The Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club Annual Sports Banquet presented by the State Farm Agents of Yuma will be held virtually this year. It will be broadcast on the Yuma Sun’s Facebook pages — facebook.com/YumaSunNews and facebook.com/YumaSunSports — next Monday, May 18, at 6 p.m.
The broadcast will highlight fall- and winter-sport Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club all-region selections. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic, spring-sport selections were not made.
The broadcast will conclude with the revealing of the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club Male Athlete, Female Athlete and Coach of the Year winners, as chosen from the following group of finalists:
(Note: Due to the spring sports season being cut short, spring-sport accomplishments were not considered for these awards)
• Jayden Dobson, Yuma High junior: Dobson, the Yuma Sun Boys Wrestler of the Year, won the AIA Division III 220-pound individual state title to help the Criminals also win the team title. Not just a wrestler, Dobson also played football in the fall and was named AIA All-4A Southwest Region Second Team as a defensive lineman. Dobson has since transferred to Yuma Catholic.
• Zeke Guerrero, Cibola senior: Guerrero earned Yuma Sun all-region honors in both football and wrestling. As a wrestler, he was the AIA Division I 145-pound individual state champ. As a linebacker in football, he ranked second on Cibola in tackles with 86.
• Liam Hoffmeyer, Cibola junior: Like both Dobson and Guerrero, Hoffmeyer played football in the fall and wrestled in the winter. In wrestling, he captured the AIA Division I 195-pound individual state title. As a tight end in football, a sport for which he’s drawing NCAA Division I interest, he caught 20 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns.
• Emma Amon, Cibola sophomore: A one-sport star, Amon turned in a record-breaking season for the Cibola swimming program in the fall to earn Yuma Sun Girls Swimmer of the Year honors. At the AIA Division I state meet, she became the first Cibola girls swimmer ever to place top-10 in two events at the state’s highest classification, taking seventh in the 100 breast and ninth in the 200 IM.
• Kylee Gerber, Gila Ridge junior: Gerber, the Yuma Sun Girls Golfer of the Year, was far and away the best YUHSD girls golfer in the fall, and she capped her season with a tied-for-20th-place finish at the Division II state tournament — the highest-ever by a Gila Ridge girls golfer. Not only a golfer, Gerber wrestled in the winter and was a state qualifier.
• Carolina Moreno, Kofa junior: Another one-sport star like Amon, Moreno was absolutely dominant en route to winning a second straight AIA wrestling state title and her second straight Yuma Sun Girls Wrestler of the Year award. She finished 27-0 overall, and at state, she won all four of her matches via fall or tech fall.
• John Ellegood, Gila Ridge football: In his first year as the Hawks’ coach, Ellegood guided Gila Ridge to easily the program’s best-ever season. Gila Ridge went 9-1 in the regular season, and then as the No. 9 seed in the 4A state playoffs, the Hawks became the first YUHSD football team since 1965 to win a state playoff game when they edged No. 8 Coconino in the first round. Not done yet, the Hawks then upset No. 1 Sahuaro in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 4 Desert Edge in the semis.
• Ralph Evans, Yuma Catholic boys soccer: In what was supposed to be a down year for Evans’ program, the Shamrocks (13-4 AIA) went on a postseason Cinderella run and reached the 3A state championship game for the fifth time in six years — despite being No. 17 in the final 3A regular-season rankings. YC beat the No. 16 seed in the play-in round, then the No. 3, No. 11 and No. 2 seeds in the tournament before finally falling to No. 5 Veritas Prep in the title game. This was Evans’ 11th year as YC’s coach.
• Jeff Welsing, Yuma High wrestling: Only one local high school team won a state championship during the 2019-20 school year, and that was Welsing’s Yuma High wrestling squad, which captured the AIA Division III title for the second time in three years. The Criminals produced one individual state champ and four other top-five placers en route to the first-place finish. This was Welsing’s 15th year as Yuma High’s coach.