Tags Articles tagged with "MHS"


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Cast members of Maricopa High School’s production of Fiddler on the Roof performed “Tradition” from the musical on the ASU Gammage stage Saturday for the High School Musical Theatre Awards. MHS Theatre Company was among 26 troupes competing for prizes. It was the third straight year they have participated. Three performers – Antonio Gonzales, Douglas Moulton and Taryn Story – were Top 10 finalists in their individual categories, and MHS Tech Theatre was a finalist in sound design and set/prop design. The night was dominated by Mingus Union High School’s “Newsies,” a Broadway musical schedule to be performed next spring by MHS Theatre Company.

Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa High School saw more than 400 seniors cross the stage Thursday as the Class of 2019 graduated in a ceremony at Ram Stadium. Superintendent Tracey Lopeman was the keynote speaker. The graduates also heard from Student Boy President and salutatorian Alexis Jackson and valedictorian Chandler Chang.

Photos by Victor Moreno and Jim Headley

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Front row from left: Cassidy Zimmerman, Victor Moreno, Arianna Garcia, Mandy Carroll, Chloe Zimmerman, Justine Sanchez Mora.  Back row from left: Savannah Jones, Rory Pack, teacher McKay Jones, Cannon Jones, Levi Watlington, James Egelston, Julie Molina Rodriguez, Leslie Marrufo, Sarmolue Siefa. 

Fourteen Maricopa High School students placed on the 2019 National German Exam.

Sophomore Rory Pack and freshman Cannon Jones earned gold medals, scoring in the top 10 percent. Freshman Leslie Marrufo earned a silver medal, and freshman Arianna Garcia earned a bronze. Honorable mentions went to juniors James Egelston, Savannah Jones, Levi Watlington, and Cassidy Zimmerman; and freshmen Mandy Carroll, Julie Molina Rodriguez, Victor Moreno, Justine Sanchez Mora, Sarmolue Siefa, Chloe Zimmerman.


“We had an outstanding group of freshmen this year, as you can see,” said German teacher McKay Jones. “Each year is different as far as the make-up of students taking the test around the country, and scores were a lot higher this year. This meant that at least seven other students were extremely close to earning honorable mentions, based on past years results. It also means that several of this year’s honorable mention winners would have won a medal in past years. It all depends on that year’s scores from among 25,000 students. They all did a fantastic job this year!”


Beginning with German 2, national gold medalists are eligible to apply for a summer trip to Germany, paid for by the German government. The application includes essays in German and in English. Selected applicants are interviewed by a committee of AATG (Association of American Teachers of German) members, and state committees send candidates to the AATG national committee. From this group of national finalists, 35 students are selected for the summer trips. Senior Skylar Nelson and sophomore Abigail Poland from MHS were both national finalists in 2019, and Abigail Poland was selected as a trip winner. She will attend school for a month in Aschaffenburg (near Frankfurt), and go on trips and outings to sites of historical and cultural significance. 


Photo by Victor Moreno

Saturday, Maricopa High School’s football program hosted its second annual Community Awareness Soap Scrimmage featuring next seasons varsity and junior varsity players. Admission was a new hygiene or toiletry item to benefit Maricopa’s new Family Advocacy Center.

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People show up in droves for the Maricopa High School graduation ceremonies, filling parking lots quickly around the campus.

This year, graduation is Thursday starting at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. To avoid traffic and parking congestion, Maricopa Unified School District is offering a shuttle service from two of its schools to the football field.

Parking will be available at Butterfield Elementary, 43800 W. Honeycutt Road, and Saddleback Elementary, 18600 N. Porter Road, starting at 6 p.m. Parking signs will be posted. Shuttles are scheduled for every 20 minutes.

Among Maricopa high schoolers graduating this week are Nina Sarappo of Sequoia Pathway, Nancy Saldana of Maricopa High School, Britney Garcia-Coyolt of SPA and Nathan Wallin of MHS. Photo by Victor Moreno

The Class of 2019 at Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy is filled with many goal-oriented, career-minded individuals. Learn about just a few of them as they prepare for graduation. 

Jonathan Aguilar. Photo by Victor Moreno

Jonathan Aguilar
An MHS senior, Aguilar has been a student-athlete and taken college-level classes to prepare for his next step. “My high school career has gone by so fast, and I have accomplished a lot.”
Years in Maricopa: 8
Originally from: Downey, California
Career goal: Civil engineering
Self-made advantage: I have taken dual-enrollment classes the past couple of years.
Work/internship/volunteerism: I work at The Duke golf course and I volunteer with Link Crew at Maricopa High School.
High school achievement: My greatest achievement would be having good grades throughout high school and playing varsity sports (golf and baseball).
After graduation: I plan on attending Arizona State’s Ira A. Fulton’s Engineering School and study civil engineering and minor in finance.

Chandler Chang. Photo by Victor Moreno

Chandler Chang
The MHS valedictorian has been out front leading the band and taking tough classes to set himself up for a full-ride scholarship. “It’s an ongoing sense of fulfillment, every moment of every day. I have a whole community supporting me and encouraging me to succeed and excel. It’s like the entire student body and staff is with me in my highest moments, and even my lowest moments. I have made a name for myself and have built a legacy that will endure. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Years in Maricopa: 14
Originally from: Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Career goal: Mathematics/chemical engineering
Work/internships/volunteerism: Drum major of MHS marching band, Junior States of America, National Honor Society, part-time employee at McDonald’s
Self-made advantage: I have received the Flinn Scholarship, which provides me with a four-year, full-ride scholarship to ASU as well as professional connections and mentorship. At MHS, I have taken the most rigorous mathematics and science courses available, earning college credit through AP courses.
High school achievement: Becoming a student role model for MHS
After graduation: I plan to attend ASU to major in mathematics and chemical engineering and explore various research opportunities and internships. While I will always be on the academic grind, I also want to take time to have fun, socialize and enjoy my youth while I still have it.

Brian Forkum Jr. Photo by Victor Moreno

Brian Forkum Jr.
A member of National Honor Society at MHS, Forkum has already been involved academically with Northern Arizona University while staying in touch with his roots.
Years in Maricopa: 12
Originally from: Born in Mesa, but I grew up here. I call this place home.
Career goal: Become tenured professor in history and philosophy
Self-made advantage: I attended college at NAU for three summers through the Nizhoni (Navajo for “Beautiful”) Academy. I also interact with teachers and try to understand how they chose their careers and why.
Work/internship/volunteerism: I was an intern for Dr. Cindy Browder at NAU. I volunteer a lot in Maricopa, especially as an NHS member.
High school achievement: Personal growth, from a quiet freshman to a comfortable and self-assured senior.
After graduation: Continue studying, explore the world, meet new people and help others when I can.

Britney Garcia-Coyolt. Photo by Victor Moreno

Britney Garcia-Coyolt
Valedictorian of the Sequoia Pathway Class of 2019, Britney has had a very busy high school experience including earning certification in Medical Office Management. “I remember completing my exam and anxiously waiting for my results to come in and as soon as I saw my results I was completely ecstatic and so proud because all the hard work that had paid off.”
Years in Maricopa: 17
Originally from: Maricopa
Career goal: Interventional radiologist
Work/internships/volunteerism: Two Internships at Sun Life Family Health Center
Self-made advantage: I currently attend Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology and I am in the Medical Assistant Program. CAVIT was a stepping stone to be able to get into the medical field and to be able to expand my knowledge. Thanks to that I have been able to complete two internships at the Sun Life Family Health Center here in Maricopa and I completely loved it. I am also currently dual-enrolled with CAC so that I can get ahead on some of my basic classes.
High school achievement: Personally, receiving my Medical Office Management Certification was the greatest accomplishment that I received during high school that I worked really hard for.
After graduation: I hope to be able to continue my education at ASU.

Alexis Jackson. Photo by Victor Moreno

Alexis Jackson
The salutatorian of the MHS graduates, Alexis has taken advantage of opportunities for medical training while staying involved in campus politics. “I am extremely blessed and thankful for the support from my friends and family who helped me obtain these achievements, I am eager to see what my career path and future hold.”
Years in Maricopa: 16
Originally from: Mesa, Arizona
Career goal: Nurse practitioner
Self-made advantage: While taking steps towards reaching my end goal of becoming a nurse practitioner, Maricopa High School has provided me with a Sports Medicine program and Athletic Training internship where I have gained insight into the medical field.
Work/internships/volunteerism: National Honor Society member, Student Body president, Student Council experience for nine years, athletic training internship, microbiologist (water quality) intern, ALA Girls’ State attendee, civil engineering job shadow
High school achievement: Earning the Wildcat Excellence scholarship that has paid all my tuition costs at the University of Arizona, as well as getting involved in my community through Student Council.
After graduation: I intend to major in nursing at the University of Arizona.

