Summer Hustle: Falcon Athletes in Full Swing

Basketball Teams Show Promise as Summer Training Unfolds

by Nouman Rasool
Summer Hustle: Falcon Athletes in Full Swing

As the spring sports season drew to a close, the dedicated players of Fountain Hills High School wasted no time in diving into their summer endeavors. With clubs and summer leagues in full swing, these athletes, along with their coaches, are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of excellence for the upcoming seasons.

Exciting changes are on the horizon for the Falcon soccer programs. Jon Davies, a respected figure in the Fountain Hills community, has taken the helm as the new head coach of the boys' high school team. Additionally, he will be supporting Malcolm Cutting with the high school girls' team, as well as overseeing both middle school teams.

Having already built strong relationships with the players during his previous stint as an assistant coach, Davies has seen a surge in commitment from upperclassmen who had not previously participated in high school soccer.

Eager to establish a talent pipeline, he has reached out to the Fountain Hills Soccer Club to foster connections. Addressing roster depth that has plagued both high school teams, Davies aims to field a junior varsity team, even if it means mixing genders.

To further strengthen the soccer program, Davies has planned summer camps open to all age groups, with details soon to be confirmed and updates posted on the "FH Falcon Soccer" Facebook page. His vision extends beyond the mere pursuit of physical fitness, as he strives to restore soccer to its former prominence within the community.

Under the guidance of head coach Olivia Long, the Falcon volleyball team has been making impressive strides. They secured an admirable second place in a competitive 16-team tournament hosted by Show Low High School, followed by a commendable fifth-place finish out of 34 teams at the Blue Ridge Tournament earlier in the summer.

The team's core group has experienced growth, with five returning seniors joining the ranks for the upcoming season. After a 16-14 record and a playoff appearance last year, the Falcons are determined to build upon their success.

Rising seniors Bella Garman and Sophie Wickland, along with rising junior Jocelyn Bloedel, received well-deserved all-region honorable mentions for their outstanding indoor volleyball performances last season. The roster also boasts other talented upperclassmen, including Jeneya Boone, Elle Schulze, and Sydney Boeshans, as well as rising juniors Kitrick Garman, Lucia Kalmbach, Zoe Kohoutek, and Seilah Smith.

Notably, Bloedel received further recognition for her exceptional skills in beach volleyball, earning a spot on the all-section first team. Boeshans and the Garman sisters were honored with all-section second-team accolades, while Wickland received an honorable mention.

Girls Basketball:
The girls' basketball team showcased their prowess in the Thunderbird League, finishing with an impressive 7-1 record. They also participated in the inaugural Scottsdale Christian Academy Invitation Tournament, hosted by Thunderbird High School.

The Falcons dominated the competition, triumphing over Thunderbird with a convincing 62-30 victory and overpowering 5A Paradise Valley with a 41-20 scoreline. Furthermore, they secured a notable 44-28 win against their long-standing rivals, Payson.

Emerging Talents and Experienced Leadership

Head coach Amanda Baca expressed her satisfaction with the team's performance, particularly highlighting the leadership qualities exhibited by senior Alicia Ibarra, who returns for her second year with the team.

Alicia will be the sole senior with previous playing experience on the roster. The Smith sisters, Seilah and incoming freshman Sadie are anticipated to form a formidable duo, benefitting from their innate chemistry on the court.

Additionally, sophomore Taleigha Bonnaha, who is recovering from ACL surgery, is expected to make valuable contributions later in the year. Boys Falcon Athletes Maintain a Steady Summer Grind Across Multiple Sports Fountain Hills High School's athletes have refused to let the summer heat deter their drive and determination.

With a packed schedule of training, competitions, and camps, these dedicated individuals are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for athletic excellence across various sports. Basketball:
Under the leadership of Jeff Bonner, the boys' basketball team has been making the most of the summer season.

They have been immersed in a whirlwind of games, participating in tournaments and engaging in weekly doubleheaders with neighboring schools. As of June 28, the Falcons have already competed in over 40 games. The team had the opportunity to showcase their skills in renowned facilities such as Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon University, and State Farm Stadium.

In a recent section seven qualifier at State Farm Stadium, the Falcons displayed their prowess with resounding victories over Barry Goldwater (51-12) and Yuma Catholic (47-34). Despite a close loss to Central (53-46), a formidable opponent that boasted a 20-7 record in 5A last year, the 3A Falcons demonstrated their mettle.

Although the team faces the challenge of filling the shoes of graduated seniors, the return of rising senior Keaton Ort, along with rising juniors Lucas Grieco, Sam Barnard, and MJ Heaney, provides a solid foundation. Last season, the team achieved an impeccable 25-0 regular season record, and with the talented junior varsity squad, which went undefeated at 18-0, eager to seize their opportunity, the future looks promising.

Other Sports:
Beyond basketball, Fountain Hills High School's summer sports scene remains abuzz. Pete Schermerhorn, the head coach of the newly established football program, has been diligently laying the groundwork for the team's success.

The Falcons have been engaging in rigorous workouts three times a week, and their commitment will be further strengthened through a football camp at Cal Lutheran from July 13 to July 17. This camp not only focuses on skill development but also fosters team unity.

In the realm of swimming, Patti Schultz has been leading invigorating swim clinics, working meticulously to refine the swimmers' techniques and strokes. Meanwhile, the cross country team has been tackling the challenges of early morning runs twice a week under the guidance of their new head coach, Andrea Hall.

Hall, a former high school state champion and college athlete at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, brings a wealth of experience to the team. With each sport receiving ample attention and support during the summer months, Fountain Hills High School's athletes are steadily honing their skills, strengthening their teams, and nurturing their competitive spirit. The community eagerly awaits the forthcoming seasons, brimming with optimism and pride for their Falcon athletes.