Tanque Verde senior Mikayla Reuter. (Andy Morales/

Tanque Verde senior Mikayla Reuter. (Andy Morales/

We will be previewing the winter sport season over the next couple of weeks or so and the responses you see below come directly from the coaches who returned a questionnaire. As you will see, the winter season is comprised of soccer, wrestling and basketball. All three sports deserve equal attention.

We are proud that our site is the only one in Southern Arizona that covered (and is still covering) cross country, swim and dive, small-school soccer, golf, volleyball and football during the fall season. We’ve been covering both boys and girls in programs from the 6A Conference to the 1A Conference.


Head coach: Bright Benson
2015-16 record: 20-10
Finish: Division V Quarterfinals

Returning 6 seniors including two-time all section player of the year Tarantino Baptisto. Seniors Warren Mattias and Warren Ramon provide great athleticism and toughness. Looking for much improvement in seniors Jacob Young, Keyshawn Carlos, and Travis Listo.

Also returning junior Weylin Hendricks who has proven to be an emerging scorer.

“This team has shown flashes of brilliance (over the summer beating Cholla, Empire, Pusch Ridge and Nogales) but struggles to be consistent.”


Head coach: Bob Coate
2015-16 record: 12-8
Finish: Second round

“The boys’ varsity soccer team at Pusch Ridge has a good young group coming back this year. Even though we lost eight seniors and standouts in midfielder Camron Vick, goal keeper Cody Cropp and forward Michael McLeod.

We will be returning senior midfielder Eric Smith and junior forward Matthew McLeod as our top two players. Up and coming players are junior forward Jacob Peyton, defender Mitch Maas and midfielder Jake Keeland. We have a good group of sophomores and freshmen who will contribute as well.”


Head coach: Mark Gaxiola
2015-16 record: 13-14

Junior: Point Guard Anthony Gaxiola, 5’11″will continue to be our guy for elevating our offensive scoring at 20.8 ppg per MaxPreps 2016. Anthony has been working hard to improve his defensive capacity and stepping up to demonstrate some leadership as well. Also selected as 1st. Division Team all-section.

Senior: Austin Torres, Forward, 6′.1″ will be our team captain and has also worked hard to improve his offensive capacity to support his team for 2016-17.He also let our team last season as our defensive specialist at 2.9 steals and 7 rebounds per game respectively.

Others to be noticed as returning varsity players:
1. Junior, Zach Fitsimmonz at 6’3, should support our defensive/offensive and Rebounding efforts.
2. Junior, Ryan Vandermark at 6’3, supporting Rebounding and offensive efforts.
3. Junior, Neo Stilson at 6’2, great athleticism and can score from perimeter and in the open court attacking the basket.


Head coach: Shana Olayvar
2015-16 record: 14-5-1
Finish: 3A runner-up

“The Hawks look to return 14 athletes from last year’s team that that finished in second place in the State 3A playoffs. We have strength all over the field, especially on defense. Seniors Elena Raushen (Goal Keeper), Makenzie Bernal, Makayla Toth, Kylie Hall and sophomore Katie Lautaret will anchor the Hawk’s defense.

Senior Mikayla Reuter and juniors Michelle Escobar and Kate Giedraitis, all midfielders, will solidify the technical portion of the Hawk’s line up while junior Nastia Loughran, the Hawk’s leading scorer last year, and senior Shae Sonderer, will lead the offense that helped guide us to a 14-5-1 overall record and a 7–1 record in the 3A south division.”


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 and on Contact Andy Morales at



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