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  • South ready for next shot at a win

    9/26/18

    Although his team is winless, Ryan Goddard hasn’t gone into a game this season believing his team would lose. This week will be no different.

    On paper this might look like the most winnable game to date for South High School’s football team. The Colts have played four ranked teams in their first four games. All have been losses.

    It’s certainly been a tough start for the defending Class 4A state champions, whose schedule is ranked the seventh- toughest in 3A entering this week.

    The Colts get Lewis-Palmer this week, hosting the nonconference game at 7 p.m. tonight at Dutch Clark Stadium.

    Lewis-Palmer is 3-1, having won its past three, and is receiving votes in the CHSAANow.com poll. The Rangers also are No. 13 in RPI.

    “I’ve never said we’re not going to win a game; that’s not my frame of mind,” Goddard said Wednesday. “It’s been very challenging and this will be another challenging game.

    'With this one, it’s maybe not a team that is as well Prep football this week

    Today’s game

    Lewis-Palmer at South, 7 p.m. (Dutch Clark)

    Friday’s games

    Sand Creek at Central, 7 p.m. (Dutch Clark) Harrison at Pueblo County, 7 p.m. Centennial at Sierra, 7 p.m. Rye at Florence, 7 p.m.

    Saturday’s game

    Dolores Huerta at Justice, 1 p.m.

    known, but our kids know it’s going to be another challenge. They have some really good athletes who are used to winning in other sports. They’re quality competitors.”

    South’s schedule to this point has included what currently are the top two teams in 3A, as well as the defending 3A state champions. The Colts lost to No. 1 Erie, No. 2 Discovery Canyon and their season opener to No. 8 Holy Family.

    Last week, No. 6 Palmer Ridge knocked off the Colts 45-14. However, the defending state champion Bears led only 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

    South also lost to Discovery Canyon by a point in overtime, 42-41, played Erie even in the second half and were in the game at Holy Family despite five turnovers.care of the details,” Goddard said. “That’s what’s held us back. We have to finish games, play four quarters. “For us, it’s about taking the details — one player here or there. We have to create some momentum.” Goddard means momentum in games but it also applies to the season. The Colts are No. 27 in RPI despite the 0-4 record. Strength of schedule helps that.

    It will continue to be tough, too, during South-Central League play. Every team to this point is at least .500, expect South. The Colts open league play next week against East, No. 7 in 3A, in the annual Cannon Game.

  • South forces four-way tie for first in S-CL

    9/14/18

    South softball rakes in 13-6 win over Central

    Tuesday night South High School softball coach Wes Madrill looked toward his team’s matchup with Central Thursday night. He stated that the game would set the tone for the rest of the South-Central League since the Wildcats were 2-0.

    Central coach Larry Romero echoed similar thoughts Wednesday at practice.

    And now, the league might still be hearing some ringing in their ears after the loud statement made by the Colts in their 13-6 win. They slapped 18 hits and led 11-0 at one point, only a couple outs away from mercy ruling the Wildcats.

    “I think it’s a big win because it’s going to set the tone for the rest of the season,” senior Bailey Spinuzzi said, sharing her coach's sentiments. “Our win from County (Tuesday) really hyped us and we are just going to go out the rest of the season and do our job.”

    South began the offensive barrage in the second inning with five hits as it rocked Central’s starting pitcher Savannah Autobee. Earlier this week, the freshman held defending S-CL champions Pueblo West to just one run on eight hits on the Cyclones' home turf.

    One big difference between the two games for Central was the defense behind Autobee. Against Pueblo West, the Wildcats committed one error while Thursday they gave up four free bases. Being a younger team than in years past, Romero understands consistency will be what his team needs most.

    “I think there was some nerves tonight, they understood it was a critical game for us,” Romero said. “I thought we were relaxed, but their actions showed they were a little tense tonight, but I’m still proud of them (for battling back).”

    On the other side, South played one of its most complete games of the year. All but one batter in the starting nine had at least one hit and they continued to put the ball in play, as seen by only having two strikeouts.

    In the circle again was senior Makayla Keck, who gave up only six hits and had a two-hit shutout going into the bottom of fifth with her team up 11-0. A couple errors allowed Central to score and keep the game alive, but Keck kept them in check after that.

    “Makayla does a great job for us on the hill,” Madrill said. “She’s one of those pitchers that has the audacity of a giant.”

    Many Colts had a terrific night at the plate, including senior Bailey Spinuzzi who went 4-5 with an RBI, two stolen bases and a team-high four runs scored. Miranda Algien brought home the most runs with four RBI.

