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Local work crews will begin work in November on more than four miles of new trails around Upper Red Rock Crossing and between Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, according to a decision memo released by the Red Rock Ranger District.

Jim Subic hikes on a stretch of trail in the wilderness between Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek that has been adopted by the U.S. Forest Service in conjunction with the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition.
“Some of these trails, new to the system, are on existing, user-created trails,” Burns said. “But they’re not necessarily sustainable, so they require substantial re-routes.”

Funding from the Red Rock Trail Fund, the city of Sedona, a state grant and the federal government all will kick in to start the development of four new U.S. Forest Service trails, including a designated half-mile connector that will complete a loop around Bell Rock.

“Lots of people think there’s already a trail around Bell Rock,” Burns said. “But there isn’t.”

There is just the Bell Rock Pathway and somewhat of a trail on the rock itself, but with no loop through an area known as the Wilderness, 12 user-created, unsustainable social trails have cropped up.

“So it’s really going to be a good thing to consolidate them into one sustainable alignment,” she said. “A lot of the trails decisions around Sedona are connectors. That’s really the emphasis of this decision. That’s what we heard in a whole year of Sedona trails planning."

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 9, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Red Rock Youth Football finished its first home schedule since 2013 on Saturday, Oct. 3, better on paper and on the field since its reboot.

The Sedona Scorpions defense allowed its second-fewest number of points this fall in a 34-13 loss to Wickenburg at Sedona Red Rock High School.

“We won the second half of that game,” said Tod Christensen, head coach of the Sedona Scorpions. “All in all, I was very pleased.”

Sedona allowed the least points this fall Sept. 25 at Cottonwood. But the Scorpions [0-5], in Christensen’s words, “played like crap” to give the Wildcats their first win.

The rematch with Wickenburg was an 11-point swing from the first meeting between the two teams in the Scorpions’ debut Sept. 5.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Home court and hitting variety was just enough Tuesday, Oct. 6, for Sedona Red Rock High School to advance to 2-0 and stay tied for the early lead in Division III, Section VII.

Sedona Red Rock High School's 3-2 home victory Tuesday, Oct. 6, over Northland Preparatory Academy went to tiebreaker in part due to 11 errors in the service return game, including one by junior Madi Ninneman, No. 14. But Ninneman and sophomore Liza Westervelt, No. 5, combined for five digs from the back row, stepping up to help sophomore Julia Koss along the back row for head coach John Parks as Koss recovers from a shoulder injury.
“We kept mixing it up,” head coach John Parks said after the Scorpions won a tiebreaker by six points to even their record through four matches with Northland Preparatory Academy. “The girls are getting much better at talking about places to attack the other team.

“We’ve been trying to do it all four times we’ve played them this year. When we do it, we beat them; when we get away from it, we beat ourselves.”

Settling down the Scorpions in the fourth and fifth games to win them, 25-19 and 15-9, was senior Annie Parrella, whose sets from the middle to junior Shelby Brackin and sophomore Taylor White were “unstoppable,” Parks said.

“She shows that in practices,” Parks said. “Once she started doing that, it kind of simplified things for everybody else. Annie did a great job of getting the ball to the hitters.”

White and juniors Xan Hawes and Sophia Perry took care of the outside hitting, combining for 30 of the team’s 38 kills, all assisted by Parrella. Most of the other kills came from Brackin, just back from a jammed thumb, “otherwise we would’ve been in real trouble” after losing the first game, 25-10, Parks said.

“We kept hitting at them, but I didn’t like the way we were playing,” he recalled. “Game two, we tipped the ball a lot, then they started cheating up — then it opens up our hits.

“When we forget that, sometimes we struggle to find different ways of scoring. The first couple games, we had enough blocks to affect their hitting, but our mechanics were not together.”

Neither was the SRRHS service game, which lost 12-9 and 22-21 leads splitting the second and third games, 27-25 and 22-25.

