Anthem Youth Football

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Close your eyes and ponder the following phrase: Pee Wee football.   Are you picturing cute little tykes in oversized helmets, stumbling around, trying to remember which way to run?   Well, that might be the old days, but that’s hardly the case for today’s Anthem area youth football.   Under the coaching of Matt Carolan and his assistants, a group of 11- and 12-year-old Pee Wees learned how to play football like high school seniors.   “I was pretty proud of what the kids learned,” Carolan says. “We were able to teach them a high school varsity offense. We ran a Power I [formation], we taught them the full spread offense.” Young quarterback Tyler Schweigert even got to change plays with audibles at the line of scrimmage.   “It was very impressive,” the coach says. “On defense, we were able to play a full varsity high school style zone, man to man, dime packages and nickel packages. It was an absolute privilege to coach these kids.”   And they didn’t just... More

Anthem Athletes Grapple for State Title

2016-01-20 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Rob Ascherl
If it’s February, it’s Crooks time.   The name “Crooks” has become synonymous with Boulder Creek High School wrestling. Chiefly, there is coach Doug Crooks. The longtime — first and only — BC wrestling coach has fired up his grapplers, who have taken the program to an elite level in the last few Februarys. The state tournament is held annually mid-month at the Prescott Valley Event Center.   Crooks reflects on building this program from scratch back when BC opened in 2004.   “I have been in the Deer Valley Unified School District since 1986; I was coaching at Barry Goldwater,” Crooks says. “I heard Boulder Creek was opening up, so my wife and I thought it would be a good idea for us to move to Anthem and both of us work at the school. I was excited at being able to start a new program.”   His BC program has been on the rise, peaking two years ago when the team finished third in the state for the 2013-14 season and senior Jro Byrd brought a state championship... More

MTA Casting Call: Junie B. Jones

2016-01-09 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Performers ages 6 to 13 can audition for this no-cut production based on Barbara Park’s bestselling book series about a sassy little girl and her adventures in first grade. General vocal auditions: Jan. 9, 11 a.m.; dance call: Jan. 10, 9 a.m.; dance callbacks: Jan. 10, 11 a.m. Audition preparation workshop available Jan. 7, 4:30-6 p.m. for $35. Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42323 N. Vision Way, 602-743-9892, More

Modest Meredith Keeps Her Cool

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Poor Jennifer Reinhardt: “Nobody tells me anything!”   Her daughter, Meredith, is particularly secretive. But unlike some teenagers, who hide things from their parents for fear of getting in trouble, Meredith was hiding good things. Most notably, a national competition sponsored by fast-food giant Wendy’s. They call it the “High School Heisman Program,” a takeoff on the big college honor. Instead of just football stars, the Wendy’s high school program is open to athletes who excel in a variety of sports, with high grades and community work also factoring into the selection process.   Jennifer was only vaguely aware her daughter — a star senior goalkeeper who led Notre Dame Preparatory to a state championship last season — had entered the program.   “She keeps a lot of things quiet,” Jennifer says, with a sigh. “She told me she was encouraged to apply for it, and that’s the last I heard from her.”   Meredith was selected for the first round, yet was hardly... More

Chaparral High Superstars Aim for Olympics

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

They both started swimming as toddlers at Cactus Pool in Cactus Park.   They both started making waves at Scottsdale Aquatic Club before entering Chaparral High School, where they are smashing state records, winning championships and attracting college recruiters like a honeysuckle garden pulls in hummingbirds.   And, as great as 2014 and 2015 were for both of them, the coming year may see the Chaparral superstars swimming in the Olympics — for different countries.   Meet Taylor Ruck and Ryan Hoffer, perhaps the most talented pair of swimmers to come through an Arizona high school at the same time.   Pretty nice setup for a young coach, eh, Richard Krzyzanowski?   “It’s amazing,” agrees Coach Richie, as he is known. “Not many coaches at high schools have the fastest girl and the fastest boy in the United States.”   As she did in her freshman year, sophomore Ruck led the Chaparral girls to a dominant state championship; the team finished a whopping 125 points ahead of... More

