By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
By: TESSA CASE
By MYLO ERICKSON
In 1970, Pima Community College held its first classes in a hangar at Tucson International Airport, providing an alternative to pricey universities.
Larry Toledo, who had taught and coached at Tucson’s Pueblo High School, was hired as a charter member of the PCC staff. He and a handful of other people spent two weeks cleaning the hangar to make it suitable for classes.
Once the space was ready, about 2,000 students started classes.
PCC’s early philosophy was, “Teach to succeed, not to fail.” Classes used a lax pass-fail grading curve.
The grading system changed after the college became established, and class credits began transferring to universities.
Immediately after West Campus opened in January 1971, college officials discussed the feasibility of starting an intercollegiate athletic program. Pima employees decided they would travel around the city to survey residents.
Once a decision was made to have an athletic department, Toledo was appointed as interim athletic director.
Toledo decided against having football as the backbone for Pima sports, even though he was a former coach and college quarterback. He said it was more cost effective to support several men’s and women’s athletic programs for the same costs as football.
Within two years, both Toledo and his department chair agreed he was fully capable of fulfilling all athletic director duties.
He accepted the permanent job on one condition: that he could assemble his staff from all races and ethnicities.
“Other schools used to snicker when they saw us on their schedule, now they say ‘uh-oh,’” Toledo said in 1997.
Toledo retired in the spring of ‘97 after almost 27 years at Pima.
By STEVE CHOICE
This will probably look weird written on the sports page, but I hope the University of Arizona never gets too good at football.
Let me dial that back a little. I hope they’re occasionally dominant, but usually just above average.
You’re thinking, “What the hippie?” Bear with me for now, and we can bear down together later.
I’m here to praise Tucson, not bury it. I’ve only been in town two years, but I’m already sold.
The Old Pueblo’s unique, and I get the impression that everyone here quietly knows it. Tucsonans don’t need Bowl Championship Series trophies to validate that.
So how about places like Tuscaloosa, Ala., Norman, Okla., and Tallahassee, Fla.? All three are home to traditional gridiron powerhouses, and are quite possibly very nice towns.
But from what I’ve seen on TV and gleaned from fan comments on Internet message boards, their fervor can be a little overboard.
Every fanbase has online loudmouths, but some schools have so many that it seems to paint a broader picture.
Then there’s State College, Pa. What more tragic example of college football worship becoming bigger than the truth do we need than Happy Valley?
I myself grew up in a college town. Just like I love my Iowa Hawkeyes, I’m sure many Tucson natives have the ‘Cats deep in their souls. But I notice they don’t let football dreams get too embedded in their brains.
Now I know Arizona’s never been to a Rose Bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see them reach Pasadena. Since my wife and I just bought season tickets on the 50, I’d be even more into witnessing a year like that.
As long as I also get to follow a bunch of 7-5 years, that is. That’ll help ensure Tucson never becomes a home to loudmouths or Kool-Aid drinkers.
I think Tucson would be strong enough to withstand consistent banner years on the field, but why chance it?
Boulder, Colo., another college town where I once lived, has a typically pretentious and self-congratulatory motto: Keep Boulder weird.
I have a different take. For me it’s “keep Tucson normal.”
We can start by making annual trips to the Kraft Velveeta Who Cares Bowl and whatever other mediocre games only a diehard fan like me would love.
And Wildcats, I’ll be there cheering you on every step of the way. Just don’t be afraid to be too average.
By MYLO ERICKSON
The Pima Community College football team came out on top in the recruiting battle for running back Mitch Fischer.
“Mitch is a great player and we are very happy about his commitment,” head coach Patrick Nugent said. “We will cross our fingers and hope he is here in August. Anything can happen from now until August.”
Fischer played for Ironwood Ridge High School. He was the Arizona Daily Star’s 2011 Offensive Player of the Year and KVOA News 4’s High School Football Player of the Year.
He stood out by rushing for 2,143 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, which helped his team earn a spot in the Division II state semifinal.
Maxpreps.com ranks Fischer first in his high school’s league, second in his state’s division, ninth in the state overall and 556 nationally in rushing rankings.
In total rankings, he is second in the league, sixth in the state division, 31st in state and 1,293 nationally.
