Forecasting the future in Foothills sports - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Forecasting the future in Foothills sports

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Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 6:52 am | Updated: 4:37 pm, Tue Oct 4, 2011.

The Ahwatukee Foothills News sports department - all one of us - got outbid on eBay on a crystal ball for sale.

It has left our vision and/or predictions of what the 2011 sports scene in Ahwatukee Foothills might look like a little cloudy.

We will take a shot anyway.

Here are some of the possible storylines that will shape the next year ahead.

ALL is good

The Ahwatukee Little League Majors team gets the community all riled up again when the team wins the District 13 tournament and heads to the sectional tournament.

This is based more on hope than facts.

There isn't much better during the summer than an extended run into postseason by the little guys in stirrups.

Not saying this is going to be like 2006 when the Dawgs were in Williamsport, Pa., and on national TV, but how cool would that be?

Pride makes the semifinals

If the semifinals were an actual location Mountain Pointe football coach Norris Vaughan would have to pay taxes there.

So it's not like we are going out on a limb here.

Vaughan has been to the semifinals both years at Mountain Pointe and made it three of the four years he was at Wickenburg before coming to Knox Road.

In other words, Vaughan has guided his teams to five semifinal appearances in six seasons.

"Getting 10 wins in a season and making the semifinals is hard to do," Vaughan said after beating Phoenix Brophy in the state quarterfinals. "We have managed to do it twice now and it is something to be proud of for these kids."

Mountain Pointe will have to replace a good portion of its dominating defense but the offense - other than tackle Chris Carl and wide receiver Garrett Holle - returns almost intact.

The Pride's new section - more on that later - doesn't include Chandler Hamilton so it should make for a favorable schedule.

Mathers gets 2nd title

Desert Vista junior Robbie Mathers will become the first wrestler in Thunder history to win two state titles.

After winning Class 5A Division I title last season, Mathers entered this week's action 13-0 and looking as dominant as ever, now at 125 pounds.

Mathers is one of nine state champions from the school, but none of them were able to do it twice. He'll get the second one this year and just might ended up being a three-timer.

AIA has new guidelines

The one thing that is certain is the 2011 high school sports season will be like no other.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association has made drastic changes to the foundation of high school athletics.

The regions (Fiesta for DV, East Valley for MP, Central for Horizon Honors) and classification systems (5A DI for DV and MP and 2A for Horizon) that have been in place for years are no longer.

It will change to sectionals and divisions for the 2011-12 school year.

The Thunder and Pride are in Division I across the board and will play in the same section in each sport assuring regular season meetings, while Horizon is generally in Division III it depends on the sport.

The decision to make changes is partially because of budget cuts. The grouping and scheduling of games, done by a computer based on school population and geographical closeness, is done partially because of budget concerns.

It eliminates travel expenses, venue expenses (less state tournaments) and trophy expenses among other things.

In talking to coaches and administrators, each sport has specific concerns. Part of it is the unknown. The winter and spring team sports are still operating under the old setup so coaches have glanced at it without worrying about it much just yet.

"Everything changes every two years," Desert Vista girls soccer coach Paul Manoogian said. "It will work itself out I am sure."

There are some weaker sectionals, especially in football, which will allow some teams to make the state field that wouldn't finish in the top half of other sectionals.

Once everyone gets a feel for it, this will end up being well accepted. Power rankings are still going to be the determining factor on getting into the postseason.

As always win and get in - it takes all of the guess work out of the equation.

Calc makes a run

PGA veteran and Ahwatukee Foothills resident Mark Calcavecchia has won the Waste Management Open, then called the Phoenix Open, three times.

He holds the tournament's scoring record at 254.

It is safe to say he is comfortable with the layout at TPC Scottsdale and last year's run at the British Open title at age 50 shows he still can swing the sticks against today's PGA stars.

So when the PGA players come to town the first week of February, Calcavecchia, who spends a good portion of his schedule on the Champions Tour, will get another shot at turning back the clock.

He'll make another run and finish among the top 15.

 

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