By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ
The Pima Community College softball team (27-7, 22-6 in ACCAC) is playing strong, just recently closing out a seven game winning streak. Sophomore Alexis Alfonso has led the Aztecs through that streak with a fantastic performance.
The Aztecs grabbed their seventh win in a row on March 24 against Yavapai College with a 3-1 victory. After falling behind by one in the first inning the Aztecs were able to come back and grab the win.
Alfonso improved her personal record to 15-2 as she pitched a complete game giving up a single run and throwing four strikeouts. Alfonso tied the game in the second inning with a solo home run.
Taylor Fabing gave the Aztecs the lead with an RBI that allowed freshman Christine Olivas to score. The Aztecs ended their win streak with a 4-2 loss in the second game against Yavapai.
Freshman Odalis Orduno (8-3) pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts in the loss. Freshman Alexis Ayala went 2 for 3 in the game producing a RBI and a double.
An attempted rally in the sixth was cut short after one run, effectively ending the Aztecs comeback. Pima swept Chandler-Gilbert Community College March 17 at the West Campus.
The Aztecs totaled three home runs in the first game to defeat Chandler-Gilbert 11-3. Sophomore Jackie Hernandez was 5 for 7 with five RBIs and five runs scored and sophomore Taylor Fabing finished the day 3 for 5 with three RBIs and six runs scored.
Alfonso hit a three-run homer and freshman Sierra Cuestas followed with a solo homer to make it 7-1. Hernandez hit an RBI triple and scored on Fabing’s two-run homer to put the Aztecs up.
Alfonso went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and three runs scored while Cuestas and Hernandez each finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Alfonso pitched all five innings giving up three runs on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks. The Aztecs got off to an early start in their 12-0 win in the second game against Chandler-Gilbert scoring four runs in the first inning.
Cuestas hit a two-run RBI double while Olivas and Hernandez each hit RBI singles in the inning. Cuestas and Olivas also each hit RBI singles. Cuestas went 2 for 3 with four RBIs while Olivas was 2 for 2 with two RBIs.
Hernandez was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Fabing was 1 for 3 with three runs scored. Orduno and Ayala combined to throw a four-hit shutout.
Orduno picked up the win after she pitched four innings giving up two hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Ayala pitched the later in the game and gave up two hits with one strikeout.
Pima’s pitcher Alfonso was selected ACCAC Division II Pitcher of the Week March 17 for the week of March 9-15. She went 4-0 in the last six games she’s played. Alfonso threw 24.2 innings with a 2.31 ERA and 13 strikeouts.
Pima earned a pair of conference wins March 14 at the West Campus against GateWay Community College. The Aztecs run-ruled GateWay 11-0 in five innings during the first game.
The Aztecs had some bright spots on offense as freshman Kalynn Martinez had five RBIs and four runs scored on the day while sophomore Ariana Murrieta drew four walks and scored three runs.
Martinez hit a two-run RBI single that was followed by a two-run RBI double by Hernandez. Martinez finished with three RBIs and two runs scored for the game.
Murrieta went 1 for 1 with two runs scored and two walks. Alfonso went 2 for 3 with an RBI and also threw a shutout. She pitched all five innings giving up one hit with seven strikeouts.
Pima fell behind early but responded by scoring seven runs to win 9-1 in five innings. Down 1-0 after the top of the first inning, Ayala and sophomore Paige Castro each hit RBI singles in the bottom half of the inning to put Pima up 2-1.
Fabing hit a two-run RBI double while Ayala and Cuestas followed with RBI doubles of their own. Fabing finished 1 for 1 with two RBIs and a walk.
Ayala was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Martinez had two RBIs and two runs scored. Murrieta went 1 for 1 with a run scored and two walks.
Orduno threw all five innings giving up one run on six hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
March 31: @ Glendale CC, 1 p.m.
April 4: South Mountain CC, West Campus, 2 p.m.
April 7: @ Phoenix CC, 1 p.m.
By MICKEY RAY LAMB
The Pima Community College men’s team placed third in the Pima Invitational which took place at Silverbell Golf Course from March 16-17.
“We stepped up in a big way, and took a step in the direction of realizing our potential,” head coach Clark Rustand said.
Scoring 565 the Aztecs trailed second place to Mesa Community College by two strokes.
Freshman David Raur took first place, shooting eight under par 64 during the first day and finishing with a final score of 132.
