Scottsdale Independent

Scottsdale student-athletes take center stage at All-District Banquet

Recipients of the Charro Foundation Scholarship Awards: Luke Donovan of Desert Mountain and Sloane Van Zanen of Arcadia. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Scottsdale student-athletes, coaches, parents and administrators converged for a night of frivolity and recognition at the All-District Banquet where the spotlight was reserved for the student-athletes.

The McCormick, 7401 N. Scottsdale Road, played host to the tri-annual banquet Monday, Dec. 4, which starred fall sports athletes from Scottsdale Unified School District’s five high schools.

Fall sports include badminton, cross-country, football, golf, swim and volleyball.

Coaches from each school introduced their players who made the all-district team while two student-athletes earned $500 scholarship awards from The Charro Foundation.

This banquet’s recipients included Desert Mountain High School football player Luke Donovan and Arcadia High School Golfer Sloane Van Zanen.

SUSD Athletic Director Nathan Slater said it’s important to take a moment to recognize student-athletes whenever the opportunity presents itself.

“We have a lot of negativity out in the world and to show some positivity is always a breath of fresh air,” he said following the event.

Arcadia boy's golf (from left to right): Tucker Clark and Gavin Aurilia. Presenting: Head Coach Daniel Thompsett. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia boy's cross-country: Dallas Greene. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia football (from left to right): Josh Peterson and Justin Skinner. Presenting: Head Coach Tony Stillings. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia girl's golf: Sloane Van Zanen. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia girl's swim (from left to right): Sydney Carlson and Isabella Fratesi. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia volleyball (from left to right): Rylie Satran and Jade Smith. Presenting: Head Coach Jackie Bunker. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Arcadia girl's cross-country: Nicole Kaiser. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral Badminton (from left to right): Jerikah Davis and Taylor Alphabet. Not pictured: Elena Buonocore. Presenting: Head Coach Carrie Davis. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral boy's golf (from left to right): Mason Nam, Jack Whisler and Mason Domecq. Presenting: Head Coach Dan Peterson. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral boy's swimming (from left to right): Matt Leblanc and Sam Acheson. Not pictured: Richard Popper. Presenting: Head Coach Richie Krzyzanowski. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral football (from left to right): Jaxon Richards, Craig McFarland, Sam Harper, Tommy Christakos and Zien Tessler. Not pictured: Darvon Hubbard. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral girl's swim (from left to right): Emilia Waters, Ashley Strouse, Samantha Krew, Greer Pattinson and Riley Courtney. Presenting: Head Coach Richie Krzyzanowski. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral volleyball (from left to right): Kylee Davis and Katherine Van Houten. Presenting: Head Coach Holly Tiffany. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Chaparral girl's cross-country (from left to right): Abi Archer and Sarah Turner. Not pictured: Tiaree Towler. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Recipients of the Charro Foundation Scholarship Awards: Luke Donovan of Desert Mountain and Sloane Van Zanen of Arcadia. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Coronado football (from left to right): Zach Lewis and Akime Coney. Presenting: Head Coach Curt LeBlanc. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Coronado volleyball: hitter/setter Taeler Jones. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Desert Mountain boy's cross-country (from left to right): Connor Heron and Caden Hercules. Presenting: Head Coach Kevin Kemmerle. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Desert Mountain football (from left to right): Nick Hill, Luke Donovan, Josh Walker, Andrew Vanhof, Cole Daddario, Brayden Narveson, Ben Roots and Kedon Slovis. Presenting: Head Coach David Sedmak. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Desert Mountain girl's golf (from left to right): Sneha Yadav and Sydnee DiMascio. Presenting: Head Coach David Williams. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Desert Mountain volleyball: middle blocker Lillian Leistiko. Desert Mountain Athletic Director Stephen Cervantez presenting. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Luis Gonzalez, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, speaks at the fall sports All-District Athletics Awards Banquet. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Greg Skelton (left), Team Lead of SUSD Grounds Department and recipient of the SUSD Athletics Appreciation Award, and Nathan Slater (right), SUSD Director of Athletics. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Saguaro boy's cross-country: Mark Wogan. Not pictured: Adam Gilbreath. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Saguaro football team (from left to right): Clayton Randall, Giovanni Miranda, Max Massingale, Antonio Cuevas, Logan Pettijohn, Michael Maafu, Patrick McInerney and Josiah Bradley. Not pictured: Ruben Pimbert. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)
Saguaro volleyball team: middle blocker Dallas Taylor. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

The banquet’s keynote speaker was Luis Gonzalez, senior advisor to the president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mr. Gonzalez’ message to the young scholar-athletes was people like him are looking for the next big star and there’s nothing stopping them from reaching those heights.

He also said while some athletes get to take the elevator to success, many have to take the stairs, putting in the work to reach the top.

Following his remarks, coaches then presented their teams to those in attendance while giving a small snippet of information on each one.

In order to qualify for the all-district team, athletes in individual sports have to place at the district meet or invitational while head coaches determine who makes it from team sports.

Arcadia Girl’s Cross-Country Head Coach Sarah Boustila said she notices her runners performing hard to reach to place at the district meet because they want to attend the banquet.

“It’s neat that they’re so gung-ho, from the cross-country aspect of it, to make it and to be able to come to this event,” she said after the banquet.

Along with All-District Awards, the Scottsdale Charros awarded a pair of scholarship awards to two student-athletes.

Athletic directors and coaches nominate someone for this award “based on character, academics, community service, athletics and future plans.”

Donovan said he greatly appreciates the Charros and their commitment to education.

“I love how they support education because it’s scholar before athlete,” he said after the event. “That’s definitely something my parents have taught me and something Desert Mountain preaches.”

This banquet was the first of three that span the 2017-18 school year. The next one will be Monday, March 26 for the winter sports with the one for the spring sports slated for Monday, May 14.

Luis Gonzalez, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, speaks at the fall sports All-District Athletics Awards Banquet. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)