Each week, the azcentral.com Sports Awards will honor an Academic All-Star, a student-athlete who is dedicated to his or her communities and extracurricular activities.
This long-running list of the Academic All-Stars will be updated throughout the 2016-17 school year.?
To buy tickets for the azcentral.com Sports Awards, visit sportsawards.azcentral.com.
To nominate an Athlete or Academic All-Star, visit nominations.azcentral.com.
Academic All-Star of the Week for March 9-16
Has a 4.5 GPA … No. 6 in varsity tennis team … Third year in tennis … Won all three of her first matches of the season … Badminton team captain No. 1 varsity … Awarded Division and Section Player of the Year by the AIA her sophomore year … Plays the flute in band … National Hispanic Scholar … Student Council, Ping Pong Club and National Honor Society member … “I definitely go to bed each day tired, but a good, accomplished tired,” she said … Part of Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research … IB course candidate … Ranks 34 out of 674 in her senior class … Volunteer teacher for a badminton class at Arizona Badminton Center … Volunteers at Chandler Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center and with the State Music Festival … “She is very upbeat and happy,” coach Abe Olivas said … “But she made varsity because she persevered.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for March 2-9
Meagan Van Pelt
School: Phoenix Shadow Mountain
Sport: Track and Field
Has a 4.7 GPA … Runs the 400-, 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races … Cross country runner … Basketball forward … National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Society of Women Scholars member … Junior class vice president … Part of Matadors’ Your Caring Shadow, food and clothing drives for sister school Sweetwater … Volunteers with Arizona Game and Fish and the USDA … Placed seventh at state cross country meet … Holds Matadors’ cross country home course record at 19:19 … “I like (running), it gets me out and about,” she said … Said her track goals are to break 5 minutes in the mile and the school 800 record at 2:18 … “She’s a model kid,” coach Matt Shannon said. “She’s what you would want your whole team to be like.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Feb. 23-Mar. 2
School: Yuma Gila Ridge
Has a 4.12 GPA … Point guard … Led team with 11.2 points, 2.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game … Named AIA’s 4A Southwest Player of the Year for basketball … “I’ve been working to push myself … put it all out there on the court,” she said … Three-sport varsity student-athlete for four years … Plays right-side hitter and back row in volleyball … Competes in track’s 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and long jump … National Honor Society member … Plays club volleyball with Desert Stars … On travel basketball team Title IX … Planning on attending ASU as a preferred walk-on … “Her presence alone picks everyone up,” coach Jaime McGalliard said. “Her poise under pressure is unmatched.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Feb. 16-23
School: Gilbert Higley
Has a 4.1 GPA … Point guard and captain … First year on varsity, second year in basketball program … Also plays third base in softball … Scored a season-high 22 points against Apache Junction on Dec. 15 … “I want to improve on the highest level of expectations I can,” she said … National Honor Society member … Involved in the Best Buddies program and Higley’s Unified Sports … Started playing basketball in seventh grade … Wants to play in college … “She exemplifies everything you want in a student-athlete,” coach Brandon Large said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Feb. 9-16
School: Goodyear Desert Edge
Has a 4.97 GPA … Defender on varsity soccer team for three years … Also the Scorpions’ kicker on the football team … Ranked No. 1 in his class … Enrolled in five AP classes … Member of the Principal’s Advisory Committee, National Honor Society and the City of Goodyear Youth Commission … Playing soccer since he was 5 years old … “I can’t remember not playing soccer at this point,” he said … Hopes to build the soccer team as a whole both in athletic talent and camaraderie … “He’s able to play soccer as a chess match more than a checker game,” coach Justin Shalongo said. “… He’s thinking of the third move or the fourth move.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Feb. 2-9
School: Phoenix Cortez
Has a 4.23 GPA … Wrestles at 152 pounds … Four-year varsity wrestler … Also played football (middle linebacker/offensive lineman) … In the top 2 percent of his class … Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Math Club and Link Crew member … Poetry club president … National Honor Society officer … Student Body Treasurer of Student Council … Volunteer math tutor for Cortez … Volunteers at Maryvale Baptist Church … Became a U.S. citizen on Jan. 19 … “My parents are really hard-working people,” he said. “… That’s why I’m so involved in the ways I can. “… Attending ASU for psychology with classes in music production and theater … “The climate and culture he creates is amazing,” coach Zackary Meier said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Jan. 26-Feb. 2