All conference player sophomore Anthony Moncada and freshman Will Dennis each shot for even-par 144. Freshman Frankie Wu and freshman Aaron Ramonett each shot 148.
Pima’s next match begins March 31 at the WigWam Golf Course in Litchfield Park with tee off at 12:45 p.m.
Pima Community College placed fifth in the Estrella Mountain Invitational scoring 753, nine strokes behind conference rival Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Mesa Community College took first scoring 615.
The meet took place at Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix beginning March 17 and closed out the following afternoon.
Freshman Jessica Nordby took eleventh place in individual play with a total of 174. Sophomore Paige Valles placed 14th with a score of 176.
Freshman Carley Nelson shot a 200 taking 19th, followed by freshman Casey Morinelli who took 20th scoring 203.
Pima took third at Scottsdale Invitational Pima on March 15-16 beating out Chandler-Gilbert in a close competition for that position, with a team score of 736.
Each Aztec golfer improved on the second day of competition.
Valles had the Aztec’s best game, taking ninth with a score of 170. Nelson placed 11th shooting a 175. Nordby placed 16th with a score of 193 and Morienelli shot a 198 taking 17th.
“We could have done better, had we not lost a few girls due to slipped grades,” head coach Rick Price said. “If we can secure another third place ranking before the season is over we’ll be eligible for the national tournament.”
Pima’s next meet will be the Chandler-Gilbert Invitational at Toka Sticks Golf Course from April 6-7. Tee off is at noon.
March 31: Estrella Mountain CC, Litchfield Park, Tucson, 12:45 p.m.
By ALFRED DICOCHEA III
Pima tennis is looking to get back on track after a few losses and long break from play for both teams.
The Pima Community College women’s tennis team (4-7, 2-1 in ACCAC) look to improve as they get over .500 in coference.
The Aztecs after a tough loss in California, got back on the right track after shouting out Glendale Community College (9-0) on March 24. The win gives Pima a winning record in coference.
Pima handled GCC easily for the most part. The Aztecs in doubles won every game by no more then six points. Pima in singles had a similar result. A few of them fell behind early, but everyone swept their matches.
Sophomore Cristina Oropeza and freshman Noelle Karp at the number one doubles position, with the doubles win against GCC puts them at .500 for the season at (5-5).
For singles, Karp at the number one position is (4-6) and Oropeza at the number two has the team’s best record at (6-4).
The Aztecs split on the road in California, March 17-18.
Pima lost 6-3 against Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif. on March 18.
Sophomores Ema Hernandez and Yani Alameda won their doubles match, while Oropeza and freshman Jahnessa Mackey won their singles matches.
Pima got a 6-3 win against San Diego Mesa College on March 17. Pima swept SDMC in doubles matches and won three singles matches.
Freshmen Mackey, Karp and Alameda won their singles matches.
Mackey won via a shutout and Karp gave up just one point. Alameda won a tie breaker in her victory.
The Aztecs next game will play Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix on March 26.
The Pima Community College men’s tennis team (1-2, 0-2 in ACCAC) find themselves in a tough spot coming off a loss.
The Aztecs are coming off another long break and a shutout loss against Glendale Community College on March 7.
Pima’s woes continued as they lost to Glendale Community College 6-3 on March 24. Pima’s loss to GCC is their second consecutive loss in conference.
The Aztecs went 1-2 for doubles, with sophomores Juan Bravo and Mathieu Lancaster getting the win. Pima in singles went 2-4. Sophomore Francisco Ton (2-1) and Bravo (2-1) would get the wins.
Pima played tough, but that wasn’t enough to get the win.
Pima next game will be at the Tucson Racquet Club on March 26 against Paradise Valley Community College.
March 26: @ Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.
March 30: Skagit Valley College, TRC-Tucson, 1 p.m.
March 31: Eastern Arizona College, TRC-Tucson, 1:30 p.m.
April 2: Mesa CC, TRC-Tucson, 1:30 p.m.
March 26: Paradise Valley CC, TRC-Tucson, 1:30 p.m.
March 30: Skagit Valley College, TRC-Tucson, 1 p.m.
April 2: @ Mesa CC, Mesa, 1:30 p.m.
By WILL WILLCOXSON
After a successful run in the Indoor NJCAA championships, the Pima Community College track and field teams competed with the big dogs at the universities.
The Aztecs competed with fellow junior colleges as well as universities like the University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University at UA in the March 19 Willie Williams Classic.
Sophomore Anfernee Alexander set a national qualifier with an eighth-place effort of 159 feet and seven inches in the discus throw.
