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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.

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

The rivalry between Mingus Union and Bradshaw Mountain high schools had become rather lopsided lately.

Senior Orlando Machado hurls a fastball for Mingus Union High School against Bradshaw Mountain High School. The Marauders baseball team defeated the Bears for the first time in five years Tuesday, April 7.
This year, it was all Bears in basketball and football, leaving it to senior pitcher Orlando Machado on the baseball diamond, where head coach Bob Young had not tasted victory over Bradshaw since a 19-16 scorefest in 2011.

Machado’s complete game Tuesday, April 7, changed all that, as the Marauders also took advantage of five Bears errors to decisively beat them at home, 8-3.

“This was the one team I wanted to beat, for sure,” said Machado after striking out six Bears, tossing a shutout through the first four innings to help secure the win for the Marauders in their Section IV opener. “I told coach Young, I wanted the mound. He agreed with it.”

The win not only ended a five-game MUHS losing streak to its Prescott Valley rivals, it also gives the Marauders, ranked eighth in Division II by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the early edge in the battle for their section’s top seed in the state tournament.

“He was in the zone,” Young said. “He hadn’t beat Bradshaw, so he wanted to beat those guys before he graduated.”

Ninth-ranked Coconino High School, which will visit Friday, April 17, has one more divisional victory to its credit.

For the full story and more photos, please see the Wednesday, April 8, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Senior Allison Whitworth represents a breed of athlete she hopes doesn’t fade away this spring.

Senior Allison Whitworth runs in and leaps high over a bungee for her high jump at Mingus Union High School's track practice. Whitworth, the only remaining Marauder with three state championship rings, also hurdles, runs relay and pole vaults.

Whitworth, the only Mingus Union High School track and field athlete with three Division III state team championship rings, pole vaulted 8 feet, 6 inches to beat over 40 competitors and 133 other schools March 21 at the Nike Elite Rotary Invitational in Chandler.

“Me and one other girl were the only ones who cleared” the pole vault bar at that height, she said. “They took it up to 9 feet, 3 inches, instead of just nine like they usually do, and I hit it with my shoulder.”

Whitworth, also a tri-captain for the Marauders spiritline,  was the only MUHS freshman to compete at State three years ago, where she finished fourth in the high jump.

“I actually three-stepped for the first time the other day,” she said. “That was really hard to do. I was pretty impressed.

“This is my first year doing the hurdles. Coach [Tiffany] Goettl told me I have the speed — I just need to work on the form.”

If Whitworth qualifies for State in the 100-meter hurdles, as she is trying to do, it would be her fourth event in which she will be competing. Whitworth, as a sophomore, was Division III runner-up with the Marauders’ 4x100 relay team — ranked this spring among the top eight in Division III.

“We’ve PR’d at every single meet we’ve gone to,” she said. “We’re trying to shave off a second or two more in order to get into the top three stalls at State.”

The fifth-fastest 4x100 relay runner in the state as a sophomore, Whitworth continues to work to boost her personal bests. She just returned from a three-hour pole vault clinic Tuesday, March 31, in Apache Junction.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 1, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

A trio of unlikely hitters helped Mingus Union High School baseball remain undefeated Tuesday, March 17.

Freshman Tyler Kelly swings, chopping a Wickenburg High School pitch in front of the plate. Kelly had the game-winning single Tuesday, March 17, in a 3-2 win over Wickenburg High School.
Freshman second baseman Tyler Kelly singled home the game-winning run from second base in the sixth inning to beat Wickenburg High School, 3-2.

Sophomore catcher Gus Henley initiated the rally with a double down the left-field line with two outs.

“I knew we were down two outs,” he said. “I was just focusing on getting a base hit for our team.”

Henley hit .600, including the only home run of the tournament, as the Marauders swept four games in the Route 66 Classic in the face of 40 mph winds over four days.

“It was so bad, if you hit a ball in the right spot, it wouldn’t go anywhere,” Henley said. “It just died.”

Junior Fernando Chavez made up for one of his two runs allowed before being moved to the infield in favor of senior Gage Benevento, lining a triple into right field in the fifth inning.

“Gage did a great job,” said Marauders head coach Bob Young. “Fernando had a little trouble with his control.

