High school sports programs throughout Arizona are still in a holding pattern, waiting for the AIA-mandated dates for practices to begin for the fall season.
But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been sports activity taking place. You just had to do some traveling to see it.
The High School Golf National Invitational just finished a three-day run in Pinehurst, NC, and the Area Code Baseball Games wrapped up a five-day national invitational held in Atlanta, GA. Arizona was represented by some of the state’s best student-athletes at both events.
And, for the Pinnacle High School (Phoenix) girls’ golf team, the four-hour flight to North Carolina was well worth the time and effort. The Pioneers came home last week as the national champion after beating runner-up Ohio, 920-926.
The Pioneers moved up from a second-place finish on the first day of the 3-day tournament to come on strong over the final five holes and win by six strokes. The five-player team that made the trip was deep in experience, with four seniors and a sophomore.
Seniors included Katie Stinchcomb, Sydney Seigel, Kyla Wilde, and Lexi Pelle. Sophomore Carolyn Fuller was the lone underclassman. Stinchcomb tied for second place with Nevada’s Kirsten Angosta, with their 218 total just two strokes behind Loralie Cowart from Georgia.
The win marked the first national championship for the Pinnacle girls’ golf program, which last season also notched the school’s first state title.
Arizona had two girls’ teams finish in the top three, with D-II state champion Ironwood Ridge High School (Oro Valley) earning a third-place finish, carding a team total 954, led by sophomore Zoe Nowell who finished in 22nd place with a 22-over total of 234.
On the boys’ side, Hamilton High School, the D-I state champion last year, finished fifth in the tournament, behind the 10-under 206 score of Anawin Pikulthong. He finished four strokes ahead of the rest of the field. Johnny Walker, the individual state champion last year, finished the tournament in a four-way tie for 11th place, shooting a 218 total.
Baseball wasn’t being played for a national title, but the high school players who attended the Area Code Games were among the best in the nation, selected by major league scouts overseeing the tryouts in each state. According to tournament organizers, scouts from every MLB team were in attendance to evaluate the more than 200 players invited to participate.
Players were divided into a seniors group and a separate group for underclassmen. The 10 seniors invited from Arizona included six pitchers: Cayden Collins (Mountain Ridge HS), Brock Selvidge (Hamilton), Matthew Fike (Queen Creek), Daniel Avitia (Alhambra), Justin Still (Perry), and Ryan Schiefer (Basha).
Also on the roster were a couple of catchers, Tanner Smith (Basha) and Ryan Campos (Red Mountain), and infielders Chase Valentine (Sandra Day O’Connor) and Wes Kath (Desert Mountain).
Five underclassmen made the cut this year: Logan Saloman (Hamilton), Andrew Carroll (Chaparral), T.J. Adams (Red Mountain), Austin Humphes (Shadow Ridge), and Derek Smith (Horizon).