Greg Hansen's 2010 list of the top 100 leading sports figures in Southern Arizona

2010-12-31T00:00:00Z 2011-01-02T09:28:38Z Greg Hansen's 2010 list of the top 100 leading sports figures in Southern ArizonaGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 31, 2010 12:00 am  • 

1. Sherry Cervi. The Marana cowgirl won her third barrel racing world championship, earning $299,894, and became the first barrel racer to amass $2 million in career prize money.

2. Terrell Stoglin. After leading Santa Rita to the 4A-II state championship, the lefty point guard averaged 10.9 points in Maryland's first 13 games.

3. Caitlin Leverenz. Now a sophomore swimmer at Cal, the Sahuaro grad was the Pac-10 women's Freshman of the Year, won the USA national championship in the 400 IM, was named to the U.S. national team and was third in the Pan Pacific Games in two events.

4. Michael Thompson. A Rincon/University grad, Thompson was the Hooters Tour Player of the Year, then trumped that by finishing tied for 16th at PGA Qualifying School, becoming fully exempt for the 2011 PGA Tour.

5. Minh Vu. Not only was the Pima College sophomore the Region I Player of the Year, he was selected a first-team NJCAA All-American, scoring 15 goals for the Aztecs.

6. Brooks Reed and Lucas Reed. The Sabino grads were both first-team all-conference selections: Brooks as an Arizona senior pass rusher and Lucas as a sophomore tight end at New Mexico. Brooks was also selected to play in the Senior Bowl.

7. Kenzie Fowler. In her freshman season at Arizona, Fowler was dominant, striking out 371 batters in 284 innings while posting a 38-9 record and 1.53 ERA as a first-team All-American.

8. Bob Baffert, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson. Baffert's best horse of 2010, Lookin at Lucky, won the Preakness and earned more than $3 million for his owners, Weitman and Watson, both Tucson automobile dealers.

9. Sara Brown. After twice playing high-profile roles in Golf Channel editions of "Big Break," the Salpointe grad played clutch golf to earn her 2011 LPGA Tour card and also full privileges on the 2011 Ladies European Tour.

10. Derrick Williams. The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year became a dominant basketball player this season, averaging 19.3 points and shooting .632 from the field in 13 nonconference games.

11. Todd Holthaus. The Pima College women's basketball coach took his team to a No. 5 finish in the NJCAA's Division II in March, winning 28 games, lost all five starters, and has them ranked No. 14 now, 9-3 overall with a new lineup.

12. Jake Arnold. The two-time NCAA decathlon champion from Arizona continues to shine on an international stage, ranked No. 3 in the world in 2010 after he won the U.S. national championship.

13. Ian Kinsler. Selected to the American League All-Star team for the second time, Kinsler reached the World Series as the Texas Rangers starting second baseman, including a three-homer, six-RBI performance in the division series.

14. Kory DeBerry. Wrestling for his father, 14-time state championship coach Bobby DeBerry at Sunnyside, Kory won his third consecutive state title and is attempting to become the 25th wrestler in Arizona history to go 4 for 4.

15. David McDaniel. In what might have been his finest golf season, the CDO grad won the city and county amateurs, was second in the U.S. Publinx Amateur and won the first round of a PGA Tour School qualifier.

16. Josh Marshall and Donny Toia. Marshall, CDO's former boys soccer coach, led the Dorados to their second consecutive 4A-I state championship, with Toia scoring four goals in the title game, and 28 overall. Toia then was an All-ACCAC player as a Pima College freshman.

17. Jim Ferguson. After winning 71 games from 2007 to 2009, and finishing No. 2 in the state 4A-II basketball championships three times, the Santa Rita coach won it all in 2010, guiding the Eagles to a 25-5 record.

18. Juron Criner. Arizona's only All-Pac-10 first-team offensive player emerged as one of the top receivers in school history, catching 73 passes for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season.

