KINGMAN - When I began to put together my favorite Kingman sports memories of 2010, I couldn't contain the chuckle that rose up through my throat. One of the first things I found out is that 2010 was the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese calendar, and it certainly was locally.
What made the list below special to me were the accomplishments attained and the quests people went on to achieve their goals. With that, let the drum roll begin.
10. The Skeleton Man. We were introduced to Chris Novak who, after watching the Winter Olympics in February, decided he wanted to be a skeleton slider for the U.S. Olympic team. Novak, 16, went to Lake Placid, N.Y., to learn how to drive and has been continually training in Park City, Utah, where he has demonstrated real potential. He recently went to Calgary, Canada, with Utah Athletic Foundation Bobsled and Skeleton coach Pat Brown. There will be an update soon about that experience.
9. Kingman Academy High baseball. The Tigers captured the 2010 Charter Athletic Association state championship with a 16-4 record in their second season of existence under the guidance of coach Bill McCord. In 2009, KAHS finished second at state. There's a lot of youth on that team, and a dynasty should be forming.
8. Jon Casson, KHS boys tennis. For the majority of his young life, Casson was pretty much a self-taught tennis player. He graduated in June after reaching the quarterfinals in the Arizona Interscholastic Association Class 5A-II singles tournament. He parlayed his career at KHS into a scholarship to Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., where he posted a 3-2 singles record and went 4-4 in doubles during this past fall season.
7. Kaylee Mueller, KAHS girls cross country. Mueller won her second consecutive CAA state championship in October. Aside from that great accomplishment, Mueller went out of her way to ensure that runner-up Shiloh Tartaglia of Higley BIOS Academy finished the race by running with her at the finish. Mueller epitomizes how a champion acts.
6. Keith Milkie, KHS wrestling. The 215-pound senior finished sixth at state in February as a junior, and it looks as if he's going to make a serious run for all the marbles in 2011. Milkie recently set the school record for quickest pin with a 6-second win. He's yet to lose this season.
5. KAHS cross country teams. Don't be surprised if you look up the word dynasty in the dictionary
and see these Tigers pictured. The girls captured their seventh consecutive charter school state championship, and the boys won their second consecutive and sixth out of the last seven in October. The girls took seven of the top-10 places at state in October and will lose only two seniors. The boys lose three of their top five runners but have shown in the past they can rebuild quickly.
4. Lindsey Reed, KHS girls basketball. Reed wrapped up her four-year career at KHS when she averaged 21 points per game for the Lady Bulldogs. She earned her second consecutive Northwest Region Player of the Year award and was named to the AIA 5A-II First Team. She's moved on to play for NCAA Division I Idaho State where she's averaging 33 minutes a game. The 8-4 Bengals are on a five-game winning streak. Reed is averaging 10.5 points per game, and her 5.7 rebounds per game leads the team. She's second in total rebounds with 68 and is second with 23 assists.
3. KAHS softball. The 13-1 Tigers won their second consecutive CAA state championship this past year. The one loss KAHS suffered during the season snapped a 24-game winning streak, but the Tigers ended the year on a 10-game win streak, including a 16-4 win over Mesa Heritage in the state title game. It was Heritage who had beaten the Tigers earlier in the season. The Tigers won these titles under the direction of Art and Sarah Cassman, but the coaches moved to Las Vegas over the summer.
2. KHS girls basketball. The Lady Bulldogs posted the best record, 24-5, in school history and advanced to the AIA 5A-II quarterfinals for the second year in a row. KHS won 15 consecutive games at one point during the season and began the regular season 11-0. The Lady Bulldogs were seeded No. 3 at the state tournament and hosted two playoff games. KHS was upset by No. 11 Glendale Ironwood 61-57 in double overtime to end the year.
1. KAHS football. The Tigers began the season with a bunch of questions. They had their third coach, Eugene Kramer, in three years and had finished the previous two with losses in the CAA semifinals. Kramer got it all to click, and KAHS went 10-0 to capture the first-ever high school football state title in Kingman. The Tigers put an exclamation mark on the year when they beat their rivals Mesa Sequoia 50-22 in the championship game.