Story by Eric Townsend
Photos by Daniel Gaona
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team finished a bittersweet fifth place at Nationals, as a key injury and inopportune foul trouble may have cost the team its championship dreams.
The No. 5 seed Aztecs (28-8) opened the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships with a convincing win over unseeded Bismarck (N.D.) State College.
Using smothering defense and excellent shooting from the field, Pima players paced themselves to an 82-56 victory.
However, sophomore guard Abyee Maracigan tore her ACL early in the game. Sophomore guard Jessica Jones led Pima with 20 points and sophomore center Tia Morrison added 19 points and 15 rebounds.
“We felt better prepared for this tournament as opposed to last year,” Morrison said. “We were all new to it, but this year it wasn’t as new, so we could see that at our best we could still win.”
In the quarterfinals, Pima played No. 4 seed Schoolcraft (Mich.) College. The Aztecs led much of the game, including 37-32 at the half, but they couldn’t seal the win without their two All-Americans.
In addition to the absence of Maracigan, Morrison was in foul trouble. She managed just seven points to go with 10 rebounds.
Schoolcraft ousted Pima for the second year in a row, 65-56.
Sophomore and freshman guards Nene Villalobos and Patricia Ramos led Pima with nine points each.
Schoolcraft was seeded one spot ahead of Pima but it made a world of difference. They had a bye in the first round, while PCC lost Maracigan in their opener.
In their first consolation bracket game, Pima beat No. 8 seed Illinois Valley Community College 77-76.
Once Pima gained a 58-42 lead, the team was able to hold on. Morrison returned to form with a game-high 31 points and 19 rebounds.
Freshmen Deana Bledsoe and Ramos added with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Pima beat No. 6 seed Parkland (Ill.) College 77-65 in the fifth-place game of the 12-team tournament. Morrison scored 18 points on 7-9 shooting. Sophomore forward LeAndra Lucas scored 13 points and Villalobos scored 11.
Morrison and Lucas were named to the All-Tournament team. Morrison averaged a double-double with 18.75 points per game and 12.25 rebounds a game and Lucas averaged 7.25 and 3.25 during the tourney.
Despite losing the most successful sophomore class in school history, Morrison said the future is bright for the Aztecs.
“It’s more than just individual talent,” Morrison said. “Coach T is great at what he does so there’s no doubt the Aztecs will make it far next year.”
-James Kelley contributed to this report
Women’s Basketball Nationals
Pima: 5th place
Final record: 28-8
Bismarck State (N.D.) College: W 82-56
Schoolcraft (Mich.) College: L 65-56
Illinois Valley CC: W 77-76
Parkland (Ill.) College: W 77-65
National Champions: Kirkwood (Iowa) CC
Story by Chris Beck
Photo by Daniel Gaona
A year ago, the Pima Community College men’s basketball team was 10-20 and had never made an appearance on the national stage.
Today, the Aztecs have turned the program around, capping a “magical” 20-16 season by placing seventh in its first trip to Nationals.
The Aztecs locked up seventh place with a 59-52 win over St. Clair County Community College. It was the team’s third win in three days.
“The way the bracket is set up, if you lose the first game, the best you can do is seventh place,” head coach Karl Pieroway said. “We were able to do that but then there is an argument that the best two teams played each other in the first game.”
Pieroway respected the talent level Lincoln had but thought things would have been different if the two had met in a later round.
“They were more than deserving of winning the championship, they are a really good team,” Pieroway said. “Looking back you kind of wish that maybe we could have played someone else in our first game and then maybe drawn Lincoln in the second round.”
The second-year coach said the team was very jittery coming into the first game and that right away it was in a hole. But a short time later, Pima was close behind.
Then, with less than 10 minutes left in the second half, star player Travares Peterson landed on his head after going up for a dunk. Pima was trailing by five points at the time.
“He took quite a spill,” Pieroway said. “That’s when you kind of forget about the game temporarily and make sure he is OK.”
The Lynx won 76-69 but the Aztecs didn’t let that affect them.
After falling to the eventual national champions, Pima won three games to sweep the consolation bracket.
The Aztecs rebounded with a 79-58 win over Mercer County College, then took down Grand Rapids Community College 74-66.
The tournament was in Danville, Ill. from March 16-20. Pieroway felt that Pima had an advantage with the crowd.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say of the 16 teams there, we were the crowd favorite for sure,” he said.
At the beginning of the season, the Aztecs weren’t supposed to do much in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
Expectations weren’t high after Pima finished the regular season 14-15. However, it found a rhythm and eventually won the Region Championship at Phoenix College.
