Automatic playoff berths are earned at the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A levels and several of those spots were claimed in the 4A Conference Thursday night across the state with one of the biggest being No. 1 Salpointe bringing home the 4A Kino Region championship over No. 4 Canyon del Oro. The Lancers held the Dorados off 3-1 (25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 25-12) to sweep the regular season over their rivals after the Dorados did the same to them last year.
Canyon del Oro went on to take runner-up to Notre Dame Prep in the 4A state final last year after the Lancers fell to the Saints in the semifinal round. Notre Dame (12-3 in ranking matches) moved up to the 5A Conference this year where the Saints are currently ranked No. 4. The 5A Northeast Valley Region looks to be the most difficult in the state with No. 2 Cactus Shadows (12-3) and No. 3 Horizon (12-3) joining Notre Dame.
No. 8 Mica Mountain beat No. 20 Sahuarita 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 2514) to claim the 4A Gila Region championship and No. 12 Flagstaff held off No. 15 Bradshaw Mountain 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-7) to win the 4A Grand Canyon Region. Mica Mountain lost in the play-in round last year as a No. 19 seed but the program is sure to host an opening round this year in either the play-in phase or the state tournament. Flagstaff fell in the state quarterfinal round last fall….
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Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by the Sunnyside School District and by Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org