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Slowly but surely over the past 20 months, Camp Verde High School has been upgrading its weight and locker rooms.

Using his own trailer, football players and building materials as well as money left over from three district funds, Cowboys head coach Steve Darby has been able to add a coaches’ office, a padded floor, new weights and even an upgraded locker room downstairs in his two years working in the CVHS athletic facility.

Camp Verde High School recently got some updates to its weight room, including new free weights. Head football coach Steve Darby enlisted the help of his players and wood shop students to help with a series of upgrades to the facility.

Since arriving as CVHS head football coach in 2013, Darby has sought the funding support of principal Bob Weir and athletic director Mark Showers to upgrade the weight room in order to stay competitive with the other two high schools in the Verde Valley as well as bigger private schools to the south “who have quite a bit of money,” Darby said.

“It’s tough for a public school to compete against that,” he said. “Mingus and Sedona have both had voter-approved bonds to improve their school facilities — Sedona has a phenomenal weight room. We’ve asked several times and have not been able to get those.”

With the returning football players taking the lead in the building — and with some help from woodshop students cutting two benches and weight platforms — the CVHS weight room now has a ventilated, completely rubberized floor padding fully reupholstered equipment, two new weight platforms and some added barbells, dumbbells and kettle bells.

“I’m a general contractor, so I have all the tools,” Darby said. “Fortunately, I’m an extremely persistent person and I’ve been bugging Mark and Bob every week for two years on this. I won’t let it go.”

For more photos and the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 22, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

While no postseason awaits the boys and girls tennis teams at Mingus Union High School, a high-achieving handful of Marauders still have a date set on the State courts.

Junior Jerry Hernandez will be the singles representative from Mingus Union High School in the Division II boys state singles tennis tournament. The state boys and girls singles and doubles tournaments will begin Friday, April 24.

After winning their final match of the season Tuesday, April 21, over Bradshaw Mountain High School by identical 7-2 scores, the head coaches for the boys and girls teams had reason to be optimistic — especially for their top three varsity players at the Division II state singles and doubles tournaments beginning Friday, April 24.

Junior Jerry Hernandez will get his first postseason exposure at the state singles tournament, while juniors Logan Connella and Turner Walz will again team up for the doubles tournament. The first two rounds of State begin at the Scottsdale Tennis Center at 10:30 a.m.

Junior Olivia Galluzzi and freshman Talon Whiteley, meanwhile, will be at the Phoenix Tennis Center at 8:30 a.m. Junior Abii Almanza is scheduled to play with Whiteley on the Marauders doubles team April 24.

However, Almanza was ill and did not even show to the April 21 final team win at MUHS over the Bears. If she is not available by 1:30 p.m., Whiteley’s friend, freshman Emma Williams, will step in as the alternate.


For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 22, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

A season of momentum shifts has landed Clarkdale-Jerome School in the top tier of both baseball and softball teams competing for the Verde Valley League championship Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25.

Seventh-grader Gavin Martinez swings at a pitch in a win for Clarkdale-Jerome School. The Mingus Rams will be the second seed in the Verde Valley League baseball tournament in Mayer beginning Friday, April 24.
New volunteer head coaches Jeremy Peters and Joel Rosenberg will assume the third and second seeds, respectively, when they open the baseball and softball postseason tournaments. Baseball will crown its league champion at Mayer Elementary School, while softball will play for the title at the Oak Creek School in Cornville.

Mia Williams works a walk in a win for the Mingus Rams, who will be the third seed in the league softball tournament in Cornville.

For the full story and start times, please see the Wednesday, April 22, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Although they each sport 2-5 records, the soccer teams at Cottonwood Middle School still have a shot at the postseason with four games to play.

Octavio Ortega kicks the ball hard, sending it toward the goal for the Cottonwood Middle School boys team, which took on Heritage Middle School in soccer last week. The Lobos boys and girls teams lost to the Chino Valley school but still look to make the Quad City League tournaments Saturday, May 2, with wins in their final four games.

After wins over Camp Verde and Rim Country middle schools, head coaches Mike Gilboy and Stacey Shelton will travel to Prescott Valley with their teams on Thursday, April 16. They will play Glassford Hill Middle School and stay in the hunt for the Quad City League semifinals and championships Saturday, May 2.

“We started out really slow,” Gilboy said. “The first couple games, it’s hard to know where everyone plays. Once you get them in position, they’ve been getting better and better all the time.”

Shelton felt her more experienced girls started strong, but will need help to get to the postseason.

“We’re working on our speed and our ballhandling the last couple games this season,” Shelton added. “We have four strikers up front, but they drop a little bit to help.”