Since it was the team’s first trip to the tournament ever, no one was sure what to expect. But the Aztecs ended up excelling and Pieroway was impressed.
“For our guys to get out there for the first time and to play so well in all four games was great,” Pieroway said. “I kept telling our sophomores how proud I was of them and that they were putting Pima on the national map.”
When asked about a rematch with Lincoln, Pieroway laughed.
“They’re good,” he said. “They are really, really good. I’ll say that if we were to play them a second time, I have no idea what would happen. But I do know, if we were to play them 10 times, we would not lose 10 times.”
Pieroway said he didn’t know how many games Pima might win, but Lincoln wasn’t significantly better.
“They wouldn’t beat us every time. They just happened to get us at the right time and were a little bit more ready than we were,” Pieroway said.
Sophomore forward Peterson is the most notable departure.
Peterson burst onto the scene this season, winning two conference Player of the Week awards, along with a National Player of the Week award.
Other sophomore departures include Jeremy Harden, Warren Baker, JaMier Morris and Michael Purdie.
Morris was selected to the All-Tournament team. He averaged 13.5 points per game and 5.75 assists.
Pieroway is glad to have brought success to Pima but at the same time he is aware of the downside.
“For the first time, Pima men’s basketball will be playing with a target on their back,” he said. “I’ve gone through that before and I’ll say it’s a whole different set of circumstances.”
Pieroway said the team’s approach next year will be different.
“Now there are expectations, people aren’t going to take you lightly and people aren’t going to take you for granted,” he said. ”So we definitely have to put the best product on the floor.”
Warren Baker led the team in scoring with 15 points. Daniel Conorque and Jeremy Harden both contributed to the win with double-doubles.
The Aztecs took down Grand Rapids Community College 74-66 on March 19 to secure a place in the seventh-place game.
Baker had a big game, scoring 19 point to lead the Aztecs. Sophomore guard JaMier Morris had a terrific night with 14 points and 13 assists.
The day before, PCC defeated Mercer County Community College 79-58.
Baker again led the Aztecs with 20 points, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. Freshman Ervin Felder chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.
The opening game against Lincoln College ended 76-69, killing the Aztecs’ dream of an improbable national title. Lincoln would go on to win the title.
This opening game loss could have dampened the team’s spirits, but only inspired the squad to win out.
This season for the Aztecs is definitely one for the books. Not only did the team go from 20 losses last year to 20 wins this year, but they also made history with a trip to nationals.
The only proper way to describe this season would be an extreme success.
In only his second year as head coach, Pieroway has tasted a regional championship and finished in the top half at nationals. Not too shabby.
While Pieroway looks on to next season, many key components of the team have played their last game in an Aztec uniform.
-Daniel Gaona contributed to this report
Men’s Basketball Nationals
Pima: 7th place
Final record: 20-16
Lincoln (Ill.) College: L 76-69
Mercer County (N.J.) College: W 79-58
Grand Rapids (Mich.) CC: W 74-66
St. Clair County (Mich.) CC: W 59-52
National Champions: Lincoln (Ill.) College
Story and photo by Daniel Gaona
At mid-season, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s track and field teams are ahead of schedule.
“We’re pretty much halfway through the season and now we go into this stretch with meets every weekend,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “We’re shooting all the way through to the end of April for big performances.”
After completing only three meets, the teams have a combined 15 athletes qualified for Nationals in 11 events.
“We’re right on pace, or actually we’re ahead,” Wenneborg said. “I remember previous seasons at Willie Williams when we would have two or three qualifiers at most.”
Wenneborg expects to have at least 25 athletes qualified by the end of the season. By early April, he thinks about five more should qualify.
“I believe last year we brought 22 (athletes) and we are way ahead of pace right now,” he added. “I think we’ll have 25 to 30 this year. Everything just has to come together smooth.”
Pima will travel to Paradise Valley Community College on March 27 for the second conference meet of the season and returns there April 1-3 for the Paradise Valley Invitational.
“There have been some great performances but now we are pushing through to Paradise Valley and hoping to come up big there,” Wenneborg said.
He feels that Pima has been all about quality this year.
“Even though our women’s team is lean in numbers, everything is going very well,” he said. “With the men we are definitely ahead of previous years in talent and the array of events that we have.”
The women’s team has five different athletes in six events qualified for Nationals.
