Greg Hansen's 2013 Top 100 Southern Arizona sports figures

December 29, 2013 12:00 am

You've waited all year, and the time has finally arrived. Find out where Greg Hansen rates Southern Arizona's top sports people in his annual list.

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  • Sabino’s football coach won his 100th career game this season, finishing 9-3, averaging more than 10 victories per season as the Sabercats’ coach.

  • Arizona’s starting senior safety, from CDO, was third on the Arizona team with 78 tackles, including four for losses.

  • After leading Flowing Wells to the girls state championship basketball game, averaging 14 points and eight rebounds, Leikem accepted a scholarship to Indiana where she is averaging 11 minutes per game.

  • Pima College’s former football coach led the Aztecs to five victories and the WSFL playoffs, its top season in 10 years.

  • The 2012 Olympic hurdler finished second in the NCAA 400 hurdles as an Arizona senior.

  • Although his team was a lame duck in the Pacific Coast League, Feder, the Tucson Padres general manager, was chosen as the PCL’s Executive of the Year.

  • She coached the Catalina Foothills girls tennis team to the state championship again; it was Stevens’ 12th state title at the school.

  • Arizona’s first baseman was an All-Pac-12 softball selection, hitting a team-high.372 in 59 starts.

  • The Tucson High grad saved 24 games for the Seattle Mariners in his second big-league season.

  • In his one season as Arizona’s point guard, Lyons was an All-Pac-12 player, averaging a team-high 15 points a game.

  • Ironwood Ridge’s tennis standout won the girls state singles championship.

  • Coming back from a knee injury, Fowler moved to first base and started 53 games for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, which reached the College Softball World Series. The CDO grad hit .236.

  • Sunnyside High School’s wrestling coach has restored the Blue Devils to the top of the state, winning the Division I championship.

  • Returning to high school football coaching, Scurran took over an 0-10 Catalina Foothills team and coached them to eight victories and the second round of the state playoffs.

  • The Pac-12 batting champ hit .369 with30 stolen bases in his final season at Arizona.

  • Starting at second base in 49 games for Baylor, which advanced to the NCAA playoffs, the Ironwood Ridge grad hit. 229 as a freshman.

  • The Mountain View grad led the Atlantic Sun Conference with 9.0 rebounds per game and scored 9.6 points in his senior season at Kennesaw State.

  • Salpointe Catholic’s boys and girls track coach led the Lancers to a second straight state championship in girls competition.

  • The Catalina Foothills sophomore won the state Division II boys singles tennis championship.

  • Running for CDO in the state championship finals, Garcia won the 1,600 and 3,200 distance running championships.

  • In his freshman season at Arizona, Newman, a shortstop, was a defensive standout, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors. He was then chosen the to the All-Cape Cod summer league team.

  • One of the rotation players for Colorado’s 9-1 women’s basketball team, Swan, a Marana High grad, is averaging five points and 4.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

  • The Flowing Wells grad finished third in the 10,000 meter finals at the USA Championships and then was invited to join Nike’s Oregon Project, launching an international distance-running career.

  • Ironwood Ridge coach led his team to a second straight Division II boys state team championship.

  • In his second season in the EuroLeague, the former Santa Rita guard is averaging 16.7 for Cholet of France, No. 6 overall in the French league.

  • Sabino’s dominating offensive tackle, one of the best in modern Tucson history, is sought-after by many top FBS recruiters.

  • After transferring from UTEP, the Pueblo High grad has become a starting shooting guard at Nevada, scoring 11.9 points for the Wolf Pack.

  • Pima College’s men’s soccer coach finished third in the difficult ACCAC, won 14 games, and was inducted into the NJCAA Soccer Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

  • Undefeated and a state champion in the heavyweight wrestling division, the Sahuaro Cougar finished 43-0.

  • In his first full season on the NASCAR Nationwide circuit, the Ironwood Ridge grad earned $792,000 and had six top 10 finishes.

  • Making the All-Pac-12 women’s basketball team for the fourth consecutive season, Whyte now plays for San Antonio in the WNBA.

  • The leading player on Salponte’s 26-2 boys state championship soccer team.

  • Mountain View’s star wrestler was undefeated, 54-0, to win the state title at 113 pounds.

  • The starting point guard for the Pacific Tigers, Taku, of Tucson High, is averaging 12 points this year. He scored 8.1 a year ago for the Tigers as a junior starter.

  • Desert Christian’s young baseball player hit .505 and won nine games as a pitcher, leading his club to the state championship.

  • The football-playing brothers from Ironwood Ridge had outstanding seasons; Mitch made 56 tackles for Pima College and Jake delivered 85 tackles at Arizona, second-high on the team.

  • Making his way in pro golf, Prouty, a Salpointe and UA grad, played in 17 Web.com Tour events, earning $13,253.

  • As a starter during his freshman basketball season at San Francisco, the former Amphitheater state player of the year averaged 7.4 points. This year, as a sophomore forward, he is averaging 9.4.

