The Verde Valley’s favorite volleyball team is back for more this fall as the Sedona Red Rock High girls look to continue their quest for a 3A state championship, something they missed out on last year.

Ranked No. 4 going into the 2008 3A state volleyball championships last November, the Scorpions were handed a tough draw and lost in the first round to Holbrook High, 3-1.

A 3-1 defeat might sound like a lot to the normal volleyball fan but a line score of 25-21, 25-27, 23-25 and 16-25 is as close as it gets, folks.

SRRHS-volleyball-8-14The loss signaled the end of one of the best seasons in Sedona volleyball history as the Scorpions finished 16-4 overall including a perfect 12-0 mark in the 3A-West, earning themselves a regular season region title.

With last year’s successes now in the past, Sedona Head Coach John Parks and his volleyball team look to the immediate future. With two weeks of practice already under their belts, it’s looking like these Scorpions are primed to make another run at a state title.

“I’m mostly concerned about team chemistry at this point. We have the talent to win. It’s a matter of how we gel together in the coming months,” Parks said.

Sedona will look to replace the irreplaceable as 2008 3A-West MVP and senior Hayley McCord graduated along with teammate Tori Talkington.

The pair, especially McCord, Parks said, is one of the best, if not the best, leaders he’s ever had in the Scorpion volleyball program.

Talkington and McCord were “team first” players Parks said, and replacing them this season will be tough.

The talent is certainly there as the Scorpions return eight players from last year’s team, three of whom are seniors.

Those seniors include setter Logan Reilly and middle blockers Shelby Brekke and Katie Adams.

Reilly and Brekke were first team All-Region performers last season and Adams received an honorable mention award.

Other top returners include four juniors in outside hitters Chelsea Strong and Rachel Cook, defensive specialist Sarah Schlener and setter Ashtian Swartz.

Strong was nominated by league coaches as a second team All-Region performer.

Sophomore opposite hitter Katie Furlong is the youngest of the eight returning players for Sedona. She made headlines during a freshman campaign last season with her surprising play under pressure.

Five senior newcomers also made the Scorpion volleyball team this season in opposite hitter Jesse Powers, setter Kayla Parks, outside hitters Stephanie McIlroy and Lakeeda Wilson along with Jacqueline Strong.

The other newcomer is sophomore opposite Eilis Bracken, a junior varsity player from last season.

When asked how he plans to balance playing time when there are only six spots on the floor and 14 players on the roster, Parks had this to say:

“It’s my job to find what works. I will play the players that give us the best chance to win. There shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve had my discussions with the coaching staff and the players. They all know where they stand.”

Parks went on to say his team strength this year will be the blocking part of volleyball, adding this is the most size he’s had in a long time.

Of course one looks to the schedule for the 2009 season and if there was one game to point out it would be the Mingus Union High matchup Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The cross-valley rivals will meet up right here in Sedona with Mingus holding the upper hand after beating the Scorpions last season.

Before the Scorpions play Mingus they will look to fine-tune their game in the first matchup of the season against Orme High on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Official starting time is scheduled for 5 p.m.


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 asked how he felt about hitting a two-run, walk off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the Sedona Summer Softball League title for his A Day in the West team Thursday, Aug. 6, catcher Eric Mikulewicz smiled brightly.

“It was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Mikulewicz said laughing, obviously poking fun at most athletes and their normal response to a sports reporter’s questions.

“No,” Mikulewicz laughed again. “It was pretty cool. Before I came up I told myself I was going to hit a home run. It’s awesome to play a championship game that was so close.”

With A Day in the West claiming a 14-13 victory and the title, Mikulewicz is easily the MVP of the Sedona Summer Softball League championship game with a 3-4 night including two home runs and five RBIs.

softball-championship-8-12A Day in the West found themselves trailing 13-10 in the bottom of the sixth inning after PJ’s Village Pub put up four runs in their half of the sixth to take the lead.

Center fielder Pedro Ortega Jr. singled to start the rally, while starting pitcher Angel Betancourt followed behind him with another single to put runners on first and second with two outs.

Jeff Bragg stepped to the plate next and earned a walk off PJ’s Village Pub pitcher Ryan Terryn to load the bases, still with two outs.