Distance runner Kat Howard has locked up spots in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs. She placed second in the 5,000 in 18:47.21 at the conference meet hosted by Pima on March 13 and clinched a spot in the 10,000 at Central Arizona College on Feb. 20 with a time of 39:21.28.
“We’ve had a lot of good practices and a lot of good training,” Howard said. “We put in a lot of miles before the season started and I think that’s helped a lot. It will be interesting to be able to run in more than one event.”
Ashley Dorado will be competing in the 400 hurdles at Nationals. She ran her event in 1:08.82 at the Willie Williams Classic, hosted by the University of Arizona on March 19-20. She was injured in the meet but is expected to recover.
Chloe’ Nowell had a distance of 37 feet, 7 3/4 inches in the triple jump at the March 13 meet to secure a spot at Nationals.
“The second I landed I kind of knew it was a qualifying jump and it was a personal record by like a foot and a half almost,” she said about her jump.
She is planning on doing the heptathlon too and credits jumping coach Chad Harrison for her success.
“Chad has helped me out a lot and he’s gotten me a lot faster,” Nowell said. “Listening to his coaching has made me jump a lot further. I’m really excited to be doing eight events at the National Championships.”
Brittany Bishop will be doing pole vault. She cleared 10-0 at the Willie Williams.
Sharissa Korn is the only thrower locked in for Nationals right now but Jessica Davis is also likely to qualify in shot put and discus. Korn threw 123-10 in the javelin at the Willie Williams to set a new personal best. She ranks third nationally.
Mallory Drain and Stephanie Montano are both dual-enrollees and have been competing as unattached athletes. However, they both have hit qualifying marks.
On the men’s side, there are two relay teams and four individuals set to make the trip to Kansas for Nationals.
The Pima men’s 4×400 relay team broke a nine-year-old school record at the Willie Williams meet.
The squad of Matthew Robertson, Stephan Bullard, Phillip Hobart and Chris Phillips placed second behind Central Arizona in 3:14.46.
However, the Aztecs beat the Vaqueros in the 4×400 on March 13 in 3:16.14 to qualify.
“I looked up at the time and I knew that I had to run a 47 or under so we could break the record,” Phillips said. “That’s what I did and it was a personal record for me. I like the team that I have and I couldn’t have done it without them. I knew I had to anchor it in. The show isn’t over.”
Both Bullard and Phillip will each have a separate individual event as well.
Bullard, who just signed a letter of intent to University of Oklahoma, will be running the 800-meter dash. He won the event on March 13 in 1:53.07.
“I’m feeling pretty comfortable about my 800,” Bullard said. “I just signed with the Oklahoma Sooners, which is a big thing. It makes me relax and focus on running fast.”
Phillips will be running the 400. He won the race overall at the Willie Williams in 48.94. Wenneborg called Phillips “a great anchor for the 4×400.”
Daniel McIver and Frederick Scarber were battling to win the high jump at the Pima meet and in doing so both qualified for Nationals. They ended up tying at 6-6 3/4. Scarber matched that height at the Willie Williams to place second.
Christian Tovar secured a spot in the hammer throw with a 159-8 toss. He is less than one meter from qualifying for shot put as well.
The speedy 4×100 team is the other relay team that qualified. Antoine Thomas, Nathan Manigault, Robertson and Derrick Coker ran the race in 41.53 on March 13.
Wenneborg was impressed with not only Pima’s talent in the first conference meet of the season on March 13, but also the overall talent.
“Of all schools there were 45 qualifiers, so it was a very competitive meet,” he said.
Wenneborg is also aware that the team can’t let up or experience a downfall, especially at the end of the season.
“We’ll be doing more sharpening work in the coming weeks,” Wenneborg said on March 22. “We push a little bit hard so we can continue to push our peak pack because we want kids peaking in May when it counts.”
“You can’t always be on an upward swing and there are times when your performances level off a little,” he added.
Chloe’ Nowell- Triple jump
Sharissa Korn- Javelin
Brittany Bishop- Pole vault
Kat Howard- 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs
Ashley Dorado- 400 hurdles
Stephan Bullard- 800-meter dash
Chris Phillips- 400-meter dash
Christian Tovar- Hammer throw
Daniel McIver- High jump
Frederick Scarber- High jump
Antoine Thomas, Nathan Manigualt,
Matthew Robertson, Derrick Coker- 4×100 relay
Phillip Hobart, Bullard,
Robertson, Phillips- 4×400 relay
By James Sargent
Photo by Daniel Gaona
The Pima Community College baseball team is struggling with just over 20 games remaining.