Offers came in from numerous Football Championship Subdivision schools, including South Dakota State. Football Bowl Subdivision school New Mexico State also showed interest.
Besides the FCS schools, Fischer received offers from top two-year colleges across the country.
Fischer chose Pima because he wanted to stay close to home, Nugent said. He also wants to play safety for the Aztecs.
Fischer will not be the only former Ironwood Ridge athlete on Pima’s fall roster. He will be joined by defensive lineman Tyson Otuafi and offensive lineman C.J. Healey.
Thirty-five recruits have committed to Pima, including nine from Tucson. In addition to Fischer, Otuafi and Healey, the other six Tucson players are:
- Defensive back Josh Brown from Canyon Del Oro High School
- Linebacker Nathan Delf, Sabino
- Center Matt Fontes, Cienega
- Offensive lineman Jake Laird, Sabino,
- Offensive lineman Matt Rossi, Sabino,
- Offensive lineman Liam White, Sabino
Tucson Museum of Art. March 16-18, 2012
BY LARRY GAURANO
By ELIZABETH PETERSON
By MYLO ERICKSON
The Pima Community College men’s golf team earned sixth place at a March 12-13 tournament hosted by Chandler-Gilbert Community College at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Phoenix.
After playing qualifying rounds to grab one of six available spots, sophomore Adam Ortiz and freshmen Steven Ortiz, Joseph Courtney, Jonathon Chong Jr., Austin Stuessel and Landyn Lewis represented Pima in the 10-team tournament.
Steven Ortiz and Courtney finished individually in the top 10.
A two-day score of 148 earned Steven Ortiz a sixth place individual finish. Courtney shot 149 for a 10th place finish.
Both Ortiz brothers were in the top 10 after the first day, with Steven Ortiz shooting three over par at 73 and Adam Ortiz shooting 74.
On the second day, Adam Ortiz used 10 strokes to complete the ninth hole. He also broke an ACCAC rule, and is suspended for the next tournament.
Head coach Grant Waltke said the tournament score shows some team improvement, but not enough.
He thinks the Aztecs must win the regional tournament to have a shot at making nationals this year. They’ve advanced to the playoffs for the past 18 years.
“Course management, that’s what we’re struggling with,” Waltke said.
The Aztecs have three tournaments remaining.
Three players — Steven Ortiz, Courtney and Stuessel — have earned spots for the next tournament on March 21 and 22 in Gilbert, Ariz. GateWay Community College will host at the Kokapelli Golf Course.
The other three spots will be filled after a qualifying round on March 20.
Waltke will have his players work on chipping and putting. “They grip it and rip it every time,” he said.
Playing with that mentality is like a basketball player taking a three-point shot instead of going for an open two-pointer, Waltke said.
March 21 & 22: @ GateWay Community College, Gilbert, Ariz., Kokapelli Golf Course, 12:30 p.m.
By MYLO ERICKSON
The Pima Community College women’s golf team played two tournaments back to back over four days, March 12-15.
Because the team has just three players, the Aztecs were unable to record a team score.
No player placed in the top 10 at either tournament, held at Foothills Golf Course in Phoenix and The Legend at Arrowhead Golf Course in Glendale.
GateWay Community College hosted the Foothills tournament March 14-15.
The Aztec women shot some of their best scores on the fourth day of tournament play.
Freshman Abriana Romero had the best score with an 89, an eight-stroke improvement over her first-day score.
Freshman Shelby Empens improved upon her first-day score by three strokes with a 98. Sophomore Alondra Olivas trimmed six strokes off her first-day total with a 105.
Paradise Valley Community College hosted the Arrowhead tournament March 12-13.
Romero shot 95 on the second day of the tournament, one stroke higher than than her first-day total. Empens shot 104 each day. Par at Arrowhead is 72.
Pima will host the next tournament at Silverbell Golf Course on March 26 and 27.
“They’re looking forward to it,” head coach Bill Nicol said.
The players welcome the chance to travel minutes instead of hours to a tournament.
“The girls have played better rounds here than any away tournament,” Nicol said of the Silverbell course.
Nicol will be the host for incoming tournament teams, and will compile individual and team scores.
