Category Archives: Colleges

NAU basketball finally changed forever

Yes, that really happened.

If you’re an NAU fan, you probably didn’t recognize  your school in the last two weeks, did you? I know I didn’t.

I didn’t recognize that clutch team that continually made play after play when it needed to, clawing back in four straight games to reach the Tournament championship game.

I didn’t recognize the Walkup Skydome, which was filled to the brim over two nights for the most thrilling wins in NAU basketball history  —  a 74-73 overtime draw-dropper against Kent State in the tournament’s quarterfinals, before a 68-61 win over the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the semifinals four nights later.


Sports workshop coming to Glendale

by Jason Stone

The City of Glendale is part of a Linking Sports and Communities Luncheon at Glendale Civic Center Friday afternoon.

WESTMARC, Glendale and the Leadership Consortium are holding a luncheon and workshop and plan to present the Pat Tillman Community Service Awards to this year’s winners, including the City of Glendale.

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez will also be honored with National Junior Minority Golf founder Bill Dickey.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. and stars emcee Craig Fouhy from ABC-15 TV.

Jeff Moorad, the new general partner of the Diamondbacks, will be the keynote speaker of the event.

The second part of the half-day event consists of workshops featuring speakers such as KTAR-radio’s Dave Burns, Phoenix Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Tickets to the event are available at or by calling (602) 763-9900.

Published at • June 15, 2005


Sting get Glendale’s first pro playoff win

by Jason Stone

The Arizona Sting agree on one thing going into this week’s West Division final against Calgary: They are the underdog and have nothing to lose.
“We’ve been that way all year,” defenseman Troy Bonterre said. “We might as well go in with nothing to lose.”
That would be a change from last week when the Sting played like they had everything to lose as they gutted out a 16-13 win over Colorado in the West Division semifinals in front of more than 5,000 fans at Glendale Arena.
The Sting rebounded from a poor first half — like it has done many times this season at home — and gave the West Valley its first-ever professional playoff win.
With the Phoenix Coyotes on indefinite hiatus and the Arizona Cardinals not moving west until next year, the Sting had the spotlight all to themselves last weekend.
“We’re just so happy to get our first playoff win,” coach and general manager Bob Hamley said. “But our goal is to win a championship.”
Arizona will have a chance to play for a title this week. The Sting face a tough game at Calgary, the defending NLL champs, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of the West Division final will play the champion from the East Division the following week on a game that will be televised on NBC.
“This feels great,” said forward Craig Conn, a recent pickup from Minnesota who had five goals against Colorado. “We had a slow start but we turned it around. We can’t have a slow start against Calgary.”
Conn’s five goals were one better than season-leading-scorer Dan Dawson, who dropped in four — all in the second half.
Dawson, who has created a bit of a league MVP buzz for his clutch goals, showed up big again. He scored two goals 90 seconds apart that turned a tie game in the final minutes into a Sting win.
“He has just become such a big-time player,” Hamley said about Dawson, who ended the season as the league’s second-leading goal scorer. “I’ve talked to a lot of people about (an MVP selection).”
The Sting started the game like they had many at home this year. Arizona has frequently found itself down at halftime at Glendale Arena only to come back in the second half.
But Colorado looked like it was going to make it a long night for Sting fans when the Mammoth racked up five quick goals in the first four minutes of the game.
“We just looked really nervous out there to start the game,” Hamley said. “But we settled down.”
Consecutive goals near the end of the first half, including one with 9.1 seconds left, helped keep up the Sting’s spirits at the break. Instead of down 8-4, Arizona trailed only by two at the half.
“I think I have the best assistant coach in the league in Bob McMahon,” Hamley said. “He went in there and he gave it to them. He said we played a bad first half and we are only down by two goals. We have to play better than that and they responded.”
The Sting now play Calgary, a team that is very familiar. Arizona was 0-3 against the Roughnecks this season..
Arizona lost to Calgary by one goal Jan. 22, but led the game going into the fourth quarter. Calgary then eked out an 18-16 win at Glendale Arena March 25 before slamming the Sting 17-10 in Calgary a night later.
Historically, the Sting are 0-5 in games played in Canada.
“It would be perfect timing to get our first win (Saturday),” Hamley said with a smile. “But, we’ll have to be ready to play.”

Published at • May 5, 2005


Sizzling bats have GCC softball winning games

by Jason Stone

Kiko Tamoshiro came to Glendale from Japan looking for an education, not softball glory.
But it turns out she got both — and Glendale Community College’s softball program is fortunate for it.
When coaches posted a notice around campus for open tryouts last fall, Tamoshiro, a former shortstop and catcher in Okinawa, decided to give it a try, despite knowing little English.
4c50a151060a4.imageNot only did Tamoshiro make the team, she turned out to be the team’s best hitter.
“She is the best walk-on we’ve ever had at GCC,” first-year coach Rebecca Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer is not kidding. Tamoshiro is batting .490 entering the week, eighth best in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
Her effect has seemed to spark everybody at the top of GCC’s lineup these days.
Freshman catcher Felicia Cruz is right behind Tamoshiro on the ACCAC hitting charts with a .456 batting average, while sophomore Ashley Beetso is hitting a cool .450.
The Gauchos are hitting over .300 as a team, surprising everybody, including their coach.
“I think this is the first time the team average has ever been over .300,” said Schweitzer, a former Gauchos player who, at 24, is one year older than Tamoshiro. “It was frustrating at the beginning of the year, but the last couple of weeks it has been so much better.”
GCC is currently at .500 in the ACCAC, which is not bad considering the league features Pima College and Phoenix College, the defending NJCAA Division 1 and 2 national champions, respectively.
The Gauchos have picked up one win each against both teams already, including last week’s dramatic 9-8 win at Pima when GCC scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We’ve just had a lot of hard work (to improve),” said Cruz, a former player at Central High in Phoenix. “We’ve been in the (batting) cage a lot and doing a lot of work on the tee.”
The work is obvious on the scoreboard.
The Gauchos have won 14 of their last 17 games to move seven games out of first place among Division 2 teams in the ACCAC.
The recent hot streak has also put GCC only a game behind Mesa for second place.
Beetso, who doesn’t possess the speed of a normal leadoff hitter, had 49 hits entering the season, and has been scoring in bunches thanks to Tamoshiro in the two-spot, and Cruz in the cleanup spot.
Tamoshiro has been using her speed to pick up seven triples among her team-high 50 hits.
“She’s got wheels, let me tell you,” Cruz said.
Tamoshiro said she has no secret to hitting triples.
“I just run,” she said.
And she’s had plenty of opportunities to run with all the hits she’s racked up.
“I wish I had 13 players like her,” said Schweitzer, who played at GCC in the late 1990s before leaving for a school in Georgia. “She’s just great to have on the team.”
Cruz said the Japanese import has sparked the team.
“I think it’s awesome,” Cruz said. “It’s new for me because I’ve never played with anybody overseas, but everybody is coming along.”
Coaches have to often talk slowly to Tamoshiro to make sure the player understands their instructions.
“But once you tell her something, you don’t have to tell her again,” Schweitzer said. “She never makes the same mistake twice.”
Mistakes are something GCC hasn’t been making much lately.

Published at • March 31, 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