Catch a Rising Star: Sydney Collins

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Blonde hair falling down past her shoulders, Sydney Collins gently but skillfully strums a guitar, confidently singing, “Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone.”   By 7 p.m., the deck is just about full, with nine of 10 tables occupied; half-price bottle of wine night doesn’t hurt.   Modest and unassuming, the singer rolls from one song to the next with little hesitation or wasted motion. It’s obvious she has done this before.   “It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day.”   The folks in the crowd set down their wine glasses to applaud appreciatively. The charming singer thanks the crowd, adding, “I hope everyone’s having a good Thanksgiving eve.”   She is professional, smooth and talented.   She is also 18 years old.   A senior in high school, Collins has been playing Wednesday evenings at Rhythm and Wine — not far from her North Scottsdale home — for several years.   “She’s been here for three years; we love her,” says Laura Craig, owner of... More

Anthem Youth Answer Call to Civic Involvement

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Sam Paul
A new group of civic-minded youth answered the call to serve on the Anthem Youth Advisory Council (AYAC) during the 2015-16 term. They will work throughout the school year to make a positive difference in the community and reach out to their peers in the Anthem community. Initial meetings are already underway, and the group has a solid plan in place to make it a great year.   The AYAC’s inaugural year was last year, 2014-15, when the first group of 13 Anthem youth ages 12-18 was formed. The purpose of the group is to inform the Anthem Community Council (ACC) board of issues and needs concerning youth in the community.   Among their list of goals this year is to set a firm foundation for the future of the AYAC by establishing and fostering a strong organizational structure for the group. This includes forming focused committees, as well as continuing to increase awareness of the group in the community with ongoing projects and events. They plan to create and host events that bring... More

Riding High: Georgia Smith Leads the BC Charge to College

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

A huge, powerful horse is in a full sprint through the arena — look out, it’s headed for the wall! Just a few feet from a horrible collision, the horse comes to a skidding stop, its back legs folding and dust flying.   Sitting tall in the saddle, Georgia Smith doesn’t even flinch.   Her reined cow horse event is quite the show; after the sliding stop, Georgia has her horse do several quick spins before calmly riding off. These intricate moves are part natural talent and touch, part hundreds of hours of preparation.   “Georgia, want to see a movie Friday night?”   “Sorry, I have practice.”   “Well, how about hanging out at the mall Saturday?”   “Can’t. Practice.”   That was the story of Georgia’s teenage years in Anthem, hitting the books at Boulder Creek High School before hitting the stables. Being on top of a big horse is as comforting to Georgia as being in the fetal position — and for good reason.   “I was a rider my whole life,” says Julie... More

Run Miguel Run!

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

In his first at bat in Major League Baseball, Roy Hobbs (played by the dashing Robert Redford) hits the cover off the ball, smashing it far into the sky for a homerun.   No wonder they called him “The Natural.”   Anthem’s Miguel Blancas? He might be cross-country’s “The Natural.”   Miguel had never tried running before, but wanted something to help with his stamina for soccer season. So he tried out for the Canyon Springs School cross-country team.   The first race he ever entered? He won it.   His second race? Another win.   He won the third, fourth and fifth races, too, becoming the section champion and qualifying for the state race.   On October 31 at Anthem Community Park, Miguel took his place at the starting line among 217 other state qualifiers. He finished 23rd, earning the eighth grader a medal.   “His very first race, he won,” says Miguel Blancas Sr., who discusses his son with a mixture of pride and surprise. “Except for state, he had all first... More