The Aztecs are 10-22-1 on the season and the main concerns stand in pitching and defense. Errors and earned runs are taking over the box scores and have been the Achilles’ heels all season.
“We are a really good team, we have a lot of good talent, we just need to put it all together,” sophomore pitcher Richie Sandoval said. “We need to work on both defense and pitching. If we have really good pitching, our team tends to do pretty good.”
Sandoval said he has had ups and downs this season.
“I think I have been pitching pretty well these past couple games,” he said. “I just need to keep working hard, throwing strikes and setting the tone for the team.”
The Aztecs are 6-7 in their past 13 games and cannot find away to bring about a streak above .500.
Twenty-two games remain on the schedule, so statistically the Aztecs cannot count themselves out. However, it would be quite an accomplishment if they make a turnaround this far into the season.
“We all need to stay positive,” Sandoval said about the remainder of the season. “None of the coaches have been negative at all. They have been positive and trying to bring guys up and not allow us to let down on ourselves.”
On March 23, Pima lost both games of a doubleheader to the Coyotes of Chandler-Gilbert Community College, falling 8-7 and 12-5.
Pima’s next game will be a doubleheader on March 27 at home against Paradise Valley Community College.
By Steve Choice
Photo by Daniel Gaona
The Scottsdale Community College women’s tennis team probably would’ve been happy if strong winds and a light rain had been all they had to deal with in their match on March 23 at the Tucson Racquet Club.
Unfortunately for them, a hungry Pima Community College women’s squad was there to finish them off.
The Aztecs were dominant from start to finish in their clash with the Fighting Artichokes, coasting to a convincing 6-0 triumph over the visitors from Maricopa County. The home team seemed unfazed by the inclement weather, improving their record to 1-3 on the season.
“We’re definitely very happy to get that first victory under our belts,” head coach Gretchen Schantz said. “We had a tough beginning to our schedule, and wanted to make up some ground. We looked very confident today, and it showed in the results.”
PCC’s No. 1 doubles team of freshmen Mary Croswell and Gabriela Rodriguez got the blowout started by smashing Scottsdale’s top pair, 8-3.
Sophomores Lori Cinnamond and Ashley Oesterle followed suit, blanking SCC’s Rima Reddy and Sarah Robertson, 8-0.
Freshmen Daisy Quezeda and Lucy Gaynor won by default, as Scottsdale had to forfeit the No. 3 doubles match because they only have five members on their squad. With that, the Aztecs were already out to a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into singles play.
From there, Pima’s winners just kept raining down on Scottsdale’s heads.
In fact, the precipitation was all that prevented a possible 9-0 team victory, as three singles matches were halted in the middle of play.
“Unfortunately, the rain came and we weren’t able to get all the singles matches completed,” Schantz said. “It’s too bad, because we were either ahead or tied in all three. I wish we could’ve finished them out, but of course you can’t control the weather.”
However, the Aztecs’ Cinnamond did control Scottsdale’s Reddy in their match, cruising to an easy 6-0, 6-1 win.
Schantz playfully refers to Cinnamond as a “legend” because she is a non-traditional student taking advantage of the no age-limit rule in junior college athletics.
Also able to finish singles play was Gaynor, who trounced SCC’s Julia Anglin, 6-0, 6-0.
Freshman Lydia Carlson got out to a quick lead against Robertson, but her match was called early as she led 6-4, 1-0 in the second set. Rodriguez’s singles match was also interrupted by the weather.
Schantz’s squad hopes to continue its winning ways March 30, as Pima hits the road to take on the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds.
Following that will be a much-anticipated rematch with Glendale Community College, which bested the Aztecs 6-3 earlier this season.
“We felt like we could’ve won that day,” Schantz said. “We were in it the whole way, and lost a few close matches,” she added. “We definitely want another chance at them, this time at home.”
PCC will also look to prevent Scottsdale from getting redemption on April 8.
Considering how things played out in Tucson, the Artichokes may be hoping for rain that day.
By Daniel Gaona
Multiple buzzer beaters, 15 upsets, 15 games decided by five points or less, four games that went into overtime.
I forgot to mention that the overall No. 1 seed Kansas fell in the second round.
Wow. There is just no word to describe the first two rounds of March Madness this year. The only thing missing was the Arizona Wildcats.
After that pandemonium, there are No. 9, 12, 11 and 10 seeds still alive.
The question is, which one will be the Cinderella? Possibly all or maybe none of them will advance.
