A group of eighth-grade boys from Gilbert won its division recently at the National Junior Basketball League All-Star Tournament in Fullerton, Calif. The Gilbert team, coached by Gary Canez, Ben Cuevas and Ivan Larrarte, went 4-0 at nationals and won its nine-team division.
“It was great to be able to show these young men what winning on a national level feels like,” Canez said. “They fought for every victory.”
Members of the team were Marcus Beaver, Brandon Canez, Nick Chavez, Javon Cole, B.J. Cuevas, Conner Helvig, Slater Kersting, Brandon Larrarte, Gavin Mueller and Bryce Powers.
The Gilbert Chapter of Arizona East Valley JBL also sent two other teams to the national tournament, which featured more than 115 teams from around the nation.
Gilbert’s Division III squad, coached by Rick Ruter and Kerry Kersting, was made up of third- and fourth-grade boys from East Valley schools.
They went 2-2 at the tournament.
Team members were: Carson Cole, Antonio Cuevas, Dylan Delia, Hunter Hibert, Jake Kersting, William Loftus, Jacob Moreno, Cole Ruter, Ray Sanchez and Austin Weston.
The Division II team of fifth- and sixth-graders placed fourth in its division.
The team consisted of Devin James, Christian Sanchez, Matt Holmberg, Bubba Thompson, Josh Davis, Tre’von Myles, Spencer Brock, Adrian Carrasco, Chris Cottrill and Sebastian Alcantara. It was coached by Keith James and Javier Carrasco.
“The really neat thing was that each kid played a key role during at least one game,” said Keith James. “No one person stuck out as dominant. Everyone seemed to have a few moments where they shined.”
The all-stars were selected from the top players in their divisions by their fellow players and coaches.
Two East Valley archers placed first recently in the Arizona State Junior Olympic Archery Development Championship at Papago Archery Range.
Archers from ages 9 to 17 competed with either an Olympic recurve bow or compound bow.
Sami Lopez of Chandler placed first in recurve in the female Yeoman division, while Brianna Beck of Gilbert was first in recurve of the female Cub division.
Other East Valley archers who did well were:
• Catherine Ayotte of Scottsdale, Bowman class, female, recurve, second place
• Kyle Pelton of Scottsdale, Junior class, male recurve, second place
• Devin Metcalf of Tempe, Cadet division, male, recurve, third place
• Shawn Lopez of Chandler, male, recurve, fourth place
• Steven Lopez of Chandler, Cadet, male, recurve, fourth place
On the Olympic scene, Scottsdale’s Lindsay Pian, 21, was named the second alternate for the U.S. archery team after finishing fourth last weekend in the final round of the U.S. Olympic Trials at Ben Avery Shooting Facility. The top two finishers earned spots on the team that will be competing in the Beijing Olympics this summer.
“All of the participants said it was the most gruelling effort they have gone through,” said Bob Pian, Lindsay’s father. “If all kinds of bizarre things happen, she could still go to the Games.”
Boycotts by other countries would call for the participating countries to expand their teams, so it is not over yet for Pian.
JUMPING AND TUMBLING
The Chandler-based Aspire Kids Sports Center trampoline and tumbling team had a successful weekend May 2-3 at the Arizona State meet in Yuma.
Among the 37 state champions to the center’s credit are 16-year-old Cody Farabee of Gilbert and 15-year-old Katie Wilson of Chandler, who won all three events in their respective age groups.
Trampoline and tumbling competitions consist of three events: trampoline, double-mini trampoline and tumbling.
Aspire’s program has been in existence for two years and the athletes are coached by Jon Black and Roumen and Toni Gabrovski.
Black, a former national power tumbling champion and USA national team member, is currently ranked in the U.S. top 10 for power tumbling. The Gabrovskis have more than 40 years of experience coaching trampoline, tumbling and gymnastics.
Roumen was a part of the 1968 Bulgarian men’s gymnastics Olympic team and has coached numerous Olympic level athletes, including 1996 gold medalist Dominique Moceanu.
On the gymnastics side, Aspire’s girls level 8 team traveled to Long Beach, Calif., to compete in the USA Gymnastics Region 1 Championships on April 25-27.
Chandler’s Aimee Nguyen, 13, and Kendal Flegenheimer, 15, both took second place in the all-around competition for their age group. Nguyen moved up from last place at the 2007 regionals to make the Arizona Regional Team this year, which took third place at the competition.
IN THE NEWS
Former Mesa resident Kevin Bronson, a five-time U.S. Karate champion, was inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame on April 12. Bronson, who has a competitive fighting record of 213-2, is the son of Mesa residents Samuel and Lois Bailin and now lives in Warsaw, Ind.
Mesa Skyline High School’s baseball academy, for youths 11 through high school age, will conduct team tryouts Saturday and again May 17 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the school’s baseball field. The goal of the academy is to teach players how to reach the next level and encourage them to go beyond high school in their playing careers.
Participants will gain knowledge of the game and build new and better techniques. Coaches are also needed. For information call Michael Johnson at (480) 472-9610 or (480) 628-0370 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or CoogansBluff54@msn.com.
TEE IT UP
Scottsdale’s Coronado Golf Course (2829 N. Miller Road) will host two junior camps for golfers ages 8-17 from 7:30 a.m. to noon complete with PGA and LPGA instructors and coaches. Session I is June 2-6 and Session II is June 9-13. Cost is $185. For information call (480) 947-8364.