The Sisters K: Swimming to College

2015-12-28 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Remember the Kolkebeck girls?   Sisters Holly and Krista, who anchored the Boulder Creek High School swimming program for eight years, are off swimming at Division I schools, with memories of their Anthem careers becoming more distant with each intense college meet.   After starting out at Glendale Community College, Holly Kolkebeck is now making waves as a junior at Grand Canyon University. Down in Tempe, Krista Kolkebeck is “a little fish in a really big pond” (as her mother, Gina, puts it) at Arizona State University, but has been successfully fighting for lane time. Indeed, she had a second place finish in the 100 free against Oregon State University this fall, plus several fourth place finishes in the 100 and 50 free.   “Having Krista swim at ASU and also swim very well there has only helped push the swimmers on the team currently toward their goals of swimming at the next level,” says her old coach, Scott Newell.   Though he is without “The Sisters K,” don’t... More

MTA Casting Call: Legally Blonde The Musical

2015-12-21 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Performers ages 14 to 18 can audition for this no-cut production based on the popular movie that follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. General auditions: Jan. 9, 1:30 p.m.; dance call: Jan. 10, 2 p.m.; callbacks: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. Audition preparation workshop available Jan. 7 and 8, 5:30-7 p.m. for $35. Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42323 N. Vision Way, 602-743-9892, More

MTA Presents "Annie Jr."

2015-11-23 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts in this musical based on the Tony Award winning Broadway play. $16-$19. Check website for show times. Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42323 N. Vision Way, 602-743-9892,  Dec. 3-6, 10-13... More

Great Expectations: Jags hungry for title

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Kate Caldwell
Long before the first whistle would blow and tip-off would officially start the basketball season, Ryne Holstrom’s chest swelled with pride over his Boulder Creek High School boys’ basketball team. Off the court, the team was there for the community Veteran’s Day parade.   “We wanted to go out and support the veterans, let them know we appreciate them,” the coach says.   On the court, the Jaguars showed they are hungry at 5 a.m. practices that started the season. The lanky teenagers may have been growling for breakfast, but more importantly they were hungry to show last season was no fluke, that BC has a basketball program that is growing in strength.   “The guys did great,” Holstrom says. “They showed up — it was early in the morning, but they did a great job. They really practiced hard.”   That is key, as you don’t have to be Charles Dickens to know this year’s team has great expectations. Last season’s BC boys’ basketball team recovered from a slow... More

Lacrosse catching on in Anthem

2015-11-19 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Amanda Hicks
Never played lacrosse? No worries! It’s super easy to learn. All you need to be able to do is run, throw and catch.   Then again, maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds. The running part is normal, moving up and down the playing field just as you would do in soccer, football and other sports. But the throwing and catching … ay, there’s the rub.   Throwing seems natural enough; it’s something most of us have been doing since we started flinging spoons of applesauce out of the high chair. Which, actually, is a somewhat appropriate metaphor, except rather than a spoon, you will be using a lacrosse stick about the size of a hockey stick, with a cradle at the end instead of a blade. And, unlike the applesauce-flinging toddler of your yesteryears, you’ll need two hands on the lacrosse stick for a good toss.   Then comes catching, which requires both physical dexterity and hand-eye coordination. When a teammate flings the lacrosse ball your way, you will often be running as you... More

BC's new golf coach shares a life on the links

2015-10-30 | ImagesAZ | Youth

Photo Credit: Joelie Bennett
Boulder Creek High School’s new golf coach has big plans for his team.   “My expectations for the team this year are that we qualify for state and contend for a top five finish there,” says Chris Endres.   Golf is perhaps the most physical-mental challenge ever invented, combining the strategy of chess with the explosiveness of baseball. If you want to see grown men and women howling in frustration and on the verge of tears (if not actually breaking down and crying), go to any golf course on a Saturday when the weather is nice.   Now imagine all that pressure — trying to hit a strong, straight tee shot; figuring out the best way to get fairly close to the hole and the sheer agony of the putt — placed on the untested shoulders of teenagers.   If it seems like too much for young souls to handle, well, the new coach says, “I’ve been there, I’ve done all that and more.” Indeed, when Endres tells his young golfers to not be afraid of challenging themselves, they know... More