Category Archives: youth sports

Early bird registration for Desert StiX program through Dec 31

The Desert StiX girls lacrosse program starts a new six-week session on Saturday, Jan. 7 for girls in grades K-9, beginner to advanced, who may be interested in learning and playing the “fastest game on feet.”  All sessions will take place at Cochise Elementary School, Mountain View Park, 9451 N. 84th St. in Scottsdale.

Each session entails drills, scrimmages, and fun learning games. The purpose of Desert StiX is to prepare girls with the fundamental skills they need to advance in the sport of lacrosse. Girls are frequently divided by skill levels to help them grow and advance over time.

Early Bird registration fees, in effect through this Saturday, Dec. 31, are as follows for each age group:

Pixi StiX (grades K-2): $85 for one Saturday session each week.

Junior StiX (grades 3-5): $145 for two sessions each week, including Saturdays.

Chop StiX (grades 6-9): $165 for two sessions each week, including Saturdays.

After Dec. 31, registration prices will increase $25 for each group.

To take advantage of the Early Bird registration fees, register here.

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It is not just practice

Is your son or daughter athlete frustrated that he or she is not getting enough playing time in games, and only really gets to play in practice?  Then you should have him or her read today’s New York Times article on how Aaron Rodgers, currently the best quarterback in the NFL, dealt with that problem during his first three years with the Green Bay Packers when he rarely got into a game.

And the winners are…

Youth Athlete of the Year Joshua Braun, Phoenix Regional Sports Commission President Jon Schmieder, Youth Contributor of the Year Hugh Smith, Youth Contributor of the Year Erik Widmark, Youth Coach of the Year Melissa Belote Ripley.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission announced the winners of the Youth Sports of the Year Awards at a Sept. 24 banquet. The awards recognize exceptional youth athletes, coaches and youth sports contributors for their dedication to positive leadership and outstanding character. The 2011 Youth Sports of the Year Award recipients include:

Youth Athlete of the Year, Joshua Braun

Braun is a senior at Boulder Creek High School, where he is a part of the National Honor Society and is academically ranked 12th in his class of 608 students. Braun currently plays on his varsity basketball team and the AAU basketball team for the Arizona Aces. He has been selected for the Duel in the Desert All-Tournament Team.

Braun was awarded Deer Valley School District Male Athlete of the Year in 2009, has been an All-State honorable mention athlete and was also named the All-Region Most Valuable Player. He helped coordinate various youth basketball camps, actively volunteered his time as a referee and has coached volleyball and basketball teams at his local community center. Braun also dedicates his time to numerous Anthem area events including Emma’s Run and a roadside cleanup effort with military veterans.

Youth Coach of the Year, Melissa Belote Ripley

Ripley spent more than 30 years volunteering as a swim coach. She is currently working with the Rio Salado Swim Club and has been the coach at McClintock High School for the last several years.

Her passion and commitment to the sport of swimming began at a young age and carried her through to the Olympics, where she brought home three gold medals. For the better part of three decades, Ripley has been committed to helping individual swimmers reach their full potential.

Youth Sports Contributor of the Year, Erik Widmark

Known as “Wid” by the community, Widmark has been the driving force behind the Grand Canyon State Games, which is the country’s largest amateur sports festival. Going on its 19th year, the Games offer spirited competition and positively impact more than 400,000 youth participants.

Youth Sports Contributor of the Year, Hugh Smith

Smith has been with The First Tee of Phoenix since 2006 and has been an integral part in growing the game of golf for youth athletes throughout Maricopa County. Through his dedication, the First Tee Life Skills Program has grown to five sites throughout Maricopa County, with 14 staff members and 3,500 full-time students enrolled. The program imparts lessons about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, how to make decisions by thinking about the possible consequences and how to define and set goals — from the golf course to everyday life.

Hugh has introduced golf into physical education programs in more than 130 schools, which now include over 50,000 students participating in golf-related curriculums.

The winners were honored at the Youth Sports Awards Banquet at the Grand Canyon University Arena. Thirty-four honorees in three categories were recognized and acknowledged.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created in 1988 to “Enrich Our Community Through Sports” by bringing national and international sporting events to the state, promoting existing events and teams and supporting youth sports programs. phoenixsports.org.

Youth sports leaders to be recognized next week

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.

Coaches

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 KiblerHorizon 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 LewisEmpowerment Through Sports (ETS) Youth Football League coach.

Dameon BlairBoulder 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.

Athletes

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).

Contributor

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.

The joy of the first time

Kenzie Williams, a first grader from Gilbert, learns how to cradle a ball at last Saturday's free AGLA lacrosse clinic in Scottsdale. Photo by Steve O'Day

“I love seeing someone pick up a lacrosse stick for the first time and love playing. It never gets old for me.” — Jessica Livingston of AZ Girls Lacrosse, a league for girls in grades K-9.

The above photo was taken at last Saturday’s free AGLA clinic at Copper Ridge School in North Scottsdale, which was attended by about 50 girls.  The next clinic will be on December 17 at a yet to be determined location.

Fall registration opens for Lil’ Pals who love soccer

Paladin Sports has opened registration for the Lil’ Pals Soccer Academy, offering a six-week recreational sports experience for East Valley children ages 3 to 7.

Participation involves one practice per week and a six-game season. Volunteer coaches help children learn the basics of the sport, adhering to the US Youth Soccer format. Kids are encouraged to have fun while meeting new friends in the community.

Divisions are offered for 3-year-olds (U4), 4-year-olds (U5), 5-year-olds (U6) and 6- to 7-year olds (U7).  Seven-year olds must have one year or less experience in soccer and not be turning 8 before March 1, 2012.

Games will be held on Saturday mornings — Nov. 5, 12 & 19 and Dec. 3, 10 & 17 — at JO Combs Traditional Academy, 37327 N. Gantzel Rd. in San Tan Valley.

Practices are held in a variety of communities, depending on your location and coach. Shin guards are required; cleats are encouraged, but optional. Shin guards will be available for those children who do not have any.

Registration is $20 per child and includes a program T-shirt, soccer ball  and a trophy. Registration for the fall academy ends Friday, Oct. 7. Find more information here. 

Flag football season kicks off

Seven-year-old Matthew Mowrey listens to his coach between plays at Saturday's flag football season opener.

Scottsdale Youth Football kicked off its flag football season on Saturday with a game between the Firebirds Gold and the Firebirds Red.  The two teams are comprised of boys from northeast Scottsdale in grades 1-3.  They play an eight game season.  Here are some photos from the game.  The Firebirds Gold are in white.