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Cancer is a bitter enemy for many Americans. But it is an adversary that one 15-year Sedona resident wants to fight in a month as the lone American.

Jennifer Yates, left, talks with Caroline Johnson about her Ironman race during her fundraiser at Azadi Fine Rugs in Tlaquepaque. Yates' goal is to reach $20,000 to participate in the Sunday, June 14, half-triathlon in Staffordshire, England, to raise money for cancer research. Yates, a breast cancer survivor, was the only American selected for the 70.3-mile race.
A Verde Valley Sanctuary board member, Jennifer Yates has raised nearly $5,500 toward being the only United States representative Sunday, June 14, on the Chef Gordon Ramsay charity team at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire, England.

Yates raised more than $4,000 for the half-triathlon Tuesday, May 12, at a Tlaquepaque fundraiser, where she spoke about the battles she and her family have had to fight just to confront this charity challenge — which will also raise money to fight world hunger, spina bifida, meningitis and children’s palliative care.

“This has been a big undertaking for me,” Yates said. “I’ve always been an athlete — it got me through a lot of traumatic experiences in my life — and I survived.”

Yates, who will turn 50 in August, has never participated in a triathlon or any other sports competition since she was in school.

“My extent of swimming was twirling in the pool,” she said. “That’s it. I have been blessed with a team of local coaches ... preparing me for this grueling event.”

These include U.S. Masters swimmer Paul Cate and former professional football player Paul Burke, coaches whom she has been training with since mid-January.

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 15, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Head coach Dennis Mobley's self-described "best golf team" in the history of Sedona Red Rock High School will be ranked third overall in Division III and bring an extra Scorpion to the state tournament Friday and Saturday,
May 15 and 16, in Prescott.

Senior Savanah Cooper tees off on the third hole of Seven Canyons Golf Course. Cooper will be one of six Sedona Red Rock High School golfers traveling to the Division III state tournament, which the Scorpions are one of the favorites to win, Friday and Saturday,  May 15 and 16, in Prescott.
Seniors Savanah Cooper, Jasper Herrick, Skylar Richardson and Gary Schlee will join junior Keagan Webster and sophomore Neil Smith in the quest to bring home the first state golf title since 2002 for Mobley and SRRHS [22-1].

"We will be using six players at State because they all deserve to be there," Mobley said. "Keagan ... has been our most consistent and successful golfer coming down the stretch."

The Scorpions will be playing five players each day, with a different fifth going the first round, on the south course of Antelope Hills, than on the north course Saturday, May 16.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

He has won 354 Major League Baseball games and the most Cy Young Awards of any pitcher in the history of the sport yet remains an outsider to its Hall of Fame.

Roger Clemens, the pitcher with the most Cy Young Awards in the history of baseball, was in the Verde Valley for golf and for his wife, Debra, who is selling jewelry at a local gallery. He took time out of that schedule to demonstrate to players at Sedona Red Rock High School how he would approach the plate before delivering his fastball.
That exclusion, after three years of eligibility, is how allegations of Congressional perjury and steroid use have followed Roger Clemens into retirement since 2007.

But if any of that bothers “Rocket,” as he was known in his hard-throwing days for the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, he showed no sign of it while visiting in the Verde Valley with his wife, Debra, who is selling jewelry at a local gallery.

Roger Clemens, the former Major League Baseball pitcher with the most Cy Young awards in the history of baseball, autographs a baseball Thursday, May 7, for senior Kevin Schweiss, left.With the help of friends Jerry and Roxanne Foley, Clemens showed some local high school players some hitting and pitching pointers, signed autographs and took pictures Thursday, May 7.

In an exclusive interview with the Sedona Red Rock News, Clemens, father to four sons — two of whom are baseball players themselves — reflected on the highlights of a 24-year major league career as well as his family and professional legacy.

For Part 1 of the interview, please see the Wednesday, May 13, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News. For Part 2, please see the Friday, May 13 issue. More photos are in each issue.

As the school year draws to a close, it feels like the end of an era in Verde Valley sports.

George Werner

In most sports, the Arizona Interscholastic Association has realigned Camp Verde, Mingus Union and Sedona Red Rock high schools into different divisions and sections for the next three years.

That means that in football, for instance, the Cowboys and the Scorpions will still play each other, but only for bragging rights.

Less explicable is Mingus Union High School’s baseball and boys soccer teams playing in a lower division than their counterparts in softball and girls soccer. Eight days later, head girls soccer coach Thomas “Buddy” Rhodes retired after a highly successful decade with the Marauders.

State small schools championships at Clarkdale-Jerome School are on hold, at least for basketball — cancelled this season due to scheduling conflicts. This had been an annual tradition between the Navajo Nation and Verde Valley League teams for nearly 30 years.

Add to those changes dozens of departures of on-campus coaches as well as young athletes, particularly from the Sedona area, and those who stay become even more deserving of notice.