Alexander also placed second in the hammer throw with a distance of 162 feet, just shy of UA athlete Daniel Whitham but ahead of other university teams. Freshman Tyler Johnson placed second in the men’s long jump competition.
He beat out an Arizona competitor with his 23 feet 6 and one-quarter inches, but was ousted by a Central Arizona College athlete who jumped 24 feet 5 and three-quarters inches.
Sophomore Luke Ross placed third in the men’s high jump competition with a height of 6 feet 6 and three-quarters inches, falling just six inches short of the first place height.
Former outdoor track star and current Pima Track Club member Brianna Rodriquez placed fourth in the women’s long jump with a distance of 18 feet 10 and three-qarter inches behind three university athletes and against a mild gust of wind.
Sophomore Kaysee Pilgrim and freshman Meghan Sweeney placed fourth and fifth respectively in the women’s high jump competition with heights of 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 5 inches.
Freshman Juliette Cossey placed third in the women’s triple jump, with a jump of 36 feet 7 inches, against a mild wind.
The Aztecs will take tok the track in Paradise Valley on March 26-28 for the Puma Outdoor Distance and Multi-Meet.
March 26-28: Puma Outdoor Distance and Multi-meet, Paradise Valley Community College, 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
April: ACCAC Conference Meet #2, West Campus, 9:30 a.m.
By ALFRED DICOCHEA III
Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley once famously said, “I’m not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kid.”
He was discussing the media’s view of professional athletes.
The question is, was Barkley right? Let’s look at what we’re really dealing with when it comes to pro athletes. Most rookies come straight from college, or sometimes even high school.
The whole time they’re in school they are told they’re the greatest things since sliced bread because of their physical ability. Then we give them millions of dollars to showcase it to the world.
They are put on pedestals from such a young age then we forget that most of these kids come from very colorful backgrounds. After we give them the impression that rules don’t apply to them, they go do stuff that we frown upon.
We scream foul, and say these athletes are nothing but thugs and unfit members of society. There are a few quality role models, such as Andrew Luck. But for every athlete of Luck’s caliber, we get 10 versions of Johnny Manziel, Chris Benoit, Greg Hardy and Pete Rose.
Even with some of the respectable role models, like Richard Sherman or Marshawn Lynch, we find reasons to bring them down to our level.
Why do we scream? Because we look for reasons to complain. Look at Sherman; people have been on record calling him an uneducated thug. Sherman is a Stanford graduate. The likelihood of a Stanford grad being uneducated and a thug?
Don’t hold your breath it’s not likely at all. Why do we put these athletes on a fantasy pedestal? Is it because sports let us escape from the real world for a short period of time? Is it because we grew up admiring them before the whole TMZ world order took over?
Whatever the reason may be, we need to stop looking up to them. Seeing how much they’re on TMZ, we need to look at these athletes as full-blown celebrities. You wouldn’t want your kids looking up to Kim Kardashian. You shouldn’t want them to look up to people like Jameis Winston either.
Let’s stop screaming foul at these people and instead only scream about the game. Let’s enjoy the games and not the names on TMZ.
Let’s watch sports like your grandfather used to, and talk about athletes on the field and only on the field.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
March Madness is almost upon us!
The No. 5 nationally ranked University of Arizona men’s basketball team is getting ready for the most exciting time in collegiate sports.
If you’re looking to go out and enjoy the game with friends or family, here are my Top 10 places in Tucson to watch the Wildcats play.
10. Schrier’s Sports Grill
1118 E. Sixth St.
Schrier’s is the youngest of all the businesses listed. It opened just last December, but the reception has only been positive so far. Located right next to the university, Schrier’s is cozy inside and has amazing food. The space is somewhat minimal, so arrive early and grab a beer on tap.
345 E. Congress St. #101
Hi-Fi, located across the street from The Cadence student apartments, definitely attracts a college-going crowd for games. With 45 high-definition screens (the most on our list) and a decent happy hour menu, this bar provides a rowdy good time for watching the Wildcats.
8. Sky Bar
536 N. Fourth Ave.
Although there are only three screens for watching a game, these are huge projector screens. You won’t have a problem finding a good spot to sit. On top of tap beer and cocktails, Sky Bar is connected to Brooklyn Pizza Co. and will bring the pizza to you at the bar. Don’t worry about missing a minute of the game.
