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Eighth-grader Mary Claire Westervelt showed Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Big Park Community School’s 2-0 win at West Sedona School, that she is already on a different level than most players in the Verde Valley League.

Eighth-grader Grace Hafner bumps a West Sedona School serve, setting up her Big Park Community School teammates for the kill. Behind 16 straight points from eighth-grader Mary Westervelt, the Coyotes beat the Wildcats in two straight games.
“She’s been there since sixth grade,” said Mollie Brackin, her assistant coach.

If she stays there, the Coyotes should enjoy her while they can.

“Come watch us at all our home games,” Westervelt said after the Coyotes won in two straight games on the road, 25-11 and 25-19. “We’re all so excited to play volleyball. It’s even better that we won.”

It was Westervelt whose aces devoured the Wildcats defense, gobbling up the final 10 straight points of the first game and the first six points of the second game as well before her 17th straight serve hit the net.

“I got scared a little in the beginning when I missed my serve,” she said. “But once we started getting on a roll, I was like, ‘I think we’re going to win this.’”

Westervelt’s serves broke an 18-18 tie for good in the second game, leading the Big Park A team to a straight-set victory.

“It’s really hard to return serves like that,” Coyotes head coach Erin Fagan said.

For the full story and more photos, please see the Friday, Aug. 28, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Despite having to follow a team that won 32 matches last season and was state runner-up, Sedona Red Rock High School head volleyball coach John Parks can’t help but notice how smaller this year’s team has become.

Sharing the leadership load this season for the Sedona Red Rock High School volleyball team will be senior co-captain Kendall Woellmer, practicing her overhand return. The team is looking to make its mark in Division III of the Arizona Interscholastic Association after finishing runner-up in Division IV.
“I’ve had two Division II [college] players and two Division I players in the program,” he said. “It’s hard to replace that. We’ve had a good run, but ... we might not ever have a run like that again.”

After taking 15 Scorpions to championship match point of the Division IV title against Thatcher High School last fall, Parks returns just eight of those SRRHS state championship runners-up, including three seniors, against a more competitive Division III schedule this season.

“We have good coaches, so we’ll always keep ourselves competitive,” Parks said. “But getting back to that elite status — even if we were Division IV, I’m not sure we’re one of the elite teams.”

For more photos, the full volleyball schedule and full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 26, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The Sedona Red Rock High School football team has been enjoying its bye week after a 20-13 opening victory
Aug. 21 over rival Camp Verde High School.

Senior running back Justice Keane runs four yards for his second touchdown, leading the Scorpions on the ground over the Cowboys defense. After enjoying a bye week, Keane will travel with SRRHS to Surprise on Friday, Sept. 4, to face Paradise Honors High School.
“I thought we played them hard [and] fought all game,” said John Bradshaw after getting his first win as a Scorpions head coach, the fourth straight for SRRHS over CVHS. “I think we’re pretty healthy — no injuries — can’t be happier as a coach than that.”

Senior running back Justice Keane ran for two touchdowns and 29 of the 38 yards on the ground on the Scorpions’ game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-yard plunge off right tackle by senior Derrick Johnson.

Johnson ran in the two-point conversion off left tackle to end the scoring with 1:16 remaining in the contest. It marked SRRHS’ second successful comeback of the night, preserved not just by a fumble forced by senior Tim Hall on the Cowboys’ final drive but also a Johnson interception on the final play of the game after the Scorpions could not run out the clock.

“This was a must-win for us,” Bradshaw said. “It wasn’t pretty. I knew this was a going to be a tough one.

“Camp Verde knows our whole playbook, and we know their whole playbook, so it’s always a battle.”

For the full story, standings and more photos, please see the Friday, Aug. 28, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

It took an extra inning, but Red Rocks Rotary sent third seed Big O Tires home early from the summer Adult Softball League playoffs, presented by the Sedona Parks and Recreation department.