    “Just my mentality is always get on because I know the hitters behind me are going to hit me in,” Spinuzzi said. “My job is just to get on and I’ll get scored in.

    “It doesn’t matter how, bunting, hits to the outfield whatever. I’ll get on.”

    Down on Salas Field, Pueblo County blanked Centennial 10-0 behind a no-hitter from Morgan Pantaleo and Pueblo West handled East at home 9-1. Those games paired with South’s win creates a four-way tie atop of the S-CL.

    With seven games remaining in league play, teams know there is time to drown out that Colts’ noise with a statement of their own.

    “We set the tone that we can go up to the plate and hit the ball and score runs when we need to,” Madrill said. “We got a different demeanor that says we are here, hear us in the dugout, listen to us and watch us on the field.”

    “I said after we lost that we are still in a good spot,” Romero said. “It’s a tough row to hoe, but the team that can be resilient, the team that can take care of the ball, make the least errors is going to be the South-Central League champion this year.”

  • South girls gives County first loss of the Hornets

    9/12/18

    Pueblo South softball takes down unbeaten Pueblo County in extra innings

     

    Two games, 17 innings.

    South High School’s softball team has had to endure those three extra innings in their first two South-Central league games this year. The Colts dropped the first one, but they made up for it Tuesday night with 7-6 gut-wrenching, eight-inning win over previously undefeated Pueblo County.

    “I think we definitely had to get up in the dugout,” South’s Miranda Algien said on what her team learned from last week. “As a senior, I took it upon myself to get everybody going because I know one positive thought in the head brings up the team.” 

    With a runner on first and two outs in the top of the eighth, Algien got her team pumped up even more. Earlier in the game she had a two-RBI single down the left-field line that started the comeback for the Colts (8-4, 1-1 S-CL). The hit put the game at 5-3 in favor of County, but South tied it up by inning’s end.

    The first baseman came through again with a RBI double that went off the tip of the glove of sprinting centerfielder Kaylin Mares of County (10-1, 1-1 S-CL). The ball bounced off the wall, but it was too late for the throw home to get Bailey Spinuzzi who scored to put the Colts up 6-5. Algien scored on a single by Halle Herrera two pitches later to go up 7-5.

    “It was definitely nice since I’ve been struggling a bit,” Algien said. “(The pitch) was down the middle for me. I crowded the plate a little, but it was down the middle and I sat on it.”

    The Hornets didn’t let their 10-0 mark slide away that easy though.

    In the bottom of the eighth, Mares bunted with one out and runners on second and third that scored a run to pull within one and put a runner on third.

    Colts starting pitcher Makayla Keck shut down the next batter in Abby Padilla with three pitches and three strikes.

    “We got runners on base and couldn’t get the hits when we needed them,” Pueblo County coach Danielle Villegas said. “I think it just kind of shows what team we are when we have to face adversity. ... We say all the time that our league is going to give us everything we want so it can go either way.

    “South showed up tonight. They hit the ball. Hats off to them. I've got to give my girls credit though, because they never once gave in.”

     

    All seven Colts runs came off Hornets’ pitcher Morgan Pantaleo, who came into the matchup with a 0.58 ERA in four starts. She only allowed one run on three hits through four innings, but the Colts finally got to her in the fifth when they ripped six singles and put up four runs to tie the game 5-5.

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  • Foundation adding four people to South High School's Hall of Fame

    8/16/18

    Foundation adding four people to South High School’s Hall of Fame

    Four more people will be added to the rolls of South High School’s Hall of Fame by the Alumni Foundation’s Board of Directors.

    The selectees, in alphabetical order, are:

    Dave Aguilera, class of 1983. B.S., Mass Communications-Journalism, CSU-Pueblo. Certificate in Broadcast Meteorology, Mississippi State. Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, American Meteorological Society. Pueblo born and raised. Work: Weather anchor, KREX-TV, Grand Junction; KOAA-TV, Pueblo/Colorado Springs; and KRQE-TV, Albuquerque. Emmy Award-winning weatherman for CBS4-TV in Denver, where he’s been since 1993. Newsman at KHOW and KOA radio, Denver. Disc jockey for KCCY, KRYT and KDZA radio, Pueblo. Teaches weather to thousands of elementary school children a year along the Front Range. He emcees many non-profit group fundraisers, among them diabetes and spina bifida.

