

Before the game, the Rams took a moment to present awards to seniors Jayla Johnson and Jene Brown. They both scored their 1,000th career points early in the season. Jayla, who has played all her high school career at MHS, reached her mark Dec. 6 in a win over Notre Dame Prep, 63-51. Jene, a transfer this year from New York, scored her 1,000th point Nov. 27 in a win over Apollo, 60-49.

In Tuesday’s game, Jayla led the Maricopa scoring with 10 points. She also had five steals and four rebounds. Jene had 19 rebounds, five points, three blocks and two assists. Senior Italy Brookshire scored seven points and had 10 rebounds.

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A diverse collection of sports stories in Maricopa were interesting for different reasons in 2018. Some were about the new and shiny, others about overcoming challenges while the top story was flat-out victory.

Brandon Harris and RaShawn Calvert are among Maricopa Unified’s new coaches hired this year.

5. New coaches and athletic directors were hired this year at Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy. At MHS, Brandon Harris became the varsity football head coach while RaShawn Calvert was hired as girls’ basketball head coach and Laura Logan launched the swim team. Former boys’ basketball coach Jake Neill returned as AD. At Sequoia Pathway, Glen Hale took over the football and boys’ basketball teams and was named AD.


4. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, one of the top-rated golf courses in the state, was inundated with floodwaters from Vekol Wash in October, causing the course to close for nearly a month. General Manager Brady Wilson and his staff soldiered on, keeping the pro shop and restaurant open while water was pumped off the fairways.

Brady Wilson faced flooding challenges as general manager of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

3. In Arizona Interscholastic Association competition, MHS football earned a spot in the playoffs out of arguably the toughest section in the state. Sequoia Pathway’s varsity football team finished second in the Canyon Athletic Association’s open division, and the Puma volleyball team reached the final four with two players named all-state.


2. Even readers who don’t usually follow high school sports took interest in this year’s Homecoming game at MHS after a fracas between head coaches capped off the Rams’ 55-0 win. Central suspended its coach long-term, Maricopa’s Harris sat out a game, and both teams were given warnings by AIA.

Photo by Jeffrey Hazlett

  1. The MHS 4×100-meter boys’ relay team won the state gold medal in Division II in May, running the fastest circuit of any team of any division in the Arizona Track & Field Championships in 2018. Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, P.J. Austin and Frank Jones ran their lap in 41.51, breaking their previous school record by nearly 2 seconds.

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Submitted photo

A Maricopa High School baseball player has signed on to be a member of the inaugural baseball team for Park University – Gilbert.

Nico Bandin, an infielder, has played on the varsity team since his freshman team. Through his first three season with the Rams, he has a .927 fielding average, 34 hits and 20 runs batted in.

Park U – Gilbert is a new campus sprung from the flagship campus in Parkville, Missouri, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 48 areas. Park is recruiting athletes for the 2019-20 intercollegiate seasons and is applying for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for small colleges.

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MHS seniors Chantel Holguin (left) and Daisy Guzman have signed with community college softball programs. Submitted photos

Two members of the Maricopa High School varsity softball team have signed letters of intent to play at the college level.

Chantel Holguin signed with South Mountain Community College. She has played at the varsity level since her freshman year, compiling a three-year batting average of .354 and scoring 48 runs. She batted over .400 last season.

Holguin also plays club softball with the Arizona Crush. Last season, South Mountain CC was 13-44.

Daisy Guzman signed to play with Scottsdale Community College. She has played softball since she was 10 years old. In two seasons with MHS varsity, she has batted .303 through 49 games and scored 18 runs.

She also plays for the Arizona Scorpions Club. Last season, Scottsdale CC was 7-47.

At left, Chantel Holguin (center) with AZ Crush coach David Martinez (from left), dad Juan Holguin, mom Renee Holguin and SMCC coach Frank Gomez. At right, Daisy Guzman (second from left) with mom Tina Manfredi, sister Amelia and dad Vincent Manfredi. Submitted photos

Daisy Guzman is the daughter of Vincent Manfredi, minority owner of InMaricopa.

