Arizona’s high school sports calendar is already accelerating toward the postseason in a handful of sports. With that in mind, here are eight key questions in fall sports, other than football, that we’re looking at. For soccer questions, Richard Obert of The Republic has you covered.
What is the pecking order in 5A volleyball?
During the first month of high school volleyball, the top four schools in 5A seem to have broken away from the pack. Combined, those schools – Horizon, Millennium, Cactus Shadows and Notre Dame Prep – are 74-17. However, separating them is a more complicated task.
Take Horizon, for example. The Huskies are already 1-2 against Millennium, 1-0 against Notre Dame Prep and 0-1 against the Cactus Shadows. Meanwhile, Notre Dame Prep have their share of impressive wins over 6A schools, while Millennium took down the Cactus Shadows in the season opener. In short: everything is a messy jumble. Perhaps the final month of the regular season will offer more answers.
Are Corona del Sol and Hamilton volleyball on a collision course?
In 6A, on the other hand, Corona del Sol and Hamilton clearly look like the top two teams, an observation backed up by the AIA rankings. Corona del Sol has a team rating of 26.6, while Hamilton has a team rating of 23.2. No other school in the conference is above 20.
However, that does not mean that Corona del Sol and Hamilton are unbeatable. The Aztecs have lost to Sunnyslope, while the Huskies have lost to Gilbert and Queen Creek. Those three schools could make deep runs next month.
Can Perry volleyball finally get a win over Hamilton?
Speaking of 6A contenders, Perry hasn’t lived up to preseason expectations that he could contend for Hamilton’s crown. However, most of that disappointment came in two losses to the Huskies. The Pumas will get their third and last chance of the regular season on October 19. A victory would be an important statement before the playoffs.
For subscribers:the Republic Women’s Super 10 High School Volleyball Ranking
Is small school volleyball as open as it seems?
Unlike the great schools in the Phoenix area, the top teams in 3A and 2A are scattered throughout the state. That means contenders for the small school title rarely play each other.
So with three weeks remaining in the regular season, there’s little to separate them. In the AIA rankings, Snowflake is at the top 3A, while Horizon Honors is at the top 2A. However, none have a substantial lead over the rest of the top five in their respective conferences.
Can the underpowered make noise in women’s football?
The two best small school girls’ soccer teams are, by some margin, Northland Prep and Chino Valley. They have split their meetings against each other, while remaining undefeated against everyone else in the state.
As a result, they have virtually insured the absence of six teams from the postseason. That, however, does not mean that no one else can compete. No. 5 Show Low has pushed both Northland Prep and Chino Valley to 3-2 losses. The No. 4 St. Johns have also scored twice against each of the top two teams.
Those schools may have to meet in a play-in game, but the winner could upset and end six straight years of Northland Prep or Chino Valley winning the state title.
Will Catalina Foothills running back Brandon Martz keep it up?
As a junior last fall, Martz never broke the 16-minute barrier in six cross-country races. This year, his first 5K time was a stunning 15:10.1. That was not an outlier either. Two weeks earlier, he ran 15:12.8 in the three miles.
At this rate, Martz could challenge Billy Orman’s state championship record time of 15:03.32, which he set for Tuba City in 2010. After finishing seventh in the Division II/III championships last year, it would be history. remarkable.
Who will win the Hamilton-Perry badminton showdown?
Next week’s Hamilton-Perry badminton showdown might not attract as much attention as this Friday’s soccer game, or even their next volleyball meeting. But the two schools are a combined 25-0 this year and rank first and second in the AIA rankings.
Perry has won five straight championships, so a victory for Hamilton would signal a possible changing of the guard at the state tournament later this month.
Can anyone challenge Chaparral and Brophy in the men’s swim?
Entering October, Chaparral and Brophy are the top two teams in the state by a comfortable margin, as expected before the year. Pinnacle and Desert Vista, the third and fourth ranked teams, respectively, each have one game remaining to make a statement before the state championship on November 4-5.
Theo Mackie covers Arizona high school sports and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He can be reached via email at [email protected] and on Twitter @theo_mackie.