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As one of its wettest weekends of weather recedes into Verde Valley history, there remains an escape from the dry heat in the deep waters of Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Sedona. Three pools in each area beckon both residents and visitors to take the plunge in the many natural swimming holes created by the Verde River, Oak Creek and their tributaries.

Tamara Miller jumps off the natural diving board in the large  swimming hole “The Crack,” which is four miles into the Cave Trail along Wet Beaver Creek off Forest Road 618. The parking lot is located by the East Beaver Creek Ranger Station.

For more information on camping, fire and other restrictions and these and other swimming holes in the area, contact the Red Rock Ranger District at 203-2900.

Mormon’s Crossing, a natural swimming hole, is also a thriving habitat. Heron come and perch patiently in the rapids of Oak Creek, waiting for a snack to swim by. The water is calm, but rope swings, camping and fires are prohibited here, as the bank forms a fairly sandy beach instead of hard-packed clay.

For more photos and the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 27, issues of the Camp Verde Journal and Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Isaac McKean, right, at 78 pounds, executes a move taught by his father, Mingus Mountain Wrestling Club head coach Klint McKean, on fellow fifth-grader Avery Romero at the Mingus Union High School wrestling room. Isaac McKean finished runner-up in his weight class at the Terminator World Championships in March and will be attending a Grand Canyon University camp, which begins Tuesday, May 26

The newest Division I wrestling program in the National Collegiate Athletic Association is coming to Mingus Union High School.

After a meteoric rise the previous seven years to become one of the powers of Division II, Grand Canyon University is following up its first year against the biggest and the best in college wrestling with a camp Tuesday through Thursday, May 26 through 28, beginning at 9 a.m. at Mingus Union High School.

“They always bring in a lot of good junior college and Division III transfer wrestlers,” said Klint McKean, head coach of the Mingus Mountain Wrestling Club. “They’d still be one of the top teams in Division II.”

McKean’s son, Isaac, runner-up at the Terminator World Championships, and 65-pound champion Kai Miller are looking to develop new techniques at the camp.

“That technical foundation is what we really want young wrestlers to get out of it,” McKean said. “You’re getting a Division I athletic coach basically doing a team practice, three days in a row, all day long.

“The expertise, the new technique, the level of knowledge they’re getting, is priceless — just far above any coaches they’re getting around here.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Junior Megan Goettl finished fifth in two events at the Meet of Champions to end what had been a remarkable run for girls track and field at Mingus Union High School.

Pole vaulting was part of every track practice at Mingus Union High School this season. Senior Allison Whitworth placed seventh in the event at the Division III state championships May 9, while junior Chance Gribauskas placed fifth for the boys.
At 2:23.69, Goettl ran the 800 meters four seconds slower May 13 than her silver-medal winning performance at the Division III state championships, a personal best in the event.

“Megan was very impressive down the stretch,” head coach Yancey DeVore said. “The second half of the season, she’s just been lights-out.”

Her 5:10.26 in the 1,600 meters at the Brophy Sports Campus in Phoenix was a season-best, finishing nearly a full second faster than her state runner-up effort in the event.

“She’s certainly a smart runner — very coachable,” DeVore said. “The 800 wasn’t really her best, but her times continue to go down.”

She was the Marauders’ top finisher May 8 and 9 at Mesa Community College, as a streak of three state championships came to an end for the 12th-place girls.

“It would’ve been great to get a fourth one,” DeVore said. “Our kids would’ve loved it, but as long as they put their best effort in, I’m proud of them, regardless.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Juniors Joel Beauty and Vance Tewawina led Camp Verde High School to an upper-tier finish as a team in its first appearance at the Division III championships in five years.

Junior Vance Tewawina takes his second shot for Camp Verde High School in its first home match against Sedona Red Rock High School. Tewawina shot two 12-over-par rounds to lead the Cowboys at the Division III state championships Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, at Prescott. CVHS finished 13th overall.
Tewawina had Camp Verde High School’s highest individual finish, shooting an 84 and an 83 on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, to finish 32nd.

Beauty, after shooting an 89 on the first day, recovered on the north course of Antelope Hills Golf Course to shoot seven strokes higher and tie for 44th with a 171 overall.

“I really do well on that course,” said Beauty, who had projected to be the only CVHS player at State before the Cowboys got hot May 9 to finish 10th at the Metro Invitational. “Since the middle of my season, I’ve had the fifth seed. I managed to gain some ground by two strokes, create a lot of space and have just no pressure for like six rounds straight. The end of the year, it was just cleaning up after that.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Senior Viola Logston and junior Alyssa Watkins capped strong postseason performances for the Camp Verde High School track and field team May 13 with two top seven finishes at the Meet of Champions.

