By MARIA ANGULO
With three regular contests left, including two home games, the Pima Community College women’s soccer team has compiled a 12-5 season record.
Oct. 1: PCC 2, Phoenix College 0
The Aztecs defeated the Phoenix College Bears 2-0, giving them their fourth straight road win.
Pima took the lead in the first half when sophomore Shania Pablo scored in the 22nd minute with an assist from freshman Taylor Inocencio.
The Aztecs secured the game in the second half with a goal from freshman Dalena Garcia.
The Bears kept the Pima defense working, outshooting the Aztecs 8-6. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez had eight saves.
Pima swept the Bears this season, winning an August home game 3-1.
Oct. 4: PCC 5, Cochise College 0
Pima dominated the Apaches of Cochise College, winning 5-0.
Freshman Alexis Hernandez scored in the second minute with an assist from sophomore Maury Urcadez.
Sophomore Sonia Garcia followed with a 40-yard free-kick goal in the 25th minute. A minute later, sophomore Destiny Jones scored off an assist from Urcadez.
In the second half, freshman Jahmonique Smith scored in the 66th minute. Freshman Dalena Garcia found the net from 30 yards out at the 78-minute mark.
The Apaches did not have many opportunities at goal. Sanchez had no saves in the first half, while freshman goalkeeper Tara Kase recorded three saves in the second half.
Oct. 6: PCC 2, Scottsdale CC 0
After losing in double overtime at Scottsdale Community College a month ago, the Aztecs got a measure of revenge with a 2-0 home victory.
Sophomore Alexis Aguirre scored on a rebound shot in the 4th minute. In the second half, Jones scored on a 25-yard shot in the 71st minute.
The Aztecs outshot the Artichokes 14-6. Sanchez finished with six saves.
Oct. 8: Pima 1, GateWay CC 0
The Aztecs earned their fifth straight win when they defeated the Geckos of GateWay College 1-0 at Kino North Stadium.
Urcadez gave Pima the lead with a long shot in the first half, and the defense secured a shutout. The Aztecs outshot the Geckos 15-4, with Sanchez getting four saves.
Sanchez was later named ACCAC goalkeeper of the week after helping secure three shutout victories between Oct. 4-8.
The GateWay victory marked the 198th career win at Pima for head coach Kendra Veliz.
Oct.11: Pima 0, Chandler-Gilbert CC 1
Pima suffered its second home loss, falling 1-0 to Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The Coyotes scored in the 66th minute.
By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
The No.14 Pima Community College men’s soccer team (13-3-1) suffered two consecutive shutout defeats, including their first home loss in two years.
The Aztecs responded by claiming three straight victories, outscoring opponents 7-2 in that three-game stretch.
Oct 1: PCC 0, Phoenix College 4
Pima suffered its worst defeat of the season in a 4-0 road loss to the Bears of Phoenix College.
The Aztecs struggled mightily to have any offensive imprint, but trailed the Bears 2-0 at halftime.
Pima also trailed Phoenix College at halftime when the Aztecs played at home on Aug. 30. They won that first meeting 2-1, but were unable to replicate their previous comeback. Instead, they conceded two more goals.
Oct. 4: PCC 0, Yavapai College 2
The Aztecs were shut out for the second consecutive game, losing 2-0 to No. 6 Yavapai College. The defeat was their first home loss in two years.
Pima orchestrated chances as sophomores Hector Banegas and Carlo Valadez-Paz both struck the outside of the posts on goal-scoring opportunities. The Aztecs ultimately outshot the Yavapai Roughriders 4-3 on the night.
After a scoreless first half, the visitors scored the opening goal of the game in the 58th minute. They scored an insurance goal in the 69th minute for the win.
Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Anderson finished the game with one save.
The loss was Pima’s second to Yavapai this season. The Aztecs also lost 2-1 in the last minute of a game in Prescott on Sept. 3.
Oct. 6: PCC 3, Scottsdale CC 0
Pima ended its two-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes at Kino North Stadium.
The Aztecs lead 1-0 at halftime thanks to an own-goal by the Artichokes.
Pima freshman Tatsuma Yuki scored in the 85th minute, with sophomore Hector Banegas providing the assist. Banegas capitalized on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
Pima held Scottsdale to one shot on goal, and Anderson finished the game with one save.
The win represented a season sweep against Scottsdale. The Aztecs won 2-0 on the road in September.
Oct. 8: PCC 1, GateWay CC 0
Pima snuck a 1-0 victory against the Geckos of GateWay Community College in Phoenix with a decisive second-half goal, giving the Aztecs their 12th win on the season.
