Monthly Archives: February 2005

high schools

Cactus soccer tries for seventh title

by Jason Stone

When longtime Cactus boys soccer coach Jack Altersitz hung up the whistle for good last year after leading the Cobras to an Arizona-record six state championships since 1980, the program could have gone into the tank.
But the Cobras are proving that its strength lies more than with its coach as Cactus played this week for another 4A state championship.
The Cobras advanced to the title game with a gutsy 3-1 win over Catalina Foothills in overtime last week.
The Cobras were scheduled to play Sabino in the championship Saturday at Arizona State University, but the game was washed out by rain.
The game was rescheduled for Tuesday at Dobson High School in Mesa, but the game was played after press time.
Results of the game will be available in next week’s edition of The Glendale Star.
“The guys were ready to play (Saturday), so we (were) disappointed,” first-year coach Garrison Harmann said before the championship game. “But we made it that far, so we might as well win it.”
Cactus last won a state championship two years ago, the second of two straight.
The Cobras have also won it all in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1996, all under Altersitz, who retired from teaching and coaching after last school year.
Cactus also played in the 1993 championship game, but lost to Ironwood, which was a 4A school at the time.

Published at • February 21, 2005

high schools

Deer Valley wrestlers are big local winner

by Jason Stone

A month long of prep playoff action started in earnest last week at Glendale Arena.
Deer Valley was the big local winner at the 5A and 4A wrestling tournament as the Skyhawks took fifth as a team and 125-pounder Jared Schmidt took second overall.
Glendale Arena hosted the championships of all five wrestling classification tournaments, beginning a month of action the Arizona Interscholastic Association is calling “February Frenzy.”
Deer Valley totalled 111 points, finishing behind Highland (183), Red Mountain (157), (Mesa) Mountain View (156.5) and Mesa (129.5).
Five Skyhawks wrestlers placed individually, the only local wrestlers to do so in 5A.
Schmidt had the best finish as he nearly won a state title before losing 4-2 to Spencer Jasper of Highland in the championship match.
Nick Detloff, a 135-pounder from Deer Valley, took third in the 135-pound weight class, while Josh Wade (130 pounds), Dan Stevens (145) and Jesse Whitson (152) each took sixth place in their respective weight classes.
Ironwood (37th) and Mountain Ridge (45th) did not have any individual placers.
In the 4A tournament, no local teams made the top 10, but Independence came close with three wrestlers placing individually.
J.J. Sanchez (215) and Diamond Johnson (heavyweight) each took fourth place in their respective weight class, and Edgar Guerra took sixth at 189 to help the Patriots finish 14th as a team.
Independence ended up with 56.50 points to fall behind top teams Sunnyslope (first at 235.5), Thunderbird (180), Mingus (142), Payson (117) and Moon Valley (110).
Other local team finishes included Apollo (33rd) and Cactus (35th).

Published at • Feb. 21, 2005


Sting have Stars shining in Dawson

by Jason Stone

It is safe to say it was a big week for Dan Dawson.
Not only did the Arizona Sting forward earn his second National Lacrosse League Player of the Week award for his exploits in the Sting’s 17-10 win over Anaheim on Feb. 4, but Dawson was selected as a starter for the Western Conference in the NLL All-Star Game Feb. 26 in Calgary.
The honor helped cushion the blow of the Sting losing by a goal at Colorado last Sunday. The Sting (3-4) have lost all four of their games by one goal.
Dawson, a 6-foot-5, 218-pounder, is having his best professional season, collecting 22 goals, 17 assists and 39 points through seven games. He entered the week third in the NLL in scoring.
It will be the 23-year-old’s first All-Star Game appearance. In four NLL seasons, Dawson has scored 77 goals, dished out 89 assists and collected 166 points in 49 career games.
The All-Star Game will be played at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary. The game will be broadcast live on NBC, starting at noon Arizona time.
Peter Lough and Scott Self have been named reserves to the Western Conference for the Sting.
Calgary’s Chris Hall will be the head coach of the West.

UP NEXT: Sting gets ready for Swarm at Arena

With a home win finally to their credit, the Sting will try to make it two in a row at Glendale Arena when the Minnesota Swarm make their first regular-season appearance in Arizona.
The Swarm are 2-4 in their first year, tied for last in the Eastern Conference.

Published at • Feb. 21, 2005


Sting try to stop losses at home

by Jason Stone

The Arizona Sting moved their team offices to Glendale this season, but their home arena has been anything but friendly so far.
The Sting have lost two one-goal games at home and desperately need a victory against the Anaheim Storm at 8 p.m. tomorrow night.
Anaheim (2-2) is just ahead of the Sting (2-3) in the Western Conference standings, which see all five teams separated by only one game.
The Eastern Conference is just as crowded with all teams separated by only 1½ games.
Anaheim split a pair of games last week, beating Minnesota 8-7 before losing to Calgary 13-12.
The Sting were idle last week.

NOTES: Upcoming promos

The Sting have a couple of promotional dates upcoming on the home schedule.
Friday’s game against Anaheim will feature discounted tickets on “Kids Night,” where free stuffed Sting Scorpions will be given out at the door. The Feb. 18 game against Minnesota is “Singles Night,” featuring Sting sweat bands at door.
Call David Paris at (623) 463-8808 for discounted tickets.

Published at • Feb. 3, 2005


GCC softball passes torch to former player

by Jason Stone

As a player, Rebecca Schweitzer always knew she wanted to be a coach. But she never envisioned the opportunity would could this soon.
The former Glendale Community College power-hitting first baseman in the late 1990s just happened to be in the right place at the right time when she moved back to Arizona from Georgia last summer.
Laura Dodrill, Schweitzer’s coach at GCC and the Gauchos’ leader for the last 10 years, hired Schweitzer as an assistant after Schweitzer spent a year as a high school coach and graduate assistant in Georiga.
But when Dodrill became a full-time employee in the school’s advisement center, she was no longer allowed to coach.4c50a17614596.image
So instead of Schweitzer coming back as an assistant, GCC athletic director Dave Grant promoted her to head coach on a one-year emergency contract.
It was a dream offer that the Prescott native could not refuse.
“I was always one of those athletes who was not very natural,” said Schweitzer, who at 24 is only one year older than her oldest player. “I had to work so hard. I think it just made me good to be a coach.”
With GCC beginning play this week in an out-of-town tournament, it is Schweitzer’s job to build on the success Dodrill set.
In 10 years with the Gauchos, GCC did not win a conference championship, but made the playoffs in nine of those seasons.
“Glendale has always been a strong program and it will continue to be a strong program,” Dodrill said. “I think Becca will do a great job.”
The timing for a changeover came at a good time for Schweitzer. Only six sophomores are on this roster, meaning most of the team was going to have to get used to a new coach anyway.
Sophomores Cortney Schwartz, Shelby Stiner and Kari Lewis are expected to help the newcomers get acclimated to the program. Schweitzer expects freshmen Megan Erbe and Felicia Cruz to provide an early impact.
Schweitzer is hoping success results in a long-term job and is eager to recruit her first class during the season.
Dodrill said it won’t be hard for Schweitzer to be successful, despite the new coach’s age.
“The biggest thing I’m proud of is despite not having a national championship, our success has been shown in the quality of student-athlete we produce,” Dodrill said. “Everybody would love to be a national champion, but I don’t measure success that way.”
Dodrill has proven at least one thing: GCC produces coaches.

Published at • Feb. 3, 2005