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Last week, The Times recapped the major events of the 2021 winter sports at Fountain Hills High School, and some of the spring sports as well. This week, The Times will look at the rest of the 2021 spring and fall seasons.

Unlike 2020, the fall teams of 2021 played full seasons and some athletes experienced the postseason for the first time in two years. There was one incident this past fall of an entire team needing to quarantine, but otherwise COVID had a minimal impact on Fountain Hills athletics.

Baseball

The Falcons were top-heavy with sluggers last year. The team graduated nine seniors, and eight of the 11 Falcons to earn region superlatives were seniors. Gabe Armstrong, Matt Pritchard, Hunter McAloon, Shane Davenport and Dylan Shipman were all seniors named to the 3A all-region first team. Zack Langer, a senior this year, was named co-region defensive player of the year last season.

Second-team selections were then junior Andy Lloyd, and seniors Drew Bothwell and Marc DeNinis. Senior AJ Hernandez and freshman Ty Langer were both honorable mentions.

The Falcons started the season with an 8-0 win over Payson, but they found themselves below .500 early in the season. A win over Northwest Christian put the Falcons at 3-3 before they dropped three in a row. The Falcons beat Payson 9-2 on April 12, and then won six of their last seven regular season games.

The Falcons ended the regular season 10-7 (7-3) and were the second seed entering the playoffs. They defeated Gilbert Christian (15-6) 10-3 in the first round, beat Yuma Catholic (17-4-1) 6-3 in the second round, and ultimately fell to Odyssey Institute (17-3) 6-5 in the semi-finals.

Softball

The Falcon softball team did not have a great record last year, 4-13 (1-9). The Falcons were a high-powered offense that averaged over eight runs a game, but the runs sometimes came sporadically. For instance, the Falcons started the season with a 23-22 loss at Eastmark, and the next day the Falcons lost 5-1 to Benjamin Franklin. The Falcons found their first win in game six, besting Valley Christian 11-10.

The Falcons hit their stride at the end of the season and won their last three games at home. They beat Camp Verde 19-7, Gilbert Christian 20-4 and ended the season with a 14-1 win over Arizona College Prep.

Last year’s senior captain, Kimberly Hoyt, hit a .480 average and brought in 14 RBI. Fellow senior Sydney Loyet led the team in runs, home runs and in batting average. Loyet hit .526, 29 runs and five homeruns. Current senior Michaela Quintana was the only other Falcon to hit over .400 last year. Quintana also had two home runs and tied Loyet with a team high 20 RBI.

Track and field

The track squad was a young team that made great strides. Sebastian Jackson, now a senior, was the only upperclassman on the team last year. Per athletic.net, Jackson was part of a 4x200 meter relay team that set a new school record. JP Cahill, Gavin Furi, Nicholas Ireton and Jackson ran the 200m relay in 1:44.11, breaking the 1:45.3 record set in 2020.

Jackson finished in sixth place with a personal record (11.71) in the 100m race at the Seton Catholic Last Chance Meet to end the season. Also at that meet, Erin Hooley finished in second and set a personal record in the 1600m race (5:46.05) and took eighth place with a PR (2:37.7) in the 800m race.

Tyler Irvine-Violette came in eighth in the 800m race with a PR (2:09.24), and fourth in the 1600m race with a PR (4:48.34). Ireton finished second in the triple jump (39-01.00), and Tyler Lawrence finished sixth (36-08.00) in that same event. Timothy Lamar (108-05) and Spencer Nelson (103-03) both finished in the top 10 of the javelin toss to end the season.

Football

Most teams at Fountain Hills high school are small, but the lack of depth was noticeable in football. The Falcons didn’t have 22 starters, and several athletes, especially seniors, were asked to play offense and defense. Injuries piled up as the season went on, so even the most even matchups became battles.

The Falcons started the season 2-0 with a 35-12 road win over American Leadership Academy -Ironwood and a 45-13 win at home against San Tan Valley. The Falcons traveled two and a half hours next to take on the defending state champions in Snowflake. Snowflake beat Fountain Hills 46-6, and the Lobos repeated with a second straight state championship this year.

Jimmy Curtis admitted that he had to adapt his coaching as the year progressed. Curtis spent his first year at Fountain Hills as defensive coordinator before being promoted last March after head coach after Jason Henslin stepped down after four years as the Falcons’ coach.

The Falcons ended the season 4-6 (1-3) thanks to wins over Coronado and Scottsdale Christian Academy in the last four weeks. Senior wide receiver Savion Boone received an honorable mention nod for 3A superlatives.

Volleyball

The varsity volleyball team was another young and developing team this past year. The Falcons had two seniors, two juniors and one brand new coach in Olivia Long. The Falcons got off to a rough start, but there were lots of encouraging signs at the end of the season, like seeing JV players step up in varsity games, and winning four of their last six home games.

The Falcons started 1-7 after a close 3-2 loss at Payson and a tough tournament. Then the team had to quarantine and delayed several games. The Falcons won their first home game of the season 3-1 against Payson, and they played well at home all season, winning six of their nine home games.

The Falcons were 3-9 before October began, but they won 8 of their 18 games in the last month of the season to finish 11-19. Due to injury, the Falcons only played with one senior and one junior most of the season. Soleil Smith was the only senior to play the whole season, but she will be succeeded by plenty of young talents next year.

Cross Country

The Falcons on the cross country squad had a good season and came close to qualifying both boys and girls teams for the state competition. Both teams had great showings at sectionals, but each team finished one place outside of qualifying for state.

Erin Hooley finished first overall at sectionals, and she finished in 34th (21:52.3) at state as an individual. Tyler Irvine-Violette finished in 14th place in sectionals, and 86th (18:55.4) at state.

Zion Atwood finished 46th (20:23.2) at sectionals, Skye Alker finished 28th (25:15.9) and freshman Shannon Breen finished 42nd (27:19.2) at sectionals. Neither team is graduating any seniors, but only the boys were able to fill a full team. The boys had nine runners, where the girls only had five. Varsity teams can run as many as seven players, but only five scores count. The cross country team hopes to grow and improve and have another strong season next year.

Swim

The aquatic Falcons had a strong showing in the program’s fourth year. There were six seniors on the team, and Grace Clark, Josef Johnson and Ender Trevena swam every year since the program started their freshman year. The other seniors were Vincenzo Caggiula, Izabell Butcher, and Kalista Johnson. Clark and junior Gunnar Wise qualified for state, and the Falcons set five school records over the season.

Clark finished in 13th place in the 200 IM at state (2:29.92), and Wise set the Fountain Hills record for 100 breaststroke (1:05.42) and took 13th place at state. Wise also set a personal record and finished in 8th place in the 50 freestyle at state (22.99). Earlier in the season, Clark set the school record for 100 butterfly (1:11.99) and Wise broke the 200 IM record with his new time (2:16.84).

The Falcons set a new record for the 400 freestyle relay three times throughout the season. The final record (4:08.82) was set by Josef Johnson, Raith Trevena, Brendan Davies and Wise. Davies also set a school record in 100 backstroke (1:17.95).

There were 18 swimmers this past year, and eight of them are rising seniors. There were only four underclassmen, but the graduating seniors helped to leave a legacy for future Falcons.