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Mingus basketball, soccer, wrestling teams ‘reload’ for winter
Written by Staci Gasser   
Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:00

It’s that time of year when the footballs, volleyballs, swimsuits and running shoes are put away and the focus shifts to the winter sports at Mingus Union High School.

Sophomore Cristian Escobar tears after the ball during a Mingus Union High School home game last season against cross-valley rivals Sedona Red Rock High School.Now it’s up to basketball, soccer and wrestling to continue the winning seasons.

“The great thing about Mingus Union athletics is we don’t rebuild, we reload,” said Mark Owens, MUHS athletic director. “Each team has great offseason training where the freshman come prepared and the returning athletes know what it takes to get it done.”

Boys Basketball

The Mingus Union High School boys varsity team thunders down the court to score during a 2011 home game against Flagstaff High School.The boys basketball team had a great season last year with a 10-16 record. The program had been on a downturn for a few years before that with only a couple of winning seasons in the past 10 to 12 years. In the 2010-2011 season, the team only had three wins.

Owens is returning for his second year as head coach of the team, although it’s his 10th year as a basketball coach.

Owens said the team is still a work in progress, but he is impressed with the senior leadership.

“The guys are able to grasp the concepts. They are ahead of the curve,” Owens said. “I’m definitely excited about the direction this year will go.”

The team lost six seniors plus another starter, but three seniors will fill their places and carry the team: Rashonn Montgomery, Clancy Odegadre and Alex Brewer.

The boys face a tough schedule as Northern Arizona basketball as a whole is on an uptick in competition.

Coconino is predicted to be in the top five in Division II. Prescott has both a 6-foot 8-inch tall and a 6-foot 10-inch tall player who already have NCAA Division I offers. Flagstaff has the top two senior players in the state. Sedona Red Rock has new coach who runs a Nike-sponsored basketball program and has coached at the college level. Bradshaw Mountain is always well-coached and plays hard and Camp Verde is always a tough rival for Mingus.

“It will be tough to get wins,” Owen said, “We play hard and play smart to be successful.”

Micah Owens, Alberto Rodriguez, David Rodriguez and Tom Kurry make up the coaching staff.

Girls Basketball

The girls basketball team had a rough 2011-2012 season with a 5-19 record, but this season it has a new head coach, Art Moncibaez.

“Art is a good coach who is knowledgeable and has spent a lot of time in the community developing our girls at the elementary and middle school levels,” Mark Owens said.

Moncibaez coached at Clarkdale Middle School before taking the head coaching position of the girls basketball team at Mingus.

The girls have been working hard and looking to have a much better season.

“One of the players, Monica Soliz, told me that she believes they have a final four team,” Owens said. “So that is the expectations of what the girls have. I don’t doubt that they will follow the pattern of the other Mingus sports. A state playoff run is something they can attain.”

Jalon Peters is the junior varsity coach and Brendon Kenney is the freshman coach.

Boys Soccer

The boys soccer team ended its 2011-2012 season with a 10-4 regular season record and a state playoff appearance.

The team lost nine seniors, so the young talent will be looking to fill the void.

“They have some talent there. They always make the state tournament and this year will be no different,” Owens said. “They will be a state playoff team.”

Cade Densmore returns as head coach. Densmore has been with the team for a while as he was the first-ever MUHS team captain in Mingus’ inaugural soccer season.

“He is very good. His players trust him and his coaching staff is great,” Owens said. “They have a high soccer IQ plus they have great relationships with the kids, which is why they have the successful program that they do.”

Calvin Behlow is returning as the varsity assistant and Alex Contreas is the junior varsity coach.

Girls Soccer

The girls soccer team ended last season strongly with a 19-2-2 record and a state playoff run as well.

It lost a lot of talent with six seniors gone, but it will be senior-heavy this season with seven on the team.

Delaney Scanlan, Nataly Escamilla, Dalis Sealey, Gabi Guerro, Alex Pee, Ashley Mackuch and Shelby Hughes are the seniors this season. Juniors Haley Backus Dani Swartz and Emily Nelson finish out the varsity squad.

Bud Rhodes returns as the head coach with Lee Canning as the junior varsity coach.

“Buddy Rhodes is the elite soccer mind of Arizona,” Owens said. “We are lucky to have his sort of caliber to be coaching our girls.”


The girls have been invited to play in the Arizona Soccer Showcase at the Scottsdale Sports Complex at the end of December. Only the top soccer programs in the state are invited to play.

Wrestling is the final sport this season. MUHS has one of the premier wrestling programs in the state and came home last season at the Division III state runner-ups. The team was also the runner-up the season before and has won five state championships in the last 10 years.

“They are young this year, but expect big things,” Owens said. “They have been working real hard in the offseason and [the new head coach Ryan Montgomery] brings fresh ideas and high-level techniques.”

Montgomery was a college wrestler and comes from a large school system in Southern California.

First home games are:

boys basketball, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

girls basketball, Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m.

boys soccer, Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 5 p.m.

girls soccer, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m.

wrestling, Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.


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