The Aztecs played strong defense throughout the game but struggled to find the back of the net until sophomore Andrew Bianchi broke the deadlock in the 54th minute. Valadez-Paz provided the assist.
Pima finished with nine shots for the game, and held the Geckos to zero shots on goal.
The Aztecs swept the home and away series against the Geckos, beating them 2-0 at Kino North Stadium in September.
Oct. 11: PCC 3, Chandler-Gilbert CC 2
The Aztecs captured their 13th victory of the season against a feisty Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes squad.
Sophomore Kyle VanAlstine put the Aztecs in front after heading home a corner kick delivered by sophomore midfielder Lorenzo Rodriguez in the 28th minute.
The Coyotes equalized in the 55th minute.
Sophomore Justin Stoermer scored an impressive solo goal, dancing through multiple defenders before firing a shot Pima’s second goal in the 64th minute.
The Coyotes, who were down a man due to a red card picked up just minutes earlier, clawed their way back once again in the 79th minute.
Freshman Julian Gaona provided the game winner for Pima in the 83rd minute, assisted by fellow freshman TatsumaYuki.
By CASEY MUSE JR.
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Mesa CC Thunderbird Classic on Oct. 8.
The men’s team, currently ranked No. 19 in the country, finished the day with 153 total points. That total earned the Aztecs a seventh-place finish out of 10 teams.
Sophomore David Fernandez completed the 8K race in seventh place out of 80 runners. His finishing time was 26:21.8.
Fernandez’s finish is one of the best the Aztecs have seen this season.
Sophomore Armando Antonio Jr. finished in 30th place with a time of 27:48.2. Fellow sophomore Nick Hald finished in 40th with a time of 28:33.4.
On the women’s side of competition, the Aztecs finished sixth out of seven teams with 141 total points.
Sophomore Samantha Felzien had another solid race. She earned a 13th place finish in the women’s 5K out of 69 runners. Her finishing time was 19:14.2.
Freshman Alondra Carrasco earned 41st place with a time of 21:29.9, and fellow freshman Arianna Roche finished in 44th place with a time of 21:59.1.
Head coach Greg Wenneborg looks to prepare the PCC runners for upcoming championship meets in Glendale, Arizona, and El Dorado, Kansas.
By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
Americans traditionally gather every Sunday in support of their favorite NFL team and focus on the win or lose nature of the game.
In the last decade, however, more and more people are watching for the statistics of players they “own” in their respective fantasy leagues.
Good or bad?
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (which apparently exits), 56.8 million people in the U.S. and Canada participated in fantasy football in 2015. That’s up from 41 million in 2014.
Who could’ve predicted that fantasy football would spawn a multi-billion dollar business?
The number of American fantasy football participants has nearly doubled since 2012, and is continuously growing, while generating more than $70 billion in revenue a year. Anybody want to play fantasy football?
Many believe that fantasy football is illegal outside of Nevada due to its betting nature. However, fantasy football gambling has been deemed legal by the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
It is considered a game of “skill” and not a game of “chance,” which allows average Americans to spend up to $465 in investment money for their fantasy team(s), according to Fortune magazine.
Fantasy football has been good for the NFL because it has drawn in more viewers. Americans are more intrigued than ever to watch teams of players whom they “own” in fantasy leagues.
This leads many Americans to watch football games they otherwise probably wouldn’t have. (They might have 10 favorite teams but that’s fine.)
Fantasy football affects what sports packages I have on TV. To watch as many games as possible, I bought the NFL package. I find myself watching multiple games at once just to keep tabs on all of my fantasy players.
One can join a wager fantasy league on DraftKings or FanDuel. There are also free leagues on ESPN, Yahoo and NFL.com.
No experience in football is required to see what all the hype for fantasy football is about. There are now fantasy football TV shows, magazines, podcasts and articles devoted to helping you maximize your fantasy team’s potential.
I’ve been watching football for nearly my entire life. I know people who know nothing about football or have only started watching within the last few years due to fantasy football.
Disturbingly, I’ve been bested by them on some occasions.
By MARIA ANGULO
With the first half of the season behind them, the Pima Community College women’s soccer team is working to reach the regional playoffs.
With help from an influx of freshman players, the Aztec have an overall record of 8-4.
They’ve encountered some bumps along the way during road games, but have built momentum by winning three of their four last games.