Junior Alyssa Watkins got the silver medal in the discus for Camp Verde High School at the Division III state championships May 9. Although she specializes in throwing the shot put, Watkins threw the discus nearly 114 feet for second place.
“I’m really proud of our throwers,” said first-year head coach Michael Prow. “They’ve really stepped up big in the last couple weeks. The team usually comes on strong at the end.”

Logston fought through a hamstring injury to throw the shot put 37 feet, good enough for third place at the Brophy Sports Campus, after finishing second at the Division III state championships to Sedona Red Rock High School sophomore Hannah Ringel.

“She just had no explosion,” Prow said. “Obviously, I’m really proud of her for her runner-up, but anybody who follows shot knows it’s all in the legs.

“She’s disappointed to finish second after having had the top throw all year long, but I’m still thinking she’s going to go to Northern Arizona University.”

While Watkins’ 111 feet was just over two feet short of her personal best in the discus that garnered her silver medal at State, it was good enough for eighth place.

“That made her feel even better about how the season went,” Prow said. “She was ranked fourth and had good throws at the end of the year.”

For the full story and more photos, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

An uncharacteristic performance defensively led to an uncharacteristic season-ending upset loss for the second-ranked team in Division III softball May 6.

Senior Sharli Macdonald throws a ball in the infield for Camp Verde High School in a home victory earlier this season. The Cowboys will need to replace Macdonald and three other seniors to build on a No. 2 ranking in Division III at the end of the regular season.
Camp Verde High School entered the postseason riding high, finishing undefeated in Section V on a five-game winning streak to become the No. 2 seed in the state tournament.

But bad news rode in even before the Cowboys’ first playoff game against Morenci Junior/Senior High School at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Peoria. Sophomore starting outfielder Amber Dodge had been academically ineligible since the season finale April 23, and two senior reserves were also lost to what head coach Henry Smith would only call “personal stuff.”

Although the remaining nine CVHS regulars hung with the Wildcats in their second round game, tying the game with two runs in the fourth inning, the bottom dropped out in a five-run Morenci fifth from which not even junior ace Taya Smith could recover in a 10-3 loss.

“We just had a couple of key errors throughout the game that made it impossible to come back,” Henry Smith said. “Morenci, they’re a very good team. We could probably play them next weekend and do a ton better. Who knows why things happen?”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

The two-year Division II experience on the diamond for Mingus Union High School ended not with a bang, but in a subdued whisper Saturday, May 9.

Pitcher Orlando Machado will leave a big void as staff ace for the Mingus Union High School baseball team (above). The senior went two-for-two with a run batted in the Marauders’ final game in Division II, a season-ending 5-2 loss to Sunrise Mountain High School, of Peoria, in the consolation round of the state tournament. For softball, the future in Division II may be now in the form of freshman outfielder Bailey Brown, daughter of head coach John Brown (below).
Orlando Machado went two for two with a walk and a run scored, but fellow senior Gage Benevento could not last through the fourth inning on the mound in a 5-2 loss to Sunrise Mountain of Peoria in the opener of the state tournament’s consolation round.

While head coach Bob Young’s Marauders will roar back into Division III next spring having won 47 games the past two seasons, which division softball will be playing in next spring remains uncertain.

Besides Benevento and Machado, only freshman Andrew Kulis and senior Tom McCarty reached base against the Mustangs. This was after a 12-2 loss at the hands of Tucson High School, the tournament’s top seed, in the second round May 6.

“They think they can do it: That’s most of it,” Young said. “I usually chew on them when we’re winning. When we’re down, I just try to keep their heads in the game.”

Bailey Brown 5 13

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

The Camp Verde High School golf team, led by juniors Joel Beauty and Vance Tewawina, powered through the back nine holes of the Metro Invitational to claim the final seed in the Division III state tournament.

junior Joel Beauty takes his second stroke for the Camp Verde High School golf team on the first hole of his home course at Verde Santa Fe Golf Club. The Cowboys lost April 29 to Sedona Red Rock High School but recovered to be the final Division III team to qualify for the state tournament Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, in Prescott Valley.
In the State qualifying round on the final day of the regular season, Beauty and Tewawina each shot a 38 in the back nine at the Palmbrook Country Club in Sun City to lead the Cowboys into the No. 15 team seed.

“We were, like, 20th at the beginning of the tournament, then we jumped into 15th,” Beauty said. “It was kind of a huge leap, but not a huge shocker. Everybody went off.”

Junior Andrew Witt shot three strokes off their pace at five-over-par, with senior Bodie Holowell finishing one stroke behind Witt at the 36-hole invitational.

Those scores, along with senior Brett Worth’s 51, were enough to help the Cowboys finish 10th out of 19 teams Saturday, May 9, edging Gilbert Christian High School by two strokes.

With the exception of five teams, Beauty said, they’ll be seeing the entire field again beginning Friday, May 15, when they play for a state championship for the first time as a team under fifth-year head coach Chris Fuller at Antelope Hills Golf Course in Prescott.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.