Tags Articles tagged with "MHS"


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.


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Jennifer Nguyen

By Bernadette Russoniello

February was CTE month, celebrating all things related to Career Technical Education. Maricopa High School hosted a number of events, from Future Freshmen Tours and Showcase to CPR classes, Market Day student business expo and technology recycling. What better way to celebrate CTE than to profile some of our most successful seniors?

Jennifer Nguyen (Technical Theatre) initially chose Technical Theatre because she wanted to be part of a fun, hands-on program… and to get to DJ. She was inspired her freshman year when she attended her first dance concert – she found herself more fascinated by the digital lighting, the sound and transitions than by the dancers. She found even more opportunities in Tech Theatre, including event management, show production, set design, construction, lighting, sound, rigging. She even was part of the flight crew for “Peter Pan.” She intends to pursue audio engineering as a career and will start class at the Conservatory for Recording Arts and Science this fall.

Brayden Sanders

Brayden Sanders (Computer Networking) enjoys taking things apart and learning how they work. He always has had an interest in the complexity of computers. However, it was the mentorship of teacher Brad Chamberlain who inspired Brayden to take his interests to the next level. He loves the possibilities in the Networking class – competitions, work experience, industry certifications and the potential for high paying jobs and careers. Brayden is already an IT assistant for MUSD. Brayden plans to attend a university in the fall, majoring in computer science with the goal of working as a cyber security analyst to protect companies and consumers. Brayden has already been accepted to University of Michigan, Penn State, Colorado School of Mines, New York Institute of Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology, ASU, NAU and Gus Davis. He is considering the many offers and scholarships and will make his final decision later this spring.

Hayley Mase

Hayley Mase (AFJROTC) originally joined Junior ROTC for the leadership opportunities. The core values of service before self, integrity first and excellence above all resonated with her as a ninth grader. She explains the most impactful experience in JROTC has been the personal changes, morphing her from a shy young woman afraid to speak publicly to the commanding officer for the entire program. Hayley aspires to a career in the military as a pilot and has received Congressional nominations to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and West Point. She will receive her appointment by April.

Katelyn Dayley

Katelyn Dayley (Graphic Design) was accidentally placed into graphic design her sophomore year – she never even signed up for the course. However, because of her background in art, she soon realized the potential in the program. Katelyn was fascinated realizing we are surrounded by graphic design in images, logos, social media posts, print media, TV and broadcast. She has enjoyed her ability to create while contributing to her school and community with her designs. Katelyn plans to pursue a career in graphic design and advertising. She will attend CAC on her Promise for the Future Scholarship, serve a mission for her church and eventually transfer to BYU-Idaho to finish her degree.

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Cooter

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Cooter (Marketing) chose marketing on purpose. She was new to Maricopa, painfully shy and knew she needed a program to help her get out of her shell. What she’s enjoyed most about marketing are the real-world skills – public speaking, presentations, pricing, the psychology of marketing and perspectives into the adult world. Jackie plans to major in nursing at ASU on a full-ride scholarship and knows she will take the professional skills, conflict resolution, project management and inter-personal communication skills with her into her future career.

Ivan Maldonado

Ivan Maldonado (Automotive Technologies) joined Auto because of his personal interest in cars. He enjoyed working on engines before joining the class. However, in MHS Auto Shop he learned more than he imagined possible. He credits teacher Erick Fierro with finding ways to teach both practice and theory; to demonstrate hands-on in the shop yet familiarize students with manuals and “by the book” techniques. Ivan will attend Yavapai Community College to study collision repair.


Alana Daniels

Alana Daniels (Culinary Arts) a comes from a family heritage of cooks; her mother is a professional chef. She entered the program as a sophomore with a passion for food and fond memories of making dough in her grandma’s kitchen. Alana has an interest in culinary arts therapy – using food and food preparation as healing. Alana will attend Johnson and Wales University in Denver, earning $70,000 in scholarships. Pending the outcome of her upcoming CCAP competition, Alana could earn a full ride from the American Culinary Federation to complete her study in culinary arts.

Tyler Griego

Tyler Griego (Computer Repair and Maintenance) had an early interest in computers. He figured taking a computer class would be an “easy A.” He was unprepared for where the rabbit-hole of technology would lead him. Tyler enjoys creating websites and appreciates the most important elements of his learning: personal accountability, time management and people skills. Tyler attributes teacher Brad Chamberlain’s caring, enthusiasm and genuine passion as a major source for his success. Tyler will attend ASU with a full tuition waiver and major in computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity. He’s open to career possibilities in any tech-related field.

This story appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

With a new suit for prom on the line, senior Antonio Gonzales won Maricopa High School’s second annual Mr. MHS contest Friday in an eight-man field. Guest judges and the audience judged the contestants on talent, swimsuit, evening wear and interview in a light-hearted take on a beauty pageant.

Gonzales entered the contest “to have a good time,” which seemed to be true of all involved.

While Gonzales won a suit from Nick’s Menswear, first runner-up Brandon Korittky and second runner-up Nathan Wallin received $100 off a new suit. Aiden Jaegar was named People’s Choice.