    Dr. Donna Jo Blake, class of 1969. Deceased. Last lived and practiced in Durango. B.S, Physical Therapy, CU. Doctor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Spinal Cord Medicine. Work: Practiced 30 years in direct clinical care, medical director of acute inpatient rehab services, VA PMR and other programs, including low-vision outpatient and Regional Amputation Center. She was a recognized expert on applying clinical video telehealth for rehab services with the VA system. Dr. Blake also was an associate professor for CU in the physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department. She also advocated for the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in providing rehab services. Awards include VA Service Award and VA Employee of the year from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Mountain States chapter), Golden Goniometer Teaching Award for CU’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department. Accepting her award will be her husband, Aaron Gordon.

    Carole Ricotta Guinane, class of 1974. B.A., Registered Nurse, MBA, USC-Pueblo. Work: Parkview Hospital, as a nurse and later an administrator. She was the lead clinical administrator there before joining Quorum Health in Nashville, where she helped start quality patient care programs that also helped lower patients’ costs. She also helped build MedCath, a 14-hospital company specializing in quality care of heart patients. From there she went to work on numerous quality initiatives for Novant Health, a multi-state hospital system located in North Carolina. Today she serves as Interim President and VP for System Orthopedics for Sentara Life Care, a not-for-profit group of 12 hospitals, outpatient care centers, imaging centers and more, based out of Virginia Beach, VA. She is the author of many books and articles on health care topics and has been a national and regional presenter. She chairs her company’s board of directors as well as serving as National Chairperson for the NAHQ Competency Commission for Healthcare Quality.

     

    Ruth Power Taravella, class of 1964. B.A., Physical Education, A.A., Early Childhood Education, USC-Pueblo. Work: Teacher at Vineland Middle School, where she was awarded the first Distinguished Teachers Award, 1985. M.A., Education Administration, K-12, CSU. Taught at North Mesa Elementary, then became D-70’s coordinator of State development. Named first female high school principal for the District in 1997, for the new Pueblo West High School, she oversaw construction of the school and growth of the student body from 198 to 1,003 students when she retired in 2004. Since then she has mentored principals throughout Colorado before becoming the Central High principal in 2011-12 during the search process. Central won the Lamp of Knowledge trophy for the first time that year. She also is active in her church.

    The candidates were chosen by a board committee and approved by the full board. Each of them has achieved significant standing and a record of service in academics, business, healthcare, education, non-profit, government, the arts, music, entertainment, or other legitimate areas as recognized on a city, state, national or world stage.

    They will be enshrined the night of Saturday, Nov. 3, at Pueblo Community College, during the Foundation’s annual fundraising banquet, which includes silent and live auctions. To reserve a seat, call 719.242.5620.

    The Alumni Foundation’s mission is to recognize and honor South High School alumni, to support existing school programs while developing innovative initiatives, and to uphold and support the institutional mission of South High School. Since it was formed in January 2006, the non-profit group has donated some $500,000 in cash and in-kind services to aid students, clubs and improve the school.

  • S-CL softball teams going through a youth movement

    8/11/18

    Fall is finally here.

    Well, not on an actual calendar, but the high school sports season begins today in Pueblo with Centennial High School opening the softball season. The Bulldogs play Air Academy at 6 p.m. at Runyon Field with first-year coach Erica Ortiz making her debut.

    That seems to be the theme for Pueblo-area softball this year, with quite a bit of youth for each program. South comes in, however, with six seniors on its roster. 

    "(The seniors) are pretty good players. They are all starters," South coach Wes Madrill said. "We've got some talent. Talent is good but it can only carry you so far. You have to have that commitment, that dedication to want to learn a little more and get better."

    Leading the way in the group of seniors is pitcher Makayla Keck, who started 19 of the Colts' 22 games last season. Her 2.61 ERA was third in the South-Central League behind two seniors who graduated. She noted how working on her breaking pitches was the main focus of the offseason.

    Keck won't be alone in the circle, though, as her fellow senior Maddie Nunez looks to be a part of the two-pitcher rotation. Nunez had a 1.24 ERA in 17 innings with four appearances.

    "I know it is hard to ride one pitcher, and not to toot my own horn, but I do want to be that pitcher," Keck said on the rotation plan. "I do want to be able to make it through state and still be healthy, still be able to pitch the third or fourth game in the state, be able to pitch the championship game." 

    For all of the returning seniors, this season is about getting the bad taste out of their mouth from last season. The Colts started 10-0 but went 4-4 in their final eight league games to finish 6-4 and in third place in the S-CL. They earned a spot in regionals but lost 8-5 to Elizabeth to miss out on a state bid.