School: Glendale Copper Canyon
Has a 4.5 GPA … Captain and guard … National Honor Society and Aztec Ambassadors member … Ranks in the top 1 percent of her junior class … The team’s leading scorer in wins against Phoenix Central and Avondale La Joya … Leads her team with 10.2 points per game, as of Jan. 26 … “I like being tired because that means I’m pushing myself,” she said … Competes in Team Bibby for club … Playing basketball since she was 8 years old … Grew up in El Salvador … Moved to Arizona three years ago … “She’s a hard worker, which translates to her outstanding work ethic on the court,” coach Andy Heytens said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Jan. 19-26
School: Tucson Flowing Wells
Has a 4.3 GPA … Guard and captain … Third varsity season … Valedictorian of her senior class … Leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game, as of Jan. 20 … “Every minute I’m in, I’m out just giving 100 percent effort,” she said … Voted on the Flowing Wells Holiday Shootout All-Tournament Team … College 101 Club officer … National Honor Society and Environmental Science Club member … Chemistry teacher’s aide … Competes in cross country and track and field’s 1,600 and 3,200 runs … Started playing basketball in seventh grade … Committed to Smith College in Massachusetts … “Right from the beginning, I knew she’d be a leader,” coach Michael Perkins said. ” … She’s a coach’s dream kid.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Jan. 12-19
School: Mesa Red Mountain
Has a 4.5 GPA … Captain and guard … Part of basketball program for four years with two on varsity …. Made a 70-footer, game-winning shot against Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Dec. 1 … National Honor Society and Student Council member … Math tutor … Student Athlete Core Leadership member, chosen by athletic director and coaches to represent Red Mountain boys basketball … “I try to take advantage of every opportunity and make it like my last,” he said … Playing since he was about 5 years old … Weighing college basketball and academic options … “He’s an extension of me as the coach,” coach Todd Fazio said. “I lean on him to do a lot for us on the court.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Jan. 5-12
School: Phoenix Brophy College Prep
Has a 4.2 GPA … Wrestles at 145 pounds … Captain … 24-6 record … Placed fifth in Prep Slam, the largest high school tournament in the country, in December … Went 9-0 at Puma Duals during the Dec. 10 weekend … “It’s really tough, but you feel the best when you come in and it’s just you and your opponent,” he said … An Eagle Scout … Student council and Big Brothers member … Wrestling for five years … Coach Wayne Catan said he adapts his wrestling style based on his opponent … “You talk to people around campus and they say, ‘It doesn’t get better than Luke Jacobs,’ ” Catan said. “He’s a paradigm for all student-athletes.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Dec. 29-Jan. 5
School: Tucson St. Augustine
Has a 4.18 GPA … Starting forward … Also plays tennis … First year playing basketball since sixth grade … “We have this team slogan: one team, one family,” she said. “It’s the epitome of our team.” … Student Council President for her sophomore class … Serves as a school ambassador by giving tours for students considering St. Augustine … Hopes to do a proper left-hand layup … Credits coach Mark Lugo for getting her out of her comfort zone in basketball … “She is an inspiration, and she is a respected member of the team,” Lugo said. “Her presence commands respect.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Dec. 22-29
School: Scottsdale Chaparral
Has a 4.93 GPA … Starting central defender since freshman year … Has two goals from corner kicks and free kicks as of Dec. 22 … Plays club for SC Del Sol … “My family played soccer … so I was thrown in and loved it ever since,” she said … Graduating third in her class of 539 … Member of National Charity League which allows her to volunteer with organizations like Casa de Paz and Home Fur Good … Member of school spirit club called Save Our Spirit (SOS) … AIA Scholar Athlete Award recipient … Committed to Bucknell University … “She leads by play and attitude on and off the field,” coach Robyn Carlson said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Dec. 15-22
School: Phoenix Horizon