The Big East was the tourney shocker, in a bad way. Of the eight teams that made it, only two are still alive: No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 West Virginia.
That says a lot about the conference that was supposed to dominate the tournament. Six losses in the first two rounds spells overrated, especially when you look at the caliber of teams they faced.
No. 11 Washington and No. 8 California were the only Pacific-10 teams to make it, and both knocked off a Big East squad in the first round. The Huskies beat Marquette with a basket in the final seconds and the Golden Bears blew past Louisville.
Washington is the lone Pac-10 team in the Sweet 16. It will beat West Virginia but then lose to No. 1 Kentucky. The Kentucky Wildcats will take out No. 12 Cornell and then the Huskies to win the East Region. They’ve already scored 190 points in the tourney.
Down in the South Region, No. 10 St. Mary’s and No. 3 Baylor will be close but Baylor will take it. That gives them a date with No. 1 Duke, which will beat No. 4 Purdue easily.
The Bears and Blue Devils will set up another exciting game. It will go down to the final seconds and probably overtime too, but Duke will end up winning.
No. 9-seeded Northern Iowa is a candidate for the Cinderella this year as it pushed past tournament favorite Kansas. After a win like that, the Panthers have momentum in their favor.
However, they face No. 5 Michigan State, the team that lost the national championship to North Carolina last year.
The Spartans are my pick to win the Midwest Region, or “Bang Bus region” as Clark Kellogg called it on Selection Sunday. But No. 6 Tennessee or No. 2 Ohio State could be a brick wall in the Elite Eight.
Syracuse probably has the easiest road to the Final Four. It just has to beat No. 5 Butler, which has won 22 straight and is destined to fall apart, and then most likely No. 2 Kansas State.
That will set the Final Four match-ups: Michigan State Spartans against Syracuse and Kentucky against Duke.
The Spartans will fall short of a title once again while Syracuse will move on to the finals.
On the other side, Kentucky and Duke would set up a great championship game but only the Wildcats will get to play for a title. Once again, the game will go down to the wire.
In the national championship, the Orange defense will slow down the Wildcats but the Syracuse offense will still have to throw up big numbers. There will be no room for error on either side and one mistake could decide the game
As long as those two things occur and the Orange doesn’t get sloppy, they will win and possibly redeem respect for the Big East. I did say “possibly.”
But from now until the title game on April 5, there are still plenty of college hoops to watch- 14 games to be exact. Let’s just hope that the Madness continues to be wild.
Story and photo by Daniel Gaona
After starting close to perfect, the Pima Community College men’s tennis team hit a speed bump it didn’t want to navigate.
Pima lost 9-0 to conference power Scottsdale Community College on March 23, the worst loss of the season yet.
“It was not the best day for Pima,” head coach Shariff Moustafa said. “There were some close matches.”
Moustafa wasn’t pleased with the loss but still did see some good in it.
“Obviously I am a little disappointed but at the same time I think it is a good experience for the kids,” he said. “The best thing is that they see that they can’t beat those guys but they just have to perform at a higher level.”
Moustafa expects the team to benefit from the loss in the future.
“I think it’s going to make us step up and start playing,” he said. “We are in the second half of the conference, we’re still tied for second and we’re still pretty much guaranteed for Nationals so those are all positive things.”
He was also happy that the Aztecs could compete with the Fighting Artichokes.
“It’s good to know that Pima can finally take out Scottsdale, it’s just a matter of us actually playing to a level that we are capable of,” Moustafa said.
The first-year coach said competitiveness was the biggest factor in the loss.
“In tennis you have to come out strong and you have to finish strong,” he said. “We started off strong and then we just didn’t finish it out but that’s how it goes.”
Pima returns to the Tucson Racquet Club on March 30 after a road stretch. The TRC is located at 4001 N. Country Club Road. The Aztecs will also host San Diego City College on March 31.
“I’d like to take the second half of the season and actually be able to go into Regionals with a lot of No. 1 and No. 2 seeds,” Moustafa said on March 22. “The second half is what counts in this region so hopefully we can pull out some more victories by the end of next week.”
After that, the Aztecs will have only three remaining matches. Two of those will be on the road and then the Aztecs host Scottsdale for the season finale on April 8.
Story and photo by James Kelley
Aztecs will soon have their chance to join Pima Community College’s highly regarded soccer teams as both squads are holding tryouts.
The women have a one-day open tryout on March 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Campus soccer field. The team was conference champion and rose to as high as No. 9 in the rankings last season.