Sept. 20: PCC 4, Mesa CC 1
The Aztecs took control in the second half when they faced the Thunderbirds at Mesa Community College, winning 4-1.
Mesa scored first, but Pima freshman defender Destiny Kelly tied the score 39 minutes into the game.
During the second half, sophomore midfielder Destiny Jones scored Pima’s second goal in the 59th minute. The Aztecs sealed the game with a goal from freshman forward Alexis Hernandez at 84 minutes. A minute later, Jones made it definite with a penalty shot.
The Pima offense had 14 shots on goal against the Thunderbirds’ two tries.
Sept 22: PCC 2, Arizona Western College 1
Playing on the road in Yuma, Pima generated a 2-1 upset over the No. 20 ranked Matadors of Arizona Western College.
Freshman forward Alexis Hernandez scored twice in the first half. Her first goal came 13 minutes in, off an assist from freshman midfielder Dalena Garcia. Hernandez scored again 20 minutes later.
The Matadors rallied in the second half, and scored on a free kick. AWC had a chance to tie the game with a corner kick on the final play of the night, but Pima’s sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez blocked the shot.
“It was a big win for us on the road,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “It was a good way to end the first half of the season.”
Sept. 24: PCC 2, Paradise Valley CC 3
The Aztecs fell 2-3 to the Paradise Valley Pumas, ending an undefeated home streak dating to 2013.
Paradise Valley scored first, but Hernandez tied the game in the 26th minute. Pima took the lead in the 34th minute when Jones scored off an assist from sophomore midfielder Alexis Aguirre.
During the second half, Paradise Valley pressured Pima’s defense and scored three goals. Jones launched a shot from 25 yards out in the final minute of the game but the Puma goalkeeper successfully knocked the ball over the goal post.
Paradise Valley ended the game with 17 shots on goal to PCC’s five. Sanchez recorded 15 saves for Pima.
The Aztecs lost 1-0 to Paradise Valley in Phoenix on Aug. 23 in Pima’s first game of the season.
Sept. 27: PCC 4, South Mountain CC 1
The Aztecs beat South Mountain Community College 4-1 on the road in Phoenix.
Hernandez scored Pima’s first goal in the 8th minute off an assist from sophomore Maury Urcadez. The Cougars tied the game in the 44th minute.
The Aztecs took complete control in the second half, scoring three times. Hernandez scored again in the 59th minute off an assist from sophomore Maria Delagilldo. Urcadez netted a goal in the 79th minute, and freshman Nereida Sanchez contributed an insurance goal in the 85th minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Tara Kase finished with three saves.
Oct. 1: at Phoenix College, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 4: Cochise College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6: Scottsdale CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Gateway CC, Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13: at Glendale CC, 3:30 p.m.
By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team is on an eight-game unbeaten streak, with a record of 10-1-1.
Sophomore Hector Banegas leads the team in scoring, while freshmen Julian Gaona and Chris Cooper have provided strong and evolving play that continues to elevate the Aztecs.
Sept. 20: PCC 2, Mesa CC 1
The sixth-ranked Aztecs grabbed their eighth win of the season from Mesa Community College, scraping out a 2-1 road victory.
The Thunderbirds scored first in the 28th minute and Pima went into halftime trailing the hosts 1-0.
Freshman forward Julian Gaona evened the score at 1-1 for Pima in the 60th minute, assisted by freshman midfielder Chris Cooper.
Sophomore forward Hector Banegas continued his scoring ways in the 88th minute, converting a penalty kick that provided Pima with the game-winning goal.
The kick lifted Banegas to a team-high 10 goals in nine games after coming off of a broken ankle injury suffered in 2015.
Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Anderson posted a season-high six saves.
Sept. 22: PCC 0, Arizona Western College 0
Neither team was able to score when Pima traveled to No. 12 Arizona Western in Yuma. Goalkeeper Anderson finished the night with four saves for PCC.
The game was the first of the season in which the Aztecs were held scoreless.
Sept. 24: PCC 7, Paradise Valley CC 1
Pima grabbed its ninth win of the season in a 7-1 victory over the Paradise Valley Community College Pumas at Kino North Stadium. Sophomore Carlo Valadez-Paz sparked the Aztecs with three second-half goals.
After a slow Pima start, Gaona scored in the 38th minute off a rebound. Cooper scored in the 41st minute off an assist by Gaona, giving the Aztecs a 2-0 lead at the break.
A minute into the second half, Valadez-Paz found the back of the net after receiving an assist from Cooper.
The Pumas scored in the 53rd minute, cutting Pima’s lead to 3-1.