7. Frog & Firkin
874 E. University Blvd.
Frog & Firkin has lots of outside seating and screens to enjoy the early spring weather. The crowd leans a little more to the student side but always has alumni as well. The food and beer selection is extensive. I recommend grabbing a burger or some deep-dish pizza.
6. Wings Over Broadway
5004 E. Broadway Blvd.
WOB is the place for fans who live east of the university. Even if you don’t, it’s worth the drive. It has some of the best wings you’ll find in Tucson and a ton of other menu options. You can sit at the bar or in the dining area. Either way, you’ll get great service and good food. The crowd is mainly locals so you won’t have to worry so much about those crazy college kids.
5. The Red Garter Bar & Grill
3143 E Speedway Blvd.
Locals love the Red Garter, which is located just east of Country Club Road. It always has a large crowd during big games. Enjoy some great bar food and a selection of beers for a good price. TVs surround the bar, the dining room and a back area with pool tables. If you choose the back area, you can play a little pool during halftime.
4. Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co.
865 E. University Blvd.
Another location right off University Boulevard, Gentle Ben’s is full of student life. It has good food and lots of space, including an upstairs balcony. Ben’s is the place to be if you want to have a little extra fun and get rowdy with the college crowd.
3. Thunder Canyon Brewery (downtown location)
220 E. Broadway Blvd.
If you’re worried about finding a table in time for the game, head to Thunder Canyon Brewery. The huge space has tons of tables, TVs and a bar for wherever you want to camp out during the game. The food and service have always been good and the extensive beer selections include house-made brews and root beer.
2. No Anchovies Pizza
870 E. University Blvd.
If you’re anything like me, we can agree that UA students sometimes get a bit too rowdy during a game. ‘Chovies’ always hosts a great mixture of locals, alumni and students. Get there a little early to snag a spot on the outside patio full of seating and shade. Grab a slice of pizza, a nice cold beer on tap and enjoy both the game and the beautiful Tucson weather.
1. McKale Center
University of Arizona campus
Although the UA regular season has ended, I couldn’t bear to leave out the one and only McKale Center. What better way is there to watch the Wildcats play than seeing them on their own court? McKale Center has a rich history. It has hosted multiple future basketball greats, NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournaments and even a United States president. Whether you’re in the rowdy Zona Zoo student section, in the nose-bleed seats or have deep enough pockets to sit courtside, it’s hard to put a price on McKale’s fun and memorable atmosphere.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College’s women’s basketball team ended its season early in a loss to Phoenix College 55-53 on March 4 at the West Campus gym.
Despite Pima having the No. 1 seed over No. 4 Phoenix going into the Region I, Division II Tournament semi-finals, the Aztecs struggled to pull out the win.
Sophomore Heather Rogers scored 14 points, 10 of them in the second half, and had five steals to end the game and the season.
Sophomore Melody McLaughlin scored a team-high 15 points with nine rebounds. She ended the season averaging around 14 points and seven rebounds and managed to start all 30 games.
McLaughlin was selected Second Team All-ACCAC and First Team All-Region I, Division II.
Freshman Shalise Fernander contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Fernander ended the season with an average of 12 points and seven rebounds per game and was named Third Team All-ACCAC and Second Team All-Region I, Division II.
Reflecting on the season, Fernander said, “The beginning of the season was a little shaky, but toward the end of the season it was such a beautiful thing to see us all click on the court. I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Pima ended a strong season with an overall 17-14 record and 14-8 in the ACCAC Region I, Division II conference.
On Feb. 24, Pima sealed the No. 1 seat in the Region I, Division II Tournament.
The Aztecs pulled out a win in an exciting game against Scottsdale Community College, 66-62.
With under a minute left in the game, the score was tied 62-62.
Freshman Kristin Baldwin scored a jump shot, putting Pima up 64-62 with 39.6 second left on the clock.
Scottsdale tried to tie the game back up. After a missed shot, freshman Shalise Fernander was fouled as she came down with the defensive rebound.
Fernander then made two clutch free-throw shots, putting the Aztecs up 66-62 with only 21.1 remaining in the game, sealing the game.
Even though the season is over Fernander is already excited for next year.
“I look forward to all the new freshman babies coming in and teaching them all the tricks of being successful in college on and off the court”
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team ended its season with an 80-71 loss against Tohono O’Odham in Sells on March 4.
The Aztecs struggled all season against Tohono O’Odham, dropping both of their regular season matchups.