Also entertaining wee Anthony Lee Morris II, Alex Hurley, Lucas Dial and Kade Kruse.  Judges were Vice Mayor Henry Wade, Superintendent Tracey Lopeman, Principal Brian Winter, Miss City of Maricopa Ashley Lynn and teacher Chuck Cloud. Teachers Jenn and Tyler Miller hosted.

The event is a fundraiser for MHS programs.

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Maricopa High School hosted a College & Career Expo for all grade level during lunch and advisory periods Thursday. Arizona-based and out-of-state colleges, military recruiters and local employers had tables in the courtyard and talked to students about their interests and prospects.

Photos by MHS student Benjamin Thompson.

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Submitted photo

Maricopa High School’s Maricopa DECA competed at state last weekend and came home with several noteworthy wins.

Their team of competitors included Alen Nezirevic, Alex Salgado, Anneliese Coleman, Anthony Morris, Arlette Torres, Brendan Maxwell – Chapter Vice President of Career Development, Cipriano Childers, Daniela Smith – Chapter Vice President of Sales, David Henderson, Dylan Guaderrama, Elise Brown Thunder, Hannah Paul Gindiri, Jasmine Ngo, Jayde Maglothin, Johnathan Reale, Jordan Reed, Josie Ormsby, Landen Thomas, Ly’Zhai Wilford, Nathan Hanna, Nathan Wallin, Sarah Hymer, Sebastian Calderwood, Steel Lewis, Vanity Chavez, and William Schroder.

MHS hit a record for state test medalists with students scoring in the top 10 percent of all test takers in their categories. MHS also brought home role play medals, awarded to students with the top presentation score in their event. Finalists proceeded to the next level of competition, and students who placed in the top 4 overall in their events qualified for international competition and will be heading to Orlando in April.

Joy Newey – Test medal
Jordan Reed – Test medal
Nicholas Sanchez, First-year competitor – Test medal
Olivia Healey-Martin, Chapter Vice President of Leadership – Test medal
John Jackson and Nicholas Perez – Finalists in Financial Team Decision-making
Juni Hall, First-year competitor – Finalist in Principles of Hospitality, 4th place overall
Yasmeen Hanania, Chapter Vice President of Marketing – Finalist in Financial Consulting, 2nd place overall
Emma Wrenn, First-year competitor – Role play medal, Finalist in Principles of Hospitality, 3rd place overall
Nadia Chacon and Anelaya Vasquez, First-year competitors – Role play medal, Finalists in Business Law and Ethics Team Decision-making, 2nd place overall
Freya Abraham, Chapter President – Test medal, Role play medal, Finalist in Business Services Marketing, 1st place overall

In addition, Maricopa DECA was recognized with five state-level chapter awards and had their School Based Enterprise gold certified. Project managers Daniela Smith, Chapter VP of Sales, and Chantel Holguin, Chapter VP of Finance, will be representing MHS’s student store at internationals. Chapter VP of Marketing Yasmeen Hanania was elected to Arizona DECA State Office at the conference, and will be representing Maricopa’s district in 2019-2020. Maricopa DECA’s Chapter Advisor Julian Rodriguez, previously named Best Advisor in DECA’s Western Region, received the Rising Star award, given to exemplary new advisors.

Maricopa DECA is a chapter of an international organization dedicated to preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

Information provided by Freya Abraham, Maricopa DECA chapter president.

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Maricopa High School athletes made a mark in Arizona Interscholastic Association winter sports.

Senior Jayla Johnson was named First Team in 5A San Tan girls’ basketball. Her average of 12.7 points per game was third in the region. She totaled 279 points. Given honorable mention were seniors Italy Brookshire and Jene Brown, junior Tayler Coleman and sophomore Shakira Gillespie. The Rams reached the 5A quarterfinals.

Four Maricopa wrestlers qualified for the state’s Division 2 tournament, and senior Jonathan Childers came away with a fifth-place medal.

Childers, wrestling in the 126-pound group, won his first match but lost his second to eventually champion Bobby Tellez of Cienega to land in the opposite bracket. There, he had two victories before losing to Mountain View Marana’s Seth Legros, who went on to take third place. Childers defeated Omar Artaega of Centennial to take fifth.

Also performing at state and wrestling three matches each were freshman Gabriel Garcia and seniors Connor Paine and David Onquit.

In girls’ soccer, Bianca Olivares was named to the region’s First Team. She had 16 goals through 17 games. Saneya Cowing made Second Team. Receiving honorable mention were Mackenzie Ford, McKinley Hacker and Madison Tyler. The team reached the state playoff bracket.

In boys’ soccer, Jaime Hernandez was named to San Tan’s All-Region First Team. He had four goals and eight points. Dakotah Barchus and Kevin Vasquez made Second Team. Honorable mentions went to Mario Gastelum, Christobal Mendez, Asa Miller, Asher Miller and Taylor Russo.

For the boys’ basketball team, which posted a losing record, senior Walter Greer stood and was named Second Team in 5A San Tan voting.







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The Maricopa High School baseball and softball tournaments scheduled to open the season this week, have been canceled due to inclement weather.

The Rams baseball team did get in one game of the Pinon-Huffman tournament, a 13-1 loss to Tempe on Wednesday.



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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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.