Wendy Phenom steps up to bat for Another Team and makes contact on a pitch from A Day in the West during the Sedona summer softball league playoffs, presented by the Sedona Parks and Recreation department. Another Team fell, 23-2, as A Day in the West advanced to the league semifinals.
Thanks to the far-ranging outfielders of Tortas de Fuego, the team is back in the semifinals against Rotary after reversing its previous result against Rokzoo Bucket List, handling the team 6-2.

“I want to make a statement this year,” said Mauro Trahin Sr., Tortas head coach. “I’ve been hearing last year it was controversial. This year, if we play the way we’ve been playing, win or lose, it’s fair and square.”

Left fielder Carlos Rodriguez made multiple sparkling catches in foul ground to prevent Rokzoo from getting the momentum it held in a 5-1 win July 30 over Tortas.

“Great defense by all of our guys,” Trahin said. “We don’t practice it; a lot of our guys just play year-round. They’re natural guys.”

Rokzoo had its own time to shine after destroying first-year team ABC Auto Body 34-1 in its first playoff game.

For the full story and championship night schedule, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 26, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The feeling was clear as a blue sky on a sunny day what needed to be done to revive Red Rock Youth Football.

Lee Loughnane, left, the original trumpet player in the band Chicago and writer of its 1974 hit single “Call on Me,” helped kick-start the season for the Sedona Venom — now the Sedona Scorpions of Red Rock Youth Football after Aug. 4, when Loughnane donated $5,000 to help pay for helmets, maintenance and team overhead. Loughnane’s son of the same name is practicing to be an offensive lineman for the Scorpions for their first game at the Sedona Red Rock High School football field Saturday, Sept. 5.
Head coach Tod Christensen not only found a friend to call on Aug. 4 who shared his love for the Sedona Venom, he reassociated the team with Sedona Red Rock High School by renaming it the Scorpions.

“I wasn’t sure we were going to get enough kids, and I wanted to avoid any kind of connotation with the high school program,” he said. “The second we hit our goal, I knew we were going to switch that name back over to Scorpions.”

With 26 of Sedona’s 12- to 14-year-olds scheduled to play their first Northern Arizona Youth Football game in two years Saturday, Sept. 5, at Sedona Red Rock High School, the problem then became money — to start with, the purchase of helmets.

“We knew, in advance, if we found enough kids to put this together, our first hurdle was going to be helmets,” he said. “The company we had went out of business and no other company will certify another company’s helmets. We tried to rent helmets, but the company that rented to us before [wasn’t] willing to do that.”

Trumpeter Lee Loughnane, one of the original members of the band Chicago and a five-year Sedona resident whose son of the same name plays on the Sedona offensive line, heard Christensen’s call between tours.

“I didn’t ask him to make a donation,” Christensen said. “Our parents are making enough of a commitment by getting their kids here and doing all that. I said, ‘If you know anybody out there who’s a real believer in youth sports, here’s our situation.’”

The price tag for certified helmets alone was going to be $2,000.

“That’s not counting field rent and game officials and all these other miscellaneous things,” Christensen said. “We knew we were going to need $4,000, minimum, just to make the season fly.”

Loughnane didn’t need to hear anything else, writing the team a check after an Aug. 4 practice for $5,000.

For the full story and Red Rock Youth Football schedule, please see the Friday, Aug. 14, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The Sedona Bike and Brew Festival may be even wetter the second time around.

Dave Biermann and Cody Kukulski, from left, test out the second hole of the Sedona Golf Resort prior to Sedona Bike and Brew. The festival is expected to draw more than 250 spectators and mountain bike enthusiasts to the course Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29.
Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29, mountain bikers once again have their chance to tear up the Sedona Golf Resort golf course.

At least an equal number of last year’s 250 adult and junior riders and spectators are expected to come together for the second straight year with a dinner and a craft beer tasting to cap the first mountain bike race on a golf course in the U.S.

“The tee boxes [and] the fairways are fair game,” said Jeremy Hayman, Director of Golf for Sedona Golf Resort. “We have four more out-of-bounds sections this year off-roading on the red dirt, through trees — where last year we just used cart paths.”

