The 25th annual Mountain Man Triathlon in Flagstaff on Sunday, July 19, is always a fun event for fans, and apparently, it can be very exciting participating in it as well.

With the sun barely peeking its orange and yellow face over one of the distant mountains, hundreds of contestants lined up near the boat ramp which leads straight into Lake Mary.

Although it is the middle of July, it’s still Flagstaff, and the cool 64-degree temperature at 7:10 a.m. makes for chilly water, thus calling for all participants to slip on a wet suit.

triathalon-7-24Sprint event participants entered the water last with Sedona residents Cheri Raimonde and Samantha Juda ready to go along with Kelly Busche in the mix.

Juda and Busche are graduates of Sedona Red Rock High with Juda the most recent this past May and Busche in 2002.

Busche is currently a teacher for Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff while Juda is looking to attend classes in the fall at Santa Clara University in California.

The three were spectacular Sunday with Busche the top Sedona finisher at 1:17.51, good enough for 24th overall and only 13 minutes behind the winner.

Busche took only 10:14 to finish the water portion of the race as she sprinted to the next event and finished with a 35:57 time on the bike. In the third event, Busche managed to work her way to a 28:19 time in the run.

“Eh,” Busche shrugged her shoulders almost immediately after finishing the race.

“I think I did OK. My transition times could have been better, and I’m not in the greatest shape, but I was glad I did it.”

Raimonde was next with a 67th place finish overall recording a 1:25.42 time.

Her 15:46 time in the water was still one of the fastest times in the field while completing the bike portion in 35:58, then finishing strong with a 30:09 in the run.

“It was so great to be out there competing against everyone. This is a great course and a friendly environment,” Raimonde said just a few seconds after crossing the finish line while trying to catch her breath.

With Raimonde finishing where she did out of 267 participants in Sunday’s race, Juda did quite well herself, finishing 175th overall with a 1:41.03 time.

“I’m glad I got to go. I probably would have done better if I trained harder, but I wasn’t in it to finish at the top. I did it because I wanted to have fun and see what it was like,” Juda said.

Juda took only 14:13 to finish the swim but took 46:56 to finish the bike time trial, something she says wasn’t the best part of her day.

“I think the bike part was the hardest for me,” Juda said.

In the run, Juda was back to top form with a 36:34 time and crossed the finish line with a big smile on her face as she looked around for a few friends just beyond the wall.

The race winner was a man named Paul Brinkmann of Flagstaff who finished his sprint in 1:04.28.

Todd Witten of Phoenix was second overall with a 1:06.33 time while Dylan Barr of Tempe was third with a 1:07.11 time.

George Esahak-Gage from Phoenix was fourth with a 1:07.33 time, and Eric Yatko from Chandler wrapped up the top five with a 1:07.58 time.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Although student-athletes haven’t had a class for nine weeks now at Sedona Red Rock High, the Scorpion cheer team continues to work hard through the summer and their efforts have paid off.

On July 14, the Sedona cheer squad won the Universal Cheerleaders Association summer camp title, beating multiyear state champion Hamilton High in the process.

One of only three teams who went 0-2 in the District 10 All-Star Tournament [ages 11-12] in Williams last week, the Sedona All-Stars seemed to put up a fight more so than the others but in the end were eliminated.

“Both games were well played by us. I’m impressed with how hard the boys fought and they did a heck of a job,” Sedona Skipper Eric Mikulewicz said.

After losing to the Dewey-Humbolt All-Stars on July 6 by the final score of 4-2, Sedona All Stars knew what they were up against the next day having to win out to claim a District 10 title.

Starting pit-cher Scott Moker was brilliant against Dewey-Humbolt, pitch-ing 4-1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits while walking two and striking out nine.


“I thought Scotty [Moker] pitched great. We were in that game until the end and didn’t get the breaks we needed to win,” Mikulewicz said.

With the solid performance in game one of the tournament for Moker, he was unavailable on July 8 against the Bagdad All-Stars at Williams Little League Fields.