Valadez-Paz converted from the penalty spot two minutes later, giving him his second goal and Pima’s fourth of the game.
Sophomore midfielder Lorenzo Rodriguez scored in the 58th minute, with Valadez-Paz providing the assist.
Valadez-Paz scored his third goal in the 67th minute, giving him a hat trick. Banegas earned an assist.
Freshman defender Andrew Bianchi completed Pima’s 7-1 victory with a goal in the 70th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper James McWilliams finished the game with two saves.
Pima swept the regular season home and away series against the Pumas, outscoring Paradise Valley by a 16-1 margin.
Sep 28: PCC 7, South Mountain CC 1
The Aztecs won their 10th game of the season on the road against South Mountain Community College. For the second consecutive game, the Aztecs scored seven goals while conceding one.
Valadez-Paz scored in the first minute of the game, assisted by Rodriguez.
Cooper scored in the 20th and 27th minutes, and Rodriguez rounded out the first-half scoring in the 37th minute off an assist from freshman Tatsuma Yuki.
Banegas struck with goals in the 46th and 56th minute, giving him 12 goals for the year.
Freshman Luis Arias contributed a goal in the 53rd minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper James McWilliams finished with three saves.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The Pima Community College volleyball team is gaining momentum, taking second place at a recent tournament in San Diego, California.
The team also has an injured player. Sophomore Victoria Davis has a stress fracture on her left tibia bone and will be unable to play until she receives medical clearance.
Sept. 14: PCC 2, Chandler-Gilbert CC 3
Pima clashed with Chandler-Gilbert Community College in a conference match on the road, losing 2-3.
The Aztecs took an early 2-1 lead but ultimately fell in five sets, 25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11.
Sophomore Aubrey Lomeli led Pima in kills at 16, while freshman setter Hannah Gerard topped the team in assists with 32.
Sept. 16: PCC 3, South Mountain CC 0
The Aztecs pulled of a 3-0 upset when they hosted No. 12 South Mountain Community College.
After falling behind in three straight sets, the Aztecs rallied to win 26-24, 25-22, 25-20.
Head coach Dan Bithell called the victory an exciting win.
“We were finally able to put in all of our efforts in the right direction and have it pay off for us,” he said. “It’s great to get a win at home against a good team.”
Freshman libero Anissa Conrad had a team-high 18 digs for the match.
“I thought we really worked well together and we flowed really well,” Conrad said. “We communicated with each other at all times, which helps. And we stood together, and stood strong for each other.”
Sept. 21: PCC 0, Arizona Western College 3
In their second home game in a row, the Aztecs battled Arizona Western College and lost in three straight sets, 25-18, 25-19, 25-10.
Pima trailed during each set and never found an opening to get out in front on the scoreboard against the Matadors.
Sophomore Aleksandra Palmer posted 10 kills and Conrad lead the team with 15 digs.
“We’re a really talented team,” Palmer said. “We’ll have a really good practice, have a lot of high intensity. But coming into the game we lose that intensity and sometimes we’ll shut down pretty early.”
Palmer said the team has a long way to go, but will eventually reach its goals.
“I have a lot of confidence in our team’s ability,” she said.
Sept. 23 PCC 3, Southwestern College 2
The team traveled to Chula Vista, California, to battle Southwestern College and won in a five-set match, 24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 14-25, 15-12.
Palmer finished the match with 14 kills and nine digs. Gerard amassed 27 assists, while both Gerard and Conrad served five aces each.
Sept. 24: PCC places second at San Diego Tournament
The team continued to the San Diego Tournament and received the No. 1 seed after sweeping pool play.
The Aztecs beat Chaffey College in four sets, beat Cuyamaca College in three straight sets and beat host San Diego City College in a five-set tie breaker.
During a re-match against City College in the tournament final, Pima lost the match 25-17.
Palmer and Conrad were selected for the all All-Tournament Team.
Sept. 28: PCC 1, Mesa Community College 3
Back at home; the Aztecs went up against No. 17 Mesa Community College and lost in four sets, 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25,15.
Palmer finished the match out with 12 kills and 13 digs, while Gerard ended with 19 assists and 17 digs.
By CASEY MUSE JR
Singing the national anthem during a pregame ceremony represents a long-standing tradition in American sports.
Why? It sets the tone for competition and reminds participants of how lucky they are to have the opportunity to play sports professionally in this country.
The anthem, along with the flag, stands for everything that is patriotic and right with America. Right? The truth in 2016 is, I’m not sure how many people actually still think this is the case.
