The Northland Prep Academy swim and dive team finished its regular season with a trio of dual meets, culminating in a hard-fought victory in the tri-cup meet between Sedona Red Rock, Mingus Union and the Spartans Tuesday.
Hosted at Sedona, the meet features three cups that are contested every year to end the season. Mingus and Sedona swim for the Mingus Cup, Sedona and NPA compete for the Elevation Cup, and NPA and Mingus go for the Warrior Cup.
"It's a fun way to finish our dual meet season," said Spartans head coach Jeff Leid. "We've been doing this for six years now and every year there are new faces and great racing."
For the fourth consecutive year, the Spartans went 2-0 for both cups. Northland Prep beat Sedona, 120-66, and in a nail-biter that came down to the last event, they edged Mingus 95-93.
"We came out of the blocks very sluggish against both Sedona and Mingus. On top of that, we were missing a few of our swimmers to injury. Add all that up, and we were in a pretty deep hole after four events," Leid said.
However, the Spartans regrouped at the break, and through some great swims by seniors Hannah Penado, Aurelia Umholtz, Devin O'Brien, Gwyn Hansen, Sam Milligan, Greg Pappas, Harrison Howie, Houston Jackson and Justin Jarmer were able to close the gap. With only the girls and boys 4x100 free relays to compete, the Spartans, who honored their seniors during the event, went 1-3 (girls) and 1-2 (boys) against the Marauders to come away with the two-point victory.
Two weeks prior to the finale, the Spartans recorded dual meet victories against perennial Valley powerhouse Phoenix Country Day and the smaller program at Wickenburg two days later. The PCDS meet was a quad meet, with NPA also competing against Arete Prep and The Odyssey Institute.
The Spartans narrowly defeated PCDS, 214-209, and won against Arete, 214-102, and Odyssey, 214-80. The meet also included diving, with standout performances from Emma Quigley, Faith Oldroyd and Marcus Marquardt.
"We swam well against those three teams, and it was strong performances across the board that led to us beating a very good team in PCDS," Leid said.
At Wickenburg the Spartans were able to give some of their swimmers a break from their normal events. One solid swim came from Aurelia Umholtz in the 500 freestyle, as the senior clocked a time of 5:27.
"Re got to swim in a combined heat of boys and girls and was able to finish first against all comers," Leid said. "To see a great sprinter like her swim such a strong 500 really speaks to the grit that Re has."
The Spartans now head to the Small School Championships Saturday at Phoenix Country Day. The individuals and relays that make it in the top 24 or 16, respectively, will move on to the Division III state championship meet Nov. 3-4 back at the PCDS pool.
NORTHLAND PREP 3, PARADISE HONORS 0
Avenging a five-set road loss from nearly a month ago, the 2A No. 19 Spartans blanked the No. 25 Paradise Honors Panthers on Tuesday, winning their third consecutive straight-set match as they try to push their way into the state tournament seedings.
In the 25-20, 25-11, 25-14 victory, the Spartans, who recorded one of their best third sets of the season, got 11 digs and four service aces from Savannah Gaun. With the victory, Northland Prep improved to 10-5 overall and 4-4 in the Central Region.
Casey Auza had 21 assists and added and ace, Rebecca Gerety tallied seven kills and Sophia Strube contributed six kills and a block for the Spartans, who finish a stretch of five home matches when they take on Mingus Mountain Thursday at 6 p.m.
In a match that could determine if the Spartans get into the playoff bubble, Northland Prep ends the regular season at Sedona Red Rock on Tuesday.
FLAGSTAFF 3, PRESCOTT 0
The Eagles continued their run of straight-set victories on Wednesday on the second night of a three-match homestand, shutting out the Prescott Badgers in a 4A, Grand Canyon Region matchup.
Fifth-ranked Flagstaff, which hasn't dropped a set during the regular season to a region opponent yet, improved overall to 11-3 while moving to 9-0 in the Grand Canyon standings. Meanwhile, the No. 13 Badgers, the reigning region champs, fell to 8-6 and 7-3 as they try to hold on to a playoff spot.
Looking to complete the season sweep, Flagstaff hosts Bradshaw Mountain Thursday for a 6 p.m. match.
Stevens Institute of Technology men's golf freshman Vincent Cortese earned Empire 8 Conference Golfer of the Week honors Monday after tying for sixth place at the Revolutionary Collegiate Golf Classic held Oct. 14-15 at the Patriots Glen National Golf Club in Elkton, Maryland.
The Flagstaff native fired an 8-over 152 to match junior Jack Doherty's effort, leading Stevens to a second-place finish. Cortese began the event with an opening-round score of 77. The former Northland Prep Academy golfer then improved his play by two strokes Sunday to finish with a 75, matching his season-low single-round score.
"This fall golf season, Vincent has shown qualities usually seen in players considerably older," said head coach Charles Papendick. "He has a short memory, which is one of the most important aspects of playing quality, competitive golf. He has great focus, great temperament and has been a tremendous teammate. I look forward to seeing Vincent's development in the future and anticipate watching him help lead our program in the next few years."
It is Cortese's first career Golfer of the Week honor and the second for the program this season after Doherty was recognized Sept. 9. It is the first time in program history that two different Stevens golfers were honored by the conference in the same season.