    "Although the disappointing end, I feel like this year we are going to start off pretty strong. Practices have been going well," senior Stevi Nichols said. "This group of seniors is probably the best group of seniors you could ask for. They are just about family, no matter what."

    Added Madrill: "There were a couple things that haunted us. I don't foresee that this year. I foresee us being a team that you're going to have to come and play. If you don't come to play us, we are going beat you."

    Outside of South, none of the other Pueblo-area schools boasts many seniors. Besides Centennial, two other schools have new coaches with Fred Espinoza taking over at East and Danielle Villegas at Pueblo County.

    The Hornets come into this year after qualifying for the state tournament despite a 4-6 record and fourth-place finish in the S-CL. They return four seniors and most of their roster and are looking for a better finish in the league. 

    "Anytime you have a new coach come in, there is some big transitions because of new philosophies and everything else," Madrill said. "I don't know what really is going to happen as far as their impact on the league."

    Pueblo West went undefeated in the S-CL in 2017 but lost senior pitcher Jade Garbiso, who was second in the S-CL with a 1.82 ERA and had the most RBIs on the team with 26. She was one of three seniors who graduated.

    The Cyclones have one senior in catcher Grace Gonzales. who led the team last year with 31 hits and had the highest batting average at .517 on her way to being named second-team all-state in 4A. As for the pitching, Pueblo West has Garbiso's younger sister Jasmine to take over.

    The team with the highest expectations could be the 2017 4A state runner-ups, Central. The Wildcats reached the state finals behind first-team all-state pitcher Taylor Puga. She led the league with a 1.11 ERA and also drove in a team-high 32 RBIs.

    The Wildcats lost three seniors and have only two this year, fitting the youth theme. Most of them are returning starters though, so the Wildcats certainly look to be in the hunt for the S-CL title after finishing second in 2017.

    In 3A, Dolores Huerta Prep is looking for improvement after going 1-12 a season ago. The Scorpions forfeited seven games and their one win came against James Irwin, 13-12. They finished 1-11 in the District 2 league.

  • Prep practices kick off

    8/6/18

    One of the first teams to begin practice was South High School's football team, which was out on its practice fields early Monday morning.

    "This is the best time of the year right now. It's better than Christmas for me," Colts senior lineman Brendon Barela said. "You always look forward to it. The days leading up to it, that's all you're focused on. It's all you think about. It's what you work for during the summer. It's just exciting."

    The extra week will mean additional practice time for a lot of the teams in the nine fall sports. Practices began Monday for football, softball, volleyball, boys soccer, boys tennis, boys golf boys and girls cross country and gymnastics.

    A year ago, South's football team had just nine practices before it played its season opener. That was a 42-0 win at Wheat Ridge to begin a 13-1 season that ended in early December with a Class 4A state championship. 

    The Colts, who have moved down to Class 3A this season, open this year Aug. 24 at Holy Family.

    "The first practice always has a lot of energy. You always have kids that are focused," South coach Ryan Goddard said. "The biggest thing for us was just coming in here, making sure we had everyone cleared (to practice) and getting our guys on the field.

    "We're trying to build a culture every day. That's going to be a major focus for all of our guys. We've had success in the past because of that culture. … It's about understanding we have something to prove as a team and as individuals."

    East, Pueblo West and Rye also open their football seasons Aug. 24, which used to be called Zero Week.

    That's still far later than other sports begin. In fact, the first event of the fall in Pueblo is Friday when Centennial's softball team host Air Academy at 6 p.m. ay Runyon Sports Complex.

    East, County and Central also will compete in a boys golf tournament in Fowler the same day.

    "Fortunately, a lot of our players have been coming all summer and getting that cohesiveness," said Erica Ortiz, the Bulldogs' first-year softball coach. "It's four days and then we play a good Air Academy team. … It's something that will set the tone for the season. We have to have that mindset that we can go out and compete."

    Centennial went 4-15 last season and didn't play it's first game until Aug. 26.

    A few others sports will begin their game and schedules next week.

    The first scheduled event for boys tennis is Aug. 16. Boys soccer begins the next day and volleyball on Aug. 18. Cross country will begin Aug. 24 and gymnastics is the last to begin on Sept. 8.

     

  • Pueblo has forged share of state titles

    8/4/18

    For more than a century, Pueblo high school athletic teams have been in the spotlight. Not only have they achieved success in Southern Colorado, but statewide. 

