Champions show off their rings

Five members of Ironwood Ridge's state championship football team were among 12 Nighthawks signing letters of intent at the school's ceremony Wednesday morning, and they found a way to stand out.

Each of them wore their state title rings.

Football coach Matt Johnson noticed when introducing them and said he didn't wear his because it weighs his left side down.

The rings came up again when I-Ridge strength coach Dee Dinota emotionally brought up the football players all chipping in to get her one.

Hoard can hit it far - and high

When introducing Michael Hoard, who signed to play baseball for the UA, Salpointe Catholic coach Danny Preble joked about one time Hoard "was put in a clutch situation and hit the ball 200-300 feet in the air, but it only went about 50 feet."

Nevertheless, Hoard is a three-year starter and led the team with eight home runs last year, batting .460. The jokes evolved into how far he can hit, which is why there is a net in right field to protect the softball and track teams.

The big number


Ironwood Ridge soccer player Madi Kinzer said she visited a whopping 32 Division I schools in at least a dozen states before deciding on Oklahoma and signing with the Sooners on Wednesday. "It's been a long road for me," Kinzer said. "Oklahoma just hit the spot."


"I just feel really blessed, and I'm trying to take everything in right now. My four years on varsity, my four years at Salpointe are ending so it's kind of a different feeling, but I'm moving on to bigger things and going to college so I feel great."

Johnny Peña, who was a four-year star and is Salpointe's all-time leading rusher. He will continue his career at Brown University on a combined academic and athletic scholarship.

Arizona women's soccer team gets a big boost

Justene Kesterson, Karina Gabino and sisters Laura and Priscilla Pimienta, who all played for Mountain View, signed to play at the UA.

"Since there are new coaches, and they don't know how any of the seniors or juniors play, we have a great chance at getting starting spots," Laura said.

The four were also on the 95 Red Tucson Soccer Academy team that had a record 17 members sign to play at the next level, 11 of them at Division I programs.

Sabino's Devyn Hunley, the daughter of former UA linebacker LaMonte Hunley, also played on the same club team and will be playing for the Wildcats next season.

"All my family is close by, so they can come and watch me play," Hunley said.

Teammates to be roommates, continue being teammates

Salpointe Catholic football players Travis Fister and Carlos Carroll both signed to play at Southern Methodist University and plan on rooming together.

"It's awesome because you'll have a friend from home, and you can talk about home if you miss it," Carroll said.

Both said they were excited about getting the college experience and, of course, playing football.

Meanwhile, Laura DeMers and Maddie Parker, teammates on the Catalina Foothills girls soccer team will remain teammates since they both signed to play at New Mexico.

Contact reporter Chuck Constantino at or 954-0859. On Twitter: @CConstan3 or @azprepstar