The Tucson Citizen profiled the city’s finest high school student-athletes from 1957 through 2008. While other local publications flirted with an “Athlete of the Week” section every now and then, the tradition of recognizing only the very best was continued only on the pages of the TucsonCitizen.com website.
In all, some 64 student-athletes received this honor and the tradition will continue on the pages of the AllSportsTucson.com site.
This year, 13 candidates were nominated by their coaches, athletic directors and parents based on academics, athletics, leadership, service to their school and an essay on who influenced them most.
No other publication has taken up the difficult task of celebrating what is right about our schools and our athletes beyond the playing field. Although all of the names listed below were superior athletes in their chosen sport, they were also excellent students in the classroom and excellent role models in our community. It is important to recognize those who can do all three with success.
The difficult task of selecting the winner was placed in the hands of three high school teachers.
The 13 applications were trimmed to three and then the winner was selected from that group. Mountain View volleyball standout Cheyenne Pitts came out on top.
Pitts was both an Academic All-Star (Sports360AZ) for her work in the classroom and a Southern Arizona All-Star for her efforts on the volleyball court last year. She becomes the first student-athlete from Mountain View to be named “Student-Athlete of the Year. She earned a $200 scholarship and her school will get a copy of this award to display.
In her own words:
It is said that teen moms do not always raise their children in the “right way”. But is there really a way to stereotype all teen mothers into the category? I believe that my mother beat that stereotype in every way possible. Whenever people ask who has influenced me the most in my life the answer is always simple. It’s my mother. She is one of the strongest people I know and I aspire to be like her in almost every way.
From a very young age it was evident to me that my mom did everything in her power to make sure I would succeed. Being a teen mom must have been difficult for her but she had always made it look so easy. She taught me to be strong whether it was in the classroom, on the court or in my place of work. I grew up knowing that even if I didn’t have two parents that my mother could handle the role of both.
Starting in grade school she had always kept me busy. Between little league softball, school choir and even band I always had something going on. When I was younger I never understood the reasoning behind me being so involved but as I got older I realized why she had me doing all of that. It was her own little way to keep me out of trouble and for me to become a part of something. When I started high school I knew she had wanted the same thing. I did what I could during high school to stay occupied and I always knew that if the going got too tough she would be there to pick me up every single time.
She always had my best interest in mind no matter what the situation may be. Upon the closing of my senior year I had received an offer to play volleyball at the collegiate level. I was ecstatic, but I was so happy that I only saw the good in the offer and was blinded by the underlying fact that we just couldn’t afford it. After discussing the entirety of the offer with my mom she had expressed her concerns but made sure I knew that the ultimate decision was mine. She told me that she was so proud of me and that she would support me through it all. My mom had my best interest in mind no matter how difficult the situation was and I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for that.
Some may think that being so close in age to their child would arise problems in the relationship. For me though, I believe that it only made my mother and I stronger. We’ve always had a strong friendship aside from our mother-daughter relationship and it only continues to grow. She inspires me to work towards my goals no matter what obstacles may get in my way and to keep moving forward when the going gets tough. She is truly the reason I am the strong young woman I am today and without a doubt the sole person who has influenced me in more ways than most would say is possible.
TUCSON CITIZEN STUDENT-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
1957 D.L. Secrist Jr. Tucson High
1958 Donald Parsons Catalina
1959 Edward Brown Flowing Wells
1960 Terry DeJonghe Salpointe
1961 Robert Svob Catalina
1962 Ray Kosanke Tucson High
1963 Michael Aboud Tucson High
1964 Pat McAndrew Flowing Wells
1965 Charles Begley Sunnyside
1966 Eric Evett Catalina
1967 Ron Curry Tucson High
1968 Jeff Lovin Palo Verde
1969 Bruce Pawlowski Salpointe
1970 Dave Henry Sahuaro
1971 Tom Hagen Salpointe
1972 Bill Baechler Palo Verde
1973 Francisco Gomez Pueblo
1974 Richard Rucker Canyon del Oro
1975 Guillermo Robles Sunnyside
1976 Karen Christensen Rincon
1977 Michael Wing Rincon
1978 Craig Barker Amphitheater
1979 Ralph Gay Sunnyside
1980 Kristine Bush Sabino
1981 Lisa Kay Baker Sahuaro
1982 Vickie Patton Marana
1983 Martin Tetreault Sahuaro
1984 Molly Reiling Salpointe
1985 Timothy Roggeman Salpointe
1986 Jon Volpe Amphitheater
1987 Luis A. Padilla Pueblo
1988 Nicole Stern Catalina
1989 Robert Moen Flowing Wells
1990 Grace O’Neill Salpointe
1991 Angel Phillips Rincon
1992 Zenen Salazar Sunnyside
1993 Michelle Vielledent Sahuaro
1994 Julie Reitan Sahuaro and Brady Bennon Sabino
1995 Kelly Yablonski University High
1996 Joe Aguirre Palo Verde
1997 Andy Viner University High
1998 Scott Beck Canyon del Oro
1999 Glenn Schatz University High
2000 Nicole Voelkel University High
2001 Ai-ris Yonekura Catalina Foothills
2002 Philo Sanchez Sunnyside
2003 Tim Ashcraft Sahuaro
2004 Joe Kay Tucson High
2005 Tiffany Hosten Tucson High and Echo Fallon Catalina Foothills
2006 Michael Smith Sunnyside
2007 Tara Erdmann Flowing Wells
2008 James Eichberger Catalina
TUCSONCITIZEN.COM STUDENT-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2009 Sun Park Cienega
2010 Christine Clark Tucson High
2011 LeeAndra Smith Palo Verde
2012 Rachel Ward (Pusch Ridge) and Robin Landrith (Ironwood Ridge)
2013 Mally McGarity (Marana) and Asha Esprit (University High)
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.COM STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
2014 Amanda Nicholas Sahuaro
2015 Laura McGeary Flowing Wells and Courtney Brown Flowing Wells
2016 Cheyenne Pitts Mountain View
Discuss this post in our Talk of Tucson Message Board
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com