    As in 89 state championships. That's the total number of titles Pueblo-area high school sports teams have claimed since 1913.The list is long and distinguished and includes nine high schools over those 105 years -- two of which are now middle schools -- Pleasant View and Roncalli.

    Interestingly, Central and South have claimed more than half the area's state crowns with 24 apiece. Centennial is next with 15, then Rye (8), East (6), Pueblo West and Pueblo County (4 apiece), Pleasant View (3) and Roncalli (1).

    Over the past seven years, Pueblo-area teams have hoisted 14 state championship trophies, one of the best runs in history -- four (in a row) in football, three in basketball, two in wrestling, baseball and golf and one in softball.

    Central has won the most football titles (6) but hasn't claimed one since 1965. Centennial and East have won three apiece with the Eagles riddling off three in a row from 2014-2016. There have been 15 total football crowns for Pueblo-area teams.

    South is the top basketball school, having won a combined seven state crowns in boys and girls hoops. Rye is next with four. Basketball is where the Pueblo-area teams have claimed the most gold with 18 championships. 

    Baseball has the third most titles with 12 as Central, South and Rye have won three apiece with Pleasant View two and Roncalli one.

    Cross-country (boys and girls) have won eight state titles, including the incredible run by the Centennial boys team in the late 1960s and early 1970s with five in a row and six in eight years.

    Golf (boys and girls) and tennis (boys and girls) are next with seven apiece.

    Then there is wrestling (6), softball (6), track (4, boys and girls), swimming (2), gymnastics (2) and cheerleading (2).

    Pueblo City Schools (D60) athletic director Rick Macias credits youth programs to Pueblo's success at the state level.

    "A lot of our youth programs are so strong that when (student-athletes) enter into high school kids are ready to play," Macias said. "The POWA, La Gente, Runyon Field, all those programs build these kids up. Kudos to our youth programs and to the middle school programs.

    "We have one of the best middle school programs in the state in district 60 and 60. They see competition early on. Our youth and middle school programs are a huge factor. We are fortunate to have those kids of programs in Pueblo and Pueblo County."

     

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  • Linking his game together

    7/26/18

    Jimmy Makloski stood with a smile on his face while holding a $10,000 check after a win at the Laramie (Wyo.) Open on July 9.

    The smile wasn't necessarily because of the money won at Jacoby Golf Course, it came from the clarification it provided.

    Makloski, who prepped at South High School and played collegiately at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, turned pro in late June 2017 and hadn't quite had the career he expected.

    He played between 15-20 tournaments and not one yielded a victory.

    It's not to say he expected an easy transition from amateur to pro, but Makloski had a solid collegiate career at CSU, which included multiple top-10 finishes.

    The early struggles weren't what Makloski expected to experience.

    "They make better decisions and they limit their mistakes very well," Makloski said. "As an amateur, you could get away with making mistakes. Out there, you make a couple of mistakes, and there's no way to catch up. You have to be smarter and sharpen your game."

    Makloski began to methodically pluck pieces from other golfer's games and implemented it into his own.

    "I've learned a lot of stuff in this past year, year and a half or so. It's all on you. You know they're going to do what they have to do," Makloski said. "You have to start doing it like that or your version of that if you want to compete with them."

    As an amateur, Makloski said he played every shot the same and always tried to hit the same shot.

    He'd play it safe and rely on his skill to get him out of jams.

    Makloski realized that needed to change on the pro circuit"You have to have shots where you can stay aggressive all the time and last year, I didn't have those," Makloski said. "Now I feel like I do. I feel like I'm seeing the results get better because of that."

    When Makloski shot his 3-under 170 for his first victory, not only did it boost his confidence, it showed him he was on the right path to his goals.

    "I can keep down that path and keep improving and get closer to that ultimate goal of making the PGA tour," Makloski said. "Everything is a building block for now. It's all working toward being ready for (qualifying) school every fall, which is the only way you can make those steps toward the Web.com and PGA tour.

    "It's one long process. It's a long shot, but that's what I'm trying to do."

  • South focusing on 2018, leaving state title in the past

    7/18/18

     

    South High School’s football team is a defending state champion. Talk to the Colts, however, you wouldn’t know it.

    The approach for the upcoming season isn’t about defending a title. Technically, they actually can’t. The Colts won the Class 4A state title a season ago — the first in the school’s history — and dropped to 3A for this season.

    That word defend, though, it’s been dropped from the team’s vocabulary.

