The constant in Mountain View football the last 23 years is heading into retirement.
Don Kramer, a varsity assistant under all three head coaches who have guided the Toros program since it began in the fall of 1976, has coached his last game for the school.
Kramer, who was debating whether or not to return for another season, decided recently he will not. Although he was not with the school when the program started in the mid-1970s, Kramer came along in 1980 under Jesse Parker through the 1994 season, continued on with Bernie Busken through 2001 and has worked under present coach Tom Joseph the past two seasons.
Kramer has been on the sidelines for seven of the school’s eight 5A titles (1983, 1986, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002).
"He’s irreplaceable," Joseph said. "He’s meant a lot to the program, in terms of its stability and success."
Kramer has coached defense for Mountain View as well as the running backs and defensive backs.
TRACK AND FIELD
Road warriors: East Valley athletes fared well Saturday at the Arcadia
Invitational in Arcadia, Calif.
Desert Vista’s Haley Paul won the girls 1,600-meter run in a time of 4 minutes, 51.83 seconds, ranking her third on Arizona’s all-time list. Mountain Pointe’s Sara Gorton holds the state’s fastest time, a 4:49.11 clocking in 1999. Tucson Amphitheater’s Leslie Heywood ran a 4:51.12 in 1982.
Mountain View pole vaulter Tod Rodenbaugh also won his event, clearing 15 feet, 7 inches.
In the girls pole vault competition, Corona del Sol’s Katie Morgan finished second with a vault of 12-7. She tied for first, but settled for second after losing a vault-off. Desert Vista’s Jaci Perryman was sixth with an 11-7 vault.
Other East Valley placers were: Hamilton’s Mike Hilbe (400, fifth) and Queen Creek’s Nicole Nevitt (300 hurdles, sixth) and Tony Bayne (triple jump, eighth).
Peoria sweep: Peoria and Peoria Centennial swept last week’s Tempe Relays. Centennial won the boys division with 46 points, and Peoria grabbed the girls title with 50 points. The Panthers also came in second in the boys division. The Chandler girls team had an impressive showing with a second-place finish, but the boys came in a disappointing fourth.
"The girls did an excellent job," Chandler boys coach Stephen Carson said, "but we need to get the guys focused. Without Mountain View and Mountain Pointe (competing) the boys relaxed, and Peoria and Centennial brought it to us."
Individual winners included Mesquite’s Brianna Spletstoser in the girls 1,600-meter run, Pinnacle’s Tyler Whittier in the boys 110-meter hurdles, and Paradise Valley’s Jack Mann in the boys 1,600.
Corona del Sol came away with a victory in the boys distance medley, and Chandler won the girls 3,200-meter relay.
On Saturday, the relays wrapped up with some featured events running at Sun Angel Track in conjunction with Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic. Valley Christian’s Julie Anne Bailey won the girls 1,600-meter race in 5:17.40, beating Spletstoser, and Mann repeated as the winner in the boys 1,600.
Timely homer: It took 19-plus games for Mesa High to hit its first home run of the season, but that homer came at a crucial time. Senior infielder Mike Moreno hit the round-tripper in a 5-3 win last week over Red Mountain. The home run came in the sixth inning and tied the game at 3-3. Mesa added two more runs in that half inning to pull it out.
‘‘It went about 321 and a half feet, scraped the bushes and landed just inside the foul pole,’’ Mesa coach Steve Gourde said.
Mesa is 7-13 overall, but 5-4 in region — good for third place behind region-leader Yuma Cibola and secondplace Dobson.
Fighting back: Saguaro coach Chris Aikman was so optimistic about his then-undefeated team’s chances in two recent 4A East Sky Region matches against Apache Junction and Desert Ridge he didn’t worry about allowing top players Ashley Ebbert and Erica Federgreen do other things and skip the matches — and then the Sabercats lost both by 5-4 scores.
But the 8-2 Sabercats battled back to post 6-3 wins over both Chaparral and Arcadia, and Ebbert and Federgreen remain undefeated on the season. Aikman said his club won’t be hurt by the team losses since 4A does not have a team tournament. He also figures that his two top players will go into the regional as the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds.
- Staff writer Les Willsey and correspondents Kyle Odegard and Jim Richards contributed to this report.