Brianna N. McVey. Photo by Victor Moreno

Brianna N. McVey
A relative newbie at MHS, Bree has interned with Maricopa Police Department to prepare for her chosen field and was also sent to Girls State. “I was proud to know that I was given such an amazing opportunity.”
Years in Maricopa: 2.5
Originally from: Born in California but lived in Peoria, Arizona.
Career goal: Work for the FBI or be a detective
Self-made advantage: Interning at Maricopa Police Department
Work/internships/volunteerism: I have worked with CopaCloset at MHS and local food banks, I am a captain in the JROTC program, a link leader and an MPD high school intern.
High school achievement: One of my biggest accomplishments is going to Girls State last summer.
After graduation: I am attending University of Arizona to study criminology.

Connor Paine. Photo by Victor Moreno

Connor Paine
With a goal of being a doctor, Connor is also an MHS student-athlete who wrestled his senior year and made it to state. “I was ecstatic because I had worked so hard for months to make it there and I had finally met that goal.”
Years in Maricopa: 7
Originally from: Champaign, Illinois
Career goal: Pediatrician
Self-made advantage: I have begun studying anatomy and physiology to gain a basic understanding of the human body before attending the University of Arizona, majoring in pre-physiology.
Work/internships/volunteerism: Two years at Barro’s Pizza as a cook and two years of volunteering through NHS for various community events
High school achievement: My greatest accomplishment in high school is qualifying for the AIA Division 2 State Wrestling Tournament my senior year.
After graduation: Attending the University of Arizona and majoring in pre-physiology. After college, I plan to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.

Nina Sarappo. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nina Sarappo
Sequoia Pathway’s salutatorian, Nina ingratiated herself with people working in political fields and took dual-enrollment classes starting as a freshman. “My reaction to finding out that I am salutatorian was rewarding myself by eating a whole box of Strawberry Pop-tarts.”
Years in Maricopa: 9
Originally from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career goal: Politics
Work/internships/volunteerism: I was treasurer for National Honor Society in 11th grade and our small group organized several volunteer and community-oriented activities. As a senior, I participated in the City of Maricopa internship program which granted me experience in local government.
Self-made advantage: Reading about political philosophy and history helped me shape my own beliefs about what needs to be changed in American government. Although certain ideas are subject to change or evolve, they certainly fuel my own passion to take a political career seriously. Throughout high school, I developed excellent connections with individuals involved in political predictions and reporting.
High school achievement: My greatest accomplishment in high school is graduating second in my class. I have been a dual-enrollment student with Central Arizona College since ninth grade, taking college classes along with high school curriculum and during the summers. Responsibilities and problems outside of the classroom did not hinder my dedication to education and schoolwork. Also, I was low-carb for three months: That was impressive.
After graduation: I will be attending Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University as a philosophy (morality, politics and law) major. I am eager to learn about the subjects that interest me at a higher level and refine my critical thinking and argumentative skills to prepare me for my career aspirations as a politician. Outside of school, I want to travel to Europe, specifically Albania, to reconnect with my heritage.

Nancy Saldana. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nancy Denise Saldana
Chairing the Youth Council, she pushed herself to be involved in school activities and the community at large. “It became my greatest accomplishment because ever since then every opportunity to be involved to serve, to show school spirit I took it and through that I gained close relationships with the community, staff and gained amazing friendships. It really gave me a reason to smile at school everyday.”
Years In Maricopa: I’ve lived in Maricopa for 7 years and love it
Originally from: Baja California, Mexico
Career Goal: My goal is to be happy in what I do everyday. I love being involved and talking to people so that’s why I’ve chosen to further my education in mass communications.
Work/internships/volunteerism: I’ve been a member of the Maricopa Youth City Council and Currently work as a respite and habilitation provider.
High school achievement: This last year I just made the decision to make it the best year it can be.
Self-made advantage: I’ve taken every opportunity around school or the city to use skills I would need in my future career such as promoting events, reaching out to others and have found local internships.
After Graduation: Straight out of high school I plan to serve a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then attend a university to further my career in mass communications and media.

Kimberly Vega-Sanchez. Photo by Victor Moreno

Kimberly Vega-Sanchez
A member of the National Honor Society at MHS, Kimberly has turned her hard work in the classroom into scholarships. “It makes me proud to think that I’ve managed to work a busy schedule, get schoolwork done and volunteer in my free time while keeping my grades up.”
Years in Maricopa: 12 years
From: California
Career goal: Corporate lawyer
Work/internships/volunteerism: I’ve worked at Panda Express this past year and volunteer with the school’s National Honor Society.
High school achievement: Apart from the scholarships and awards, I would have to say my greatest accomplishment in high school has been having the ability to balance it all throughout these four years and seeing how my hard work has paid off.
After graduation: I’ll be attending ASU this fall to study at the W.P. Carey School of business. This will provide me the opportunity to receive internships, expand my connections, and learn the versatile fundamentals of business and legal expertise to help gain the knowledge needed to become a corporate lawyer.

Nathan Wallin. Photo by Victor Moreno

Nathan Wallin
As president of Junior State of America at MHS, Nathan became organizer and leader for community events, including political forums, for which he was awarded by the vice mayor. “I was so surprised to see myself up there with such amazing young leaders from our community but felt very gratified to be seen as a good member to our community and was able to tell people how thankful I was to be here and to listen to their stories and passions.”
Years in Maricopa: 8
Originally from: Spokane, Washington
Career goal: Traveling nurse
Work/internships/volunteering: I work at Copper Sky as a lifeguard and swim instructor.
Self-made advantage: I’ve done very good in high school in order to receive the top 10-percent scholarship for CAC, giving two free years of college, which is just enough to get me into nursing school.
High school achievement: Being one of the recipients of the first MLK Youth Dreamer Award presented to me by Henry Wade.
After graduation: I plan on expanding my knowledge of the world by meeting and talking to as many people as I can while attending CAC in the fall to purse a degree in nursing.

The MHS graduation ceremony is scheduled for May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium. Valedictorian is Chandler Chang, and salutatorian is Alexis Jackson. The SPA ceremony is May 22 at 7 p.m. in its gymnasium. Valedictorian is Britney Garcia-Coyolt, and salutatorian is Nina Sarappo.

This article appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Bernadette Russoniello

Upcoming College and Career Ready Events at MHS
Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Bootcamp, May 28-29, 8 a.m.-noon at MHS Library
Standing out in the Admissions Process, June 4-5, 8 a.m.-noon at MHS Library
Events are appropriate for all high school students, grades 9-12. For more information, contact Bernadette Russoniello at brussoniello@musd20.org.

By Bernadette Russoniello

Bernadette Russoniello

Applying for scholarships could be a full-time job for high school students. Yet most students are unaware and unprepared for the work required.

Daily, I hear comments from students such as, “Miss, I spent like four hours working on applying, and I found nothing,” “It’s only a thousand dollars, it’s not worth the work” and “I wish I would’ve started sooner!”

Simply by earning all A’s and B’s, students manage to earn at least $27 for every hour they are in high school through university academic scholarships. Students need to invest time up front in building a scholarship application portfolio and a researched action plan to maximize their chances at earning monies.

What’s a scholarship portfolio? I encourage students to start a digital portfolio of all elements typically required for applications. At MHS, we use Google Apps for Education, so starting a folder in their Google Drive is the first step. Gather and develop basic elements required for most scholarships: three letters of recommendation, an updated resume, a list of awards and honors, personal statements including reflections on your career and college goals, a personal narrative describing yourself and an updated high school transcript.

Tips on letters of recommendation. Ask well before you need one. I have students asking regularly for letters the day before they are due. Ask in advance, and make sure to give a five- to 10-day window. After the first week, gentle reminders are appreciated to ensure you receive your letter on time. Additionally, providing your recommender your resume and personal narrative helps them include points about you they may not know. And most importantly, pick people who are strong writers and know you well – specific examples and personal anecdotes are what readers look for, not a regurgitation of the resume.

Standing out. Admissions and scholarship readers read literally hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. The applicant must stand out in the process, either through their voice, their story or their accomplishments. Accomplishments are the toughest; all students applying are in clubs, get great grades and serve as campus leaders. What do you do that makes you different?

Where to start? I’m a fan of Scholarships.com – but not the “Free Search” (unless you love spam and third-party emails). I show students how to use the “Directory” feature to search by category and due date. Students need to develop an action plan that allows them to list scholarships, links, application needs and due dates.


This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Graduation for the class of Maricopa High School Class of 2019 is set for May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium. The valedictorian is Chandler Chang, and the salutatorian is Alexis Jackson.