The men, who rose as high as No. 8 this past season, will have three sessions that hopefuls must attend at the West Campus soccer field: April 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then twice on April 3 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Additional information, including consent forms, can be found on the Pima athletics Web site.
As it gets ready to host a tournament, a rare occurrence, the Pima Community College women’s golf team continued its success.
On March 29 and 30, the Aztecs will host a tournament at Silverbell Golf Course, 3600 N. Silverbell Road, starting at 11 a.m.
It is Pima’s only home tournament of the year. The men’s team does not host one.
In their last tournament, which ended on March 16, the Aztecs were unable to field a team because of illness but did have success individually.
Brianne Anderson placed fourth while Jennifer Candanoza took sixth for Pima in the tourney hosted by South Mountain Community College at Legacy Golf Course in Laveen, Ariz.
Mesa Community College won its tournament on March 14 at the Riverview/Dobson Golf Course, and Pima came in second. It was the third straight tournament that the Aztecs placed second. They scored 696, 36 shots above the Thunderbirds.
Candanoza took sixth, with a two-day total of 166.
The Pima Community College men’s golf team placed fourth at its latest tournament March 19-20 at the Palm Valley Golf Course.
The Aztecs shot 610, 34 shots over the winners, South Mountain Community College. The tournament was hosted by Glendale Community College in Litchfield.
Sophomore Joseph Molina led the way for Pima, shooting 149 over the two days, with scores of 74 and 75.
Freshman Anthony Grijalva was the second best Aztec, with 154 (80, 74).
PCC returns to action on March 29 when it heads to the Wild Fire Golf Course in Scottsdale, for an event hosted by Paradise Valley Community College.
By Gabi Piña
I’ve always been fascinated by our society. I love talking to strangers who will give me any insight into their lives. Lately, I’ve been paying attention to the relationships people maintain with their partners.
It’s absurd that a person can claim to be in love with someone while still being flirtatious towards others. I’m no expert, but if that’s occurring I don’t think you’re in love.
If you’re committed to someone and you find yourself flirting with others, odds are you’re not ready to be in a relationship.
I am one of many walking amongst the vast sea of people who have never been in love. Yet, I’m pretty sure feelings that strong should be reserved for someone who means the world to you.
People complain about love on a daily basis. No one is at fault but us. We throw around the word as if it were spare change. It seems that people are so desperate to feel some form of affection that they’re willing to settle for less than they deserve.
Settling will definitely not make you happy. It will not make love magically appear out of thin air. This is reality, not some sort of fairy tale. Don’t spend your life looking for that special someone. Live and enjoy life to the fullest.
When the time is right and when you’re least expecting it, Cupid will pay you a visit. It will come to you in a form that you’ve never believed possible. At least that’s what I hear.
Signing off, Gabi
If you’d like advice on something, please e-mail ‘Ask Gabi’ at aztecpress.com or post your comment online.
Illustration by Isabel Cardenas
Editor’s note: This is the final story in a four-part series portraying one woman’s personal experience of depression, with a bit of advice thrown in.
By Liza Porter
The Fat Voice is back. I hadn’t heard it in years, until the other day when I heard it say: “Don’t eat that. You’re too fat.”
That voice is part of my depression.
I’ll bet I’ve gained and lost several hundred pounds during my life. And that’s probably a low estimate.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve used food to help me deal with my depression. Binging on sweets made me feel better, for a while.
Dieting and starving, especially over a period of days or weeks or months, also felt good. There’s a high that comes with denying yourself sustenance. Just ask the yogis in India.
So, food has been a mood changer for me.
Even now, pushing 54, I’m known to “use” sugar and caffeine to get me through bad days.
When I was younger, I obsessed on my body and everything that went into my mouth.
I’d start on a diet, usually on a Monday, and stick with it for a week or so, if that long. I’d lose maybe five pounds and then “cheat” on my diet because I was always so—grrrr—hungry. Pretty soon, I’d start binging again.
Craving food and denying myself became an addiction.
Sometimes I’d binge and vomit every night when I got home from work or school. That became its own sort of addiction.
I even used to exercise compulsively. For a while in my early 20s, I swam so hard every day that standing up from a sitting position was painful.
When I deprived myself of food or exercised too much, I thought the world was a better place. I was on top of everything. I’d set a goal. I was following through, my stomach felt flatter, my insides were hollowed out. I could feel the weight stripping off my “fat” body.
The problem was, I wasn’t even fat! During most of the time I spent on diets, on the compulsive binging and vomiting, I didn’t even need to lose weight. My view of myself in the mirror was warped. The bathroom scale ran my life.