The Aztecs came out slow in the semifinal game, being outscored 39-24 in the first half . They were never fully able to catch up even though they outscored their opponent 47-41 in the second half.
Pima was the No. 3 seeded team in the Region I Division II semifinals, with Tohono O’Odham being seeded right above them at No. 2.
The Aztecs would have hosted Tohono O’Odham at the West Campus if they could have won their final regular season game against Scottsdale Community College on Feb. 24.
They fell to Scottsdale 79-78 but had a chance at the end of the game.
Sophomore Bryan Cervantes missed a three-point shot with 9.6 seconds left in the game.
Sophomore Matt O’Boyle grabbed the offensive rebound and put it in for two with 0.2 seconds left, leaving the game to run out of time.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman led the team with a 31-point, 11-rebound double-double. O’Boyle added 22 points as he shot 6 of 10 past the three point line. Sophomore Esteban Lopez finished with 12 points on the night.
Head coach Brian Peabody led the Aztecs to the tournament for the second year in a row. The team finished with an 18-13 overall record this season.
O’Boyle and Gershman led the team, with both posting impressive stats.
O’Boyle was the Aztecs’ biggest threat from three-point range, shooting just under 50 percent and averaging 18.2 points a game.
O’Boyle was named to the Third Team All-ACCAC and Second Team All Region I, Division II. He played and started in 28 of 30 games.
Gershman led the team in double-doubles with a total of 19 on the season. He was also selected to the First Team All-ACCAC Conference and First Team All-Region I, Division II.
He averaged 27.8 points and 11.5 rebounds a game this season, leading the ACCAC in points. He played and started in 26 of 30 games.
Gershman has committed to play for Colorado School of Mines next semester.
Gershman was named NJCAA National Player of the Week in January, an honor he was particularly proud of.
“If I’m being honest, that was one of my goals this year,” Gershman said in an interview with KVOA. “I didn’t get it last year, so it was one of my personal goals this year and I got it.”
By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ
Pima Community College softball team (17-6, 15-5 in ACCAC)
Pima played Scottsdale Community College on March 12 and results will be available on aztecpressonline.com.
They split games with Arizona Western College on March 10.
In their first game against Arizona Western Matadors they won early on by 7.
Sophomore Alexis Alfonso pitched a complete game winning her 10th game of the season.
They scored five runs in the first inning.
Freshman Christine Olivas had two RBIs and freshman Araceli Peralta went perfect going 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
In game two Pima had a taste of its on medicine, losing to Western 21-2. Pima gave up seven runs in the second inning and another three in the fifth.
Sophomore Alyssa Montoya and freshman Alexis Ayala scored Pima’s two runs and freshman Odalis Orduno took the loss (6-2)
PCC softball had a split winning and lost one game against Eastern Community College on March. 7.
In the first game Pima won 6-5 to the Gila Monsters.
Sophomore Taylor Fabing led the team with 4 RBI’s and freshmen Sierra Cuetas and Paige Castro contributed with 1 RBI each.
Alfonso pitched to 24 batters and Orduno pitched to eight.
The Aztecs had a rough second game and couldn’t catch up in time to finish out with the win, lossing 10-1.
Fabing hit a double and Alexis Ayala had an RBI.
Orduno pitched to 27 batters and Ayala pitched to 6.
Alfonso did not pitch for the game.
Pima’s softball team won three games as part of the El Paso CC Invitational Feb. 28 and went undefeated in seven games for the week.
The Aztecs were led by Ayala. She hit two home runs with seven RBIs, five runs scored and a complete-game shutout.
In the first game os the series the Aztecs beat El Paso Community College 12-2.
Ayala hit a three-run homer in the middle inning and finished 1 for 3 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Montoya was 1 for 2 with two RBIs while Olivas finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Alfonso pitched a complete-game giving up two runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.
The Aztecs came out victorious.
Ayala smacked a two-run homer as part of a seven-run 4th inning as the Aztecs beat Dodge City Community College 11-1 in five innings.
Ayala went 1 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Fabing also hit a two-run homer in the game and finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Cuestas contributed by hitting a three-run RBI double. She finished 1 for 1 with three RBIs.
Orduno pitched all five innings giving up one run on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
In game three the Aztecs beat the Pratt Beavers 8-0.
The team was successful on the road at GateWay Community College on Feb. 26 in Phoenix.
Leadoff hitter Peralta had a great day at the plate going 5 for 8 with five runs scored, two stolen bases and a double.