MHS seniors not pictured:


Allen, JennaRae

Almanza, Nina

Anderson, Emily

Anguiano, Samantha

Antonio, Meladine

Arellano, Emily

Armenta Valenzuela, Joel

Beaumont, Shane

Benally, Dewayne

Cacpal, Alden

Carlyle, Mariah

Carrigan, Reilly

Castro Ramirez, Jose

Ceja, Gerardo

Chavis, Destinee

Diaz, Jorge

Downes, Keishaun

Dusenberry, Cheyenne

Edens, Julia

Enos, Elaina

Flores, Kayla

Forsyth-Ortiz, Shaylee

Fountaine, Arionna

Garcia, D’Andre

Garcia, Davin

Garcia, Doria

Garcia, Jalen

Garcia, Sean

Garcia, Serina

Gastelum, Jesus

Glover, Henry

Guerrero, Matthew

Guidry, Jada

Guillory, Camille

Guzman Bedoya, Luis

Hennigar, Paige

Hill, LeeAnthony

Huddleston, Jordan

Hughes, Nathaniel

Inscore, Tyler

Isaacs, Charles

Johnson, Jayla

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Jada

Jurado, Anthony

Justin, Earl

Kelly, Mackenzie

Keyack, Chloe

Khliu, Danny

Koenig, Christian

Lopez, Bethany

Luna Garcia, Karina

Maldonado, Elijah

Maldonado, Madison

Mariscal Torres, Edgar

Martinez, Albert

Mason, Sarah

Maxwell, Brendan

McAfee, Essence

McWilliams, Kassandra

Melendez, Cesario

Mendes-Castillejo, Anthony

Mullenix, Hunter

Muniz, Gabriel

Narcia, Aiyana

Narcia, Isaiah

Nieto, Alex

Ortega, Mario

Ortiz, Alberto

Partridge, Isaiah

Pearson, Stefon

Pepper, Averi

Perry, Bryce

Platero, Adela

Ramirez, David

Riley-Coleman, Tylen

Rios, Chelsea

Roberts, Fransico

Robinaugh, Warner

Rodriguez, Antonio

Ruiz, Angela

Salazar, Gabriel

Salter, Isaiah

Samayoa, Evan

Sanchez, Michael

Santana, Emily

Sauceda, Clarissa

Sauro, Seth

Schlueter, Broc

Serrano, Meyah

Sessler, Daylyn

Shaw, Ramia

Smith, Destry

Stanley, Chy’Anne

Swapshire, Angelica

Tapia, Brian

Thibault, Damon

Thomas, Dallas

Thomas Jr., Theodore

Tuggle, Maurtel

Tyler, Terrance

Vargas-Zavala, Lazaro

Vasquez, Xzavier

Vasquez Jimenez, Linda

Villegas, Leonardo

Viser, Zachary

Ward, Isiah

Williams, Aaron

Wright, Zhyia

Yarrito, Kye

Yarrito, Sensi

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Performance Company performed its spring dance concert, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” Friday night and will take the stage again tonight at the Performing Arts Center. The students pack 31 pieces into two hours, featuring choreography by the students and artistic director Alexandra Biggs. Dancers are from the MHS Performance Company as well as Dance I and Dance II students.

Chandler Chang, valedictorian of MHS Class of 2019, was honored for earning the coveted Flinn Scholarship. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School seniors earned more than $8 million in scholarships this year, according to Principal Brian Winter, an all-time record.

The effort to obtain scholarships, he said, makes the Class of 2019 “the most successful class in the history of Maricopa High School.” The seniors also had the most applications for out-of-state scholarships and the most acceptances.

Tuesday was Senior Honors Night at the school, celebrating those going on to higher education and the military service and those who achieved academic excellence this year. Some students received several scholarships from various educational entities.

Northern Arizona University offered MHS students over a million dollars in scholarships. From Arizona State University, it was over $700,000, while University of Arizona offered $464,000. Thirty community awards were also handed out

ASU Merit Scholarships:
Elijah Baxter, Kolby Bowen, Angelo Bravo, Jacquelyn Bui, Lexie Bunn, Yazmin Calleros, Chandler Chang, Jacquelyn Cooter, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Aidyn Curtis, James Cutajar, Bailey Davis, Lucas Dial, Devyn Dutra, Kourtney Erick, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Antonio Gonzales, Kassidy Hamlett, Vincent Latona, Aries Lewis, Alexandra Mask, Stefon Nelson, Kassidy Rigby, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Braydon Sanders, Kalen Scott, Kiana Smith, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Kimberly Vega Sanchez

Grand Canyon University Merit Scholarships:
Jonathan Aguilar, Kayla Boich, Destinee Chavis, Imari Cornick,Hunter Crawford-Finn, James Cutajar, Bailey Davis, Alexia Esquivel, Mackenzie Ford, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Chantel Holguin, Morgan Lee, Kjirsten Lemon, Keith Malouff, Zachary March, Essence McAfee, James McGalliard, Emma Lee Morano, Hannah Panter, Joseph Rice, Nikki Watson

NAU Merit Scholarships:
Jose Arroyo Toledo, Kolby Bowen, Cameryn Buck, Lexie Bunn, Aleyna Call, Chandler Chang, Destinee Chavis, Shannon Coutre, Jeremy Coyle, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Madison Creamer, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Kourtney Erick, Brian Forkum, Isaiah French, Tanesha Joan Freytes Colon, Antonio Gonzales, Ana Hoopes, John Aidan Jaeger, Thomas Keel, Vincent Latona, Haley Martinez, James McGalliard, Jake Meyer, Lyn Muriuki, Yanishka Quinones, Rebekah Riggs, Deon Robinson, Braydon Sanders, Lillian Shakespeare Largo, Kiana Smith, Ashley Tuke, Kimberly Vega Sanchez, Rachael Zavitka

U of A Merit Scholarships:
Kolby Bowen, Chandler Chang, Shannon Coutre, Jeremy Coyl, Kourtney Erick, Alexia Esquivel, Alexis Jackson, Hayley Mase, Emma Lee Morano, Alexander Odell, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayja Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Eric Soto, Rachael Zavitka

Central Arizona College Merit Scholarships:
Laura Azzolini, Jennifer Bailin, Kolby Bowen, Jacquelyn Bui, Chandler Chang, Alyssa Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Jesus Gomez, David Henderson, Briley Hoffman, Ana Hoopes, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Kjirsten Lemon, Marisa Lopez, Bianca Luna, Hayley Mase, Alexandra Mask, Emma Lee Morano, Skylar Nelson, Jennifer Nguyen, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayjah Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Braydon Sanders, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Ashley Tuke, Ciara Valenzuela, Nathan Wallin

Individual Awards:
Jonathan Aguilar – Park University
Evelyn Bates – American Musical and Drama Academy
Kayla Boich – Winona State University track and field
Lexi Bunn – Seattle University
Emahni Burns – Nevada State and University of Las Vegas
Jacob Cowing – University of Texas, El Paso athletics
Alana Daniels – Johnson and Wales University, Careers through Culinary Arts, American Culinary Federation award
Autumn Fausz – Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry Scholarship
Mackenzie Ford – Dixie State western undergraduate exchange
Brian Forkum – University of Minnesota, Fort Lewis College
Emily Goncalves – American, PEO, Aspiring Women Leaders and Summer Workshop, Cottey College
Evan Grace – Desert Financial, Cesar Chavez Memorial, United Nations National Community Service award, ASU Michaels Scholarship
Alexia Griego – Benedictine University, St. Benedict award
Daisy Guzman – Scottsdale Community College athletics, Mometric scholarship
Jaime Hernandez – Gateway Community College athletics
Dauvian Jackson – Southern Virginia University academics
Bakari Jackson – Clark Universtiy, Arizona Christian University, Southwestern College
Thomas Keel – Western New Mexico University
Dreama King – Chancellor and Women of Excellence, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Isaiah Hawkins – Crown College
Andres Martinez – University of Advancing Technology
Abe Nadelen – University of Advancing Technology
Stefon Nelson – South Dakota School of Mines
Alex Odell – William Woods University
Connor Paine – Case Western University, Southern Methodist University
Braydon Sanders – Cornell College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Illinois Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, Penn State, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Tampa, Coe College, Colorado School of Mines, Utah State University
Lillian Shakespeare-Largo – Caesar Chavez Memorial
David Skelton – Northland Pioneer College
Taryn Story – American Musical and Drama Academy
Ethan Strait – Bowling scholarships
Logan Taylor – Colorado State University, Benedictine University, Tabor College, Cisco College

Community Awards:
Flinn Scholarship – Chandler Chang
Rotary International Student of the Month – Jonathan Aguilar, Chandler Chang, Katelyn Dayley, Tyler Griego, Briley Hoffman, Briana McVey, Jennifer Nguyen, Nathan Wallin
Rotary International SOTM Scholarships – Jonathan Aguilar, Katelyn Dayley, Nathan Wallin
Rotary Interact Club Service Recognition – Katelyn Dayley, Nancy Saldana, Dauvian Jackson, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Bailin, Blesha Romo
Friends of the Maricopa Public Library – Evan Grace, Lillian Shakespeare-Largo
Maricopa Trailblazers 4-H – Emily Goncalves, Alex Odell
Pinal County Federal Credit Union – Amy Beeman
Maricopa City Youth Council – Katelyn Dayley, Nancy Saldana
Maricopa Blue Star Mothers Excellence in Service – Evan Grace
Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award – Mahonri Santos
2018 Girls State Delegates – Alexis Jackson, Briana McVey
U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Recognition – Braydon Sanders
U.S. Marine Corps Outstanding Musician – Jose Arroyo Toledo
U.S. Marine Corps Athlete Awards – Thomas Keel, Blesha Romo