19. Ann Chandler. In her senior season at Arizona, Chandler won the NCAA title in the 100 breast stroke, was third in the 200 breast stroke and was a key part of two NCAA-winning relay teams.

20. Christine Clark. A freshman at Harvard averaging 12.4 points per game, Clark led Tucson High School to a 26-2 mark, averaging 18.5 points, and was state champion in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and fifth in the high jump.

21. Sheldon Blockburger, Liz Patterson, Brigetta Barrett, Nick Ross and Edgar Rivera-Morales. Blockburger is the assistant track coach for jumping events at Arizona, which has become the nation's No. 1 place for high jumpers. Patterson won the NCAA indoor title and was second in the outdoor finals; Barrett, a freshman, was third in the indoor high jump and seventh outdoors; Ross was seventh in the NCAA finals outdoor and the Pac-10 newcomer of the year; and Rivera-Morales tied for 18th in the NCAA meet, and cleared 7 feet 3 3/4 inches.

22. Alexa Cash. A dominant senior pitcher at Cienega, Cash was 26-3 with 315 strikeouts and a .375 batting average as the Bobcats won the state title with a 28-4 record.

23. Robert Seby. The 14-year-old tennis whiz from Oro Valley won the USTA National Championship in November in boys 14 singles and had an overall record of 60-19 against the nation's top age-group boys tennis players.

24. Kassandra Lopez. A senior at Amphitheater, Lopez was part of the 2010 USA Junior Olympic gymnastics team, finishing fourth in the all-around competition, and the Arizona state champion.

25. Karl Pieroway and Jeremy Harden. In the most productive men's basketball season in Pima College history, Pieroway coached the Aztecs to a seventh-place finish in the NJCAA Division I finals as Harden, a guard from Tucson High School, was an All-ACCAC and all-region pick.

26. Chris Dompier. After shooting a course-record 59 at Skyline Country Club, Dompier, whose scoring average was 70.3, was named the PGA Southwest Section Player of the Year.

27. Mike Candrea. Arizona's 2010 softball season was viewed as a young team in a rebuilding mode, but Candrea took the Wildcats to the championship series of the Women's College World Series, going 52-14.

28. Greg Byrne. Arizona's new athletic director has changed the culture of the department in eight months on the job, improving communications, reaching out to the community and becoming a steadfast fundraiser.

29. Laura Jabczenski. Winning her second consecutive state golf championship, Jabczenski, a senior at Catalina Foothills, became just the second Tucsonan to do so, joining Sabino's Willie Wood in 1978-79. The Falcons, under coach Mark Polich, repeated as state champions, the first-ever for a Southern Arizona girls team.

30. Shelley Duncan. The ex-CDO power hitter made the Cleveland Indians roster as a minor-league free agent, then hit 11 homers in a part-time role.

31. Marcus Titus. Upon completing his UA swimming career as a 12-time All-American, Titus, a Flowing Wells grad, was selected to the U.S. national team by finishing fourth in the 100 breast stroke at the U.S. National Championships.

32. Jordan Trujillo. Pima College's All-ACCAC and second-team All-NJCAA All-American pitcher blazed through the year with a 31-6 record, tops in the league.

33. Joseph Parsons. Qualifying for his first appearance in the National Finals Rodeo, the Marana High School grad earned $77,822 in tie-down roping, winning championships in Salt Lake City, Prescott, Reno, Nev., and Clovis, N.M.

34. Ryan Perry. In his second season on the Detroit Tigers pitching staff, the former Marana High School and UA pitcher yielded just 55 hits in 62 2/3 innings with a 3.59 ERA.

35. Luis Moreno. Tucson's leading handball player climbed as high as No. 4 in the men's pro handball world rankings this year.

36. Cory Chitwood. The latest in an impressive line of UA men's swimming champions, Chitwood, now a junior, won the NCAA title in the 200 backstroke.

37. Jade Michaelsen. Becoming a three-time All-Mountain West Conference first-team volleyball player, the Salpointe grad was chosen to the AVCA honorable mention All-America team.

