The year 2019 was a great one for prep sports in the West Valley. Several teams and individuals claimed AIA state championships, others racked up statistics and some even
Liberty football won its first-ever 6A state football championship in December, defeating Red Mountain in a nail-biting 34-28 overtime victory at Sun Devil Stadium.
The win not only capped off a tremendous season, but served as a happy last memory for the 40 or more Lion 2020 graduates that made up the team's largest senior class in team history.
“That’s something that we talked about from the very first day, the very first day of summer weight training,” senior quarterback Jonah Guevara said.
“When you’re little you just dream of being able to hold up that gold ball at the end of the season. And what a better way to do it than your senior year?”
The AIA, in May 2018, announced the upcoming season of state-sanctioned wrestling, including an official state tournament, for girls. The first season came in 2019, with Tolleson Union as one of the teams with the largest roster in Arizona.
Wolves' girls wrestling coach Cory Nelson said females who might not feel comfortable in other sports, due to size or other athletic factors, are welcome and encouraged to wrestle.
“The great thing about wrestling is that no other sport is going to tell a 220-girl, or a girl who’s just 100 pounds, ‘we’ve got a spot just for you,’ whereas wrestling not only has that, it’s actually an advantage to have girls that size because then they fill in some weight classes,” he said.
Just a year removed from a devastating loss on the road to a championship title, the No. 6 Sunnyslope volleyball team celebrated its much-anticipated championship win, defeating No. 1 Millennium 15-25, 25-21, 25-18, 14-25 and 16-14 in the 2019 AIA 5A Girls Volleyball Championship Final.
The Vikings found themselves in the same situation going into the finals as they were during the 2018 postseason wrap-up. Only, they lost last year’s championship game to Millennium, who was making its foray into 5A play. This year’s title was a bittersweet treat, but to earn it with a side of revenge was an even greater delight.
“They’re such a good team, so it’s hard to describe just how much this means,” said Sunnyslope junior Michelle Jung.
The Millennium girls basketball team dominated to win the state title, while the boys fell short during the 5A state championship games on February 25.
The girls beat Gilbert 66-40 while the boys lost by a mere point, falling to Gilbert 38-37.
The girls were runners up two years ago and exited early from the 6A semifinals last season. Finally hoisting the championship trophy was a picture-perfect ending.