The National Institute of Mental Health’s guide for eating disorders says one in five women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating.
That’s 20 percent of women who are right now obsessing about food, about their body weight, about their looks.
With me, it was a full-time addiction. If I multiply all the years I spent dieting and binging—well, I don’t want to! It’s too much of a waste to think about.
We are supposed to eat to fuel our bodies so we can do what we need to do in the world. Eating is supposed be a pleasure, not some shameful, secret activity.
We are not meant to worry about every little thing that goes into our mouths. Or go exercise for two hours because we ate a donut.
And yet 70 million people worldwide have eating disorders. Thirty-five percent of “normal dieters” (whatever that is) progress to pathological dieting.
The American Journal of Psychiatry reported that a young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without the disease.
Time Magazine stated that 80 percent of all children have been on a diet by the time they have reached the fourth grade.
These are some horrible statistics. That last one makes me want to scream! Children ages 8 and 9 dieting!
Anorexia is a killer disease. I am lucky to be alive.
And none of this obsessing over food and body ever helped my depression. Feeling better lasted for a few hours, if that.
I hereby refuse to listen to the Fat Voice. I’m disgusted with it. Sure, all the compulsion and obsession probably got me through some tough times I might otherwise have used for something worse (like drugs or dangerous decisions) to get through.
And maybe I’ll forgive the part of me that wasted all that time, some day. Be a little gentler with that young girl inside me.
But today I’m pissed about it.
This is what I say to counteract the Fat Voice: I’m OK the way I am. A little overweight. Trying to eat healthily. Exercising regularly, sometimes. Trying to accept myself the way I am.
If you have problems with food, please ask for help. Anorexia is a serious illness. And your eating disorder might be masking chronic depression.
You are not alone.
See below for some places that can help with eating disorders:
- SAMHC Behavioral Health Services, 622-6000, 2502 N. Dodge Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716-2675, www.samhc.com.
- Overeaters Anonymous, www.oa.org.
- Mirasol Eating Disorder Treatment Center for Women, (888)520-1700, www.mirasol.net.
College obtains federal funds to save adult education
By William Brown
Pima Community College will spend federal stimulus funds to preserve adult education.
The state budget for 2011 removes all funding for adult education, including $600,000 allocated to PCC. The cut meant Pima would lose $3.4 million in matching federal funds.
Chancellor Roy Flores announced a temporary solution March 23. PCC will use $400,000 in federal stimulus funds so “the program survives until July 2011.”
The state and other community colleges will also use federal funds.
In a telephone interview March 11, Flores said more than 7,000 students enrolled in PCC’s adult education programs last year.
“They will be looking at a bleak future in the 21st century without a high school diploma,” he said. “When they don’t get that GED, they can’t get an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree; it pretty much shuts them down.”
Flores also expressed concern for the welfare of college employees. “At Pima, we have 75 full-time workers and 45 part-time workers in adult education, and to lose adult education would be very painful for them and their families.”
People who take adult education classes are generally those who did not get a high school diploma and are seeking a GED or other training to help them get ahead.
In Arizona, approximately 800,000 people do not have a GED, including 107,450 who reside in Pima County.
PCC’s adult education includes pre-GED courses, preparation for GED exams and GED testing.
Flores said he welcomes input from students.
“I want to hear from students what we at PCC can do to help improve the services we provide and the education we provide,” he said.
Story and photos by David Mendez
Music lovers rejoice!
The Pima Music Society at West Campus is now active and inviting students from all fields who enjoy music to join them at their meetings.
The club started in earnest this semester, but has been a project in the mind of member Jonny Mullins for more than a year.
The idea for the Pima Music Society came about when Mullins, a non-traditional student looking to further his training in music, took music production classes at West Campus last year.
“I was taking a recording class, finished it and got an A,” Mullins said. “I wanted to take the next level class, but it didn’t exist because the college doesn’t have the kind of recording equipment necessary for higher level classes.”
He initially came up with the idea for the club as a way to raise money for new recording equipment, and then expanded upon the idea, he said.
Club members have discussed raising money for music student scholarships, along with putting on performances for diners in the West Campus cafeteria.
Music instructor Carol Christofferson is serving as the club’s faculty sponsor.
“We’ve considered doing world music performances, without using traditional western instruments,” Christofferson said. She also said that the club has an interest in traveling to Native American reservations to teach western music styles.
Still, members don’t have a firm direction. In the meantime, the club has decided to become service-oriented.