Modern America is progressive and innovative, but still faces social challenges and injustices that plague its overall image. Specifically, being a minority in this country can be a unique experience on a day-to-day basis.
People of color may act a certain way in a nicer neighborhood or store, or when dealing with law enforcement. Can anyone really blame them? No, especially not if you keep up with the news.
It is an unfortunate truth that happens in every community every day.
Some readers may be thinking, “I swear this was the sports section.” This is a hot-button issue in the world of sports because of the actions of professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback made waves by remaining seated through the national anthem during a preseason game on Aug. 26.
Kaepernick said his protest had nothing to do with the military but rather with the injustices that minorities face.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said immediately following the game.
His actions inspired other athletes to take similar action during the pregame tradition.
Controversy arose during the first NFL Sunday of the season (which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks) when several players on different teams across the league displayed various protests.
Many fans felt this was especially disrespectful as the nation should “come together” on the anniversary of such a great tragedy.
Just about everyone can agree that Sept. 11 was awful, but that is not what this protest was about.
Kaepernick and these athletes are doing something important, using their social status and voice to bring attention to real problems.
Those who fail to acknowledge the problems and won’t accept that this is not an issue of disrespecting the military or displaying patriotism are only proving that society is completely missing the point.
Progress has been made throughout the years but there is clearly more work to do before everyone can call each other equal.
By MARIA ANGULO
After a strong playoff run last season, the Pima Community College women’s soccer team opened the season ranked ninth nationally by NJCAA.
The Aztecs posted an overall record of 21-2-1 last year. Their season ended with a loss to Florida State in the second round of the national semifinals.
Kendra Veliz will continue her work as head coach.
“As far as last year, we met every goal we set for ourselves,” she said. “Our goal was to reach nationals and win our first game, because the previous year we lost our first game.”
Seven new players have joined the team this season.
“I am happy with the freshman class coming in,” Veliz said. “I think there’s a lot of talent there.”
Aug. 23: PCC 0, Paradise Valley CC 1
The Aztecs had a rocky start in their first game at 10th-ranked Paradise Valley Community College, losing 1-0.
It was the first game between the teams since last year’s Region I, Division I playoff. Pima won the 2015 game 2-1 and advanced to the NJCAA national tournament.
Aug. 27: PCC 4, South Mountain CC 0
The Aztecs won 4-0 when they hosted their first home game at Kino North Grandstand against the Cougars of South Mountain Community College.
Freshman Alexis Hernandez scored in the 27th minute and sophomore Maria Delgadillo scored three minutes later.
Sophomore forward Shania Pablo sealed the game with two second-half goals.
Both of the team’s goalkeepers played, with sophomore Daniela Sanchez playing the first half and freshman Tara Kase playing the second.
Aug. 30: PCC 3, Phoenix CC 1
Pima hosted a tight game against the Bears of Phoenix College on Aug. 30, but prevailed 3-1.
The Aztecs score twice in the first half with goals by Pablo and sophomore Destiny Jones.
The Bears tried bouncing back, scoring in the 78th minute.
Pima scored its third goal after sophomore Maury Urcadez was fouled inside the penalty area. Jones scored on the resulting penalty shot.
“We set our goals pre-season,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “One of our pre-season goals was to win our home games.”
The team may still see many changes in alignment, according to Veliz.
“We’ve been struggling with injuries but we are hoping to get everybody some playing time so everybody adapts to the system we are playing,” she said.
Sept. 3: PCC 2, Cochise College 0
The Aztecs defeated the Cochise College Apaches in Douglas, 2-0.
Both goals came in the first half as Delgadillo scored in the 30th and 33rd minutes.
The goalkeepers again split playing time, with Sanchez registering two saves in the first half and Kase making two saves in the second half.
Sept. 6: PCC 0, Scottsdale CC 1
The Aztecs suffered their second loss when they played their third away-game of the season against the Artichokes of Scottsdale Community College.
With the score 0-0 at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime. The Artichokes scored the winning goal four minutes into the second overtime period, to remain unbeaten for the season.
Sept. 8: PCC 5, GateWay CC 0
In a home game at Kino North Grandstand, the Aztecs won with authority against the Geckos of GateWay Community College.
The Aztecs opened scoring in the first half with goals by Pablo in the 19th minute and by Hernandez in the 24th minute.
The team scored three more goals in the second half, from freshman Daelyn Mayer in the 56th minute, Pablo in the 67th and freshman Jahnmonique Smith in the 73rd.