 

Bernadette Russoniello
Bernadette Russoniello

By Bernadette Russoniello

Colleges and universities frequently use the terms “fit” and “match” to help students determine their best educational options. Match reflects a student’s eligibility and academic performance required for admissions; fit reflects the community and culture the school provides.

Arizona offers many respectable and desirable options for higher education. Take a trip with me across a few of our Arizona options.

Arizona State University

America’s largest public university and ranked No. 1 in Innovation by Forbes magazine, ASU offers students a diverse array of competitive, Research-I opportunities at four campuses around the Valley in a cosmopolitan urban setting. ASU also offers the most generous financial aid packages for lower-income families.

University of Arizona

Arizona’s oldest and original land-grant college, U of A offers students a more traditional college experience – red brick buildings, large commons, chiming clock tower and an infused sense of community and spirit in a college town. Diverse and eclectic, U of A blends the feel of tight-knit community at a large-size, Research-I school.

Northern Arizona University

The smallest of the three publics, NAU offers programs exclusive to Flagstaff, including dental, physical therapy and forestry. Bonus: four seasons, skiing, pine trees and hiking! NAU also offers the most generous academic scholarships – requiring minimal test scores and grades for scholarship test scores. A 3.0 earns $4,000 per year, a 3.5 awards $8,000 and full tuition for students earning all A’s and B’s.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

ERAU offers a private, top-tier experience in aviation, aeronautics, engineering, software, cybersecurity and global intelligence near Prescott. During my campus tour, I was with three families who flew in from out of state. ROTC programs abound for students seeking a competitive degree in these fields. Small class sizes, simulators and one of the country’s largest planetariums are features at this niche school.

Grand Canyon University

GCU is a private Christian college recently returning to its nonprofit status. GCU offers an intimate, student-centered experience focused on academics, work opportunities, and faith-based gatherings and events. Free concerts and athletic events for all students and a contagious sense of belonging infuse this campus.

Yavapai Community College

One of five residential community colleges, Yavapai hosts tremendous CTE and vocational programs ranging from service dog and air-traffic controlling to radiology and viticulture (winemaking and agriculture) while offering dorms and a community performing arts center.

Coconino Community College

CCC offers apartments on the NAU campus and provides students with transfer support to NAU.

Advice when considering college options: Be aware of accreditation. Regional accreditation means other schools and universities will accept and transfer credit; national accreditation only works within that school system. Also, if your school is not on the FAFSA list for receiving financial aid, you may want to be cautious in further considerations.

Bernadette Russoniello is the Career and College coordinator at Maricopa High School. She can be reached at BRussoniello@MUSD20.org.


This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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MHS junior Saneya Cowing (4) goes for one of her four goals against Sunnyside. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School girls’ soccer team improved its record to 3-2 with a blowout home victory over Sunnyside, 10-0, Monday. Junior Senaya Cowing scored four goals, bringing her season total to nine. Junior Payson Hacker scored two goals. Also scoring were senior Bianca Olivares, sophomore Jezelle Magallanes and freshmen McKinley Hacker and Lexy Rowe. Tending goal, senior Mackenzie Ford had three saves. The Rams travel to Agua Fria (2-0) tonight for a 6 p.m. game.

The MHS boys were shut out by Sunnyside, 5-0, and saw their record fall to 1-4. Of the six goals scored by Maricopa this season, five were off the foot of freshman Kevin Vasquez. The boys host Agua Fria (1-0-3) tonight at 6 p.m.

Maricopa High School and Desert Wind Middle School choirs performed a winter concert Thursday to a packed house at the Performing Arts Center.

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The varsity basketball teams at Maricopa High School are having opposite fortunes during the young season.