Shortstop and A Day in the West team captain Pedro Ortega Sr. found himself in a good count and singled to right field to drive in his son and Betancourt to make it 13-12, PJ’s Village Pub.

During the play, Bragg unfortunately ran too far past third base and was tagged out on a force play for the third out, ending the inning with A Day in the West down one.

“It was a good pitch to hit and I swung hard. This was a great game to play. Everyone played well on both sides,” Ortega Sr. said.

Betancourt returned to the mound for A Day in the West and promptly shut down PJ’s Village Pub in the top of the seventh inning, throwing up a zero on the board and giving his team a chance to win it during last ups.

In the bottom of the seventh, mainstay first baseman Will Alldredge earned a walk which brought Mikulewicz to the plate so he could play the hero card.

Ortega Sr. thought PJ’s Village Pub wasn’t going to give Mikulewicz anything to hit after he slammed a home run in the bottom of the third inning as part of a six-run rally for A Day in the West.

“Yeah, I was sure they were just going to pitch around him,” Ortega Sr. said.

On a 3-1 count, Mikulewicz got a fat pitch over the middle of the plate and swung hard, making the ball disappear into the Sedona summer night sky.

A Day in the West players immediately ran out from the dugout and began to jump up and down like little kids while members of PJ’s Village Pub walked off in disgust.

“You have to give credit to PJ’s Village Pub. They played great this year. They got better every week; you could see it in their play,” Ortega Sr. said.

On the night, Ortega Sr. was 3-4 with two RBIs, while Betancourt was 2-4 with two RBIs and Alldredge was 2-4 with two runs scored.

Betancourt is also credited with the victory on the mound going seven innings and allowing 13 runs to score.

A Day in the West got to the championship game by beating The Other Team, 13-3, just an hour before, setting up a great Sedona Summer Softball League game for everyone to see.

A Day in the West won the spring title last season and now this year, they took home the trophy for the summer season, making them one of the more successful softball teams in Sedona during recreation league play.


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.


Fifty years ago when players would get hurt, coaches would yell and scream “rub some dirt on it and get out there,” challenging their young men and women to get over their personal pain for the team’s overall well-being.

Bumps and bruises, ankle sprains, knee pain, shoulder stress and body fatigue was just another day at the office and usually how athletes experienced their daily lives.

With nowhere to turn, athletes would return to the field of play despite their pain and unknowingly risk further injury.

Careers would come to an end much earlier then anticipated. Frightful, agonizing pain filled the athletes’ life after sports as they thought to themselves, “maybe I should have been more careful.”

SRRHS-sports-medicine-8-7As we get closer to the year 2010, the world of athletics has certainly changed. This isn’t to say athletes don’t live through pain now, because they certainly do. Better training regimens, diet and coaching has turned today’s athlete into a monster, a freak of nature one might say.

Of course a big part of all this change is today’s athletic trainer, or sports medicine doctor.

A doctor you say?

Yes. A doctor that specifically treats athletes on and off the field in an effort to keep them healthy so they can participate in what they love, sports.

Randy Boardman, a 49-year-old Cottonwood resident, is an athletic trainer working out of the Verde Valley Medical Center who works with student-athletes at Sedona Red Rock High and Mingus Union High.

Seen walking the sidelines at many sports between the two high schools including football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball, Boardman has become well-known in the Verde Valley.

“My parents moved to Flagstaff almost 30 years ago and I attended Northern Arizona University and was interested in the engineering program,” Boardman said.

“After two years, sports medicine caught my interest and I never looked back.”

Starting in 1984 at VVMC, Boardman began working with the athletes at Mingus and in the last two years has begun his work with Sedona athletes as well.

Boardman believes sports medicine is not only a way to help injured athletes but to help prevent injuries as well, something he takes pride in.

“Whether it’s giving strength and conditioning programs to coaches or helping the athletes prevent serious injury by walking them through the right way to do things, I think it’s my job to make sure we take care of those in need,” Boardman said.

Recently, Boardman shared with Sedona cross country Head Coach Harry Schneider a program to keep his athletes hydrated so they don’t lose focus on the course. He also gave tips to Head Coach Bob Murphy for Sedona boys basketball on ankle programs to help keep them strong for the season.

Boardman explained that pain is a part of an athlete’s life and so are injuries, but being smart about those injuries can make a difference in a young athlete’s life.

