The sports season has hit fall break.
It means there are very few weeks left in the season before the playoffs, and less than a month before state champions are crowned in everything other than football.
Runners and swimmers are tapering off before the biggest events for the season while the golfers, volleyball and badminton teams are fine tuning things for the postseason.
It’s time catch up on the top teams, individuals and the time frame of the state tournament for each sport.
The postseason begins Oct. 20 with the two-day singles and doubles tournament at Ironwood High and Glendale.
The team event begins Oct. 23 with a 12-team bracket with five region champions and seven at-large bids. The Oct. 25 semifinals are at Desert Vista and the Oct. 26 finals are at Sunnyslope.
As of Tuesday, Skyline (11-3) was ranked sixth in Division I with and Red Mountain (9-6) sat in eight place with Mountain View (9-5) was 12th heading into next week’s Mesa City Tournament at Skyline.
Desert Ridge was 16th with Mesa, Dobson and Westwood finishing out the local programs at 19 through 21 out of 29 teams.
The postseason starts with state-qualifying sectionals.
Desert Ridge competes in Section I with its meet on Oct. 27 at Crossroads Park in Gilbert, while the six schools that make up the East Valley Region are in Section II and will run on Oct. 26 at Rose Mofford Park in Phoenix.
Each sectional race will qualify the top 50 percent of team results to the state meet and the top 25 runners automatically qualify as well should their team not qualify.
The state meet is Nov. 4 at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix. The Division I boys run at 12:15 p.m., while girls toe the line at 1:05 p.m.
The top competitors from each team:
Desert Ridge – Alexander Witthus 17:27
Dobson – Scott Sally 16:12
Mesa – Jose Fuentes Corral 17:25.26
Mountain View – Jared Page 15:54.70
Red Mountain – Matthew Smith 16:07.00
Skyline – Grant Kennedy 15:55.50
Westwood – Erick Garcia Cota 18:14.40
Desert Ridge – Caitlin O’Dell 21:58.40
Dobson – Dei’Jonae Moore 21:44
Mesa – Jenna Williams 23:55
Mountain View – Kailey Welch 18:24.10
Red Mountain – Niki Hemmerlin 18:26.70
Skyline – Carlene Hamilton 19:21.10
Westwood – Abrielle John 23:43.10
The state golf tournament is headed south and the boys and girls tournaments are being played simultaneously.
The Division I boys and girls play Oct. 30-31 at the Omni Tucson National with the first round for the boys on the Catalina Course and the Sonoran Course on the final day, while girls start out on the Sonoran Course and finish on the Catalina Course.
Two area golfers rank in the Division I top 15 as Red Mountain senior Cameron Barzekoff is No. 2, while Desert Ridge junior Gavin Hultman ranks 15th overall.
On the team side of things, Red Mountain is ranked No. 1 in Section 3 and No. 5 overall, while Mountain View is No. 2 in section and No. 13 overall.
The Red Mountain girls top Section 3 at No. 4 overall and Desert Ridge is No. 3 in Section 3 and No. 8 overall. Mountain View comes in at No. 14 overall and Westwood No. 16.
The highest ranked area player is Desert Ridge junior Brooke Beyer at No. 14 with Red Mountain junior Nicole Ewing also in the top 20 at No. 19.
The state meet is once against at the Skyline Aquatic Center with the preliminaries for pool events and the full diving event on Nov. 3 with the finals for the pool events on Nov. 4.
Qualifying standards determine who participates in the state meet with every team in the area getting at least a handful of qualifiers.
Some of the top competitors includes Mountain View’s Trey McDaniel (200 free) and Chris Allen (50/100 free) and Red Mountain’s Evan Schaeffer (100 breast) on the boys side, while the leaders on the girls side of things are Red Mountain’s Olivia Grossklaus (50/100/200 free, 100 fly) and Taylor Walton (200 medley), Mountain View’s Mackenzie Baird (50 /100/200 free) and Maddie Timm (200 medley) and Desert Ridge’s Karina Harr (100 breast).
Red Mountain has continued to its reputation as one of the better programs in the state.
“Our season has gone well so far,” said Red Mountain coach Ben Scott, who is in his first-year with the program. “The boys have had a tough schedule so far but have made each meet competitive against big teams like Hamilton, Desert Vista and Mesa Mountain View. Our girls have gone undefeated so far with a tie against Mountain View and look to be very strong heading into the state meet.
“We still look forward to bringing down our training cycle and giving these kids a great taper leading into a great meet.”
The postseason starts with a play-in tournament on Oct. 26 at the better seed for the programs that finish ninth through 24 in the finals power rankings of the season.
The winners advance to take on the top eight with the No. 1 seed taking on the worse remaining seed and the eighth team facing the best.
The first two rounds of the 16-team state tournament are played at the higher seed on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. The tournament moves to Mesquite High for the semifinals (Nov. 7) and finals (Nov. 9).
With two weeks left in the regular season, Mesa is the only team that might have a lone shot at finishing in the top eight as the Jackrabbits rank No. 11 with a 10-3 record.
Desert Ridge at 17 and Red Mountain at 20 fall in the top 24 with Dobson just on the outskirts at No. 25. Skyline (28), Mountain View (29) and Westwood (30) have a lot of teams to jump in order to get in the top 24.
Skyline has won two in a row and are playing much better since Kamaile Hiapo became eligible.
“We planned this turnaround to take place now,” Skyline coach Vee Hiapo said. “I just hope it is not too late with all of the previous losses.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.