The Geckos had two shots on goal, compared to 19 goal-scoring opportunities by the Aztecs.
Sept. 10: PCC 1, Chandler-Gilbert CC 3
The Aztecs lost their third game of the season on the road against the Coyotes of Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Pima scored first with a goal by sophomore Sonia Garcia in the 14th minute, but the Coyotes bounced back, scoring twice in the first half. They secured the win with another goal in the second half.
Sept. 20: at Mesa CC, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22: at Arizona West College, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24: Paradise Valley CC, Kino Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: at South Mountain CC, 3:30 p.m.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College football team hopes to build on a successful 2015 season despite facing a tough conference schedule for 2016.
The Aztecs committed five turnovers and were held scoreless Sept. 10 in a 20-0 loss to No. 5 Arizona Western College in Yuma.
AWC set the tone with a first-quarter interception of a tipped pass by freshman quarterback Justin Martin. The Matadors then blocked both a field goal and a punt attempt before scoring their first touchdown of the night.
The Aztecs finished the first half with 98 yards of total offense. They attempted to rally in the second half and had a chance to score in the fourth quarter but turned the ball over on downs.
Pima started the season by defeating Air Force Prep Academy 42-24 on Sept. 2 in Colorado Springs.
The game was a dogfight in the first half, with the Aztecs only able to mount a one-touchdown lead at the break.
In the second half, Martin helped the Aztecs outscore their opponent 21-10. Martin totaled 400 yards and six touchdowns, throwing for five touchdowns and running for one.
He was named WSFL/ACCAC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7.
Last year, the Aztecs boasted a 4-1 home record and were 7-4 overall. They finished as runners-up in the Western States Football League, falling in the championship game to Snow College of Utah.
PCC ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with 407 total points and 15th in total offense at 4,376 total yards. The team was also 12th in first downs per game at 21.6.
Head coach Jim Monaco returns to lead the team in 2016. Pima entered the season unranked but was the fifth and final team to receive votes and consideration for the top 20 NJCAA poll.
Sophomore running back Sirgeo Hoffman will play a big role on offense, jumping from productive backup to full-time starter. Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Cotton will also be asked to step up.
The Aztecs return one of the most intriguing defenses in the conference. Last year, they were eighth in the nation with 954 total tackles, second in the nation in fumble recoveries at 16 and seventh in the nation in defensive touchdowns with five.
“Our goal on defense this season is to get the ball back to the offense and, more specifically, stop the run,” defensive coordinator Pat Ryden said. “Our long-term goal is to win our conference and play in a bowl game.”
Look for sophomore linebacker Kana’l Picanco to be thrust into the limelight. Sophomore cornerback Paul Davis will anchor a secondary unit that plans to cause problems for opposing quarterbacks.
Ryden also offered “welcome back” to sophomore linebacker Tyson Otuafi, who is returning to the team from a two-year church mission.
“We just need to make sure that we are tough and physical in all aspects on our side of the ball,” Ryden said.
Sept. 17: Scottsdale CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: Eastern Arizona College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
By CASEY MUSE JR
This country loves football. Not soccer but good old American football.
The NFL returned Sept. 8 and continued with a full slate of Sunday games on the 11th. The league anxiously hopes to hear that it topped ratings records that were set just one season ago.
Last year, the NFL saw approximately 27.4 million viewers for an opening night game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to variety.com.
The numbers represented the second-highest ratings for an opening night game to date. The high ratings continued with an opening Sunday night game attracting 26.8 million viewers.
Though some believe the league has reached its peak, the numbers say otherwise. So what makes American football so popular?
The first game of football was played in the 1800s during a time in which our country was still figuring itself out. As Americans sought new forms of entertainment, various games and sports were introduced. Football is basically a hybrid version of rugby.
The game became so popular in part because Americans appreciate violence, even in a lighter form. The game offered a perfect balance of regulated sport with entertaining acts of savagery.
Even though the rules and equipment have been modernized in an attempt to make the game safer, the passion for physical aggression is still relevant today.
Football also offers an opportunity for routine. Think about how a major portion of the population sets aside time during their weekends for football. Professional football has become a tradition, to say the least.
The most important reason that football is so popular is that it brings people together.
People gather to watch and discuss games. They form “fantasy football” leagues with groups of friends who follow the game.
Football gives Americans an opportunity to bond over a common hobby. Even those who don’t follow the game usually find themselves watching the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl ratings are staggering and make a case for football being the top sport. The championship game for professional football is pretty much considered a national holiday.