  • Arizona senior Labonte was second in the NCAA in the discus and fifth in the shot put.

  • Emerging as one of the nation’s top college distance runners, Corbin was Arizona’s second finisher in the NCAA finals as the Wildcats were No. 2 overall.

  • Ironwood Ridge’s wrestling coach led the Nighthawks to another state championship, his third.

  • Starting every game for the Houston Texans in his third NFL season, Reed, a Sabino and UA product, made 47 tackles as a defensive end.

  • Matt Muehleback and Glenn Parker. Two men who began their careers as UA athletes in the 1980s are now voices of Pac-12 sports; Muehlebach is one of the top TV basketball analysts in the country; Parker has become an authority in college football.

  • As a senior center at Rincon/University, Esprit became Tucson’s most dominating basketball player, scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds per game.

  • Arizona’s junior shooting guard leads the team in scoring, 14 per game, after a sophomore season in which he averaged 11.5 points and became a star-level defensive player.

  • After hitting .347 at Arizona, Field, an outfielder, became a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and was drafted in the fifth round by Tampa Bay.

  • One of America’s leading prep sprinters, Crunkleton-Wilson, now a senior at Salpointe, won the state title at 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters.

  • The Pima College product was eighth in the USA marathon and 16th in the USA half-marathon.

  • Currently ranked No. 1 of girls 16 tennis players in Arizona, Pothoff won 13 matches this season on the International Tennis Federation circuit.

  • The UA All-American won the USA title in the 50 breast-stroke and was second in the NCAA 100 breast-stroke finals.

  • Leading Tucson High to 29 baseball victories, Robles hit .505 and won nine games as a pitcher.

  • The Cincinnati Reds’ minor-league player of the year hit .302 at Class A Dayton, establishing himself as a top third base prospect after a stellar career at Cienega High and Arizona.

  • In the NBA D League, the Flowing Wells product averaged 6.8 points last season for the Maine Red Claws, and is averaging 6.4 points this season at Sioux Falls.

  • As a senior linebacker at Salpointe, Jake Casteel led the team with 167 tackles, 25 of them behind the line of scrimmage. His father, UA defensive coordinadator Jeff Casteel, improved his team’s numbers mightily from 2012 to 2013, reducing points allowed from 35 to 24, and in yards allowed from 499 to 405

  • His 10-0 pitching record at Sahuaro, which included an 18-strikeout game in the state playoffs, was coupled with a .484 batting average and a ranking as one of the top 20 high school players in America.

  • A four-time Olympic distance runner, Abdirahman was third in the USA 20K, eighth in the USA 10K and sixth in the USA half-marathon.

  • The Tucson High grad made the All-Ivy League basketball team for the second year in succession, averaging 19 points for the Harvard Crimson.

  • The new Detroit Tiger hit 13 homers, drove in 72 runs and hit. 277 for the Texas Rangers. He is a CDO grad.

  • After coaching Pima College to the NJCAA Region 1 tennis finals, 13-4 overall, Schantz was named the 2013 ITA’s national JC coach of the year.

  • In his second season as the Oakland A’s bench coach, Hale was part of the West Division champs, a team that won 96 games.

  • Winning another state soccer title, Kendrick coached the Catalina Foothills girls team to a 22-3-2 season.

  • Runnerup at the girls state golf championships, Quihuis, a Salpointe senior, won the Tucson City Amateur by 23 strokes and has become an elite-level player on the national junior circuit.

  • Arizona’s leading soccer player triggered a turn-around from last place in the Pac-12 to a .500 season; she was first-team All-Pac-12.

  • After earning close to $125,000 on various mini-tours, Tyler, from Sabino High and the UA, earned full playing privileges for the 2014 Web.com Tour by finishing No. 42 at Qualifying School.

  • As the Sahuaro High and Cal Bears grad trains for the 2016 Olympics, Leverenz won the NCAA swimming title in the 200 IM in her final college seasons.

  • After hitting .277 with 11 home runs for Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, Romero, a Sunnyside and Pima College grad, hit two home runs in the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game.

  • The Sabino grad finished third in the USA swimming championships in the 200 backstroke, and was fourth at 100 meters. She also won two U.S. Open backstroke championships.

  • At Notre Dame, Slania was a second-team All-Big East relief pitcher, saving 13 games in 15 appearances with a 1.21 ERA. The former Salpointe Lancer was the fifth-round draft pick of San Francisco Giants.

  • At the state track and field championships, Thompson, a Salpointe senior, won four events: the 100 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump. She now competes at Wake Forest.

  • At Sabino, Bushman caught 63 passes for 1,583 yards and 26 touchdowns. That came after he hit .438 with eight home runs as a junior baseball all-star.

  • As Arizona won its first-ever Pac-12 women’s cross country title, Kibet was second overall, and then 15th nationally as the Wildcats were No. 2 in the NCAA.