The Oak Creek Brewing Co. will be joining a brewery from Tempe in pouring more than 10 varieties of their local craft beers Aug. 29, after the awards ceremony for the men’s and women’s open, scout and junior division mountain bike races.

A silent auction to benefit the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition and a raffle in support of the Red Rock Trails Fund will also be held at that time. The awards ceremony is scheduled to begin in the resort restaurant at about
1 p.m. Aug. 29.

In addition to those rides, men and women will have the chance to ride a criterium race Aug. 28 around the first and 18th holes — a half-hour for men, 20 minutes for women.

For the full schedule and story, please see the Friday, Aug. 21, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

West Sedona School is wild about its volleyball.

A year after struggling to find more than four players with previous volleyball experience, the biggest dilemma facing head coach Patricia Etcheverry this fall is where to play her 33 players.

“We just started, this year, a C team with our brand-new people,” she said. “We don’t know who’s got C teams or not, so basically, we’re going to have tournaments every other Friday here so they get some game time. Our A and B girls are going to help referee.”

Four seventh-graders join seven sixth-graders on Etcheverry’s C team, which as of practice Monday, Aug. 17, includes Lesly Suarez, Alexis Boswell, Ebony Munoz, Cierra Woods, Tania Campos, Karla Gonzales, Yaritza Landa, Stephanie Medel-Garcia, Jeanine Quezada, Nyah Valdez and Kelly Zarate.

That lineup will be subject to change, though, prior to the Wildcats’ season opener with Big Park Community School on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Coaches’ daughters never hurt the cause. Eighth-grader Jacki King, normally a soccer player and daughter of the volleyball assistant coach, Patti King, is one of 11 eighth-graders on the A team.

“Jacki’s new,” Etcheverry said. “She just played soccer last year. This year, she’s doing a little bit of both.”

She will join Lizbeth Corral-Diaz, Amari Sonn, Odalis Robles, Ariel Ringel, Soraya Movassaghi, Aria Harness, Dani Arenas, Ashley Meekma, Christina Schweiss and Diana Zaun on the A team.

“Odalis is working on a pretty mean [serve],” Etcheverry said. “We’re stronger this year in our serves than we were last year, which was our biggest weakness.”

Emma Beattie, another great athlete, according to Etcheverry, has been too good not to be on the A team as a sixth-grader.

“We’re still working out positioning,” she said. “It’s kind of nice when you start off with a whole team that’s played volleyball before.”

Etcheverry currently has two eighth-graders, four seventh-graders and a sixth-grader on her B team, including Gena Ryan, Julissa Galaz, Audrey Veliz, Tiffani Arenas, Tiana Trujillo, Molly Wiseman and Sydnee Newman.

“We’re working out and getting in shape before the season even started,” Etcheverry said. “That way, we didn’t have to practice that before our first game.”

For the full season schedule, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 19, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The rivalry gets real Friday, Aug. 21.

Senior quarterback Derrick Johnson practices his throw during a Sedona Red Rock High School practice for a scrimmage against Page High School. Johnson will lead the Scorpions into their opening game at home Friday, Aug. 21, against rival Camp Verde High School.
Sedona Red Rock High School and rival Camp Verde High School get their football seasons under way at 7 p.m. when the Cowboys visit the Scorpions.

“We’re definitely ready to go,” said senior running back Justice Keane, who will also be one of the leaders in the secondary at free safety. “All the seniors want this game really bad.”

Keane, along with fellow senior kick returner and starting quarterback Derrick Johnson, will be two of the Scorpions’ key offensive threats the Cowboys will be challenged to shut down.

“We’ve got a really good game plan on offense,” Keane said. “We’re going to mix it up a lot.”

The other is senior wide receiver Bailey Ehrlich, who, in a 28-6 win over CVHS last season, had two touchdown receptions and 113 total receiving yards on just three catches.

For the full story, schedule and more photos, please see the Friday, Aug. 21, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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