Tag Archives: football

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.


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.


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.


Gilbert Youth Football League accepting fall registration

Gilbert Youth Football League will host registration for tackle and flag football from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Peter Piper Pizza (Gilbert & Williams Field roads). No experience is necessary.

GYFL offers programs in football and cheer beginning at age 5.

This photo is from the league’s newly designed website, which is updated regularly to include information about the league and players as well as coach and player development and links to sports-related news.

The mission of the GYFL is to provide a positive and enjoyable learning experience while teaching sportsmanship, fair play, integrity, honor, respect, loyalty, personal courage and dedication through football and cheer. The league serves families in the East Valley cities, including Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Queen Creek and Apache Junction.

Additional in-person registration registration events will be held:

July 16, 10am-2pm – Dicks Sporting Goods, San Tan Mall

July 23, 10am-2pm – Peter Piper Pizza, Gilbert/Williamsfield

July 30, 10am-2pm – Dicks Sporting Goods, San Tan Mall (this is the final tackle registration)

Aug. 6, 10am-2pm – Peter Piper Pizza, Gilbert/Williamsfield (this is a flag only registration)

Aug. 13, 10am-2pm – Peter Piper Pizza, Gilbert/Williamsfield (this is a flag only registration)

Find additional registration information.

Youth rugby on the rise

The Scottsdale Wolves at practice. Maya John running with the ball. In support from left to right: Gearoid O'Brien, Aiden John, Rydge Grewe and Garrett Kirkendoll.

“There is some sort of basic obviousness to the sport,” says Joel Borie.  “You take a ball and as a team try to carry it across the opponent’s line while they try to physically stop you.  You don’t need to understand all the rules to appreciate the object of the game.”

Borie is the coach of the Scottsdale Wolves, a co-ed touch-rugby team made up of players 6 through 13 years old.  At the moment, the Wolves are one of two U-13 teams that participate in the Arizona Youth Rugby Union.  The Wolves are sponsored by International School of Arizona, while a second team, BASIS Scottsdale, consists of 5th, 6th and 7th graders from the BASIS Scottsdale school.

Brennan Kelly (with the ball) being pursued by Alexandre Borie (9) and Max Cohen (3). Rydge Grewe (left) looks on.

“Rugby is a true team sport,” Borie says. “All players contribute, get a chance to carry the ball and to score.  Football, on the other hand, has a few stars and the rest of the ‘team’ are enablers.”

Borie is a 43-year-old Frenchman who was born and raised in a rugby culture in southwestern France. He moved to Arizona in 1990, got his MBA at ASU, got married and is raising his three children in the Valley. Two years ago, Borie came across Scottsdale Youth Rugby and started bringing his then 7-year-old son, Alexandre, to its practices.  Eventually, Borie got more involved in the club and this year became its head coach.

Games between the Wolves and BASIS Scottsdale take place on 70-by-40-yard field at Chaparral Park at Hayden and Jackrabbit in Scottsdale. There are seven players on a side. One of the players for the BASIS is Borie’s 11-year-old daughter, Danielle. Borie’s wife, Michelle, is the executive director of the International School of Arizona, so games are truly a family affair.

Borie hopes to expand youth rugby in the Valley.  There are currently seven high school club rugby teams and this fall a U15 tackle rugby team will be started in Scottsdale.

“All sizes and skill levels have some room in rugby,” Borie says. “Big and tall, big and short, small and fast, small and smart.  There is a place for everyone.”

If you would like to learn more about youth rugby and see the Wolves and BASIS Scottsdale play, you don’t have to wait long. They play tomorrow, March 26, at noon at Chaparral Park. — Dan Barr

Football combine kicks off this weekend

High school football players from throughout Arizona will have multiple opportunities to show why they are worthy of playing at the next level when the National Underclassmen Combine hits Phoenix this week and Scottsdale in mid-March.

“We’ve really had a ton of great players from Arizona including two kids that played in our first ever All World Gridiron Classic in DJ Hubbard and Jacob Arzouman,” says David Schuman, NUC CEO & President. “The state has a lot of talent and the prospects of seeing an athlete who could star in the NFL one day is always exciting.”

The Phoenix combine kicks off Saturday, Feb. 5 at Apache Junction High School and Scottsdale’s event is set for March 13. Registration information is available at nationalunderclassmen.com.

All participants will participate in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, bench press, vertical leap and shuttle run. In addition to official combine testing, athletes partake in individual skill period which includes drills, 1-on-1’s and 3-on-3’s along with other position-oriented competitions.

Following the combine’s completion, a special guest speaker will talk to the athletes about recruiting, education and making the right choices.

“We’ve had some great athletes from Arizona in the past including nationally rated Todd Peat and Brett Hundley among others, so I’m excited to see what this year’s field has to offer,” says Schuman. “Every season we see more and more great players from all across the nation. Arizona now represents an emerging football hotbed that will continue to grow. The truth is, you never know where the next great football player will come from and Arizona has proven that in the last few years.”

Statistics from every participant will be sent to colleges at all three levels and various recruiting bureaus such as ArizonaVarsity.com, Rivals.com and ESPN.com will be on hand to scout athletes. Select top performers will have profiles created for them on Rivals.com along with a special write up on nationalunderclassmen.com’s brand new recruiting network.

In addition, The NUC will host Special Teams camp combine which will give the best opportunity for kickers, punters and longsnappers to showcase their skills.
Top performers will be selected for the exclusive Ultimate 100 Camp, which features elite players in their region. The NUC’s event staff will also rank the best players by grade .

Athletes can sign up for the combine as well as preparation sessions and a recruiting seminar on http://www.nationalunderclassmen.com. Potential prospects can also call 1-888-NUC-MVP1 for more details. . All the information for registration and information is at nationalunderclassmen.com.

The National Underclassmen Combine is the most respected and longest running football combine and camp in the country. Since their inception in 2005, the NUC guided more than 50,000 athletes from all walks of life. 70 percent of the participants went on to play in college, with 20 percent earning D1 or D1AA scholarships. Notable alumni include standout rookie Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns, Marcus Lattimore, Robert Woods, Tyrod Taylor, Mason Walters, Tajh Boyd, and Steve Beauharnis. The NUC also hosted their first ever All World Gridiron Classic game last December in Charleston, SC.
For more information, go to Nucallworld.com and Nationalunderclassmen.com.
Contact – David Schuman, dschuman@nationalunderclassmen.com , 888-NUC-MVP-1