Sophomore Jackie Hernandez finished 5 for 6 with four runs scored, three RBIs, three stolen bases, two walks and a triple.
Pitchers Alfonso, Ayala and Orduno didn’t give up an earned run.
In the first game against GateWay Pima won 12-1.
The Aztecs’ offense struck as they scored four runs early.
Ayala hit an RBI single in the start of the game and an RBI double as she finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Cuestas hit a two-run RBI double as she went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Peralta was 3 for 4 with three runs scored, a double and a stolen base while Hernandez finished 2 for 2 with three runs scored, an RBI and two walks.
Alfonso pitched four innings giving up two runs (none earned) on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
Ayala closed it out giving up one hit with one strikeout.
In the second game Pima took the win as well with a score of 7-1.
The Aztecs gave seven walks in the game and scored five runs their win.
Hernandez hit an RBI single early and a two-run RBI as she finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs, a run scored, two stolen bases and a triple.
Sophomore Brianna Quiroz was 1 for 2 with two RBIs while Peralta finished 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Orduno threw a complete-game giving up one run on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Hernandez was named the ACCAC Division II player of the week for Feb. 23-March 1.
She had 11 RBIs, ten runs scored, five stolen bases and four walks during that time.
Pima’s next game will be on March 14 where they will take on GateWay Community College.
March 14: GateWay CC, West Campus, noon.
March 17: Chandler-Gilbert, West Campus, 1 p.m.
March 24: @ Yavapai College, Prescott, noon.
By MICKEY RAY LAMB
The Pima Community College women’s golf team finished fourth in the Lady Thunderbird Classic.
The tournament, hosted by Mesa Community College was held at Dobson Ranch Golf Course on March 4-5.
Mesa closed out the event with a low score of 606 (300-306) with the closest contender South Mountain Community College trailing far behind with a 640(327-313).
While the Aztecs placed only fourth in the event as a team, Sophomore Paige Valles found herself finishing in tenth place in individual play, hitting 87 in the first day of play and only 84 in the second, for a final total of 171.
Pima’s next match is from March 15-16 and will be hosted by Scottsdale Community College at Hillcrest Golf Course in Sun City.
The Pima Community College men’s golf team finished third at the Mesa Invitational on March 7-8 at the Lone Tree Golf Course in Chandler.
The Aztecs came away with a team score of 583 (293-290) tying with Eastern Arizona College.
Freshman David Rauer improved by five strokes on the second day of the tournament finishing with a two-day total of 143 (74-69). Sophomore Anthony Moncada also shot 143 (69-74) tying with Rauer for 10th place.
Freshman Aaron Ramonett finished in 15th place scoring 147 (75-72), freshman Frankie Wu finished in 21st with a score of 150 (75-75).
The team’s next match is The Pima Invitational on March 16-17.
March 15-16: @ Hillcrest Golf Course, Sun City
March 16-17: Pima Community College, Silverbell Golf Course, 11 a.m. Mon., 8:30 a.m. Tues.
By WILL WILLCOXSON
Former Pima Community College track star Alfonso Mejia, 21, has spent this season as a volunteer hurdle assistant for the track and field coaching staff.
“He is doing very well,” sprint and hurdle assistant coach Walter Henderson said. “With the experience that he brings, he is able to assist the other hurdlers.”
Mejia can often be spotted warming up with the athletes, and says his motivation is simple: “I want to stay in shape.”
He’s noticed changes in his transition from student to teacher. “Before I would just follow along, now I know how to build a workout,” he said.
Along with warmups, Mejia is responsible for correcting the form of the athletes as practice goes on.
“I’ve experienced what they’re experiencing,” he said.
As a sophomore last season, Mejia placed fifth in the 400 meter hurdles at nationals. The experience provided profound memories.
“It was different, a lot faster and more competitive,” he said.
He wants his athletes to enjoy the same experience. “My goal is to pretty much get some guys to nationals,” he said.
He’ll offer one tip to those who qualify for the national competition: “Relax, it can be pretty unnerving.”
Mejia is majoring in electro-mechanical computer animated drafting, and hopes to finish his degree sometime in 2015.
He said Pima’s program has progressed since his arrival in 2013, especially from the sprint standpoint, and credits Henderson for his success.
“We have always been close,” he said. “I base the hurdle workouts off of him.”
The 2015 Aztec track and field team has already produced 13 national qualifiers during the indoor season, and still has three months until nationals.