After Thursday’s home loss to Notre Dame Prep 67-39, the boys’ team has a record of 2-7. The girls, on the other hand, defeated Notre Dame 63-51 to move their record to 8-1. The boys host Carl Hayden High School Friday while the girls play CHHS on the road.

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Band seniors get a selfie with director Ivan Pour at the end of the concert. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School’s bands performed the annual Pass in Review concert, featuring symphony, chamber orchestra and marching band playing music from their competitions this semester and tunes of the season. The department also honored its senior performers.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Dance Department’s Performance Company presented its annual showcase Friday and Saturday in the Performing Arts Center, this year with the theme “Icons.” With numbers choreographed by dance students and Artistic Director Alexandra Biggs, they celebrated iconic musical artists from Elvis to Usher, and included a powerful spoken word piece by Maya Angelou.

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Senior Jene Brown backs Apollo under the goal in Tuesday's win. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Coasting to the finish, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team defeated Apollo Tuesday, 60-49, despite scoring only two points in the fourth quarter.

The Rams threw a little of everything at Apollo. They built a 19-10 score after one quarter to a 41-22 lead at the half. Overall staying aggressive through at least three quarters, the girls combined for a dozen steals.

Sophomore Shakira Gillespie led the Maricopa scoring with 16 points, and senior Jayla Johnson added 15. Senior Jene Brown scored 10, and sophomore Brooke Smith scored nine. Though senior Italy Brookshire scored six, the Rams lost her in the third quarter to a leg injury after a tumble to the hardwood. Maricopa shot 10-for-15 from the free-throw line.

The win put their overall record at 4-1. The Rams next play at Camelback on Thursday.

The girls started the season in the Scorpion Shootout, losing to O’Connor 42-37, but defeating Prescott 39-32, Shadow Ridge 43-25 and Gila Ridge 57-40.

Rashawn Calvert came to Arizona to take over the Maricopa High School girls' varsity basketball team, which starts its season Friday. Photo by Jim Headley

 

Maricopa High School’s new girls’ basketball coach will surprise you.

Rashawn Calvert has taken over the reins of the Maricopa team this year, but this first-year high school coach sports a master’s degree and even some head coaching experience at the college level.

Calvert, 24, is a physical education teacher at Maricopa High.

“I just moved here from McPherson, Kansas, where I was a grad assistant coach at McPherson College,” she said.

Calvert is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She played four years of basketball at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She transferred to NAIA Division II McPherson College while she obtained a master’s in health science from Fort Hays College.

“I am new, but I think I’m ready,” she said. “As a graduate assistant, I gained a lot more experience than you would expect.”

During her time at McPherson College, Calvert assumed the role of head JV basketball coach and first assistant for their varsity program.

“I had some experience actually coaching as the head varsity coach at the end. I was thrown in to do recruiting and coaching,” Calvert said. “A lot of grad assistants are paperwork and maybe a scouting report. You might help pass a ball now and then. I give a lot of thanks because I have a lot of experience – more than most people at my age.”

She admitted she is a little nervous to lead the team this year but she remains excited by the opportunity at the same time.

“If I didn’t think I was ready, I wouldn’t have applied for it,” she said.

Calvert said she is blessed with six seniors this season, including three returning starters and another senior with playing experience last year. As far as height on the team, Calvert added, “Yes, I have a couple trees this year. It’s exciting to see that we will have some post presence this year.”

As a PE teacher, Calvert said, “I have a lot of athletes that I am using to play basketball. They are hard workers and we get after it.”

The Maricopa team has been in practice three weeks and opens the 2018-19 season with the Scorpion Shootout, a Thanksgiving tournament on Friday against O’Conner at Desert Edge High School at 10:30 a.m.

“We scrimmaged last Thursday, and it went pretty well,” Calvert said.

A total of 14 players are on this year’s Maricopa High team. Last season Maricopa finished at 18-10.