“Right now athletes at Sedona and at Mingus are just kids. They are just learning what their bodies can do physically and mentally and part of my job is to show them the proper way to do things so injuries can stay at a minimum and they can maximize their potential,” Boardman said.

Boardman, a father of three and husband of 29 years to Joni, spends anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week working with high school athletes here in the Verde Valley after his full-time job at VVMC is complete.

An athlete himself in high school, Boardman enjoys watching and playing sports and knows how physically demanding they can be on a young person’s body.

As for the athletic trainer in him, Boardman is glad to be a part of the lives of many young athletes here in the Verde Valley.

“I see how much time coaches give to their athletes here and I want to do the same things. Help them help themselves is the way I see it,” Boardman said.

For now, Sedona doesn’t have the athletic training program that Mingus does where juniors and seniors at the high school actually get to shadow real life trainers and work in the field, but Boardman hopes one day it will happen.

“Sedona has worked well with me and I thank John Parks and Dr. Don Adams for all they’ve done to help move the program along. These kids deserve it,” Boardman said.

Adams has been involved with Sedona since the beginning in 1994, and the two have worked together numerous times to make sure these athletes stay healthy.

“In the end I just want to help and be there for the kids to improve their lives physically and mentally, and I think we’ve done that,” Boardman 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.


Intended to be a swimming event, the Verde Valley Invitational turned into a marathon Saturday, Aug. 1, as fans were treated to nearly eight hours of pool time under the glaring sun.

“It was very hot and the meet took much longer than we thought, but the kids stayed hydrated and they gave it their best in the pool,” Sedona Swordfish Head Coach Brandon Hancock said.

Despite the intense 104-degree heat Saturday, over 300 swimmers gathered at the Cottonwood Community Pool in an effort to claim victory for their respective swim teams.

swimming-8-5-09The Swordfish missed out on gold Saturday, scoring 1,713 points to take second place, far behind this year’s Verde Valley Invitational champion Cottonwood Clippers who tallied 3,264 points.

The Kingman Dolphins took third place with 1,372 points, while the Camp Verde Crocodiles were fourth with 1,011 points.

In fifth came the Barracudas from Prescott Valley who scored 598.5 points, while the Payson Pikes were sixth with 509 and the Prescott Pirates were seventh with 123 points.

“Overall I would say this meet went quite well. We had some issues with the computer but that was fixed by our wonderful volunteers. I just want to thank all that participated in this year’s event, especially our volunteers,” Verde Valley Invitational meet manager Rick Heisley said.

For Sedona, the Swordfish dominated the relay events winning six of the 10 under the blazing Cottonwood sun Saturday.

In the mixed 200-yard medley relay [ages 13-14] Sedona took first overall with a 2:10.70 time swam by Katie Millar, Emma Geurts, Jacob Decker and Laura Clark.

The mixed 200-yard medley relay [ages 15-18] result was no different for the Swordfish as they took first with a 1:48.28 time. Evan Decker, Seth Syvertsen, Tyler Gavigan and Michael Wiseman were responsible for the victory.

Mary Brown, Molly Wiseman, Sydney Robinson and Jessica Wiseman teamed up to take first in the mixed 100-yard freestyle relay [ages 9-10] with a 1:08.12 time, beating out their rival in the Clippers by more than three seconds.

Christopher Gibson, Benny Guadarrama, Sierra Robinson and Tristan Decker took first in the mixed 200-yard freestyle relay [ages 11-12] with a 2:11 time while Clark, Millar, Geurts and Jacob Decker were first in the mixed 200-yard freestyle relay [ages 13-14] at 2:00.92.

Lastly, Sedona took first in the 200-yard freestyle relay [ages 15-18] with a 1:38.29 time as Syvertsen, Evan Decker, Michael Wiseman and Gavigan beat out the Clippers by two seconds.

“Our relay teams were strong Saturday. Everyone did their part,” Hancock said.

Other top finishes include Sierra Robinson who won the 200-yard individual medley [ages 11-12] with a 3:07.29 time. Robinson also claimed first in the 50-yard freestyle event [ages 11-12] with a 31.74 time.

Kendall Peterson won the 25-yard freestyle event [ages 8 & under] with a 18.59 time while also finishing first in the 50-yard freestyle event [ages 8 & under] with a 41.63 time.