Henderson is very positive about the season, and confidant that Mejia’s hard work will pay off.
“It will really show as the season goes on, because we have different periods of progression that we want to start to see them peak at,” Henderson said.
“We’re really looking forward to the outdoor season.”
By WILL WILLCOXSON
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s track and field team competed in the NJCAA Indoor National Championship in New Mexico on Feb. 6-7.
Sophomore Kaysee Pilgrim placed first in high jump with a height of 5 feet 10 1/4 inches, marking her second indoor national championship in a row.
Her mark also set the indoor school record for Pima.
Sophomore Brianna Rodriquez placed sixth in the women’s long jump, with a distance of 18 feet 2 1/4 inches.
The Aztecs finished their indoor regular season with 17 national qualifiers, after adding two new qualifiers at Central Arizona College on Feb. 28.
Freshman Amanuel Logo set a national qualifying time in the 800-meter race with one minute and 59.58 seconds.
Sophomore Luke Ross placed first in men’s high jump, with a height of 6 feet 3/4 inches.
Sophomore Tyler Johnson was a national qualifier in men’s long jump, with his personal best of 23 feet 7 1/4 inches placing him in second.
Johnson placed first in the long jump category in the Pima Indoor Invitational.
The women distance medley team placed first with a team-best time of 13 minutes and 36 seconds.
The Aztecs will start their outdoor season March 20 at the Willie Williams Invitational at the University of Arizona.
March 20: Willie Williams Invitational @ University of Arizona, Tucson, 4 p.m.
March 21: Willie Williams Invitational @ University of Arizona, Tucson, 10 a.m.
By EMERY NICOLETTI
It is still winter, and it’s warm outside. Unusual, but that’s what makes wintertime in Tucson great for those who want to enjoy outdoor activities.
It wasn’t that long ago that a large contingent of Tucsonans spent many afternoons and evenings enjoying the nation’s pastime, baseball.
We fretted when we lost major league spring training to the megalopolis up north. We gnashed our teeth when we couldn’t keep our minor league teams in town.
It’s been a few warm springs since that time, and our angst has subsided a bit.
Perhaps we’ve been able to put salve on our wounds by attending Major League Soccer spring training at the Kino Sports Complex.
But what happened to our love affair with baseball?
What happened to the nation’s fascination with the Boys of Summer?
I remember as a child going with my grandfather to a local baseball game, our hometown Salinas Packers against … well … the enemy. For some reason, it was always bat day. Every kid got a free bat upon entry into the stadium.
We cheered for our guys, and booed their guys. The smell of buttered popcorn engulfed the stadium. We ate hot dogs and marveled at the sights and sounds. The air-splitting “crack” of the bat was mesmerizing. There was nothing better.
Those times don’t exist much for families nowadays. We used to know the names of all our starters. Now, we’re lucky to be able to identify that the roster is that of our home team.
We had a great understanding of what it meant to pull for our team, because we had such a connection with our players.
Today’s game is less about team than it is about playing a sport that has turned into big business. We long for the days when we can return to the nostalgia of the past.
My father-in-law was a professional baseball player with the Detroit Tigers in the 1960s. He was an All-Star, Tiger of the Year and a member of a legendary World Series winning team.
He played his entire career with the Tigers, except for one year before his retirement. He made enough money to comfortably support his wife and children, not the mega millions that players make today.
No amount of money meant more to him than the comradery, the friendships and achieving a collective goal with his teammates.
Those teammates still get together to talk about old times at card signing events, pose for pictures or laugh about how many World Series rings bad boy Denny McClain has passed off as his original.
I can’t return to that particular time or the games shared with my grandfather. The warmth that it emanated has moved to a place I can’t follow.
But we can capture those feelings again. Those feelings are experienced everyday by families and fans of club, high school and college sports.
If you get a chance, go out and see a baseball game.
Cheer for the team because it is “your” team and, in the good spirit of the game, “boo” the other guys.
Bring younger siblings and make it your mission to create life-long memories for them. Bring your grandparents, other family members and friends.
Our own Pima Community College baseball team’s season is well underway. This is the perfect time to recapture those feelings you had when you were a kid and, for others, to create them among friends and family.
Baseball is the all-American sport meant for everyone.
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (18-12, 10-12 in ACCAC) will be the No. 3 seed heading into the tournament. They will face Tohono O’Odham in the first round of the tournament. Pima previously dropped both of their regular season games against Tohono O’Odham this season.