Has a 4.53 GPA … Captain and starting point guard for the Horizon Huskies … Tied the school record for most assists in a single game with 16 on Dec. 1 against Maryvale … Leads team with an average of 11.8 assists per game … Averaging 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as of Dec. 16 … “I’m proud to represent my school and all the people I’ve been with for four years,” he said … Student body president … Leader for Horizon’s Dawg Pound … Mentor for incoming freshmen … Honors and AP student … Works at Top Golf in Scottsdale … “He’s a leader on and off the court,” coach Jerry Conner said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Dec. 8-15
School: Phoenix Mountain Pointe
Has a 4.0 GPA … Holding midfielder on the Pride’s varsity team … Enrolled in various honors and AP courses … On Nov. 29, she co-captained the team and scored the game-winning goal against Mesa Mountain View in the last 30 seconds … “I really believe that soccer is one of the most work-requiring sports,” she said … Plays club soccer with Phoenix Premier FC … Competed in soccer for 10 years … Pride’s Peak member, which is a club for the top students at Mountain Pointe … “She’s such a good member of the team,” coach Jazmyn Ledford said. “She’s just positive, bubbly and always looks on the bright side.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Dec. 1-8
School: Tempe Prep Academy
Has a 4.6 GPA … At the Division III state championship on Nov. 5, he won the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay … Set three Division III state records … “I was excited and happy to represent my team,” he said … Record-holder of five Tempe Prep school records: 50 free, 100 breast, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay … National Honor Society vice president … French Club treasurer … City of Tempe Mayor’s Youth Town Hall Representative … Has more than 100 community service hours … “He sets very clear goals but never complains about having to do the work,” coach Jenn Stephens said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Nov. 24-Dec. 1
School: Phoenix Desert Vista
Has a 4.2 GPA … Punter and kicker … Also plays soccer and baseball … Tied the Desert Vista record by making a 50-yard field goal midway through the season … Ended season making 11 of 14 field goals … “My favorite part is about building a brotherhood with teammates that you wouldn’t get anywhere else,” Erickson said … Kicking since freshman year and punting since sophomore season … Has four Division I offers … Volunteers at many organizations including Feed My Starving Children and United Blood Services … National Honor Society member … Fellowship of Christian Athletes member … “He’s one of the few and best combo players out there,” coach Dan Hinds said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Nov. 17-24
School: Tucson Sabino
Has a 4.19 GPA … Outside hitter and senior captain … Third in the 3A Conference for kills with 389 … Finished season with a .259 hitting percentage, 39 blocks, 77 digs and 25 aces … Plays club with Zona Volleyball Club since she was 11 years old … “When I first started playing, I didn’t think I’d like it, but the speed of the game is a lot of fun,” Spalt said … Senior class president of student council … Treasurer of National Honor Society and Math Club … Improv Club officer … Key Club member … Voted Player of the Year and the Offensive Player of the Year by region votes … Wants to study chemistry … Hopes to play college volleyball … “She is a leader and an absolute force on the court,” coach Courtney Pehl said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Nov. 10-17
School: Sahuarita Walden Grove
Has a 3.7 GPA … Swim team captain … Been on the team for two years … Last year at the state meet, Nay finished 11th in the 500 freestyle and ninth in the 100 backstroke … This year, he placed third in the 200 freestyle and first in the 100 freestyle … “Swimming is a mentally and physically tough sport because there’s so much you have to focus on,” he said … Swims club with Sahuarita Stingrays … His older sisters were involved in a swimming league, so Nay picked up the sport to join them … An Eagle Scout who was an assistant youth scout master … Over the summer, he went to Samoa to build houses through Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY) … “He’s a hard-working, earnest kind of swimmer,” club coach Kyle Tek said. “He’s always happy to put in the work.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Nov. 3-10
School: Gilbert Campo Verde
Has a 4.3 GPA … Co-captain … Went undefeated in singles and doubles in badminton … Won the 2016 Division II state doubles badminton title with Kelsey Decker … “Badminton is a lot of strategy,” she said. “If you can master that, you’ll win.”… President of symphonic orchestra … Plays violin … Link Crew Ambassador … Four-year BioMed student … National Honor Society President … Campo Verde’s tennis team co-captain … Peer leader in her church youth group … Gilbert Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council member … “She’s always striving to become the best at what she does,” coach Rochelle Burson said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Oct. 27-Nov. 3