  • As Arizona raced to the NCAA volleyball tournament, Kingdon, a junior, was the school’s top player, a first-team All-Pac-12 choice.

  • Even though only one UA player made the All-Pac-12 first or second all-star teams, RichRod ignited a stunning upset over No. 5 Oregon and posted a second consecutive winning season.

  • Coaching Salpointe Catholic to it second straight boys state soccer title, Weber’s team was a juggernaut, finishing 26-2.

  • In its best-ever women’s cross country season, Arizona finished No. 2 in the NCAA and won the Pac-12 title for the first time. Li, its coach, also helped Lawi Lalang win four NCAA distance running championship.

  • Bidding for a national championship, the Pima College softball coach took the Aztecs to a third-place finish in the NJCAA finals, winning 50 games.

  • Hitting 17 home runs, driving in 58 runs and batting .348, Goodacre, a junior catcher, was Arizona’s most productive softball player.

  • Named Baseball America’s Independent League Player of the Year, the former UA and CDO first-baseman broke the American Association record with 30 home runs for the Wichita Wingnuts.

  • The Pac-12 Diver of the Year, Pickens, an Arizona senior, won the NCAA championship in the one-meter diving championships.

  • The Pac-12 softball Freshman of the Year, Bonstrom, a CDO grad, hit .388 for the Cardinal as a first baseman.

  • A first-team All-Big East shooting guard at Providence, Cotton led the league in scoring as a junior and now, as a senior from Palo Verde High School, is averaging 18.8 points and shooting .910 from the foul line.

  • After helping to develop the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff for seven years, including the 2013 World Series title, Strom has hired to be pitching coach of the Houston Astros.

  • She was a force behind Pima College’s No. 3 finish at the junior college world series. The Sahuarita High grad hit .405 with 92 RBI and won 33 games as a first-team All-American pitcher.

  • Arizona’s charismatic track and field coach might’ve had his finest season, directing the Wildcats to a No. 5 finish in women’s NCAA finals and No. 10 in the men’s finals.

  • After winning the USA National Junior diving championship in the platform event, the Tucson High standout won the USA 10-meter championship for juniors this month.

  • Now a volunteer coach at Ford Aquatics, Grevers won the world championship in the 100 backstroke and won a silver medal in the 200 backsroke.

  • The soul of Arizona’s Sweet 16 basketball team, Hill was a first-team All-Pac-10 forward and a first-round draft choice of the Indiana Pacers.

  • Arizona’s athletic director not only successfully executed the opening of the $72 million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, he has activated an $30 million makeover at McKale Center.

  • As Pima College finished one game shy of the NJCAA championship game, Contreras and Pelayo, both outfielders now playing at Arizona, were outstanding. Pelayo hit. 440 with 23 stolen bases; Contreras hit .388 with 38 steals.

  • Accounting for 32 touchdowns as a receiver, passer, rusher, returner and defensive back, the Salpointe senior football player caught 73 passes for 1,453 yards, leading to a state championship.

  • The Rincon/University grad won his first PGA Tour event, the Honda Classic, and earned $1.7 million, climbing to No. 76 in the world rankings.

  • One of America’s leading swimmers, Geer, a UA junior, swept NCAA championships in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

  • Salpointe Catholic broke through, winning its first football state title in 62 seasons, as Bene coached the Lancers to a 14-0 season, outscoring its opponents an average of 47-8.

  • America’s leading breast-stroker was the NCAA men’s Swimmer of the Year, sweeping the 100 and 200 breast-stroke in world-record times.

  • Undefeated against collegiate competition, Lalang, a UA senior, won four NCAA titles – two indoors, two outdoors – and was one of three finalists for the coveted Bowerman Award in track and field.

  • Becoming the UA’s first-ever Pac-12 offensive player of the year, Carey gained 1,712 yards and became a consensus All-American for the second time.

  • The UA senior won two more NCAA high jump titles, running her streak to six, and broke the college record, clearing 6-feet 6 ¼ inches and was one of three finalists for the Bowerman Award.

  • Coaching Arizona to a Sweet 16 showdown against Ohio State was one thing; recruiting and developing elite talent, beating Duke and Michigan, helped Arizona soar to No. 1 in the nation entering 2014.

  • Not only did the Marana barrel racer win her fourth Pro Rodeo world title, she was the overall top performer of all cowboys and cowgirls at the National Finals Rodeo.

  • By any name, Hoover Hardy, son of a Tucson tennis instructor, has become one of the most prominent shortstops in modern baseball. He won the American League Gold Glove award for shortstops in 2012 and again in 2013. He is a two-time All-Star. This year he won the Silver Slugger award, hitting 25 home runs, emblematic of the league’s top-hitting shortstop. Given such distinction, Hardy is a clear No. 1 among the Arizona Daily Star’s Top 100 Southern Arizona sports figures of 2013.

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