Wesley Mikulewicz would step up his game however and take the ball in game two of the tournament for Sedona.

Mikulewicz would turn in an admirable performance, pitching five innings while allowing six runs on seven hits while walking only two and striking out one Bagdad batter.

The turning point in this game came in the top of the sixth inning with Sedona down 6-4 and three outs to play with.

A few minutes later, Stefan Zielinski, who started the inning off with a single, scored on a wild pitch and left with the bases loaded and his team down, 6-5.

Unfortunately for Sedona, that’s exactly where the score would stay as Jesus Delgado, who stood on first base in a bases loaded situation, simply forgot to run to second base on a ground ball to the second baseman off the bat of Moker.

The Bagdad defender picked up the ground ball, tagged Delgado who stood there in front of him, then ran to the bag to force out Moker and end the game, and the tournament, for Sedona, 6-5.

The Bill Buckner moment with the base running instead of the glove may go down as the reason Sedona lost, but these All-Stars had plenty of chances to score more runs throughout the game and not be in this predicament to begin with.

Sedona tallied only one run in the top of the first inning when they could have gotten two or three more, then only managed three runs in the fourth inning when it could have been four or five.

Defensively Sedona played very well, committing only four errors between the two games, a stat that is usually high at this age level.

Nevertheless, Sedona had a few standouts at the plate against Bagdad Wednesday.

Zielinski led the charge for Sedona going 3-4 with two runs scored while Mikulewicz was 2-3 with a double, a walk and two RBIs.

Catcher Tucker Davis was solid as well, going 2-4 while Jasper Herrick was 1-3 with a run scored.

“I’m impressed with the tenacity and our willingness to fight to the end. Most teams you see at this age level just get down on themselves after trailing in the score but not these guys,” Mikulewicz said.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


When I heard about the Native Fish Camera Award the Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery in Page Springs received, there was no hesitation in deciding to grab the paper’s photojournalist, Michele Bradley Pacheco, jump in the car and take the 20-minute car ride to check it out.

Excited as we were, finding the Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery research center, which is different from the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, was a bit difficult, but we recovered quickly and took the long dirt road to the destination.

Finding Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery Manager David Ward was no problem at all once we got there. He was leaning over a pool of fish, changing their environment ever so slightly as to not disturb them.

fish-hatchery-7-10The Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery, which is run by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, was recently honored with an Earth Cam’s Top 10 Cam Award.

The underwater eye sits in a pool that simulates a running river and is carefully hidden and focused under a big rock where several native fish swim throughout the day.

“It’s tricky to get the set up just right. The native fish in this particular pool like to hide, so I make them a big hiding place under a rock, then place the camera exactly where they’ll be for most of the time,” Ward said while pulling the streaming camera out of the water for us.

The Native Fish Camera is routinely moved so at any time one might see Colorado pikeminnow that can reach up to 100 pounds, roundtail chub which are found in Fossil Creek, razorback sucker, bonytail chub and many other native fish species, most of which are endangered.

The Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery research center is home to thousands of native and rare fish, most of which are taken care of every day by Ward.

Native fish at the hatchery include Gila chub, humpback chub, roundtail chub, bonytail chub, razorback sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, Sonora sucker, desert sucker, spikedace, loach minnow, longfin dace, speckled dace and Gila topminnow.

Some of these native fish are what Ward calls “not in great shape” because of their small numbers, which is why the Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery exists.

“Our job here is conservation of endangered species. We set up several experiments in effort to help propagate the fish just enough so that we can eventually reintroduce them into their native waters,” Ward said.

There are several reasons these fish are beginning to disappear from Arizona’s rivers, one of which Ward says is forest fires. The ash from the fires soaks their natural habitat, killing off many fish within a matter of days.

Like an old “Reading Rainbow” television show, Ward walked us through some of the endangered species plots in the treatment control center, which replicates a stream.

Ward uses hormones to feed certain fish, such as the pikeminnow, causing them to reproduce and lay eggs. From there, Ward takes the eggs and places them in another tank completely out of harms way to help propagate the species.