School: Phoenix Greenway
Sport: Cross country
Has a 4.56 GPA … Team captain … Also runs distance for track and field … Captured her third consecutive district title in a meet-record time, 19:42.10, during the GUHSD Jamboree Championships on Oct. 19 … Led her team to the title and best points total in meet history … “Growing up, I did a lot of sports,” she said. “I didn’t mean to do (cross country), … but I found it was the best sport and the best fit.” … National Honor Society, Best Buddies and Speech & Debate member … Plays viola in District Honor Orchestra … Hopes to run at collegiate level … “She proves that you don’t have to be one-dimensional,” coach Alan Walker said. “You can be multi-dimensional and still be successful.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Oct. 20-27
School: Phoenix Pinnacle
Has a 4.3 GPA … Four-year member of Pinnacle’s varsity golf team … Helped team recently win the Chaparral Invitational … National Honor Society member … Mentor’s Club, AP Chemistry Club and Bioneers Club member … Also plays for Pinnacle’s Sand Volleyball Enthusiasts Club team and the Ultimate Frisbee team …Works as a lifeguard for the Desert Foothills YMCA … Played golf since sixth grade … “He’s a solid, quiet leader,” coach Keith Bacon said. “He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he picks his words wisely.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Oct. 13-20
School: Sahuarita Walden Grove
Has a 4.39 GPA … Outside hitter and captain … Member of the varsity team for three years … Leads the Red Wolves with 38 kills, as of Thursday … Played club volleyball with Dinamo, Southern Arizona Volleyball Academy and Club Cactus … National Honor Society member … Student government member for two years … Elected student body secretary … Student Teen Advisory Council member … Volunteers with the Green Valley Firefighters Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association … “She is a leader by actions and words,” coach Jose Robles said. “Her personality is her greatest strength.”
Academic All-Star of the Week for Oct. 6-13
School: Tucson The Gregory School
Sport: Cross Country
Has a 4.2 GPA … Placed first in The Gregory School at the San Manuel and the Los Mezquites Invitational … Soccer goalkeeper … High Honor Roll student … National Honor Society member … Co-captain of Robotics team, which won an Inspire Award and qualified for the state tournament and super-regional … Math Olympiad team member … In charge of lighting design and operation for school theater productions … Recipient of Merit Scholarship to help fund science program at the Technion in Israel over the summer … “He’s an overall delight to have on campus,” athletic director Angela Vande Mheen said.
Academic All-Star of the Week for Sept. 29-Oct. 6
School: Tucson Salpointe Catholic
Has a 4.2 GPA … Finished seventh (with a score of 159) at the Xavier Invitational at GCU Golf Course Sept. 23-24 … State’s fifth-ranked junior in all divisions, as of Thursday … Elected Junior Class Treasurer for Student Council and attended AASC Spirit Conference for student leadership … Salpointe Thespian Club officer … Regular altar server at Saint Cyril of Alexandria Church … Volunteers with Kids of Steele, an organization that works to improve the lives of UA Steele Center patients … “Her game is very consistent,” coach Scott Evans said. “You can always count on her to produce a score you’d expect.”
Academic All-Star for Sept. 22-29
School: Gilbert Perry
Has 4.0 GPA … Varsity No. 2 singles and varsity No. 1 doubles for the Pumas … Earned the AIA Scholar Athlete award each year … Ranked 13th out of 775 seniors at Perry … Competes in track and field’s long, high and triple jumps … Volunteers at ICAN, a Chandler after-school program for impoverished youth and Hope’s Closet with the New Life Center, a shelter for domestic abuse victims … Received Perry’s Double Varsity Athlete Scholar Award twice … President of Badminton Club … Member, playing piano for elderly, of Music Therapy Club … “The little things mean so much to her, and you can see her passion in her play,” coach Lerina Johnson said.
Academic All-Star for Sept. 15-22
School: Goodyear Trivium Prep Academy
Sport: Cross Country
Has a 3.9 GPA … Cross country captain and track and field distance runner … Placed sixth at 18:27 in the season opener, the Scottsdale Prep Invitational, which is just 26 seconds off last season’s personal best … Ranked in the top 20 in Division IV as of Thursday … Worked as an intern for John McCain re-election campaign during the summer, spending about 320 hours and more than 45 days working … Yearbook photo editor … House Leader in the school’s mentorship program, guiding sixth to 12th-grade students at the school … Baritone section leader in Harmonics, a barbershop choir … Straight-A student with Honors-level classes … “Jack is an individual who leads by example,” coach Shon Washburn said.