Spring sports teams build on last season

File Photo

File Photo

The Spring sports preseason schedule begins this week for the Mingus Union Marauders.

Before they hit the field, track or court this year, here's a reminder of how the teams did last year and see what has changed, what's expected and what each team is striving for this season.

Baseball

The young varsity baseball team had a dream ending to their season last year by defeating Notre Dame in the 4A II State Championships, 4-1. The Marauders grabbed the state title, a first in Mingus' history.

The Marauders (22-11, 7-3) were ranked No. 6 in the State Playoffs. The edged past Moon Valley, 5-4 (10 inn.) in the first round, downed Arcadia (9-0) in the second round, beat Catalina (4-2) in the semifinals and beat Notre Dame in the final game.

At the helm was coach Greg Beauchman. Spending only two years with the team before leaving again, he definitely made an impression with two successful seasons. This year coach Bob Young is back as head coach and ready to go.

Last year's State Championship team was young and lost only three seniors, Justin Schultz, Tim Kessel and Garrett MacDonald. With that goes some heavy bats and solid fielding.

Still the majority of the team is back, this year the roster has five seniors. Can the Marauders repeat their amazing year with another State Trophy?

The Marauders have already begun their preseason schedule with the McClintock Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Mingus hosts Agua Fria on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. for their home opener. Then they will be on the road on Thursday to face the Prescott Badgers at 4 p.m.

Softball

Last year looked like it might be the year for the girls varsity softball team to bring home the 4A II State Championship trophy. But for Mingus, those dreams were cut short with a 4-1 loss to the Arcadia Titans in the semifinals of the State Tournament.

The was a hard loss after a tough schedule through the State Tournament. The No. 4 Marauders downed No. 13 Buckeye, 7-1 in the first round and No. 12 Douglas, 10-1 in the quarterfinals before facing the Titans in a very close and exciting game for both teams.

The Marauders had a great year last year, going 21-11 and 8-2 and they were young, with only one senior, Lauren Stokes, on the team. This year, the Marauders return and with the memory of the hard loss in the semis, this year may be the year for the softball team.

Returning to the team this year is pitcher Christina Hagberg. Hagberg has most of the pitching duties throughout the year and fanned 12 batters during the game against Arcadia. The Titans' have knocked the Marauders out of the State Playoffs for two years in a row.

Will the Marauders finally get the best of Arcadia and defeat everyone in their path to the State trophy?

Hagberg, along with a handful of others are just now hitting the field, due to the success of the girls basketball season. They will have to quickly shift gears and get used to a new sport and a new season ... but that's what preseason is all about.

The Marauders begin their preseason on the road against Agua Fria at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Then they head to the Sun Blast Invite on Mar. 5-7.

Boys tennis

Last year's boys tennis team had the most successful seasons in the school's history. The boys placed in all three categories at the State Championships. They placed second in singles, third in doubles and tied for third in the team competition. It was a first for the program to place in singles.

Alex Lineberry earned the honors of a medal at State after battling hard against Arcadia's No. 1 senior. Lineberry, who was a sophomore last year, was anticipated by coach Jeff Knight, to be the player to beat this year.

In doubles, Brian Thieme and Thanat Khamlua, 2008's GCR Doubles Champions faced eventual State Champions in Notre Dame and fell short. They regrouped and beat Sahuarita for third place. In the team competition, the Marauders needed only one win after Thieme and Khamlua had won their matches, but came up short.

There will be new faces on this year's varsity team with the departure of seniors, Brian Thieme, Thanat Khamlua and Layton Dickerson. Will the Marauders be able to pick up where they left off after losing some strong players? They did it last year, so hopes are high for another successful season this year.

The Marauders host Greenway on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. before hitting the road for four consecutive matches.

Girls tennis

The Mingus girls doubles team of Joey Morrison and Amanda Wilbur made the Marauders proud last season when they made it to the State playoffs. In the first round Morrison/Wilbur defeated No. 5 Clarissa Jimenez and Jennifer Wardlaw off Sahuarita, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

That win set up a second round match-up against No. 4 Laura Emery and Caitlyn Lonas of Bradshaw Mountain. The Marauders lost that match, 6-0, 6-1 but it was the feat of making it to the second round that was impressive for the girls tennis program.

The girls program is a work in progress.Coach Andrea Meyer, who took over as the head coach three years ago has been working to make the girls tennis program a success. Will this year be a breakout year for this program?

The girls tennis team kicks off its preseason schedule on Tuesday at Greenway at 3:30 p.m. They return home on Thursday for a match against Paradise Valley at 3:30 p.m.

Track and field

The track and field team is back this year, minus strong athletes that made it to the finals at last year at the 4A II State meet: Nicole Powers, Lisa Rauch, Bruce Logan, Ky Michelsen, Aaron Hauser and Sam Hayes. By the end of the State meet last year, the girls team had placed 15th and the boys finished 18th.

The highlights for the girls team was Sarah Raber's third place finish in the girls 400-meter run with a time of 1:00.38, the girls' 4x800 relay team that placed 8th and the 8th place finish by Carly Blair in the 300-hurdles in 49.50. In the field events, scoring points for the Marauders was Kinkade, who finished 4th in the pole vault at 9-feet.

On the boys' team, Aaron Hauser placed 5th in the shot put and the 4x800 relay team of Logan, Michelsen, Stratz and Jaimes finished 6th overall. Tim Freriks led the Marauders with a 3rd place finish in the 3200, followed by Hayes in 8th and Cutbirth in 10th.

With the loss of the six seniors, the team will have to reinvent some of the relay teams and look for strong athletes to take the place of Hauser.

The distance runners should continue to be a strength for the team.

As a team, can they make a better finish at State?

The track and field team begins competition on Monday at Northern Arizona University in the Sinagua Mustang Invite. The Marauders will compete against Sinagua, Flagstaff, Sedona, Winslow and Chino Valley.

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