Military enlistment:
Arizona Army National Guard – Mario Gastelum, Dreama King, Jakob March
U.S. Army – Joseph Baca, Greg Crabajales, Alex Lopez, Mahonri Santos
U.S. Air Force – Elijah Baxter, Michael Hildick
U.S. Marine Corps – Terrill Blunt, Jeremy Coyle, Andrew Mase, Daniel Rojas
U.S. Navy – Fox Cottrell, Faith Jirsa, Janae Johnson, Taylor Nanstiel, Willow Starek

Athletic Awards:
Female Athlete of the Year – Mackenzie Ford
Male Athlete of the Year – Jacob Cowing
Female Academic Athlete of the Year – Hayley Mase
Male Academic Athlete of the Year – Connor Paine
Outstanding Senior Girls’ Soccer – Shannon Coutre
Outstanding Senior Boys’ Soccer – Nick Perez, Jaime Hernandez, Chris Mendez
Outstanding Senior Softball – Daisy Guzman, Chantel Holguin
Outstanding Senior Football – Jacob Cowing, Tylen Coleman, Stefon Nelson, Logan Taylor, Thomas “Trey” Keel, Isaiah Hawkins
Krystin “P-nut” Diehl Memorial Scholarship – Daisy Guzman

MHS Awards and Honors
AP Studio Art Portfolio – Chloe Keyack, Essence McAfee, Lyn Muriuki, Kassidy Rigby, Kiana Smith, Toni Zepeda
SkillsUSA – Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Tyler Griego, Vincent Latona, Braydon Sanders, Ethan Strait, Brandon Watson
Journalism – Amy Beeman, Madison Creamer, Ana Hoopes, Sarah Skrnich
Link Crew – Jonathan Aguilar, Alondra Araujo, Grace Becking, Amy Beeman, Miranda Cason, Rubby Chavez, Anneliese Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Simon Crawford, Katelyn Dayley, Katrina Eldridge, Emily Goncalves, Alexia Griego, Jamie Hall, Kassidy Hamlett, Chantel Holguin, John Aidan Jaeger, Kyler Jonas, Hailey Martinez, Alexandra Mask, Briana McVey, Daisy Mercado, Asa Miller, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Nguyen, Ashton Nuzum, Hannah Panter, Sophia Pineira, Edwin Romero, Alicia Rubio Perez, Rachael Zavitka
Student Council – A’Janae Avington, Italy Brookshire, Dalia Cisneros Connell, Anneliese Coleman, Bailey Davis, Mackenzie Ford, Alexis Jackson, John Aidan Jaeger, Chet Mooney, Jennifer Nguyen

National Honor Society:
Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Briley Hoffman, Tanesha Joan Freytes, Emily Goncalves, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Alexandra Mask, Emma Morano, Jennifer Nguyen, Alex Odell, Connor Paine, Rebekah Riggs, Lilian Shakespeare-Largo, Taryn Story, Luke Stroschein, Ashley Tuke, Kimberly Vega-Sanchez

Department Honors:
Career and Technical Education Student of the Year – Alex Odell (Air Force JROTC), Elijah Baxter (Automotive Technologies), Brandon Watson (Computer Maintenance), Alana Daniels (Culinary Arts), Katelyn Dayley (Graphic Design), Jacquelyn Cooter (Marketing), Vincent Latona (Networking), Dominique Cannon (Sports Medicine), Jennifer Nguyen (Technical Theater)
Fine Arts Student of the Year – Kassidy Rigby (studio artist), Giselle Sanchez (dance performer), Antonio Gonzales (drama), Chandler Chang (John Philip Sousa Band Award), Isaiah French (National School Orchestra Award)
Academic Student of the Year – Amy Beeman (English Language Arts), Chandler Chang (Mathematics), Tanesha Joan Freytes (Spanish), Lucas Dial (German), Alayja Reynolds (Science), Briley Hoffman (Social Studies)
Ram Academy Attitude, Attendance and Achievement – Elias Rubio
Advanced Placement Student of the Year – Emma Morano
Perfect Attendance – Alden Cacpal, Nathaniel Hughes, Madison Maldonado

Honor Roll – Jonathan Aguilar, Isaac Barrett, Amy Beeman, Kelsey Blatz, Lexie Bunn, Yazmin Calleros, Destinee Chavis, Jacquelyn Cooter, Imari Cornick, Fox Cottrell, Hunter Crawford-Finn, Broderik DiPasquale, Devin Fiala, Tanesha Joan Freytes, Tanesha Lee Freytes, Jason Garcia, Daisy Guzman, Hannah Heinrich, Danika Jacobsen, John Aidan Jaeger, Jaquan Joubert, Tyler Kerley, Dreama King, Jordan Lincoln, Bethany Lopez, Keith Malouff, Essence McAfee, Chet Mooney, Taylor Nanstiel, Ashton Nuzum, Yasmin Ortiz, Nicholas Perez, Sophia Pineira, Kassidy Rigby, Jasmine Rios, Deon Robinson, Dorian Ronquillo-Jocom, Alicia Rubio Perez, Kalen Scott, Mohamad Sibai Franco, David Skelton, Trevor Thompson, Niki Watson, Rachael Zavitka

Academic Achievement – Jose Arroyo Toledo, Kayla Boich, Elise Brown Thunder, Jeremy Coyle, Hannah Crean, James Cutajar, Alana Daniels, Kourtney Erick, Isaiah French, Emily Goncalves, Quenten Gordon, Jaime Hernandez, Keilani Hlebasko, Dauvian Jackson, Aries Lewis, Haley Martinez, Jake Meyer, Lyn Muriuki, Stefon Nelson, Blesh Romo, Sarah Skrnich, Luke Stroschein, Kimberly Vega-Sanchez

Academic Excellence – Laura Azzolini, Jennifer Bailin, Kolby Bowen, Angelo Bravo, Cameryn Buck, Jacquelyn Bui, Chandler Chang, Alyssa Coleman, Emily Cordero, Shannon Coutre, Madison Creamer, Aidyn Curtis, Bailey Davis, Katelyn Dayley, Lucas Dial, Alexia Esquivel, Brian Forkum, Peyton Glen, Jesus Gomez, Antonio Gonzales, Gabriela Gutierrez, Kassidy Hamlett, David Henderson, Briley Hoffman, Ana Hoopes, Alexis Jackson, Vincent Latona, Kjirsten Lemon, Marisa Lopez, Bianca Luna, Hayley Mase, Alexandra Mask, Julia Mazurek, Emma Lee Morano, Skylar Nelson, Jennifer Nguyen, Cierra Norman, Alexander Odell, David Onquit, Connor Paine, Hannah Panter, Alayja Reynolds, Rebekah Riggs, Braydon Sanders, Lillian Shakespeare-Largo, Eric Soto, Taryn Story, Ashley Tuke, Ciara Valenzuela, Nathan Wallin

AP Scholars:
AP Scholar – Logan Nordhoff
AP Scholar with Honor – Chandler Chang

National Merit Scholarship
Commended – Chandler Chang

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Doug Moulton (left) and Antonio Gonzales are both finalists in this year's ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa students are among the honorees at the statewide High School Musical Theatre Awards, to be presented May 25 at 7 p.m. at ASU Gammage.

Taryn Story

Nominated finalists from Maricopa High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” include Antonio Gonzales as best male lead, Douglas Moulton as best supporting male, Taryn Story as best dancer and MHS Tech Theatre for best sound and best sets/props.

Gonzales, a senior who played Tevye in the production, is also a state officer for the Arizona Chapter of the International Thespian Society. Moulton, a junior, played Lazar Wolf and is also a choir member. Story, a senior, is a Theatre Company cabinet member and a member of the National Honor Society. The musical was under the direction of instructor Alexandra Stahl. Kevin Piquette leads tech theatre.

Judges watched nominated fall and spring musical productions across Arizona to decide the finalists.

Awards night includes nominated performances of musical numbers or medleys by the state’s best high school theater departments. Winners of best male lead and best female lead earn a trip to New York City for the national Jimmy Awards.

Previous MHS students have claimed prizes at the ASU Gammage awards, including best male vocalist (Carlos O. Venegas) and best supporting male (Nikolas Mase).

MHS Tech Theatre was nominated for the sets/props.

MUSD dance students perform May 10 and May 11.

Think you can dance? These kids can.

What: MHS Dance Show
When: May 10-11, 7 p.m.
Where: MHS Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $7/adults, $5/students, children and seniors 65+
Info: 520-568-8100

Maricopa High School dance students present their spring dance recital May 10-11.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” contains 31 pieces, with 23 of the numbers choreographed by students. Like the children’s book series, dance director Alexandra Biggs has allowed them complete artistic freedom in their choice of songs, costumes and genres.

“It’s been amazing as a director to watch them work and explore their artistic voices,” she said. “They’ve been working so hard, and I am beyond proud of them.”