“At our last meeting, at the request of the librarians, we went to the library and organized the music section,” Christofferson said.
In the library, students found surprising amounts of sheet music, instrument studies books and music history books that most of the students weren’t aware even existed.
In addition to community projects, club members hope the group can help foster a connection between campus communities.
“We want to make the whole school realize that they can help each other,” member Vanessa Lesley said.
The arts should be interconnected, helping each other out, Mullins added.
“I’d love for clubs to be able to call down here, asking for a band to play at a fundraiser, and have a band go out there to help them out,” he said. “It’d be cool if photo (students) could show up at plays and recitals, to have musicians playing at art openings, to have graphic arts designing T-shirts for music fundraisers.”
Unfortunately, the Pima Music Society faces the same problem as most campus clubs–turnover.
“We lost a lot of members between the fall and spring semesters–a lot of people who were here last semester just couldn’t fit it into their schedule this semester,” Mullins said.
Currently, the club has about 11 members. They invite students of all tastes and musical experiences to join them.
“The club isn’t set up to discriminate,” Mullins said.
Meetings, open to everyone wishing to attend, are held every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the office of Carol Christofferson, CFA-20 in the music building.
By D.J. Ochoa
After three years in development and with gamers counting down the days until they can play God of War 3, the wait is finally over.
GOW3 marks the finale in Kratos’ search for vengeance towards the gods and the end of this exciting tale.
With the development team at Sony Santa Monica working countless hours on the trilogy, the big question is if GOW3 was worth the hype? The answer is, absolutely.
This is definitely a GOW game. The development team has not made any drastic alterations in the fighting mechanics, which is a good move on their part.
Like the old saying goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” GOW3 takes that to the core of their being by polishing the combat system.
If you have picked up any early versions of GOW, you will be happy to know that not much in the fighting sequences has changed.
The same hack-and-slash combos are still relevant, but seeing the Ghost of Sparta dismembering his foes on the Playstation 3 platform is a wonder in itself.
With no computer-generated scenes in the game, GOW3 is profoundly the best looking game to date.
The only game that can measure up to its visual stature would be “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,” which is also a PS3 exclusive.
For those searching for revolution in the fighting design, you might be sold a little short. However, this latest installment in the franchise will have gamers in sheer amazement.
What has worked brilliantly for the franchise in the past still stands strong and ahead of any other video game. GOW3 has revolutionized the meaning of “scale” and brutality from beginning to end.
There are some moments in the game where Kratos scales titan creatures that are visually larger than any New York City skyscraper. The eye-popping visuals of these moments is nothing short of astonishing.
Playable sequences that take place in real time while riding these enormous creatures is both enjoyable to watch and play.
The first level will surely leave gamers with jaws wide open when the Ghost of Sparta climbs Mount Olympus on the back of the titan Gaia with an entourage of titans by his side. However, it will not be the last time you will be amazed by the game’s visuals.
The brutality gives GOW3 a well-deserved ‘mature’ rating.
Countless scenes of blood, gore, body parts being dismembered and Kratos’ body being stained with his enemies’ blood make this GOW game more gruesome than its predecessors.
The brutality takes a larger leap, as the player can perform moves on enemies that are stunning and will make you want more.
However, the brutality is nowhere near over-the-top because Greek mythology was a time filled with gruesome torment.
Combat in the game will have any action junkie coming back for a second helping.
Kratos has four primary weapons that he acquires down his path, and all of them work very well together. The weapons include his infamous Blades of Exile, the Nemesis Whip, Nemean Cestus and the Claws of Hades.
Each weapon is fully upgradeable and has its own unique magic powers.
The only weapon that works differently from the others is the Nemean Cestus, which looks similar to a pair of boxing gloves carved out of iron in the shape of a lion’s head. The rest of the weapons have different moves and looks, but each work the same.
One attribute that is very handy while dealing with a mob of enemies is the ability to change weapons in real time.
At one moment a player can be slicing and dicing advisories with the Nemesis Whip, and the next can be pummeling them with the Nemean Cestus.
This makes the gameplay extremely enjoyable as the player can rack up combo moves while switching between weapons.
There are also more enemies that appear on the screen for the player to battle against, and it’s very fun to grab one and use it as a battering ram to kill the rest.
With out-of-this-world visuals, a compelling story line and gameplay that will never be forgotten, GOW3 is undoubtedly the most memorable game that has been released this year.
GOW3 will make fans of action games save up their hard-earned money to play this classic fable.