With only 16 uniforms available for each team, Gilboy and Shelton had to cut 35 other CMS students before the season even started.

“Every little kid should be able to play,” Gilboy said. “It’s just really hard at this level — we don’t have the finances or competition.”

Then they have to further consolidate for coed games against the Oak Creek School and Mountain View Preparatory Academy. The Lobos are undefeated against their coed schedule, which will conclude at 4 p.m. against the Ocelots on Thursday, April 23, at CMS.

Emily Arellano, right, tries to steal the ball away from her Heritage opponent. The Lobos lost April 7 at home.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

If Mingus Union High School’s softball team has a postseason in its future this spring, the Marauders have four sectional games to make it happen.

Senior Michaela Dixon bunts for Mingus Union High School. Dixon's fourth-inning run gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead at Flagstaff High School, but the Eagles' 5-4 comeback win Friday, April 10, left MUHS still in search of its first Section IV win.

A road game Wednesday, April 15, in Bullhead City presents the first opportunity for MUHS [7-13], ranked No. 38 in Division II.

“Mohave should be a good game,” head coach John Brown said. “I’m confident that if we play well, we can beat them.”

While the fifth-ranked Marauders baseball team expects to solidify its undefeated position atop
Section V with a win over Mohave High School, Brown is simply looking for his first sectional win of the spring.

In their last two road losses — both by one run — pitching hasn’t been the issue for the Marauders. Brown’s nominal starter, sophomore Krista Earl, has struck out 113 batters — fourth in Division II.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Phoenix, great test against other club teams, typically there’s going to be probably upwards of 20 different teams in
it’s a team effort, they’re playing relaly well as a team now, trusting each other, that’s been terrific, able to play lot of different positions, learning, staying positive

As another spring volleyball season winds down in the Cottonwood Recreation Center, Jack Teel can’t help but notice the smaller numbers.

The Cottonwood Recreation Center is running a co-ed volleyball league. Jose Gonzalez of team AGM swats the ball back over the net.
“We’re actually down a little bit in our B League teams,” said Teel, city recreation coordinator of sports and special events. “Older guys are retiring; we’re not getting an influx of younger kids.”

Just four B League teams and seven A League teams are competing this year for bragging rights atop the coed volleyball spring recreation league, which will conclude Thursday, April 16.

“The A League is going to be your more competitive league, where players go out to win,” Teel explained. “The B League is more recreational, where players go out just to have fun.

“There are usually six or seven recreational teams and nine or 10 competitive teams.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

A 200-pounder with a familiar name led all other eighth-graders competing Saturday, April 4, at the second Weekend Wars.

Favian Chagolla competed in Weekend Wars, the offseason  wrestling program inviting kids from across the state to hone their skills, taking first in the 200-pound weight class April 4.Favian Chagolla, the oldest grandson of Camp Verde High School assistant wrestling coach Mario Chagolla Sr., defeated two other wrestlers to take his first weight class win in four years from the Sterrett Wrestling Complex.

“I have to live on the Chagolla last name,” he said. “It’s a big honor. If I were to lose, that’s just another thing I think I’d catch it on.”

Chagolla, a self-described “math boy,” is motivated to go to tournaments as a CVHS freshman in the fall by a loss in the consolation bracket quarterfinals of the Middle School State Wrestling Championship in Tucson. There, he pinned two opponents but succumbed to being out of position and “some stupid headlocks” in two losses against wrestlers 45 pounds heavier.

“I wanted to place, but I didn’t get where I wanted to go,” he said. “I did make a lot of screw-ups at State — little mistakes I should have fixed, should have known.


“I have baseball season right now; right after that, I’m going to start coming in every weekend.”

Mario Chagolla, who is also the director of Camp Verde’s wrestling club New Breed, believes his grandson could be a potential two-time state champion — and would’ve possibly won the title four times had he not left the program between fourth and seventh grades at Camp Verde Elementary School.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Will Davis and Henry Smith were not smiling after games Friday, April 10, against Sedona Red Rock High School.

The head baseball and softball coaches at Camp Verde High School were not pleased after their respective teams were shut out and narrowly averted a first loss in Division III, Section IV, to the Scorpions.

Senior Madison Garcia got her final batter to ground out with the bases loaded to salvage a 4-2 win.

The 5-0 shutout of Davis’ baseball team hurt worse. The second loss in a row for the Cowboys [10-9] dropped them out of the top 24 playoff seeds and, with a 1-4 Section IV record, solidly into the lower tier of sectional competitors.

Smith’s daughter, Taya, and Garcia at least continued two of the best pitching performances in Division III, which the Cowboys needed from Garcia, who struck out 13 Scorpions but didn’t leave her head coach any happier.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 15, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.