Hamilton offensive lineman Christian Westerman switched his college commitment from Texas to Auburn on Friday, the first move in what could be a busy couple of weeks for Arizona linemen.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound senior was the highest-ranked recruit in the state, but there are still three other prominent players from the East Valley who will likely decide on their college destination by the Feb. 2 signing day.
Saguaro offensive lineman Cyrus Hobbi is on an official visit to UCLA this weekend, and he is expected to choose either the Bruins, USC or Arizona State soon thereafter. His coach, John Sanders, believes it will be hard for Hobbi to turn down the Sun Devils, although the other two schools are very much in play.
Corona del Sol defensive tackle Todd Peat is likely going to choose between Arizona State, Oregon State and Nebraska. Many have expected Peat to stay home and sign with ASU, although the longer he waits the more that gets questioned. The Sun Devils have a need at defensive tackle after junior Lawrence Guy decided to enter the NFL draft and recruit Matt Ramondo switched from an ASU pledge to Michigan State. Peat’s younger brother, Andrus, is one of the state’s top recruits for 2012.
Perry’s Mo Latu will likely choose between Missouri, Oregon and Arizona State.
Recruits don’t technically have to decide by Feb. 2, but almost all do because teams don’t have many scholarships left after that date.
On the coaching vacancy front, while Mountain View re-posted its vacant football coach position, athletic director Shawn Rustad said this week that the school is still hoping to make a hire in the next two weeks.
Mesquite athletic director Anthony Scanio has been out of town all week for personal reasons. The application deadline was Friday, and Scanio said in an e-mail that he hoped to catch up with the process and sort through resumes late in the coming week.
St. Mary’s posted its coaching position through next week, and athletic director Rose Vargas said the school would like to make a hire by mid-February in its effort to replace Eddy Zubey, who left for Higley.
Zubey said he approached Westwood coach Greg Mendez about being Higley’s new defensive coordinator, but Mendez said he wasn’t interested. Mendez was Zubey’s defensive coordinator when Zubey was Westwood’s coach in 2006 and 2007.
“I’m sure people tried to put two-and-two together, but it’s not happening,” Mendez said, noting 80 kids in his weightlifting class is an all-time high and the 2012 senior class figures to be bigger than this season’s.
“We have a good core with Hayden Clark and (Raekwon) Robinson. We’ve got some tools to build and we’ll have to build again, but I like our numbers and our direction,” he said.
Mountain View and Corona del Sol will face off on Tuesday in a game that doesn’t just have 5A Central Region implications, but state title ones as well.
The Toros and Aztecs are two of the top squads in 5A Division I and are jockeying for high power-point seedings for the tournament.
The teams faced off on Dec. 13, with Mountain View pulling out a 49-40 victory.
Mountain View was 5-0 in region play heading into Friday night’s contest with Dobson, while Corona del Sol was a game behind. Corona del Sol and Mountain View have the two best overall records in the conference at 15-2 and 14-2, respectively.
Until Wednesday, defending 2A champion Valley Christian hadn’t practiced the day after a loss since Jan. 30, 2008.
The Trojans had their 48-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday when Tempe Prep overcame V.C.’s 43-29 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Tempe Prep senior captain Lizzi LeBeau hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to tie the score, and 6-foot-2 junior Janel Brinkman scored on a putback of a half-court heave to win at the buzzer.
Though not as painful, the 50-48 loss to the Knights was eerily similar to Valley Christian’s last defeat in the 2009 state tournament semifinals when St. Johns hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to win in overtime. Both two years ago and Tuesday, the final bizarre sequence was set up by Trojan turnovers.
Ashton Wolf, one of the best players in all of 2A, shot 4 of 22 on the night, but Timmer said Wolf wasn’t the only one to suffer through a rare bad night. He sent a note of congratulations to Tempe Prep coach Nancy Calahan, whose Knights were 9-3 and up to No. 7 in power points entering Friday’s big game against Scottsdale Christian.
“The girls had a really good practice on Wednesday,” Trojans coach Scott Timmer said. “I really like how they’ve handled it moving forward. Sometimes the kids fare better than the coaches.”
Besides turning around and beating struggling Westwind Prep on Thursday, one big piece of good news for the Trojans came when 2A all-state forward Stacey Jones was cleared to resume full practices after suffering a leg injury during volleyball season. Timmer said Jones could play next weekend and possibly get five regular-season games of action before the state tournament.
The Trojans still have Pusch Ridge Christian (9-1 entering Friday’s games), Scottsdale Christian (9-1) and 4A Flagstaff (10-1) on the schedule.
Life as a top-notch wrestler is tough enough with a year-round schedule and long hours spent in the wrestling room. Now imagine maintaining a near-perfect GPA, good enough to meet admission requirements at an Ivy League school.
That’s the life of Chandler senior Vidal “Max” Mejia, one of the top 119-pounders in the state.
Mejia recently received his “likely letter” from Harvard, which means that if he can maintain his grades, the school will have a spot for him for the 2011-2012 school year.
“This has been a lot of work for him,” said Max’s father and wrestling coach Vidal Mejia. “Harvard was probably his No. 1 choice.”
The elder Mejia said Max visited Stanford and the Naval Academy, both top-tier schools in their own right, before getting his likely letter and deciding on Harvard.
The Crimson have produced three national champions in wrestling, including one in 2010, J.P. O’Connor.
Tribune writer Steve Burks contributed to this report.