No need to fight the feeling. Football fever is upon us and it is only a matter of time before you catch it too.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams both placed fourth at the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff on Sept. 3.
The women’s team finished fourth out of six teams while accumulating 92 points in the Open Division final standings.
Sophomore Taryn Estavillo earned the best finish for the Aztec women in the 2.6 mile race, earning 30th place out of 95 runners with a time of 17 minutes, 21.20 seconds.
Sophomore Samantha Felzien finished 34th with a time of 17:29.9. Freshman Alondra Carrasco finished 70th with a time of 19:39.2.
The men’s team earned a fourth-place finish out of seven teams, accumulating 107 points in the Open Division final standings.
Sophomore Armando Antonio Jr. had the best finish for the Aztec men, completing the 4.5-mile race in 46th place out of 100 runners. His time was 26 minutes 11.40 seconds.
Freshman Gerrit Ralston finished 50th with a time of 26:28.2. Freshman Alonso Sodari finished 56th with a time of 26:44.2.
The Aztecs compete next at the Dave Murray Invitational at Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson on Sept. 16.
Head coach Greg Wenneborg has returned for the 2016 season and will work to build on last year’s accomplishments, which saw both teams advance to the NJCAA National Championships.
The women’s team finished in sixth place and the men finished in ninth, which represented Pima’s best finish in 10 years.
Felzien posted a solid freshman season with the women’s team, finishing 65th in the 5K race at the national championships.
For the men’s side, Antonio finished 142nd in the national 8K race as a freshman. His time was fifth best among the Aztec men, behind four sophomores.
Sept. 16: Dave Murray Invitational, Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson. Women’s race 5 p.m., men’s race at 5:45 p.m.
Sept. 23: at ACCAC Conference Championships, Arizona Central College (Casa Grande). Women’s race 8 a.m., men’s race 8:45 a.m.
Oct. 8: at Mesa CC Thunderbird Classic, Mesa Community College. Women’s race 7 a.m., men’s race 7:45 a.m.
By JASON WEIR
Pima Community College honored the athletics program May 25 with a two-hour reception.
The evening started with Edgar Soto, Executive Director of Athletics, quickly acknowledging the successful sports season.
“One of the greatest years in Pima sports history,” Soto said.
The Lawrence R. Toledo Leadership Award 2016 recipients were announced next. The award not only recognizes student/athletes excellence in academics and athletics, but it also honors the man it is named after, PCC’s first athletic director.
The four recipients of this year’s award were Kristin Baldwin, Jamie Holliday, Kelsey Montano, and Deontay Townsend. The four have finished their Pima experiences and are continuing on to the next collegiate level.
The award was presented by Ann Toledo-Oyama, Toledo’s wife of 25 years, and their daughter Suzanna Minegishi.
One of the highlights was when Montano received her award and her daughter, on stage, jumped up and down in excitement.
A 7-minute video picture montage followed the award presentation. The video showed action photos that paid tribute to the athletes and coaches that made this past season so memorable.
After the video, the coaches took turns speaking. Each used the time to thank all those that have helped to make Pima athletics successful. The highlight was hearing the impressive list of accomplishments from the past season. Each sport had reasons to be proud and athletes to honor.
One common theme from each coach was the credit and thanks they gave to Soto.
“Edgar you are the glue. We hit bumps in our season, I am sure all coaches do. Our first phone call is to Edgar and he smooths out all the bumps for us,” softball head coach Armando Quiroz said. “We really appreciate you. Thank you very much, Edgar.”
Many of the coaches spoke of how Pima has the best collection of coaches that they have ever been around. Another credit they gave to Soto.
One of the benefits of having such a talented group of coaches is that they motivate each other.
“I aspire to be great because every coach here at Pima does such a great job,” women’s basketball head coach Todd Holthaus said. “Because of our competitive nature, you don’t want to be the one that let everyone down.”
By JASON WEIR
The Pima Community College softball team finished second to Phoenix College in last year’s tournament.
They won the first two games, one against Phoenix, and needed only one more win for the title but lost two straight
games to the Phoenix Bears.
“Our sophomores and coaches still have a bitter taste,” head coach Armando Quiroz said. “I am hoping this will be a
motivating factor. Getting kicked in the gut is something you don’t forget.”
Maybe an even bigger factor will be the confidence the Aztecs have after they finished the season with four straight
They outscored their opponents 45-2 in those four games.