38. Adam Grant and Colin Baxter. Baxter, at center, and Grant, at left tackle, were the cornerstones to Arizona's offensive line; both were selected to the All-Pac-10 second team.

39. Stephen Sambu. What a debut for the UA's junior distance runner from Kenya: Sambu finished No. 2 overall in the NCAA cross country championships.

40. Dave Cosgrove. Pima College men's soccer coach led the Aztecs to a 17-6 season, eliminating perennial national powerhouse Yavapai in the region playoffs and finishing No. 14 nationally.

41. Tara Erdmann. Now a junior at Loyola Marymount, Erdmann, a Flowing Wells grad, won the West Coast Conference cross country title and was an NCAA track All-American by finishing sixth in the 10,000 meters.

42. Tiffany Owens. Arizona's top volleyball player became an All-Pac-10 first-team choice, setting a season record with 414 digs for a 20-win, NCAA tournament team.

43. Steve Magnuson. He left Ironwood Ridge as the 5A-II state champion in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters and was one of the top cross country runners in Tucson history.

44. Brittany Lastrapes. Arizona's reliable leadoff hitter finished at .413 in her junior season, hitting 16 homers and driving in 56 runs.

45. Frank Busch. After his men's team finished No. 3 in the NCAA finals, and his women's team No. 4, the UA swimming coach has the Wildcat men ranked No. 2 at the holiday break.

46. Heather Moore-Martin. The spirited volleyball coach of the Catalina boys and girls teams produced a state champion in May, leading the Trojans boys team on a hot streak that included winning 42 consecutive games entering the state finals.

47. Don Pooley and Ronnie Black. Tucson's two Champions Tour golf pros had strong seasons; Pooley earned $284,162; Black pocketed $445,058.

48. James Li and Erin Dawson. Li, the UA cross country coach, and Dawson, his assistant, directed the women's cross country team to its best Pac-10 finish (second) and to 11th in the NCAA finals.

49. Davellyn Whyte. The Pac-10's Freshman of the Year, Whyte averaged 15.7 and made the All-Pac-10 women's basketball first-team.

50. Ka'Deem Carey. Limited by a yearlong hamstring injury, the CDO tailback still managed to rush for 1,754 yards for the 13-1 Dorados.

51. Mike Feder. No one is more diligent in attempting to return professional baseball to Pima County than Feder, whose new gig will be vice president and general manager of the Pacific Coast League Tucson Padres.

52. Steve Selsky. Arizona's middle-of-the-lineup run-producer hit .370 with nine homers and 52 RBIs, leading the NCAA-tournament Wildcats in all three categories.

53. Justine Schluntz. The Rhodes Scholar and 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year completed her UA swimming career on two NCAA championship relay teams and finished in the top 10 in three individual events.

54. Aaron Tevis. Boise State's junior starting linebacker from CDO made 39 tackles with two interceptions, the sixth-highest tackles total for the Broncos.

55. Rich Barcelo. In his third year on the PGA Tour, the Sahuaro grad earned $188,892, with eight finishes in the top 50.

56. Tom Wilhelmsen. In his return to organized baseball after a four-year hiatus, the Tucson High School grad was twice the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week, going 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 71 innings for three Seattle minor-league teams.

57. Bernard Lagat. It was another big year for the Tucson runner; Lagat won the IAAF World Indoor Championships at 3,000 meters and broke the American and North American records in the 5,000 meters in Norway.

58. Sean Miller. Arizona's second-year basketball coach avoided a losing season, finishing 16-15 in his first with leftovers and a freshman-laden lineup, and he landed one of the nation's 10 most highly regarded recruiting classes.

59. Jamee Swan. Ranked as one of the nation's 30 leading girls basketball recruits in the Class of 2012, the Marana High School junior is averaging 16.4 points and 15.1 rebounds, after averaging a double-double last season.