“It’s harder work for me, but I’m looking forward to it, too,” Nicol said.
March 26 & 27: Pima CC, Tucson, Silverbell Golf Course, 11 a.m. and 10 a.m.
April 9 & 10: @ Mesa CC, Mesa, Dobson Ranch Golf Course, 11 a.m.
By KYLE WASSON
The Pima men’s tennis team won two of the three doubles matches against Paradise Valley Community College on Tuesday, winning 6-3 in the conference matchup.
Baldemar Audeves pulled from behind to take his No. 5 singles matchup 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, while teammate Dillian Vo beat Tayven Townsend, a premier player in the conference, 7-5, 6-3.
The Aztecs improved to 6-7 on the year, moving into second place in a close conference race. Pima’s next matchup is against Glendale Community College on March 27 at their place.
The team previously lost to Cerritos College (Calif.) 8-1 on March 20. However, the match featured some close matches.
Vo had success in his No. 2 singles match with a 6-2, 6-0 win. At No. 3 singles, Brandon Haag battled for three long sets but lost 7-6, 4-6, 10-8 in the tiebreaker. Audeves also lost a tough No. 5 singles match, 7-5, 7-5.
The Aztecs lost to Glendale College 8-1 in Glendale, Calif. on March 13, but No. 4 singles player Victor Cabada provided a boost of energy for the team.
Cabada bagged the only victory for the Aztecs, rallying to win his match 5-7, 6-4, 11-9. Cabada and doubles partner Haag lost a tough doubles match 9-7.
The Aztecs kicked off the road trip with a win against Imperial Valley College on March 11, 7-2.
By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team held tryouts for next season March 15 and 16 during Spring Break.
However, if you think you missed your chance to join the 2011 West District champions, you might be in luck because the Aztecs recruit year-round.
“We are always looking to give an opportunity for those overlooked during the recruiting process,” head coach David Cosgrove said. “We’re looking for our diamond in the rough.”
In the open-call tryouts, Pima was looking for five to eight players out of about 75 trying out to join the team.
The Aztecs will go into the 2012 season with a 34-man roster.
The Aztecs are expecting to return three starters and eight of their top 22 players, including All-American candidate Yayha Kane.
Kane missed last season due to injury.
Pima has solidified its spot as one of the top 10 NJCAA soccer programs over the last 15 years.
The 2011 team had one of the best years in the program’s history.
The Aztecs won the Region I title for the fifth time, won the West District title for the third time and finished fifth in the country.
By KYLE WASSON
The Pima women’s tennis match against Paradise Valley Community College was canceled March 20 but has been rescheduled for April 10 at their home court of Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club.
The Aztecs, 9-3 overall, are heading into two matches March 22 in Thatcher against Eastern Arizona at 10 a.m. and New Mexico Military Institute at 2 p.m.
The team faced a valiant Ventura College lineup on March 16, finishing their California road trip with a 7-2 loss in the final match.
Olivia Cole-Encinas shined once again for the Aztecs. Cole-Encinas went undefeated in singles and doubles competition for the road trip, winning her singles match in three sets at 6-4, 5-7, 10-4. Partner Sarah Blackwell helped Cole-Encinas in bagging a win in the No. 3 doubles match, 8-2.
California play started off kindly for the team as it defeated Cerritos College on March 15, 7-2. The Aztecs had completed a four-game winning streak prior to the fall against Ventura College.
The No. 2 doubles team of Helen Alteiri and Kelly Ponzio remain undefeated at 10-0 in doubles competition. Cole-Encinas won her No. 4 singles match against Ventura, 7-5, 6-3.
The Aztecs kicked off the road trip with a big win over Glendale College on March 15 in Glendale, Calif.
Alteiri had a tough match at the No. 2 singles spot but pulled off a three-set victory over Sofie Tavitian 7-5, 4-6, (10-7). In the No. 1 doubles match, Tatum Rochin and Kari Emery pulled out another close win, defeating Sevana Zargarian and Samantha Sismundo 8-6.
For the second straight match, the team swept its competition. The Aztecs defeated Imperial Valley College from California 9-0 on March 12 in Yuma.
Altieri returned home and continued her winning ways with doubles partner Ponzio as they took their doubles match 8-4.