The student choreographers are mainly members of the school’s Dance Performance Company, with five from Biggs’ Intermediate Dance 2 class.

“We have everything from jazz, contemporary, modern, hip-hop, musical theater and ballet included in this year’s show,” Biggs said. “New to this show are several solo pieces, which are being performed and choreographed by the students. We also have brand new costumes for all of our large class pieces.”

The box office opens at 6 p.m., and showtime is 7 p.m. The shows are often sellouts.

Senior Tylen Coleman was the first surprise for Maricopa High School at the state championships with a record-setting discus throw Saturday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Two unexpected finishes put gold medals in the hands of two Maricopa High School athletes while a third won silver and bronze at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II Track & Field Championships Saturday in Mesa.

Senior Tylen Riley-Coleman, who had already been on the medal stand earlier in the week with a fourth-place finish in shot put, pulled off a massive upset in the discus. His second-flight throw of 172-08 was more than 20 feet farther than his previous best of 150-09 and more than three inches farther than his closest competitor in the finals.

“I don’t know where that came from,” said Coleman, who had yelled in elation after hearing the measurement. “I’m just blessed.”

In the first round of competition Saturday, he had been more than thrilled with a throw of 163 feet, which came between two fouled attempts. But the second-round throw catapulted him to the top of the medal stand, an unfamiliar position for the football star.

“I don’t know what to do with myself,” he said.

Even in practice, he said, he had not gone beyond 150 feet with the discus. In fact, shot put has usually been his stronger event. Parker Bays of Ironwood Ridge had been a heavy favorite but finished third.

By scoring a personal best in the discus, Coleman set another school record. He also holds the MHS record in shot at 52-9.

At any other time, MHS senior Logan Taylor’s result in the hurdling events would not have been surprising, but Saturday was not like any other time.

Taylor, the school record-holder in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, had finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in those events in last season’s state championships. His goal was gold this year.

That seemed to get scuttled this week when he opened a gash on his right knee that required 20 stitches. His family and head coach Corey Nelson left it to him to decide if he would compete in the state meet.

Taylor is known for challenging himself and did so again in the 110-meter hurdles, shouting out as he crossed the finish line in front. Main rival Jadon Pearson of Williams Field had crashed out midway through the event and did not finish.

“I wanted to run my best race,” Taylor said. “It was probably going to be the last one, so I wanted to make sure it was good. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

It was also one of his better times, in 14.64, just off his best of 14.56.

The knee, however, did not hold up through his effort in the 300-meter hurdles. Though he leaped out to an early lead, he struggled down the stretch to finish sixth in 41.07 (his top time is 39.09). His father helped him off the ground at the finish line and to the trainer’s tent for treatment.

Meanwhile, MHS’s sprint master Jacob Cowing, who earned gold last year as part of the Rams 4×100-meter relay team, had his hands full with Trayvion White of Sahuaro. In the 100-meter dash finals Saturday, Cowing matched White stride for stride but finished second at 10.78 behind White’s 10.73.

In the 200-meter dash, White, Jacob Samford and Cowing all finished within a fraction of a second. White won in 21.65, while Cowing came third in 21.95. After picking up his medal, he had his right thigh wrapped in ice.

Overall, Maricopa’s boys’ team scored 27 points in the state meet, a top five finish.

The girls’ team did not score points but had two make a good showing Saturday. Senior Kayla Boich was 12th in the high jump finals at 5-00. Sophomore Shakira Gillespie finished 15th in the long jump at 15-10.5.

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Chantel Holguin. Photo by Victor Moreno

Seven Maricopa High School softball players were honored in voting for the 5A San Tan all-region team.

Senior Chantel Holguin and sophomore Karyn Meier were named First Team. Holguin batted .554, fifth in the region. She was Top 10 in the region in runs scored with 29 and in slugging percentage at .800. She was second in stolen bases with 13. Meier batted .473, was Top 10 in slugging at .784, runs scored with 27 and in stolen bases with 12. She also had 22 runs batted in.

Sophomore Evone Santiago and junior Kayla Occhiline were named Second Team. Santiago pitched two no-hitters and was third in the San Tan in wins with seven. She was third in strikeouts with 65. Her ERA of 3.57 was also third in the region. Occhiline batted .433. She knocked in 16 runs and scored eight.

Receiving honorable mention were senior Daisy Guzman, junior Kielee Keys-Carillo and junior Kiana Miller-Gomez.

The Rams were 10-12 overall.

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Tylen Riley-Coleman. Photo by Victor Moreno


Tylen Riley-Coleman, a senior at Maricopa High School, finished fourth in the shot put finals at the Arizona Interscholastic Association state championships Wednesday.

Coleman threw the shot 50-10.5 against his Division II competition. He also finished 10th in the javelin with a throw of 149-07.

Coleman will compete Saturday in the discus finals.

Other Rams competing in state finals Wednesday were junior Katherine Gores, who finished 11th in the girls’ javelin with a throw of 95-10, junior Steel Lewis, 10th in boys’ pole vault in 11-09, and senior Logan Taylor, 13th in boys’ high jump at 5-10.

Athletes also competed in preliminary heats of several events to earn places in Saturday’s finals.

Jacob Cowing. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Senior Jacob Cowing was third fastest in both the 100-meter dash (10.89) and the 200 (21.93) to qualify for the finals, where he will meet top rival Trayvion White of Sahuaro.

Taylor was sixth-fastest in the boys’ 300-meter hurdles prelims in 40.16 to qualify for the finals. He will also compete in the 110-meter hurdles finals after running 15.58 to finish eighth-fastest.

Other MHS athletes who represented MHS Wednesday at the state meet were Amante Williams, 15th in the boys’ 400-meter dash (51.07), Tayler Riley-Coleman, 23rd in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles (17.28), the girls 4×100-meter relay team (14th in 50.82) and 4×400-meter relay team (12th in 4:13.29).

Saturday, for Maricopa, competition begins at 11:30 a.m. with the boys’ discus throw. Afternoon finals include 110-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash. The Arizona State Track & Field Championship are at Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave.


Student singers from Maricopa Unified School District’s high school and middle schools presented a great display of their talent Tuesday in a vocal concert in the MHS Performing Arts Center. Also on display were the skills of the music teachers in arranging, accompanying and even choreographing. The communal choir of beginners from Desert Wind Middle School was directed by Andrea Jenkins. Tanya Hobt led the Maricopa Wells Middle School choir. Austin Showen directed and arranged most of the songs performed by the strong Maricopa High School choirs. MHS also honored 10 graduating seniors.

Want to hear some great live music? Love to see student performers? Come on out to the MUSD Music-a-Thon V from 3-8 p.m. on May 4.

“The Music-a-Thon is an event we look forward to every year that showcases all the hard work the students put forth,” Tanya Hobt, music director at Maricopa Wells Middle School, said. “We are very fortunate to have such talented students that work tirelessly all year for this event. The music programs in the Maricopa Unified School District continue to grow every year, and we love to perform and share the music with our wonderful community.”

Music-a-Thon is a yearly event that features all of the bands and orchestra from Grades 6-12 in MUSD. This event will feature over 300 students in seven bands and three orchestras, and combined performances from Desert Wind Middle School, Maricopa Wells Middle School, and Maricopa High School.

Roger Wagner, director of instrumental music at Desert Wind Middle School, said, “We are in our fifth year of this event and it has become a must see for music fans and our community. The beauty and power of our students performers in combined Band and Orchestra cannot be matched.”

The conclusion of this year’s concert will be the Maricopa High School Fight Song, Rams Fall in Line, conducted by Maricopa Unified School District’s own superintendent, Dr. Tracey Lopeman.

“We’re excited to show what MUSD Music can do, as well as invite our yearly special guest to see our programs and conduct our students,” said Ivan Pour, director of instrumental music at Maricopa High School.


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Blesha Romo was the team leader for MHS tennis this season. Photo by Victor Moreno

Maricopa High School girls’ tennis posted a winning record this season, and senior leader Blesha Romo played her way to the second round of the state championships.

Romo had a 12-1 singles record this season. She was 22-5 overall, playing 14 doubles matches. In Round 1 of the state singles bracket Friday, she defeated Samantha Mendoza of Sunnyside, 7-6 6-3. She lost to the No. 3 seed, Savanna Kollock of Desert Mountain, who went on to today’s title match.

The Rams were 9-5 in team play this season, finishing second in Division I Yuma. They were ranked 34th in Division I.

Junior Breanna Fitch had a 21-7 overall record, including 11-3 in singles. Freshman Molly Auer was 10-10, sophomore Layla Barker was 11-11, and sophomore Kaitlyn Crean was 12-14.

Meanwhile the boys’ team was 3-11 overall. Sophomore Filippo Giacometti was 7-21, and senior Ethan Strait was 9-15. Junior Noah Panter and sophomores Beer Beukers and Hunter Collins were each 6-22. Senior Elijah Baxter was 6-18.


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Maricopa High School baseball players were honored in all-region voting for 5A San Tan.