60. Kurt Heyer and Kyle Simon. Arizona's young pitchers had terrific seasons; Heyer was 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA, and Simon was 8-6 with a 4.27 ERA, leading the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament.

61. Mike Perez. Now a freshman at UTEP, Perez averaged 29.9 points last season with a 45-point outburst against Phoenix Moon Valley and 42 against CDO.

62. Margarita Ramos. As Arizona finished No. 5 in the NCAA women's golf finals, Ramos was selected as a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 pick.

63. Stacie Chambers. Arizona's power-hitting catcher belted 21 homers, batted .360 and was an All-American and All-Pac-10 selection.

64. Dusty Peace. In his first two seasons as CDO's football coach, Peace has gone 27-1 with a state title in 2009, and a No. 2 finish this season.

65. Ify Ibekwe. Arizona's senior basketball forward was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, and the league's defensive player of the year with a league-high 11.4 rebounds per game.

66. Ashlee Brawley, Brandi Klein, Emily Pohl and Morgan Doughty. Cienega's senior leaders led the Bobcats to the state softball title. Brawley hit .392, Klein, .495, Pohl, .396 and Doughty, .457.

67. Mitch Fischer and Jake Fischer. The brothers from Ironwood Ridge had a strong year. Mitch, a junior at IRHS, averaged 8.3 points for a 22-9 basketball team, then rushed for 1,520 yards for the Nighthawks football team and was a defensive secondary standout. Jake, a sophomore linebacker at Arizona, started all season and made 52 tackles, fourth-best on the team.

68. Blake Martinez. CDO's star junior linebacker led the 13-1 Dorados with 129 tackles and also caught 10 touchdown passes.

69. Tamara Pridgett. At Rincon High School, Pridgett, now a UA freshman, was a track phenom, winning the state title at 100 and 200 meters, anchoring the winning 4x100 winning relay team and taking second in the long jump.

70. Ryan Gerber, Ryan Cota and Hayden Cota-Robles. CDO went 28-4 in baseball, and Gerber, a shortstop who hit .512 with 27 extra-base hits, was an important part of the dominant team, as were Cota, who hit .464, and Cota-Robles, who batted .416.

71. Alex Solot and John Gianninoto. Solot, a Rincon/University grad, became a two-year starting tackle at UTEP, and Gianninoto, from Catalina Foothills, also completed his career, at UNLV, as a two-year starting center.

72. Ben Hurley. Amphitheater's young boys basketball coach led the Panthers to a 29-3 season and to the state 4A-II finals, and is off to a 9-1 start this season, ranked No. 1 in the state.

73. Brigette Del Ponte. Part of a terrific freshman softball class at Arizona, Del Ponte hit .322 with 21 homers and 80 RBIs.

74. James MacPherson. The former Mountain View quarterback began his pro coaching career on the staff of the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League - after playing three seasons in the Arena League.

75. Charlie Kendrick. The girls soccer coach at Catalina Foothills helped the Falcons win their fourth state title.

76. Brittany Keiser. In her freshman season at Yavapai College, the ex-Cienega softball player hit .493 and stole 67 bases in 68 attempts for the Roughriders.

77. Tia Accetta. A multiple winner, Accetta was the overall female Grand Prix champion in the 2010 Southern Arizona Roadrunner Grand Prix standings.

78. Maddie Bushman and Michaela Christiaansen. Bushman, a senior at Sabino, and Christiaansen, a senior at Ironwood Ridge, were dominant volleyball players. Bushman is undecided on where she will play in college; Christiaansen has committed to Pepperdine.

79. Bryce Cotton. After helping Palo Verde to the state 4A-II basketball semifinals and 24 wins, Cotton, who averaged 23.7 points, earned a scholarship to Providence, where he is averaging 16 minutes per game as a freshman.

80. John Gleeson. The president of the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame had another stellar year, inducting a class that included CDO baseball coach Len Anderson, Olympic softball gold medalist Tairia Flowers and three-time world handball champion Neal Manning.