For the full story, standings and more photos, please see the Friday, Oct. 9, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

John Bradshaw held his breath after seeing senior running back Justice Keane go down Friday, Oct. 2, during the second half of a 48-0 shutout of Greyhills Academy.

“He was running between tackles to run off some clock and their big 350-pounder came down with all his weight on [Keane’s] left ankle,” said Bradshaw, the Sedona Red Rock High School head football coach. “Luckily, it was pretty well taped-up. It was more shock than anything else.”

The Sedona Red Rock High School head football coach had already had enough of a scare with 1:56 to play in the first quarter from Bailey Ehrlich.

The senior wide receiver, who leads Division V, Section VII in receiving yardage and had already caught more than 100 more yards from junior quarterback Dawson Barber to that point, hobbled off the field with left ankle tenderness before returning after the Scorpions had already closed out the Fighting Knights in the second quarter, 28-0.

“We’ve got to do a better job staying healthy when we’re up that much and throwing the subs in,” Bradshaw said. “We can’t take any team for granted. We dodged a bullet with Justice.”

Bradshaw held out Keane, who gashed Greyhills for 123 rushing yards, and Ehrlich for the rest of the game. He hopes he can do the same for his top two skill players Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. against Piñon at SRRHS.

If the Scorpions come out as fast and as furious against the run-first offense of the Eagles as they did against the Fighting Knights, avoiding overconfidence may be Bradshaw’s greatest challenge.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Sedona readers know that developing, maintaining and protecting their local biking, hiking and horse trails is important. But to Camp Verde and Cottonwood readers, U.S. Forest Service projects are coming soon to their local recreational trails as well.

George WernerAdjacent to Cornville Road, for instance, horse trailer accommodations are planned for the development of a trailhead at a location known as the Yavapai County Asphalt Mixing Table.

Further east, just outside of Rimrock and south of Montezuma Well, six miles of trail loops are in the works. These Sunset Trails, as they are called in a decision notice authorized by Red Rock District Ranger Nicole Branton, “serve the local residents who identified the importance of this project” and could be in place as early as next year.

The Camp Verde area has the Beaver Creek Trails Coalition. Cottonwood has its Skyliners. The Friends of the Forest and Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition assist the Ambassadors in Sedona. Get involved, then stay involved by following @sedonanews on Twitter.

For the full column, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

After Sedona Red Rock High School split eight matches Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and 26, in its final volleyball tournament of the regular season, sectional play in one of Arizona’s most competitive volleyball divisions awaits head coach John Parks’ Scorpions.

Junior Xan Hawes finesses a tip for Sedona Red Rock High School over the net in a home win over Wickenburg High School. Hawes’ outside hitting will be needed consistently in order for the Scorpions to win the title of one of the toughest high school volleyball sections in the state in Division III, Section VII.
“You have the best of what was Division IV and III last year, and then you have some Division II teams that were OK that are now able to compete at the Division III level, all in the same group,” Parks said. “We seem to play at the level of our competition.”

Which is fortunate for Parks in that after opening sectional play Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Mingus Union High School, the Scorpions get a week off before they play their next sectional match at home.

Unfortunately, that match Tuesday, Oct. 6, is against Northland Preparatory Academy, which is 2-1 against SRRHS already through 11 early roller-coaster games.

The Scorpions [5-3] could use the time off, as sophomore defensive specialist Julia Koss continues to be limited by a shoulder injury and junior Shelby Brackin is sidelined this week with a jammed thumb.

“She tweaked it pretty good,” Parks said. “We’re hoping she’s back next week. She just needs to let it rest.”

Adding inconvenience to injury is a two-week equestrian tour of France senior co-captain Kendall Woellmer scheduled at the beginning of the year, which she won’t be back from until the Tuesday, Oct. 20, home match against Northwest Christian School.

“If I have Julia and Shelby back, then we’re OK,” Parks said. “I need at least one of them back — I can’t have three out.”