Senior Jose Leyva was named Second Team as a catcher. Leyva batted .276 with 16 hits, eight runs, six runs batted in, a double and a triple. He was also a pitcher and was in the region top 10 in strikeouts with 41. His record was 2-3 with an earned run average of 5.47.

Seniors Nico Bandin, Devin Fiala and Trey Keel and sophomores Jacob Keel, Johnathan Leyva and Isaiah Peters were all named Honorable Mention.

Maricopa finished the season 7-16 (0-10).

Cameron Pehrson of Campo Verde was named Region Player of the Year after leading 5A San Tan in batting average, home runs, RBI, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Casteel’s Matt Perisho was named the San Tan region’s Coach of the Year. Casteel and Campo Verde suffered upsets in the first round of the state championship bracket.

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Senior Logan Taylor is one of the premier hurdlers in the state.

As the track & field regular season closes, Maricopa High School senior Jacob Cowing has the fastest time recorded this season for the 200-meter dash in Division II.

He won the event in 21.63 (a school record) Friday at the Southeast Valley Championship in Queen Creek. He also won the 100-meter dash at that meet in a school-record 10.71. That is the second-fastest time reported in the division.

Cowing was also a member of the 4×400-meter relay that finished second in 3:31.45. The relay team includes Spencer Gay, Logan Taylor and Amonte Williams.

Taylor, too, has continued to be a standout with remarkable consistency in his specialty events, the hurdles. His time of 14.51 in the 110-meter hurdles set March 8 in the Becky Matthews Open remains the second-fastest time in the division this year. It was also a school record. Friday, he finished third at Queen Creek in 14.73.

In the 300-meter hurdles, Taylor set another school record April 12 at the Hohokam Invitational, where he placed third in 39.09. He matched that time Friday while finishing second, and it is the second-fastest time recorded this season in Division II.

But there’s more. Taylor added the high jump late in the season. He leaped 6-2 at the Hohokam to finish fourth. That jump is among the top 10 in the division. He finished second on Friday with a jump of 6-0. After mulling college offers, Taylor said he has chosen to attend Brigham Young University to participate in both football and track.

Fellow senior Tylen Riley-Coleman hit a personal best in the shot put April 6 at the Greenway Invitational, where he put the shot 52-9 to win that event and improve on the school record. That is a top-10 distance this season in the division. Friday, he finished second with a throw of 52-2.

Coleman achieved a personal best in the discus at the beginning of the season, throwing 150-9.75 at the Aztec Invite March 2. That is seventh-best in the division all year and a school record. Friday, he finished third with a throw of 146-7. He also took a school record in the javelin back on March 2 with 158-11.

The Maricopa boys’ team finished fifth in the Southeast Valley Championship, the final tune-up for the state championships, which start May 1.

Other Rams with top-10 finishes in Queen Creek were senior Amonte Williams, who was third in the 400-meter run with a personal record 51.17; senior Alec Kramarczyk, who set a personal record in the 1600 meters by finishing ninth in 4:42.78; and junior Steel Lewis, who was ninth in the pole vault at 11-07 (personal record).

Maricopa’s 4×200-meter relay team has the sixth-fastest time this season in Division II after running 1:36.80 in the Hohokam. That team is comprised of Mister Chavis, Roberto Esqueda, Marcus Brown and Abel Rodriquez.

Also Friday at Queen Creek, the Maricopa girls’ team finished eighth in the Southeast Valley Championship. Junior Zanaa Ramirez won the 800-meter run in 2:29.63, a personal record. She was ninth in the 400 meters.

The 4×400 team of Kayla Boich, Shakira Gillespie, Ebony Griffin and Zanaa Ramirez was second in a division top-10 time of 4:12.48. The 4×100 relay team of Destinee Chavis, Boich, Griffin and Gillespie was fifth.

Boich finished second in the high jump at 4-10. Freshman Lauren Grist was sixth with 4-04. Gillespie, a sophomore, was fifth in the long jump with a personal-best 16-04. Junior Rylin Balgaard was eighth in the triple jump at 32-04.

The state meet will be May 1 and May 4 at Mesa Community College. Competition for Division II starts Wednesday at 11 a.m. with field events in the morning and running events in the afternoon. Saturday, all divisions will compete in their respective finals starting at 10:45 a.m.

Maricopa artists invited to participate

The inaugural Art for the Heart Festival is set for May 4 on the Great Lawn at Copper Sky.

If You Go
: Art for the Heart Festival
When: May 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: Free to attend; $60 to exhibit
Info: 520-568-8100, ext. 4136 

Hoping to fill the void left by the dissolution of Art on the Veranda and Maricopa Arts Festival, a Maricopa High School program is coordinating the community art show. Graphic Design teacher Maria Pour said they want to have as many Maricopa artists as possible participating.

The coordination is in the hands of SkillsUSA students. That program mandates they be involved in creating and running a project that benefits a nonprofit, and the usual approach is to host a clothing drive or a food drive.

“But we wanted something that relates to us, to graphics and art,” Pour said.

So, the young organizers are putting their skills to use in ways that have “real-world application,” she said. Art for the Heart invites artists from all media to display and sell their works at the festival. Pour said 75 percent of proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, the rest to cover overhead.

A 10-by-10-foot booth space is $60, and artists can bring their own tables. Painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, textiles and more are welcome from artists of all ages.

MHS had participated in Art on the Veranda, and Pour understood the challenges involved hosting a community art event. She has 15 students helping to staff Art for the Heart, from creating the plan to designing the logo or handing out water.

The additional challenge is participation, both by artists and art-lovers. Previous organizers have provided her with names of area artists, and she also seeks to reach out to Ak-Chin and Gila River artists.

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NGE Level 2 national placers (from left): Nathaly Zavala, Geric Kramarczyk, Destinee Chavis, Regan Elsberry, Abigail Poland, McKay Jones, Elizabeth Barba, Lucas Dial, Cobe Nadelen, Drake Cole, Omar Perez, Skylar Nelson and Grace Njue. Submitted photo

Twelve Maricopa High School students earned national honors on the 2019 Level 2 National German Exam (NGE).

Senior Skylar Nelson and sophomore Abigail Poland earned gold medals, scoring in the top 10 percent nationally. Senior Cobe Nadelen and sophomores Geric Kramarczyk and Regan Elsberry earned silver medals, and seniors Drake Cole and Lucas Dial earned bronze medals. Senior Destinee Chavis, junior Grace Njue, and sophomores Elizabeth Barba, Omar Perez, and Nathaly Zavala earned honorable mentions.

“This year’s NGE was more difficult than last year’s, as evidenced by the significantly lower national average score on this year’s exam. Yet, we still had twelve national placers to last year’s eleven in spite of that,” said McKay Jones, German teacher at MHS. “The big news is that we had two national finalists this year, and one of them won a study trip!”

Abigail Poland was awarded an all‐expense‐paid summer study trip to Germany. Abigail was selected as a national winner after scoring in the 97th percentile nationally on the NGE. As a gold medalist, she was eligible to apply for the trip, which included essays in German and English. Students from each state were selected from these applications to be interviewed in German, and candidates were then selected from the interview process to be sent to the national committee of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG).  Abigail was one of forty‐four outstanding German students selected from across the US to receive the award.

The study trip includes round‐trip air transportation to Germany from New York, a homestay in a host family, a two-week international seminar, and excursions to places of cultural and historical significance. The study trip, now in its 60th year, is made possible through a grant from the Federal Republic of Germany.

Another student at MHS, Skylar Nelson, was also a national finalist.

Dr. Simone Seym (University of Arizona), MHS teacher McKay Jones and student Abigail Poland, who received an all‐expense‐paid summer study trip to Germany

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Maricopa High School varsity baseball finished a difficult 7-16 season Thursday at home with a 6-3 loss to Gilbert under a full moon. That tapped a nine-game losing streak triggered by struggles at the plate. Nonetheless, despite a bug infestation, the game was a time to celebrate the Rams’ seniors, who threw out the first pitch to their parents to start the game and were further recognized after the game with a special ceremony.

At season’s end junior Austin Rapp’s .367 batting average, garnered in a little more than half of the games on the schedule, led the team. Sophomore Jacob Keel batted .300 and led the team in runs batted in and home runs.

Senior Nico Bandin batted .289 and was the team leader in hits. He also stole four bases. Senior Jose Leyva batted .291, had 16 hits and five RBI. Senior Devin Fiala and sophomore Johnathan Leyva led the team in doubles with six each. Sophomore Isaiah Peters was the team leader in stolen bases with six.

Senior Christian Johnson had the Rams’ best earned run average at 3.37. He also had three saves. Jose Leyva struck out 41 batters, and Trey Keel struck out 20.