Don't forget to follow @sedonanews on Twitter for the latest updates regarding all the news affecting Sedona and the Verde Valley.

For the full column, please see the Wednesday, May 6, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

In its first game of the Division III state softball tournament, Sedona Red Rock High School’s season succumbed to a six-run, sixth-inning avalanche from Snowflake High School.

Senior Sophie Copenhaver works on driving the ball out of the park during a recent Sedona Red Rock High School softball practice. Copenhaver, who will be playing college softball at Illinois Wesleyan University, will be one of three graduating SRRHS starters who will need be replaced from a team that finished second in its second and eighth in Division III.
Errors once again were the story in the Scorpions’ 14-4 second-round loss in Peoria, according to head coach Mike Keider. Three errors led to the fifth and final loss of the season for SRRHS, but those were just the ones included in the official scorebook.

“We actually had five errors, not taking into account throwing errors that advanced runners,” Keider said. “You can’t have five errors and expect to win against a caliber of a team like that.”

A hard-hit ground ball through the legs of sophomore shortstop Courtney Howard went all the way to the left-field fence for an inside-the-park, three-run home run.

“Why my left or center fielders weren’t backing her up on that, I don’t know,” Keider said. “After that, they were pretty dejected.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 8, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The return of the Sedona Senior and National Tennis Rating Program Tournament is giving local players like Dr. Stuart Osher the opportunity to shake the rust out of their racquets.

Stuart Osher gets set to rip a forehand return during hitting practice Monday, May 4, at the Sedona Red Rock High School tennis courts. The retired oncologist was tuning up for the Sedona Senior and National Tennis Rating Program Tournament beginning Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m.

“I’m trying not to embarrass myself,” the retired Los Angeles oncologist of 32 years said during a recent hitting practice on the Sedona Red Rock High School tennis courts, host to the three-day tournament that begins Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m.

“You clean up well, Doc,” reassured hitting partner Larry Lineberry, United States Professional Tennis Association master pro and director of the tournament. “We’re pretty good — we’re going to wear this ball out.”

As soon as those words came out of Lineberry’s mouth, Osher’s next volley fell short and into the net.

“Now why did you say that for?” growled Osher in frustration. “Right at that moment.”

Osher, who has played tennis since he was a 14-year-old in Flint, Mich., will still be the youngest player in his age division at the tournament, the proceeds from which benefit local junior tennis programs and the SRRHS tennis teams.

For the full story, please see the Friday, May 8, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Behind perhaps the best Division III hurdler at the state championships will be the best girls track and field athletes in Yavapai County in 12 other events.

Xan Hawes clears the bar during pole vault practice at Sedona Red Rock High School. The freshman qualified in the event for the Division III state championships, which begin Friday, May 8, at Mesa Community College.

Senior Andre Davis set a personal and Sedona Red Rock High School record in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing in under 15 seconds to not only win the Yavapai County Championships but lead the entire Division III field going into the state championships Friday, May 8.

The bigger story of the Prescott Valley meet, though, was the dominance of the SRRHS girls, who took the gold medal in 12 different events: The 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters; the 100- and 300-meter hurdles; the discus and shot put; long and triple jump; pole vault and 4x800 relay, beating host Bradshaw Mountain High School by 96 points.

“Together, we scored almost 80 points, between the two of us,” said sprinter Tia Myers, who, along with fellow senior and honors student Natalie Cox, won four events. “It was a workout. I had four events in half-an-hour.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 6, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

State scores are strange when teams are strangers.

Sophomore Randy Rodriguez throws a pitch in a home loss to Scottsdale Christian Academy. Rodriguez is the sole returning starting pitcher for next year’s Sedona Red Rock High School baseball team after the Scorpions lost Saturday, May 2, in the first round of the Division III state tournament to Walden Grove High School, of Sahuarita.
Head coach Craig Eagle’s Sedona Red Rock High School baseball team made that unpleasant discovery Saturday, May 2, in the first round of the Division III state tournament.

Although the No. 15 Scorpions were three seeds higher than Walden Grove, the Sahuarita-based high school, out of Tucson, run-ruled SRRHS in five innings, 12-0.

“We just didn’t come out confident,” Eagle said. “They just kind of jumped out to a big lead, which hurt our morale.”

Although the official box score listed the Scorpions with one hit and one error, they made more errors than that, Eagle said, and early.

“We missed a fly ball, a couple of ground balls [and] a couple of throwing errors,” Eagle said. “We had too many errors the first and second innings.”

In their first postseason appearance of Eagle’s tenure — the second for the Scorpions in the past five seasons — the first three innings were disturbingly similar to their last first round game, an 11-2 first-round loss to Estrella Foothills High School in 2011.

In both games, SRRHS pitching did not settle down to record a scoreless inning until the fourth, allowing run totals of five, two and one in the first three frames.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 6, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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