81. Craig Curley. The former Pima College All-American won the Cinco de Mayo 10K by more than 10 minutes, then qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon.

82. Dominic and Carlos Bermudez. The tennis-playing brothers from Palo Verde had another banner year: Carlos won the state singles title for the second year in a row, and Dominic, now a freshman at NAU, made the Lumberjacks' starting lineup.

83. Armando Quiroz. Pima College's softball coach produced a first-place finish in the ACCAC, at 55-9 overall, and reached the region finals.

84. Rex Woodbury. At Catalina Foothills, Woodbury won the Wendy's High School Heisman Award for cross country. He finished second in the state finals and set school records at 800 and 1,600 meters while compiling a 4.0 GPA.

85. Cesar de la Cruz. With his sixth appearance at the National Finals Rodeo, the Tucson cowboy from Desert View High School was 10th in the world team roping standings, earning $104,927.

86. Deanna Graham. Now a junior, the UA gymnast was the only Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA tournament in the all-around competition; she was a first-team All-Pac-10 performer.

87. Gentry Hicks. A senior at CDO, Hicks had a meaningful senior golf season, winning the Division II state championship with a 50-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole, and earning a scholarship from the Utah Utes.

88. Stefen Romero. As a senior third baseman at Oregon State, Romero, a Sunnyside and Pima College grad, became a first-team All-Pac-10 third baseman, hitting .326 with 13 homers.

89. Nemer Hassey. Cienega's football coach became the eighth Tucsonan to reach 100 career victories, guiding the Bobcats to the state semifinals with an 11-2 record.

90. Ana Agy. A longtime standout in the Arizona swimming program, Agy, a senior, was on two NCAA championship relay teams, then finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the 100 and 200 backstroke finals.

91. Tyler D'Amore, Jordan Scelfo and Jordan Mills. Tucson's three most prolific high school quarterbacks: D'Amore passed for 2,842 yards at Ironwood Ridge; Scelfo for 2,223 at Salpointe Catholic; and Mills for 2,474 at Cienega. They had a combined won-loss record of 30-6 and an amazing 78 touchdown passes.

92. Robb Salant. He coached Catalina Foothills to its sixth straight boys 4A state tennis championship.

93. Kaity Ingram. The ignition of Pima College's 55-9 softball team's offense, Ingram, a sophomore shortstop from Catalina Foothills, hit .467 to lead the Aztecs. She led the ACCAC with 90 runs scored. She is now playing at New Mexico.

94. Amanda Beard, Matt Grevers, Christine Magnuson and Mike Alexandrov. The four swimmers who made the 2010-11 USA national swim team, base their training operation at the Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatic training center.

95. Nic Wise. In his senior season at Arizona, the point guard from Texas averaged 14.4 points and scored 30 to help beat Pac-10 champion Cal and completed his home career with a buzzer-beating layup to beat USC on Senior Day.

96. Julie Labonte. Arizona's sophomore shot-putter from Canada became an All-American by finishing fourth in the NCAA championships after winning the Pac-10 title in the same event.

97. Erika Bennett. The former Sierra Vista softball pitcher led Miami-Dade Junior College to the national championship and was named the MVP of the national finals, where she went 4-0 with an 0.54 ERA. She is now pitching at Marshall.

98. Courtney Amos and Lauren Amos. The tennis-playing cousins from Salpointe, coached by Perri Touche, won the state 5A doubles title for the second year in a row as Touche led the Lancers to a second straight girls team title.

99. Jake Cole. The Star's Southern Arizona baseball player of the year from Sahuaro hit .430 with nine homers and went 9-2 as a pitcher with 79 strikeouts in 70 innings. He now pitches at North Carolina.

100. Sun Park. Before she began her college career on the Yale golf team, the Cienega grad qualified for the U.S. Women's Open, where she made a hole-in-one.

About the list

Greg Hansen's annual Top 100 includes those who call Southern Arizona home. Contact him at 573-4362 or ghansen@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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