2018-19 Roster
10 Italy Brookshire, Sr.
11 Brooke Smith, Soph.
12 Jayla Johnson, Sr.
13 Divere Brown, Sr.
20 Jene Brown, Sr.
21 Shakira Gillespie, Soph.
22 Tayler Coleman, Jr.
23 Katherine Gores, Fr.
24 Destinee Chavis, Sr.
30 Jade Placer, Sr.
31 Andrea Harker, Jr.
32 Edrianna Harry, Jr.
44 Yasmeen Hanania, Jr.
45 Evone Santiago, Soph.

Schedule:
Nov. 23-24           Scorpion Shootout, Desert Edge HS
Nov. 27                 vs. Apollo, 7 p.m.
Nov. 29                 @Camelback, 7 p.m.
Nov. 30                 vs. North Canyon, 7 p.m.
Dec. 4                    vs. Sierra Linda, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6                   @Notre Dame prep, 7 p.m.
Dec. 7                   @Carl Hayden, 7 p.m.
Dec. 11                  vs. Marana, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13                 @Independence, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18                 @Campo Verde, 7 p.m.
Dec. 27-29           Chandler Prep New Year’s Classic
Jan. 8                   @Williams Field, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11                  @Higley 7 p.m.
Jan. 15                  vs. Casteel, 7 p.m.
Jan. 18                  vs. Gilbert, 7 p.m.
Jan. 22                 vs. Campo Verde, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25                 vs. Williams Field, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29                 vs. Higley, 7 p.m. (Senior Night)
Feb. 1                   @Casteel, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5                   @Gilbert, 7 p.m.

Senior Jake Meyer (75) celebrates a touchdown by senior Isaiah Crawford (1) in the first round of the state playoffs, a 42-7 loss. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School football team wound up its season with a loss in the first round of the 5A state playoffs Friday.

The Rams (seeded 15th) lost at second-ranked Williams Field, 42-7, the second time this year they fell to the Black Hawks. But it was a different Maricopa team, missing its starting quarterback and go-to receiver. Sensing the vulnerabilities, Williams Field clamped down on other key players and limited the Rams’ effectiveness.

Junior Daxton Redfern stepped in as quarterback as senior Jordan Huddleston was still not cleared to play after a concussion last week. Senior Jacob Cowing left the game with an injury of his own after grabbing a 38-yard pass on the game’s second play from scrimmage. The Rams could never quite regroup.

“Dax played hard tonight, made some good plays and made mistakes that a lot of young quarterbacks make without a lot of experience,” head coach Brandon Harris said.

Maricopa’s bursts of momentum were often stymied by penalties or turnovers.

The Black Hawks (10-1) scored on each of their three possessions in the first quarter to jump out to 21-0 lead.

The Maricopa offensive and defensive lines showed cracks throughout the first half as Williams Field led 28-0 at the break. That became 35-0 as the Black Hawks scored on their first possession of the third quarter.

The Rams’ only score came on an eight-play drive that started on the 12 yard line in the third quarter and ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Crawford at the beginning of the fourth.

After the game, Harris pulled aside the senior players, who comprised more than half the team. He told the remaining underclassmen to ask themselves who was going to step up next season to fill the vacancies.

“I’m going to work with the guys who are there,” said Harris, who was ending his first season as the Rams head coach. “I’m not going to shake trees or go around neighborhoods and trying to get kids. Whoever shows up is who we get. We’re going to work with who we got and make it work for the best.”

Maricopa ended the season 5-6 overall.

Antonio Gonzales is Hook and Taryn Story is Peter Pan in the play to be presented by MHS Theatre Company Nov. 8-10.

One of the first curiosities Alexandra Stahl noticed on becoming the theater teacher at Maricopa High School this year is the affinity the MHS Theatre Company had with Peter Pan without producing the play.