Of course the Decker boys were at it again Saturday, taking home top finishes in numerous events.

Jacob Decker finished first in the 200-yard individual medley [ages 13-14] with a 2:16.21 time. He finished first in the 50-yard butterfly event [ages 13-14] as well with a 25.88 time.

Evan Decker claimed first place in the 200-yard individual medley [ages 15-18] with a 2:12.73 time and was first in the 50-yard backstroke [ages 15-18] with a 28.11 time.

As for Tristan Decker, he finished first in the 50-yard freestyle [ages 11-12] with a 29.06 time and first in the 50-yard butterfly event [ages 11-12] with a 32-flat time.

We certainly don’t want to forget Laura Clark who took home two gold medals in the 50-yard backstroke [ages 13-14] with a 33.79 time and the 50-yard butterfly [ages 13-14] with a 32.24 time.

Overall, the Swordfish took home gold in 21 different events, one of the top marks out of the seven teams in attendance at the Verde Valley Invitational on Saturday.

“We couldn’t be happier with our performance. We finished in second but had about half the kids some of the other teams did, especially Cottonwood, so we’ll take it,” Hancock said.

The Verde Valley Invitational was the last swim meet for the Swordfish this summer.

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 2009 version of the Sedona Mile was a rousing success Saturday, July 25, with all 41 Sedona Swordfish team members completing the daunting task in front of a surprisingly packed Sedona Community Pool crowd.

“All the kids were excited. Plenty of kids came up to me later with an excited look on their face and a sense of accomplishment,” Swordfish Head Coach Brandon Hancock said.

In an effort to raise money for the Swordfish, swimmers jumped in the pool and set their sights on swimming for an entire mile. Reportedly, over $2,000 has been raised.

mile-swim-sports-7-31-5With 33 laps, or 66 lengths and exactly 1,650 yards to cover, Sedona swimmers gave it their all in the water Saturday, pushing themselves to the limit.

Many swimmers had no problem with the mile length while others might have given up if it weren’t for teammates, coaches and their fans cheering them on.

“This is a hard event to complete but we’re there for all of them every step of the way,” Swordfish assistant coach Erin Estes said.

The heat of the day didn’t affect those in the water as a little sunscreen took care of all the worried mothers out there.

Each of the five age levels were split into gender as well with a few swimmers having excellent times Saturday.

Standouts at the event included 17-year-old Tyler Gaviigan who finished first in his age level with a 19:10 time.

Sixteen-year-old Sedona Swordfish standout Evan Decker was right behind him in second place with a 19:20 time.

In the girls 1,650-yard freestyle swim [ages 15-18], Samantha Syvertsen finished first overall with a 24:10 time.

In the 13-14 age level, 13-year-old Laura Clark finished her mile in 23:20.74 for the girls and 14-year-old Jacob Decker was first for the boys at 20:57.51.

“All of these kids did well; I was glad to see some of them finish so fast,” Hancock said.

As for the 11-12 age level, 11-year-old Sierra Robinson finished as top swimmer with a 27:07 time for the girls while 12-year-old teammate Tristan Decker finished first with a 23:23.48 time.

Other standouts for the 11-12 age level mile swim included 11-year-old Valerie Luyckx who was second with her 36-flat time, and 12-year-old Christopher Gibson finished second as well with a 28:19 time.

Only 9-year-old Mary Brown finished in the 9-10 age level for girls with a 42:22 time while Jessica Wiseman swam a 52:11 but did not place.

In the 8 & Under event, 8-year-old Jake Brown was the only boy to compete at this age level and finished with a 54:18 time.

As for the girls in the same age level, Jenna Rodarte completed her task in 54:05 for first place while 7-year-old Ellie Seip was second with a 1:04.33.

“For those that get near one hour to complete the mile swim, you have to remember that is a very long time to be in the pool. So those kids did a great job,” Estes said.

With the Sedona Mile out of the way, Swordfish can now look forward to the biggest meet of the season at the Verde Valley Invitational in Cottonwood on Saturday, Aug. 1.

Teams from Prescott, Kingman, Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Payson will compete in one of the biggest youth swim meets in Northern Arizona.

“I’m sure all the kids are looking forward to competing. We’ll be there to give it our best,” Hancock 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.


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.