After the Mingus opener, Woellmer, for sure, will miss Northland Prep and “tough” sectional road tests at Bradshaw Mountain and North Canyon high schools, Parks said.

Freshman libero Liza Westervelt, sophomore Madi Ninneman and junior Xan Hawes have stepped up in the back row for Koss, whose shoulder may not be back at 100 percent for the rest of the season, Parks said.

For the full story and tournament results, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Wyatt Stevenson is making his final season running cross-country at Sedona Red Rock High School count.

Senior Wyatt Stevenson is making the most of his final year of running at Sedona Red Rock High School. The six-foot, two-inch boys cross-country runner won his first two 5Ks and has finished third in his last two, averaging less than five-and-a-half minutes per mile run.
The six-foot, two-inch, 142-pound senior overcame a slow start Sept. 9 at the Payson Invitational to his season to win his next two meets, pushing past an average of less than five-and-a-half minutes per mile.

“The Payson meet, I got fifth,” Stevenson said. “Very slow — 18:40. That was more of just a fun meet: I really wasn’t wanting to hurt myself on the first day.”

But he quickly picked up his pace in the first two 5Ks of the season Sept. 12 and 19.

At the Fountain Hills Invitational on Sept. 12, Stevenson beat 125 other runners in the junior and senior open division with a time of 17:25.70. The next Saturday, in Anthem, he then improved on that time by nearly three-and-a-half seconds to top a field of 97 runners.

Those times are a leap ahead of a junior year in which Stevenson struggled to break the 18-minute mark, especially considering Stevenson has been running with a recurring pain in his chest since at least Oct. 24, when it prevented him from finishing at the Holbrook Invitational.

“It’s bothered me, actually, every race,” he said. “Last year, I was scared. I didn’t know what it was.”

The best that doctors have been able to diagnose, Stevenson said, is that his heart is higher in his chest than most others, affecting blood flow.

“They don’t know what it is — they can’t figure it out,” he said. “I’m looking past it. It’s part of me. It hurts, but it’s just kind of like getting a side stitch now.”

Junior Luke Doerner finished with his best time in nearly two years 45 seconds later to place fourth and help the boys team edge host Boulder Creek High School by a point in the junior varsity division of the Adobe Invitational.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 2, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The Sedona Red Rock High School swim teams warmed up for their first State qualifying opportunity by beating Gilbert Christian High School but falling to a larger Knights team from Arizona College Preparatory Academy at the Sedona Community Pool on Sept. 22.

Junior Austin Cottle dives off the blocks for Sedona Red Rock High School during a Sept. 22 home meet against Gilbert Christian High School and Arizona College Preparatory Academy. Cottle was runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle in the loss to the Knights but helped lead the boys 200-yard freestyle relay team to victory as part of the Scorpions’ 60-point win over Gilbert Christian High School.
The girls edged GCHS by eight points but fell to Arizona College Prep, 66-28. The boys allowed just 11 points from Gilbert Christian in winning by 52 but fell, 69-24, to the Chandler-based school.

The Scorpions will travel Saturday, Oct. 3, to Phoenix for the Brophy Invitational — their first of three attempts, in three weeks, to qualify for the Division II state swimming championships.

“We’ve always done well with pressure, [and] the proximity of meets is just a fact of high school swimming,” said A. Jay Bronson, SRRHS head swimming coach. “I’m incredibly excited to see how we do this weekend.”

Although sophomore Sarah Reed could qualify this weekend if she continues her two-second improvement in the 200-yard individual medley, junior Mary Brown was the only individual Scorpions winner Sept. 22, swimming the 100-yard backstroke in 1:15 to take first place.

“They have a great chance to make it,” Bronson said. “Between veterans Mary and Sarah, they will go far.”

In the event prior to hers, juniors Austin Cottle, Skyler Lee-Eason and Dawson Stevenson teamed up with sophomore Sasha Conway on the 200-yard freestyle relay team to take first place in that event.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 2, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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