“I feel really confident about how we’re heading into the tournament,” freshman Bailey Critchlow said.
After a rough stretch where they went 2-4-1, the Aztecs finished the season 12-2 in their last 14 games.
“We are on a high right now and we are playing really relaxed and as a team,” Critchlow said. “It is a big change from
how we were in the middle (of the season). Everyone is picking each other up.”
Sophomore Odalis Orduno is also pleased with the team’s current play.
“We are on the right track and we’re ready for regionals,” Orduno said.
Orduno was named ACCAC Pitcher of the week for April 18-24. This is the fourth time she won the award this year.
“It feels like an accomplishment,” she said.
As much as PCC wants revenge against Phoenix, they will have to play Glendale Community College first when the
tourney starts May 5.
“Glendale is very tough, they’ve really improved,” Quiroz said. “We can’t look ahead to Phoenix or anyone else
because we have a tough first game.”
The Aztecs went 3-1 against the Gauchos this year, but split the last two games.
“They played us really tough the last time,” Critchlow said. “But because we are on such a roll right now I think we’re
good. We are in a really good place heading into the tournament.”
Phoenix will host South Mountain Community College in the double elimination tournament’s other game. The two
winners play each other with the winning team going to the finals, as Pima did last year.
Winning on the road is always a challenge.
“There are lots of factors and distractions playing there that we must overcome,” Quiroz said.
Sophomore Kalynn Martinez keeps it in perspective.
“It would be nice to be here for regionals, but at the end of the day it’s softball so you just go out and play,” she said.
“Whoever plays better is going to win.”
The confidence of the Aztecs may carry this team to a title.
Critchlow said the key is “staying confident throughout the whole thing. Every once in a while, especially against
Phoenix we can get down if they string a couple of hits together. We need to remember we are good. We can beat
For season results and stats, visit pimaaztecs.com.
The ACCAC Division II Regional Tournament is on May 6-7.
By STEVEN FOWLER
The Pima Community College baseball team (30-26, 17-23 in ACCAC) saw its regular season come to a close on April 30 after a doubleheader series split against Chandler-Gilbert Community College at the West Campus.
Despite finishing above .500, it was a rough season for the Aztecs as they were unable to win doubleheaders.
In the first game, the Aztecs’ bats were inconsistent despite scoring three runs. Chandler-Gilbert capitalized early by scoring three runs in the first and third inning and one in the sixth.
PCC broke the shutout in the sixth when sophomore Hunter Green, who went 2-for-3, hit an RBI double. Freshman Manny Ramirez followed Green with another RBI double to score Green.
Freshman Andres Hackman went two and two-thirds allowing six runs.
In the second game against the Coyotes, Pima’s bats erupted in a 13-5 victory despite trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth. Green, who anchored the offense in the first game, and sophomore Francisco Rodriguez hit back-to-back RBI singles. Fellow sophomore David Oropeza hit an RBI single making it a 7-4 game. PCC scored nine runs in the next two innings to seal the victory.
In a doubleheader against Glendale Community College on April 26, the Aztecs were swept at the West Campus. In the first game, Glendale mercy-ruled Pima 13-2 in five innings as they were held to two runs on seven hits. Sophomore Ivan Estrella and Green each went 2-for-3.
In the second game, the Aztecs and Gauchos fought back-and-forth into extra innings. Sophomore Xander Carrilo blew the tied-game in the 12th and Pima failed to score in the bottom half of the inning and lost 9-8. Felix led the team with five hits in six at-bats.
On April 23, Pima hosted a doubleheader matchup against Phoenix College at the West Campus. In game one, the Aztecs surrendered three runs in the top of the seventh as Carrillo gave up a game-tying two-run shot to even things up at three apiece. Fellow freshman Jake Roberson blew the lead as he surrendered an RBI walk giving Phoenix a 4-3 lead, the final score.
The second game, a win for the Aztecs, didn’t come easy in a high scoring affair. Down 10-8 in the bottom of the ninth, Estrella began the PCC’s rally with a leadoff single. With a hit by Sophomore Ryan Ramsower and a later error, the game was tied at 10. Freshman Oscar Larranaga was the hero of the game as he hit a sac-fly to deep-right field that scored freshman Max Whitehead to win the game 11-10.
Freshman Kristian Samorano picked up his second win in relief as he pitched the ninth inning with one strikeout and one walk. Freshman starter Miguel Figueroa pitched five and two-third innings giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
As the season came to an end, Pima will need to go to the drawing board and find the best ball players that can win games.