“He’s got to throw strikes. Where he gets into trouble, he tries to strike everybody out. I tell the guys, hit your spots, we’ll get ground balls. That’s why he wasn’t out there that long.”

For the full story and photos, please see the Wednesday, March 18, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Winning isn’t everything, but it is the only thing Mingus Union High School’s baseball and softball teams have been doing on their Spring Break road trips.

Junior Tristan Clark makes contact, ripping the ball into the outfield. The Mingus Union High School baseball team won its home game against Payson High School, 9-4.
Head coach John Brown’s girls snapped a four-game losing skid Monday, March 9, with an 8-4 win at Wickenburg High School, only for head coach Bob Young’s boys to remain undefeated by the same score the next afternoon at Thunderbird High School.

After junior Zack Abrigo set the tone with a 13-0 no-hitter Feb. 27 at Kingman High School, MUHS pitching will get a workout beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Needles, Calif.

That is when Young can throw as many as nine hurlers at the Route 66 Classic field — five different opponents played over three days in two different states and stadiums.

“I don’t think anybody’s ready to throw a complete game, so I’m taking six freshman pitchers,” he said. “There’ll be a lot of guys throwing a couple innings.

“We play six games this week. I’ll have a lot more figured out, rotation-wise, after this weekend.”

A couple of hours after baseball wraps up its final game at River Valley High School in Bullhead City, softball, with barely two pitchers, will play a home doubleheader against Blue Ridge High School, beginning at 1 p.m.

“We’ll play to win the first one, then we’ll see what happens,” Brown said. “Play to survive game two.”

Senior Sarah Ortiz, No. 3, was on point and ready to catch, rendering the Payson baserunner out at first base. The Marauders were shut out by the Longhorns in their home game last week.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, March 11, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Can Mingus Union High School win its fourth straight track and field state title?

Sophomore Cassia Gehl, left, and junior Alec Phyfer train with the rest of the Mingus Union High School runners. Gehl and Phyfer train for endurance over sprinting speed. Gehl’s main events are the mile and half-mile run, while Phyfer’s is the 300-meter hurdle.
Until the girls team stops winning them, it’s the question head coach Yancey DeVore will have to keep answering every spring.

“Anytime you start talking about winning a state championship, it’s hard,” he said. “You have to have the right things happen.

“You have to have the athletes who can score points — not just in one or two events, but across the board. It always helps to have a state champ or two in there somewhere as well.”

Filling that bill will be junior Megan Goettl, the Marauders’ top point-scorer at the Division III meet as a sophomore. She was runner-up in the 1,600 meters, had top five finishes in the 800 and 3,200 meters and was a leg of last spring’s state champion 4x800 relay team.

However, only 18 other girls came out for the team, compared to 43 total boys.

“We have a pretty talented pool of guys to get in the right spot, but we are short [of] girls for some reason,” DeVore said. “We have State-returning female good athletes out there, some good freshmen, but the numbers aren’t there.”

For the full story and season schedule, please see the Wednesday, March 4, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Experience is overrated, as the girls tennis team at Mingus Union High School proved in its opening match Friday, Feb. 27, a 7-2 win over Thunderbird High School.

Logan Connella, a junior on Mingus Union High School’s boys tennis team, returns a serve during practice. Connella is currently the No. 2 singles player on the Marauders’ varsity ladder.
Talon Whiteley took over the top spot on the Marauders ladder right away with one of only two straight-set singles victories over the Chiefs, 6-3, 6-2 — the other belonging to fellow freshman Emma Williams in the four spot.

“She and her friend Emma came here for eighth-grade parent night [last] February, so I knew they were on the horizon,” girls head coach Andrea Meyer. “They both are good athletes and go-getters, trained by local pros.”

Williams won her singles match 6-3, 6-0, and her doubles match, 8-4, with junior Abii Almanza. Whiteley and junior Olivia Galluzzi, who returned to the team after taking off her sophomore season to deal with injuries, teamed up for an 8-6 victory. Sophomore Phoebe Chilton and freshman Megan Drumm teamed up to complete the Marauders’ doubles sweep of the Chiefs, 8-2.

The rest of the matches went to tiebreakers — three of them all the way to 10 points.

For the full story, more photos and season schedule, please see the Wednesday, March 4, issue of the Cottonwood  Journal Extra.