Playing sisters in “Fiddler on the Roof” are (from left) Hannah Panter, Taryn Story, Aidyn Curtis, Kiki Lemon and Alexia Esquivel. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

What: “Fiddler on the Roof”
Who: MHS Theatre Company
When: April 25-26, 7 p.m., April 27, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Where: MHS Performing Arts Center auditorium, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $10/general admission; $7/staff & students
Info: Purchase tickets online

The big spring musical this year for Maricopa High School Theatre Company is a big Broadway show.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is April 25-27 at 7 p.m. plus a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

This production will have music performed live by MHS orchestra members and teachers. While teacher Alexandra Stahl directs the play, MHS music director Ivan Pour conducts the music.

Stahl said she’s wanted to direct the musical since she was 18. “It’s beautiful, and it has good themes,” she said. “It’s a beast of a show.”

One of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, “Fiddler” is memorably scored by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick with a book by Joseph Stein. Among the well-known tunes are the title song, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”

In the story set in 1905 Russia, a poor, Jewish couple Tevye (played by Antonio Gonzales) and Golde (Emma Schrader) are struggling to get by while their daughters are coming of age to marry. Yente the matchmaker (Mary Brokenshire) sets up the oldest daughter Tzeitel (Aidyn Curtis) to marry the wealthy but old butcher Lazar Wolf (Douglas Moulton). Tevya agrees to this, not knowing Tzeitel is in love with childhood friend Motel (Brandon Korittky).

Other cast members:
Hannah Panter – Bielke
Alexia Esquivel – Shprintze
Chance Batton – Mordcha
Kade Cruse – RabbiSimon Ty – Mendel
Ashton Chrosniak – Avram
Julie Goodrum – Nachum
Fallon Fruchey – Grandma Tzeitel
Astraya Ellison – Fruma-Sarah
Miles Starks – constable
Zephanie Colppeman – Shaindel
Alex-Ann Velasco – the fiddler
Alex Hurley – Sasha
Joey Russoniello – Yussel

Tyler Hanks, Kasey Cowert, Aleyna Call, Brenna Fitzpatrick, Ash Porras, Eonna Mooney, Zariah Marsh, Lindsey Coms, Olivia Kurpaska, Mia Gross, Destiny Shane, Emme Borthe, Katie Hanks, Scotland JanFrancisco, Morgan Cutrara, Gracee Clark, Emma Carr, John Jackson, Alex Haywood, Haley Raffaele, Nick Perez, Faith Ayala, Princess Jimenez

Meanwhile, second daughter Hodel (Kjirsten Lemon) is falling for Bolshevik tutor Perchik (Ricky Rafaele), and third daughter Chava (Taryn Story) has befriended gentile Fyedka (Derek Blakely). The breaks from traditional behavior cause tumult in the family. Meanwhile, the Russian authorities are pushing to drive out all the Jews.

The cast is peopled with several young performers who have qualified for the International Thespian Society National Competition and are familiar talents from previous productions. Learn more about them here.

Antonio Gonzales plays Tevye the dairyman in “Fiddler.” Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

“It just inspires me,” Stahl said, “because I think of it as in today. There’s the whole theme of Tevye disowning his daughter, and I think of parents today who have gay kids. So, it breaks my heart, but it’s definitely a very real thing that happens in society today.”

Many of the cast members had at least heard of “Fiddler,” and Stahl did not have trouble selling them on the production.

“There’s a lot of really good roles,” she said.

Community members, too, have told her they are champing at the bit to come see the show, “so I’m hoping we do it justice.”

Tickets can be purchased at the box office the day of show or purchased online here.

Seniors Brandon Korittky and Aidyn Curtis rehearse for “Fiddler on the Roof.” Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Aidan Balt

Maricopa High School teacher and National Board Certified Teacher Aidan Balt was invited by The Atlantic Magazine to the fifth annual Education Summit in Washington, D.C., on May 14.

She will be participating as a speaker on a panel with other teachers from across the nation, discussing teacher advocacy and the profession of education. The conversation will run for about half an hour and will be moderated by one of the top Atlantic journalists.

The program is free and open to the public, and The Atlantic is expecting around 300 educators, policymakers, students, business and community leaders, and journalists to attend. The program will also be live-streamed.

The event receives financial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Amgen Foundation, VIPKID, K12, and the College Board. The editorial team at The Atlantic maintains complete independence in putting together the Education Summit. Join the conversation on social media: #atlanticEDU. You can find information on the event and the full list of speakers at: http://educationsummit2019.theatlantic.com.


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Photo by Kyle Norby

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Maricopa High School softball team has split their most recent eight games to put their overall record at 10-9.

That keeps them in a position to make the 5A play-in tournament. The Rams are currently ranked 24th in the conference. To end the season, they play 12th-ranked Gilbert Tuesday (Senior Night) and again Thursday. The outcome of those two games could alter the rankings. The top 25 teams advance to state competition.

Maricopa pulled out an 8-7 victory over Agua Fria March 27 before splitting games against Williams Field. The Rams also split a pair of games against Higley, winning the April 5 contest in dramatic style 11-9 with a three-run sixth inning.

The Rams also defeated Sierra Linda 22-5 in between losses to Casteel.

This season, senior Chantel Holguin leads the Maricopa batting with a .556 average. Her 28 runs scored, 35 hits, and 13 doubles are also team bests. Posting similar numbers is sophomore Karyn Meier, who is batting .493 and leads the team in runs batted in with 21 and tied Holguin’s doubles total at 13.

Freshman Rori Gosiak is batting .476 and has 12 stolen bases, while junior Kayla Occhiline is batting .462. Sophomore Evone Santiago leads the team in triples with three and is batting .452.

Santiago is 7-6 pitching with an earned run average of 3.27. She has pitched 81.1 innings, striking out 63 while walking 23.

Freshman Adrianna Armstrong is 3-3 on the mound with an ERA of 4.26.

Simulated drunk-driving crash drives home the point

Shannon Coutre portrays a deceased crash victim during a "Don't Crash the Prom" demonstration at Maricopa High School. Photo by Jim Headley.


Maricopa’s first responders put on a demonstration Thursday morning for juniors and seniors at Maricopa High School on what can happen if they drink and drive at this weekend’s prom.

The simulated crash demonstrated how one student’s drinking and driving can forever impact their lives and even take the life of a fellow student. It was presented by Chris Cahall’s American Family Insurance.

Police, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics gathered in the school’s quad with two already wrecked automobiles. Four students played the roles of students in the crash, including one who “died” at the scene.

As tarps were removed from the wrecked cars, the four students were revealed and were clearly injured. One girl was ejected from the crash and found lying in front of one of the cars. Two Maricopa motorcycle officers arrived at the scene followed by a cruiser.

The officers checked the students’ injuries and determined one of the occupants was deceased. Fire and Medical responders arrived at the scene and gave simulated treatment to the students. One was trapped in a vehicle and had to be extricated with hydraulic tools.

The teen who was simulated to be deceased was picked up and placed into a hearse and the drunk driver ended up arrested and placed in the back seat of a police cruiser.

The entire simulation, performed to the large Maricopa student body, was to demonstrate how the simple decision to drink and drive to or from prom can forever ruin lives.

“One decision can cause the last day that you see,” Pastor Haywood Price, with Gate of Heaven Ministries, told the students. “You guys are going to enjoy yourselves. I know some of you have your herb. You got your whiskey. You have your drink. Is that the way that you really want to end your lives?”

Price said they need to think about each other.

“There is someone who wants their daughter to come back home,” he said. “There is somebody else who wants their son to come back home. There is someone who wants their son’s name to be great and live on past just prom night.”

Price told the students they must understand the importance of this demonstration and the sacrifice of first responders.

“These men and women took time off work to come and show you this because they don’t want to clean you up,” Price said. “They don’t want to have to read about this. They don’t want to go and deliver the message to someone’s parent that their child didn’t make it home from his last great night.”

The pastor offered a glimpse into the future for the students.

“This is just the beginning. College is next,” he said. “Grad school is after that. Husbands, children.  Decisions have to be made and you have to understand that when you make decisions they could ultimately alter your life.”

MHS Prom is April 13.

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The group musical piece "Welcome to the Rock" from the show "Come From Away" earned Maricopa kids a superior score in Regionals. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School students who rated the top score of “superior” at Arizona Thespian Regional competition in January have been trying to raise funds to make the trip to Lincoln, Nebraska for nationals.

Emme Boothe

The students – Emme Booth, Keara Burke, Genevieve Burno, Aidyn Curtis, Alexia Esquivel, Fallon Fruchey, Antonio Gonzales, Julianna Goodrum, Alex Hurley, Princess Jimenez, Brandon Korittky, Kade Kruse, Kiki Lemon, Hannah Panter, Haley Raffaele, Joey Russoniello, Emma Schrader, Chloe Seekings and Taryn Story – qualified in musical performances, monologues and duet scenes.

Find out how you can help through the Maricopa High Theatre Boosters:
• On Facebook @MaricopaHighTheatreBoosters
• By phone at 520-371-4146

Learn more about some of the young people:

Emme Boothe

Age: 16
Grade: 10
Years in Maricopa: 10

Keara Burke

National-qualifying performance: Monologues from “Quiche Isn’t Sexy” and “The Children’s Hour”
MHS Theatre Co.: “Taming of the Shrew,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Fiddler on the Roof”
Future plans: “I want to go to New York University for art and theatre.”