IF YOU GO
What:
Peter Pan or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up
When: Nov. 8-9 at 7 p.m., Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Where: Maricopa High School Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $5
Who: Taryn Story (Peter Pan), Genevieve Burno (Wendy), Antonio Gonzales (Hook), Simon Ty (John), Derek Blakely (Smee), Aidyn Curtis (Princess Tiger Lilly), Taya Johnson (Michael), Kjirsten Lemon (Mrs. Darling), Douglas Moulton (Mr. Darling), Brandon Korittky (Curly), Chief Great Big Little Panther (Nicholas Perez), Emma Schrader (Nana), Alexia Esquivel (Liza), Jae Luna (Slightly), Cannon Jones (Tootles), Julianna Goodrum (Nibs), Zephanie Coleman (Omnes), Hannah Panter (first twin), Alex Hurley (second twin), Kade Cruse (Gentleman Starkey), Tommy Dryden (Cecco), Miles Starks (Bill Jukes), Matthew Ferguson (Noodles), John Jackson (Cookson), Francis Trast (Skylights), Alex-Ann Velasco (Mullens), more than 50 others.

In past performances, company members have performed pieces from musical off-shoots of the J.M. Barrie story like Finding Neverland and Peter and the Starcatcher.

“They just seemed destined to do it,” Stahl said.

The troupe performs the play Nov. 8-10 as its fall production. It is not a musical but the play that originated in 1904.

Though it is her fifth year teaching (she was previously at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley), this is Stahl’s first with MHS Theatre Company. She worked to get familiar with the program and the students during spring semester.

“Casting was a real process. These kids are insanely talented,” Stahl said. “I’ve never been so proud of a cast.”

Senior Taryn Story plays the title character.

“I really like how it’s written,” she said. “It’s written for kids, but there’s a lot that adults can take out of it.”

Aidyn Curtis is Princess Tiger Lily. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Junior Genevieve Burno, who just finished a production of Cabaret with Maricopa Community Theatre, plays Wendy, the eldest daughter in the Darling household.

“It’s timeless,” she said. “So much can be taken from it.”

Theater tech teacher Kevin Piquette brought in ZFX Flying Effects to mount rigging and teach four of the cast members how to “fly” and the tech crew how to fly them. All had to sign letters of indemnity.

“Logistically, it’s a nightmare,” Piquette said of soaring students, “but I don’t think you can do Peter Pan without it.”

The cave of the Lost Boys is part of the complicated tech for Peter Pan.

 

Theater teacher Alexandra Stahl talks to the cast during rehearsals. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.


 

The first Peter Pan, in 1904, was Nina Boucicault.

ACTORS WHO HAVE PLAYED PETER PAN
Nina Boucicault (1904)
Maude Adams (1905)
Zena Dare (1914)
Jean Forbes-Robertson (1927)
Eva LeGallienne (1928)
Mary Martin (1954)
Sandy Duncan (1980)
Cathy Rigby (1990)

Genevieve Burno goes up as flying director Wesley Miller of ZFX Flying Effects provides guidance during rehearsals for “Peter Pan.”

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Submitted photo

By Ivan Pour
MHS Band and Orchestra Director

Oct. 20 and Oct. 27, the Maricopa High School Marching Rams performed in Arizona Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (ABODA) competitions at Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe and Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson.

The band finished in seventh place at Corona Del Sol with a score of 57.575. The band turned things around quickly at Ironwood Ridge, finishing in fourth place with a big one week jump in score to 64.313. The average of these two scores put the Rams into the top 20 bands in ABODA’s Division II. The Rams will advance to the State Marching Band Festival this Saturday, Nov. 3, at Hamilton High School. The Marching Rams perform at 3 p.m.

The band had its best performance of the year to date at Ironwood Ridge High School, highlighted by earning second place in the music caption and third place in percussion. They earned praise for good characteristic tone and balance and creating shape in musical lines. The band also posted significant gains in the visual performance caption. This performance truly showed off the hard work our students have put in this year.

We invite the Maricopa community out to the state festival on Saturday to cheer on the Rams! Admission to the event is $10 and children under 5 are free.