In some of the stream tanks outside, Ward discussed the flooding process. The tanks simulate a flood causing the bottom of the tank to be stirred up and all gravel cleaned away. The fish are genetically programed to lay their eggs at this time and do so quite rapidly.

“We put probably 10 or 15 fish in a few of these tanks and now there are close to 10,000,” Ward said.

The entire process took two months ... talk about population control.

Of course, there are other species that have been introduced into Arizona’s natural habitat, which is another reason why some of the native fish are having problems.

Those species include flathead catfish, yellow bullhead, channel catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, green sunfish, red shiner, fathead minnow, mosquitofish, carp and, of course, crayfish.

Ward also discussed the Safe Harbor Agreement conservation project, which is propagating the fish to a certain point, then letting people take them home to their own private ponds to help grow them even more. From there, the fish are released into their natural habitat.

“Lots of people like to have fish around in their tanks, or ponds, so we open it up to them to take the fish home and help us repopulate the ones in need of assistance,” Ward said.

The Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery also has 13 large ponds to go along with the circular fiberglass tanks. The ponds are used for rearing the large fish native to the Colorado River.

Downstream from the Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery research center is the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, which, of course, is a tourist attraction and also grows rainbow trout for many excited anglers.

The Page Springs Fish Hatchery has a show pond that holds several rainbow trout, many over a foot in length and that look like they weigh close to 15 pounds.

A quarter machine nearby holds feed for the fish, giving trout watchers a closer look at the beautiful species.

Ward brought up a tale, which made both our photographer and I laugh, sharing with us that sometimes these rainbow trout from this show pond escape, making every angler in the area excited as can be to fish them out.

Of course, the otter population in the area has their fun, too, honing their skills at hunting as they feed off the trout.

“They are actually quite good at it. So much so that when we start to have a problem, we set traps and remove them from the area, then release them,” Ward said.

Further up the path, hundreds of thousands of trout swim in their man-made rivers under a big bunker that looks like it could hold an airplane. The Page Spring Fish Hatchery is the largest trout farm in Arizona.

Once the rainbow trout have grown to an acceptable size, the hatchery truck comes in and sucks out all the fish. It takes special equipment to ensure the trout arrive alive and healthy, a process the trout farm has down pat. Once the fish are loaded into the truck, they can be re-located anywhere in the state.

Back at the research center, Ward makes sure all fish are fed and even takes time to pull a Gila chub out of one of the tanks so we can take a few pictures and a closer look.

As I walked out the door to get back in the car, I realized this was my first trip to any type of fish hatchery, much less the one here in Page Springs, and with the day’s excitement, I hope it’s not the last.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


In their last home meet of the summer, the Sedona Swordfish hosted the annual Midsummer Madness Invitational on Saturday, June 27, playing host to the Bullhead City Barracudas, the Kingman Dolphins and their fans.

What seemed like a popular movie release at a theater had swim fans lined up around the building at the Sedona Community Pool to get a glimpse at their favorite swimmer Saturday.

In the men’s division, Sedona took third with 508 points, giving way to Kingman who took home the first-place trophy with 1,052 points while Bullhead City was second with 1,034 points.

swim-meet-7-1-(3)The women’s division was much kinder to the Swordfish as they finished in second place with 805 points but were bested by Bullhead City who took first with 1,092 points. Kingman was third with 578 points.

“I think the meet went well. When you don’t have as many swimmers as everyone else, it’s hard to win a meet, but the swimmers we did have were great Saturday,” newly appointed Sedona Swordfish Head Coach Brandon Hancock said.

As for medals, the Sedona boys claimed 12 gold medals, nine silver medals and six bronze medals while the girls claimed 10 gold medals, eight silver medals and five bronze medals.

With the girls finishing higher in the point standings, we’ll start with their top performances first.

In the ages 13-14 100-yard individual medley, Sierra Robinson finished first overall with a 1:29.54 time to score 20 points for her team.

