Thirty-six youth athletes, coaches and youth sports contributors will be recognized for their dedication to positive leadership and outstanding character during the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission’s Youth Sports Awards Banquet next Saturday.
Winners of the Youth Sports of the Year Awards will be announced at the event, which will take place at 8 a.m. at Grand Canyon University’s new arena, 3300 W. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. Register for the event here.
The nominees represent all levels of play from various youth sports offered around the Valley:
Jerod Aker (left), head baseball coach for Apollo High School.
Rob Gorrell – Coach and co-founder of Sandlot All-Stars Baseball.
Pat Murphy – Coach and co-founder of Sandlot All-Stars Baseball, All Nine Baseball Academy.
Patty Egan - Coaches cross country, girls soccer and track at Cactus Shadows High School.
Steve Bomar - Youth girls basketball coach and founder of the Gilbert Genies Basketball Club.
Eric Kibler – Horizon High School baseball coach for more than 28 years and three-time recipient of the Arizona Coach of the Year award. In 2005 he received the ABCA High School National Coach of the Year.
Harry Demos - CCV STARS sports pastor and director of coaching for boys soccer.
James Smith – Head track and field coach at Westwood High School, head coach and president for the AZ Flames Track Club, USATF Masters Chair.
Melissa Belote Ripley - Has been coaching club swimming for more than 30 years and currently coaches at McClintock High School and Rio Salado Swim Club.
Jordan Demos – Youth Soccer Coach for the CCV Stars Soccer Club.
Jake Peterson - Coaches middle school and high school football/basketball for Rancho Solano Private Schools.
Jaime Pagliarulo – Girls soccer coach for Hamilton High School, San Tan Soccer Club and Arizona Youth Soccer Association.
Steve Lewis – Empowerment Through Sports (ETS) Youth Football League coach.
Dameon Blair – Boulder Creek High School junior varsity basketball coach.
Jim Ewan – Football coach for Chandler High School since 2001.
Jerod Aker – Baseball coach for Apollo High School; he has been the head coach of a baseball team for a total of 15 years.
Joshua Braun (left) plays basketball at Boulder Creek High School.
Joshua Brown – Plays basketball at Boulder Creek High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society and ranked 12th in his class.
Hannah Carson – Track and field, Chandler High School. She’s ranked #1 in the nation for javelin and has qualified for the 2012 Olympics. She will be attending Texas Tech University on scholarship.
Zach Wright – Golf, Pinnacle High School, committed to Louisiana State University. He is currently ranked #12 Boy in the National Polo Rankings
Brandon Senior - Track and Field, honors student at Notre Dame Preparatory High School and member of the AZ Flames Track Club.
Nathan Ponwith – Tennis, Arizona Virtual Academy, participates in the United States Tennis Association.
Tyler Pugh – Football, basketball and baseball; attends Rancho Solano Private School.
Kyung Kim – Golf, Chandler Hamilton High School, currently plans on attending University of Southern California.
Molly Johnson – Baton twirling, Thunderbird High School, member of Phoenix Superstars Twirl Team, plans to attend Fort Hayes University in Kansas.
Dylan Hambright- Track, Arcadia High School, member of the Arizona Elite Track Club.
Shannon Gurley – Volleyball, attends middle school at Rancho Solano Private Schools, also participates in soccer and drama at school.
Wendy Riddell (S.T.A.R. Pony Club, ASU UC Soccer).
Jeffrey Kratzke – Volunteer coach for cross country and track at Cactus Shadows High School.
Hugh Smith- Executive director of The First Tee of Phoenix, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs, values and healthy choices for Valley youth through the game of golf.
Lisa Sanchez – President of Holiday Park Little League, a volunteer position for an inner city youth baseball league.
Bob Capron – Oversees the Metro Phoenix United States Tennis Association. Inducted into both the USTA Phoenix Hall of Fame and USTA Southwest Hall of Fame in 2005.
John Canter – Started a community weightlifting and training program where 60 local kids are now involved and active.
Wendy Riddell – Youth equestrian coach and S.T.A.R. Pony Club board member, age group coordinator for ASUSC Soccer.
Erik Widmark – Executive director for the Grand Canyon State Games, the largest amateur sports festival of its kind in the country, since 1995.
Chad Robinson – Started the Prime Time Athletics flag football program, the official league of the NFL Flag program.
Peyton Sullivan – Youth Umpire for Deer Valley Little League, certified as a district umpire.
Scott Smith – Volunteer umpire-in-chief for Deer Valley Little League.
The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission was created to “enrich the community through sports.” The 501(c)3 non-profit focuses on three areas: bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and teams and supporting youth sports programs. Learn more.