As always, we want to acknowledge our awesome, hard working parent volunteers as well as our staff – Roger Wagner – Assistant Director, Eliana Araiza – Colorguard, David Hales – Percussion Head, Stuart Delaney – Front Ensemble. Without these people, our success this year would not be possible!

In addition to ABODA State Festival, the Marching Rams will support the football team for their playoff game at Williams Field High School on Friday, Nov. 2, and they will perform in the Maricopa Veterans Day Parade and AzMBA Championships at Perry High School on Nov. 10.

We also have our “Pass in Review” concert in the MHS Performing Arts Center on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Thank you for your support of the Maricopa Marching Rams and the Arts in MUSD.

Submitted photo

Maricopa High School had a very physical game against Williams Field Oct. 5 and will play them again Nov. 2 in the state playoffs.

Maricopa High School’s football team has been pushed up to a 15th-place ranking in today’s state playoff bracket announcements. The Rams will play No. 2 Williams Field at 7 p.m. Nov. 2.

MHS previously lost to Williams Field, 34-21, on Oct. 5. Rams head coach Brandon Harris said he thought his team was a better team than Williams Field but had been outplayed in that game.

“We had a couple of guys stick around after that game,” he said. “They were like, ‘We know you guys lost the game, but we’ve never seen a team beat up our guys the way you beat us up that night.’”

Maricopa is coming off a 34-27 win over a 4-6 Gilbert High School team. The Rams finished the regular season 5-5. Friday’s game will be at Williams Field.
The top 16 teams in 5A will compete in the state bracket. Defending champion Centennial is the top seed.

A final game, Senior Night victory cemented Maricopa High School football’s place in the playoffs Friday. The Rams find out Saturday their bracket placement, but for now they are relishing the 34-27 win over Gilbert.

It was Maricopa’s only win in the tough 5A San Tan region. The Rams are 5-5 (1-4).

“We’re a better football team than our record indicates,” head coach Brandon Harris said. “Our kids are so good now they know our system. I can literally just call stuff, and they know where to go now. So we’re starting to put this thing all together.”

Senior quarterback Jordan Huddleston was hurt in the first quarter. Though he returned to the game, Gilbert took aim for him, sensing a vulnerability, and were even called for targeting him. Harris eventually pulled him for senior wide receiver Jacob Cowing.

“Jacob is Jacob. He’s a great football player and he carried us a lot. I thought he threw a great pass to Crawford early.”

That would be senior Isaiah Crawford, who scored Maricopa’s first touchdown of the night on a 47-yard reception. But that was after the Tigers had already scored and completed a two-point conversion pass. Gilbert’s Jayden Duran then kicked a field goal to put the Tigers ahead of Maricopa 11-7.

Cowing ran 16 yards for a touchdown to put the Rams in the lead. Maricopa never trailed again. Cowing later scored on a 61-yard run in the fourth.

Sophomore running back Mister Chavis, who was out of last week’s game due to injury, returned Friday and had more and more of an impact as the game progressed.

He scored from the 39 in the second quarter and then scored again in the fourth from the 26.

With seniors Tylen Coleman and Logan Taylor keeping pressure on Gilbert quarterback Will Plummer all night, the Maricopa defense kept the Tigers at bay. The Rams forced two fumbles, and senior Stefon Nelson intercepted a pass as part of a heady night.

“Our defense is spectacular. They got some takeaways,” Harris said. “Our kids are learning a different style of football, more traditional in terms of how to manage the clock and run the clock and get first downs and things. In this generation of spread football everywhere and rush, rush, rush, rush, I’m more pragmatic. I’m aggressive too, but we got to get more first downs on offense. We put our defense in some bad spots a couple of times, but I thought our defense played very, very well, and we’re proud of them.”

Unless the Rams move up in the rankings, Maricopa could end up facing undefeated Centennial in the first game of the playoffs on Nov. 2. Harris said Huddleston may be fit enough to return by them.