Robinson was also first place in the ages 11-12 50-yard breaststroke event with a 44.44 time and took first in the ages 11-12 50-yard freestyle event with a 35.14 time.

In the ages 13-14 50-yard breaststroke event, Emma Geurts claimed the top prize with a 42.09 time.

Sam Syvertsen finished first overall in the ages 15 and over 100-yard individual medley with a 1:16.69 time.

In the ages 15 and over 100-yard backstroke event, Syvertsen also claimed first place with a 1:15.05 time.

Seven-year-old Natalie Montgomery took home a first-place prize as well for Sedona in the 8 and under 25-yard backstroke event with a 38.09 time.

As for the ages 8 and under 25-yard butterfly event, Kendall Peterson of the Swordfish took first place with a 27.06 time.

Peterson was also first in the ages 8 and under 25-yard freestyle event with a 22.31 time.

In the ages 13-14 50-yard butterfly event, Laura Clark was fantastic with a 34.28 time, earning 20 points for her team.

Lastly, in the ages 10 and over 500-yard freestyle event, Katie Millar took first with a 7:57.78 time, a marathon swim to say the least.

On the boys side of the pool, Tristan Decker won the ages 11-12 100-yard individual medley event with a 1:16.22 time.

Tristan also claimed first in the ages 11-12 50-yard backstroke event with a 33.38 time and was first in the ages 11-12 50-yard butterfly event with a 32.97 time.

Jacob Decker, one of Tristan’s two brothers who swim, claimed first in the ages 13-14 100-yard individual medley with a 1:05.59 time.

Jacob was also first in the ages 15 and over 50-yard butterfly event with a 27.00 time and was first in the ages 10 and over 500-yard freestyle event with a 5:50.45 time.

Seth Syvertsen claimed first in the ages 15 and over 100-yard backstroke event with a 1:02.00 time, claiming 20 points for his team.

Syvertsen was also first in the ages 15 and over 100-yard freestyle event with a 55.09 time.

Next up for the Swordfish will be the senior state competition which takes place Thursday, July 9, through Sunday, July 12. Ages 15 and over are invited.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


In their first exhibition swim meet of the season the Sedona Swordfish got off the blocks in style with several first-place finishes against the Cottonwood Clippers, giving themselves the victory even though no team point totals were calculated.

“It was the first time the whole team swam together. We had a bit more talent out there than Cottonwood but the competition was there,” newly appointed Sedona Head Coach Brandon Hancock said.

At the Sedona Community Pool on Saturday, June 13, the Swordfish dominated the water over Cottonwood, recording 17 first-place finishes on the day.

swim-meet-6-19There were, of course, a few swimmers on the Swordfish team who took multiple first-place finishes starting with 13-year-old Laura Clark who took the top prize in the 100-yard individual medley with a 1:17.63 time and was first in the 50-yard backstroke event with a 35.37 mark.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Gaviigan earned 40 points for his team after taking first place in the 100-yard individual medley with a 1:01.69 time and first in the 50-yard butterfly event with a 27-flat time.

Other multiple first-place finishers for Sedona included 18-year-old Erik Svensson who was first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:12.32 time and first in the 100-yard freestyle event with a 56.46 time.

Seventeen-year-old Saman-tha Syvertsen was also a multiple award winner with a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke event with a 1:16.18 time and a 1:03.81 time in the 100-yard freestyle event, good enough for first place.

The only Sedona swimmer to take home all three first-place medals in their events was 11-year-old Sierra Robinson.

Robinson, who set a personal best time in all three events, took first in the 50-yard breaststroke with a 44.48 time, was first in the 50-yard butterfly with a 45.69 time and took first in the 50-yard freestyle event with a 33.85 time.

Other first-place finishes included 14-year-old Alexander Mayer who recorded a 42.28 time in the 50-yard backstroke event and, of course, 16-year-old Christopher Millar who claimed first in the 100-yard backstroke event with a 1:05.72 time.