    “We don’t mention the word in practice or at workouts,” South coach Ryan Goddard said Tuesday night as his team took part in a 7-on-7 camp at Pueblo County High School. “It’s about all our standards and all of our expectations. Our kids don’t talk about it. Our coaches don’t talk about it. It’s how we get better from here.”

    That process already has started for the Colts, as well as every other high school football team in the city and area. Pueblo County, Pueblo West, Central and Canon City also competed Tuesday in the varsity portion of the team camp.

    It’s less than three weeks until practices begin for real. Colorado pushed the prep season up a week this year to coincide with the schedule of the National Federation of State High School Associations, so teams can begin practices Aug. 6.

    South, East, Pueblo West and Rye all open the season Aug. 24.

    “We have a lot of new faces, but it’s about coming together like we did last year and not really focusing on the championship itself,” South senior linebacker Ryan Montoya said. “It’s about taking everything game by game, play by play and not looking toward the future. It’s week to week.”

    That approach worked wonders a season ago for the Colts, who went 13-1 and beat Pine Creek 25-14 at then-Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

    The Colts lost only one game — 55-54 in double-overtime at rival Pueblo West in the third game of the season. They also graduated the bulk of talent and experience from that squad. Needless to say, this season’s team has a different look and feel. Goddard believes there’s still plenty of talent, albeit young.

    “We’re excited about the guys we have in our program,” he said. “Obviously, we had loads of experience and those guys had all been on the field and done pretty terrific things for us. … Most of those guys were in the huddle for 2-3 years.

    “These guys got a lot of reps last season and a bunch in the postseason. It’s nice to see how that helped them develop and helped them grow. There’s some new faces, but we have the same standard and expectation.”

    Goddard pointed out the likes of Cedric Tillman and Jackson Dickerson replacing Marcell Barbee and Thomas Pannunzio. Logan Petit replaces Zach Cozzolino at quarterback. Connor Huth steps in for Steve Brock at running back.

    Montoya joins Braden Christie, Andrew Smith and Cody Graham as returners on a defense that played extremely well last season, especially in the postseason.

    Those guys, Montoya said, as well as the guys who saw playing time during the blowout wins, gained valuable experience and learned from the guys no longer on the program. It certainly should pay dividends this year.

    “It was almost follow the leader. Monkey see, monkey do,” Montoya said. “You saw this guy do it, so you followed it. Everyone just did their job.

    “A lot of kids have stepped up this summer and know what they’re doing. Last year was very important and I trust these guys.”

  • Pueblo well represented on the No. 1 ranked squad

    7/12/18

    There's another team from the Runyon Sports Complex enjoying a successful summer other than Team Loaf 'N Jug.

    The 18u Azteca (Nunez) girls softball team won the USSSA (18u B) Colorado State championship in Loveland this past weekend at the Barnes sports complex. That completed the summer schedule for the team, which finished with a sparkling 45-2-15 record.

    Azteca, ranked No. 1 in the state according to point totals in USSSA tournaments, went 5-0 in the state tournament.

    Representing all but Centennial High School in Pueblo, Azteca had players from Central, East, Pueblo County, Pueblo West and South.

    "We've had the same core of girls for three years, probably eight of them have played together," Azteca head coach Donald Nunez said. "We picked up some girls through tryouts."

    Gabe Mares and Randy Cordova helped Nunez coach.

    Nunez said he was happy to be able to coach such a talented group.

    "It was an excellent group. they have been very coachable and very good teammates with each other," Nunez said. "One of the things we taught our girls was to be good teammates. And they were. They picked each other up and always cheered for each other."

    Azteca played in the Runyon Field league during the week and traveled to tournaments all over the state on the weekends. They achieved plenty of success in nine tournament appearances, finishing first three times, second twice and third once.

    "On the field, all of them had unbelievable skills," Nunez said. "We only had two pitchers. They really owned their positions and always gave their best, left it all on the field.

    "They faced a lot of adversity, came out swinging and had a lot of fight in them. We were fortunate as coaches to have players like that."

    AZTECA ROSTER

    Annabella Archuletta, South

    Kristyna Arguello, Central

    Tori Cordova, Pueblo West

    Anna Decker, East

    Jaelee Delgado, South

    Nasya Madrid, East

    Kaylin Mares, Pueblo County

    Madison Nunez, South

    Anna Novak Palomar, Pueblo County

    Dekota Rojas, Pueblo West

    Ayanna Vigil, East

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