The Aztecs dropped their last game of the regular season to Scottsdale Community College 79-78 on Feb. 24.
Down by three with 9.6 seconds left in the game sophomore Bryan Cervantes missed the potential game tying three-pointer.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman grabbed his 19th double-double of the season with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Matt O’Boyle hit 6 of 10 from beyond the arc dropping 22 on the night. Sophomore Esteban Lopez added 12 points.
The Aztecs fell just short in their game against South Mountain Community College, losing 71-74 on Feb. 21. The game marked their last road game of the regular season.
Gershman posted another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. O’Boyle dropped 16 points and added seven rebounds of his own during the contest.
The Aztecs fell to Central Arizona College 62-68 on the road Feb. 18.
They trailed 24-32 at the half and with 10 minutes left they were down 43-51 but were never able to catch up in the second.
The Aztecs battled through a tough contest with Arizona Western College, coming out on top with an 83-72 victory on Feb. 14.
The Aztecs found themselves down 41-42 at half but were able to find rhythm in the last few minutes of the game with an 11-2 run which sealed the victory.
O’Boyle took control of the game in the last two minutes dropping eight of his game-high 29 points. O’Boyle sank eight of 12 from beyond the arc. He was named ACCAC player of the week and averaged 17 points and five rebounds in the two game stretch. O’Boyle is averaging 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game this season.
Gershman also had a strong game for the Aztecs, dropping 20 points and 12 rebounds to grab another double-double.
Freshman Dorian Paige went 5 for 6 from the field as he added 16 points of his own.
Pima fell to Mesa Community College 67-84 on Feb. 11 at home. Mesa swept the Aztecs this season with the win.
The Aztecs fell behind Mesa by double digits in the first half, and were unable to close the gap in the second. Mesa’s 19-4 run early on gave them the momentum in the game.
Gershman and Freshman Justin Martion both finished 14 points, followed closely by Cervantes with 12.
By ALFRED DICOCHEA III
Pima Community College (7-7, 5-5 in ACCAC) is looking to get back on track after a very inconstant to the season.
With a .500 record, Pima hosted Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Feb, 24. For results go to aztecpressonline.com.
Pima would go up to Phoenix square off against Paradise Valley Community College on Feb 21. Pima would earn its first conference sweep, but it would come in consecutive tight games.
Sophomore Trevor Johnson would come up big again this week as he had another game winning hit, as he hit a solo homerun in the top of the 6th. Giving Pima the win 5-4.
Sophomore Marcel Renteria would get the start for Pima, but Sophomore Roy Aguire would pit his third win of season as he closed out the last two innings putting him at 3-0 for the season.
In the second game, Pima would have an even closer call with Paradise Valley. As it would take extras for Pima to put Paradise Valley down. Pima won by a familiar score 5-4 and in 11 innings.
Freshmen Justin Hammergren would start the game pitching five innings. Freshmen Vinnie Tarantola who got his first win of season putting him at 1-1 and sophomore Chris Kucko who would get the save would combine for 6 innings.
In a close game though out, Pima would steal the win after pinch runner freshmen Ryan Ramsower would score off a wild pitch in the top of the 11th. Pima would be forced to string out their bullpen for this game. Having three guys pitch multiple innings.
Pima would square off against Phoenix College on Feb 17, Pima would split games with Phoenix. In game one Pima would win the game dramatic fashion 2-1.
Johnson would hit the game winning run driving in freshmen David Oropesa. Aguire would get the win improving him to 2-0 for the season.
In the second game Phoenix would recover from the heartbreaker and rout Pima 12-1 in eight innings.
Pima couldn’t get it going in the second game, as they only managed four hits in the game and their only point coming in the 7th. Sophomore Ryan Norrix would take his first loss of the season putting him at 1-1 for the season.
Pima would travel up to Mesa face off against Mesa Community College on Feb 14. Pima would split games with Mesa. In the first game Pima would lose a tight one to Mesa losing 1-0, with the only run of the whole game coming in the 4th.
Renteria, who pitched a near flawless game, would drop his first game of the season putting him at 0-1. Renteria would pitch a complete game, with only one earned run on four hits. Renteria didn’t have the run support to match his gem.
In the second game Pima’s nonexistent run support from the first game would come up big with 7. Pima would take the second game 7-4. Freshmen Al Cruz would come with a nice performance as he had a two RBI game.
Hammergren would pick up his first win of the season putting him at 1-1 for the season. Aguire would get the save after pitching the 9th inning.