Eight-year-old Jake Brown turned in the first top finish of the day in the 25-yard butterfly with a 46.56 time.

Then came 9-year-old Mary Brown who took first place in the 50-yard backstroke event with a 51.64 time.

Eleven-year-old Benigno Guadarrama had an excellent time in the 50-yard butterfly event with a 49.06 time, taking first place, while 14-year-old teammate Olivia Luyckx finished first in the 50-yard freestyle with a 30.78 time.

Other standouts at the meet Saturday include 12-year-old Christopher Gibson who finished second in the 50-yard backstroke with a 41.22 time and second in the 50-yard freestyle event with a 33.68 time.

Seven-year-old Delaney Crawford took home second place in the 25-yard backstroke with a 27.81 time while 17-year-old teammate Jacob Leo was second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:24.00 time.

Other second-place finishes include Kathleen Millar who finished second in the 50-yard backstroke event with a 37.63 time and was second in the 50-yard freestyle with a 34.61 time, while teammate Kendall Peterson was second in the 25-yard freestyle event with a 21.22 time.

“This is a great group of kids we have here and a great swim program to back them up. I’m glad to be here in the Valley; I love it here and hopefully we can continue the success,” Hancock said.

Hancock took the place of previous Sedona Head Coach Erin Estes who will now be the assistant coach.

Next up for the Swordfish will be the Payson in the Pines meet Saturday, June 20.

This is a meet for first-year swimmers and should begin by 8 a.m. that morning.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The city of Sedona in conjunction with the National Football League is applying a slight face-lift to the Posse Grounds Park patch of grass beyond the lower softball diamond outfield fence and turning it into a special place for young athletes to grow.

Construction began on June 1 on the field marked for football and soccer during the

past few years for American Youth Soccer Organization

clubs and Red Rock Youth Football games, and is scheduled to be completed Friday, July 31.

“This field renovation is a wonderful opportunity for our young and promising athletes here in Sedona to have a home field of their own,” Administrative Services Director for the city of Sedona Andi Welsh said.

For the field project, the NFL donated $25,000 and the city is pouring in some of its own money as well, to the tune of $25,839.53.

The $50,000-plus endeavor will elongate and widen the existing field to allow more room for football and soccer games this coming fall.

New bleachers, player benches, an electronic scoreboard, football and soccer goalposts are also being added.

The construction workers are also replacing all damaged sod on the multiuse field near the end zone areas.

As part of the irrigation system renovation, the project calls for a state-of-the-art on-site weather station and irrigation system controller which will accurately calculate the precise amount of water needed on a daily basis to keep the field looking good.

This controller will be interfaced with all the athletic fields at Posse Grounds Park and also Sunset Park to maximize water use efficiency and conservation.

“I can’t wait to see it when it is done. I think our athletes will be excited to have a newly built field they can call home, and this will hopefully help take our program to the next level,” Red Rock Youth Football President Scott Gilbert said.

The city is also spending $187,242.36 to completely renovate the restroom and recreation room at Posse Grounds Park.

f-ball-field-6-12-Along with an operational drinking fountain, the renovation will include turning the old restrooms into storage for the recreation room and adding storage for key stakeholders and users of the park facilities.

The project will add windows to the recreation room providing additional ventilation and natural light while wall mirrors for recreational programming use will be installed in the recreation room as well.

Electrical access will be created for the new multiuse field scoreboard as well, making it easy for those who have to operate it to keep things running smoothly.

“Although the field may be closed to the public for two months to allow the new sod to take hold on the field before our heavy late summer usage, we are excited about the positive improvements we are making to the park and will hopefully enhance the users’ experience dramatically,” Welsh said.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A new craze has hit the streets of Sedona, or the pool that is, as underwater hockey is being offered by the Sedona Parks and Recreation Department at the Sedona Community Pool this summer.

Two teams of six, or three, depending on numbers in this newly offered sport, will take a dive deep underwater with hockey sticks nearly 1 foot long and a puck over 3 pounds in weight.

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