Dec. 29, 2004 - AHEAD OF THE GAME: Pack Attack
The Alpha Packers will hit the interstate to the Super Series Winter Nationals Dec. 27 through Jan. 2 in Peoria. The Packers basically are comprised of the same Canyon del Oro 9 & 10 All-Stars Little League Baseball squad that advanced to the state championship game in July. The Peoria tourney will feature teams from California, Texas, Nevada and New Mexico, as well as Arizona. The team, which competes in various regional tournaments, earned its spot in the Nationals in September by finishing fourth at the Labor Day Classic Tournament.
Many consider the Super Series Nationals to be the World Series of club baseball.
The Packers play up an age bracket and enter the Super Series as the eighth highest points earners in the National League Division among 11-year-old teams throughout the country. In Peoria, the Packers are guaranteed to play at least five games.
The CDO Nine (or 12 for that matter) made a name for themselves this summer with a dominating drive through the city and state's top teams. Led by pitcher Cooper Smith, CDO mowed through the District 5 city championship and on to the state championship game before its bid was cut short by Peoria, 5-4. During that stretch of 11 games, CDO outscored its opponents 126-8.
Get it done in the classroom before you do anything on the field. That's the motto at Ironwood Ridge High School. This past fall, Nighthawks athletics adhered to that axiom earning a combined grade point average of 3.31. Three of those teams-girls cross country, volleyball and golf-finished the term with GPAs over 3.5. Now that finals are through, IRHS Athletic Director Mike Brown is hopeful the girls swim team will join the 3.5 GPA echelon as well.
OK TO RUN IN THIS HALL
Carol Moore will be among the runners sprinting their way to Pima County fame when the Old Pueblo Cross Country Invitational Hall-of-Fame opens its doors to the class of 2005 next year. Moore was a state champion for Canyon del Oro High School in 1985-86. That year's squad went on to finish as AAA Division champs and AAA State Runners-up. After a highly successful stint at CDO, the 1986 graduate ran her way to the Buckeye State where she competed for Ohio State.
CDO gridiron gurus Brock Knight, Daniel Finnegan and Gene Park were honored at the team's annual banquet Dec. 5. Knight, a senior running back who filled in for the oft-injured Sean Romero, captured the CDO Golden Helmet and the Offensive Back of the Year Awards. Knight bulldozed his way to 979 yards and found the end zone 10 times. Senior wide-out and defensive back Finnegan earned the team's Coaches Award while senior lineman Park grabbed the Dorado's Defensive Lineman of the Year and Most Inspirational honors. CDO finished 8-3 and was eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs by archrival Salpointe Catholic.
LIONS SHOW CLAWS
After a slow start, the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy's newly formed girls soccer team has begun to hit its stride. Loser of its first two games, against Seton Catholic and Rio Rico, the program notched its first win ever when the Lions knocked off Queen Creek 3-0 Dec. 9. PRCA followed up that shutout with another blanking, this time at the expense of Santa Cruz Valley Union. The Lions dusted up the Dust Devils by a score of 7-0.
Competing out of Class 2A, (enrollment 201 to 449 students), PRCA often has to play larger teams from 3A. Aside from Yuma Catholic, all of the Lions competition will be from larger 3A schools (enrollment 450 to 949). Rio Rico is so big that once the conferences realign in August, the Hawks will move up to Division II of Class 4A.