Keara Burke
Age: 17
Grade: 11
Years in Maricopa: 7
National-qualifying performance: Stage management of “Peter Pan”
MHS Theatre Co.: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “45 seconds from Broadway,” “Silent Sky,” stage manager for “Peter Pan”
Future plans: “My future plans are to go to ASU and get a BFA in theatre production in hopes to one day work on Broadway as a technician or be a stage manager for Disney theatrical productions.”


Genevieve Burno







Aidyn Curtis

Aidyn Curtis

Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 9
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical and two monologues
MHS Theatre Co.: “Pirates of Penzance,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “Peter Pan,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” stage manager for “Narnia,” musical director for “Beauty and the Beast,” director of “[Title of Show]”
Future plans: Attend ASU in the fall


Alexia Esquivel

Alexia Esquivel
Age: 18
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 2
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Narnia,” “You Can’t Take It with You,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “45 Seconds from Broadway,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan”
Future plans: “I am going to be attending the University of Arizona in the fall, majoring in marketing with the Eller College of Business.”


Fallon Fruchey

Fallon Fruchey

Age: 15
Grade: 10
Years in Maricopa: 15
National-qualifying performance: “’night, Mother” duet scene, “Mystery of Edwin Drood” solo musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Taming of the Shrew,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Fiddler on the Roof”
Future plans: Attend New York University to study psychology and theatre



Antonio Gonzales



Antonio Gonzales
Age: 18
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 3.5
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” duet musical and two monologues
MHS Theatre Co.: “Beauty and the Beast,” “You Can’t Take It with You,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan,” “Silent Sky,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” director of “Silent Sky”
Future plans: “I plan on going to ASU and studying theatre, either the acting side or tech side of things.”


Julianna Goodrum

Julianna Goodrum

Age: 16
Grade: 11
Years in Maricopa: 2
National-qualifying performance: “Dear Evan Hansen” duet musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Peter Pan,” “[Title of Show]”
Future plans: Remain in the Theatre Company until I graduate and help out wherever I can, pursue education and creative arts, music, theater, etc.”




Alex Hurley

Alex Hurley
Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 5
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Narnia,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Spring Awakening”
Future plans: Musician and/or actor/performer








Princess Jiminez

Princess Jimenez

Age: 16
Grade: 10
Years in Maricopa: 3
National-qualifying performance: “’night, Mother” duet scene
MHS Theatre Co.: “Silent Sky,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan”
Future plans: “Social worker, open my own bakery, university”






Brandon Korittky

Brandon Korittky
Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 17
National-qualifying performance: “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” duet musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Pirates of Penzance,” “Narnia,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan,” “The Curious Savage,” “Fiddler on the Roof”
Future plans: “Live my life to the fullest”






Kade Kruse

Kade Kruse

Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 9
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “And Then There Were None,” “[Title of Show]”
Future plans: Community college and then university






Kiki Lemon

Kjirsten “Kiki” Lemon
Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 12
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Les Miserables,” “You Can’t Take It with You,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan,” “The Curious Savage,” “Fiddler on the Roof”
Future plans: “Study at university for theatre education, serve an LDS mission, eventually become a theatre instructor for high school.”



Hannah Panter

Hannah Panter

Age: 17
Grade: 12
Years in Maricopa: 4
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Les Miserables,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Rumors,” “Narnia,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” director/stage manager of “Silent Sky”
Future plans: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education at a four-year university with a minor in music



Haley Raffaele

Haley Raffaele
Age: 14
Years in Maricopa: 9
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Peter Pan,” “[Title of Show]”
Future plans: “Continuing with the theatre company and the International Thespian Society. Maybe trying to get on the company cabinet.”




Joey Russoniello

Joey Russoniello
National-qualifying performance: “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Company: “[title of show]”
Future plans: Vocalist/Actor






Emma Schrader

Emma Schrader

Age: 15
Grade: 10
Years in Maricopa: 13
National-qualifying performance: Two monologues
MHS Theatre Co.: “Taming of the Shrew,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Peter Pan,” “The Curious Savage,” “Fiddler on the Roof”
Future plans: “I dunno! Either actress, journalist or music creator”







Chloe Seekings

Chloe Seekings

Age: 17
Grade: 11
MHS Theatre Co.: “The Bakers Wife,” “Taming of the Shrew,” tech for “45 Seconds to Broadway,” assistant stage manager for “Peter Pan”
Other theater: Stage manager for “The Good Doctor” – Maricopa Community Theatre
Future goals: “I want to go to college and hopefully stage manager for a Broadway show one day. Also start a band.”






Taryn Story

Taryn Story

National-qualifying performances: “Me & the Sky” from “Come From Away” solo musical, “Welcome to the Rock” from “Come From Away” group musical
MHS Theatre Co.: “Pirates of Penzance,” “Les Miserables,” “Narnia,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Taming of the Shrew,” ‘Tracks,” ‘Rumors,” “The Baker’s Wife,” ‘Peter Pan,” “The Audition,” “[title of show]” (director)
Future goals: Bachelor’s degree at ASU, major in theatre

MHS Theatre Company will present “Fiddler on the Roof” April 25-27 at Maricopa Performing Arts Center.

Danae Ruiz of Maricopa scored her 1,000th college career point this season at ERAU and was named to an NAIA All-America team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Danae Ruiz was nonplussed when a teammate’s mother spread the word Ruiz had been named to a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) 2019 Division II Women’s Basketball All-America team.

“I wasn’t prepared for that,” said Ruiz, a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

A 2016 graduate of Maricopa High School, she was a founding member of the ERAU women’s team. Now she is the first athlete from the women’s or men’s basketball teams to gain the NAIA nationwide honor. A guard, she was named to the NAIA Third Team.

An annual leading scorer for the Eagles since her freshman year, Ruiz had a drama-filled season. She came out of the chute cold and couldn’t quite get her game together. Then she lost her starting spot.

“It was a rough, bumpy road,” she said.

Teams put more pressure on Ruiz than ever before, even staying in her face beyond the arc. New head coach Michael Trujillo decided she would fare better coming off the bench. She had to learn to take that in stride and just think about the playing minutes and not the starts.

“Mentally, I had to grow. Physically, I had to grow,” she said. “And I had to find a creative way of doing things.”

Despite starting only five of the 28 games this season, Ruiz led the Eagles scoring with 12.4 points per game, a total of 348. She let opponents come at her, resulting in 107 points from the free-throw line.

It was her trademark way of getting back up and fighting, something she has been doing since at least freshman year of high school. Before the family returned to Maricopa, she had a basketball coach telling her she would never play college ball or even be an impact player on high school varsity.

“I like to prove people wrong for some reason,” Ruiz said. “When we came back to Maricopa, I had a coach who believed in me and helped me develop my shot.”

By her junior year at MHS, Kati Burrows was the coach for a single season and guided Ruiz and the Rams to the state title. She also instilled a high-level work ethic that continued the next season under coach Melvin Mitchell and helped prepare Ruiz for the style of ball she would play at ERAU.

She also credits her parents for “always encouraging me to keep going” in very different ways. Anna is the softie while Gabe pushes her to toughen up.

This year Ruiz was again named All-California Pacific Conference First Team. For the first time, she was named Cal Pac Player of the Year. During the season, she scored her 1,000th college point. She is also on the ERAU Honor Roll as a forensic psychology major.

Her college preparations had her enrolled in a variety of advanced-placement classes at MHS. At ERAU, she found the coursework a little easier than expected and found a way to balance classes and the travel demands of women’s basketball. She was even on track to graduate early but took on two minors to extend her time.

The Eagles have become a sisterhood, Ruiz said, and she has been pushed into a leadership role, making sure the other women on the team are organized and on the same page. Those were not skills she had expected to acquire but are now part of her toolbox.

While she has been on the path to a career in forensic psychology since day one at ERAU, she is also looking for post-college basketball opportunities overseas.

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Maricopa High School’s varsity baseball team is staying around .500 after a dramatic home win Monday was followed by a Tuesday tournament loss. Hosting Independence Monday, the Rams led most of the game, but had to break a tie in the bottom of the seventh for the 4-3 win.

Maricopa had 10 hits in the game, including doubles from senior Trey Keel and sophomore Jacob Keel. In six innings of work, senior Jose Leyva gave up just one earned run while striking out eight and walking four. He and senior Devin Fiala each had two hits in the game.

Tuesday, the Rams fell to 6A’s Red Mountain (6-3) in five innings, 20-4, during the Bob Everett Classic. That put Maricopa’s overall record at 5-5.

Through 10 games, junior Austin Rapp is batting .438, and sophomore Johnathan Leyva has a batting average of .310. Senior Nico Bandin leads the team with 12 hits, and Johnathan Leyva and Fiala each have nine.

Jose Leyva has the most time on the mound, with 16 innings pitched and leads the team in strikeouts with 20. Trey Keel has pitched 14 innings and has 17 strikeouts.