2015: The Year in Tucson sports - Tucson News Now

2015: The Year in Tucson sports

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

2015 left us with many great sports memories. In a two-part montage. We take a look at some of the more exciting sports moments that we saw this past year here in Southern Arizona.

Part 1

* Marana Flag Football won a National Championship to begin the year
* The Super Bowl came back to Arizona bringing thousands of Patriot and Seahawks fans to Glendale
* Sabino's Marcus Edwards signed with Navy to continue his football career
* The Desert Diamond Club featured U.S. Men's national soccer team hero Clint Dempsey
* Sahuaro Basketball honored team mom Cathy Gary prior to her death from cancer
* Jorge Carrasco led Cholla to a state tournament win over Tucson.
* Sean Miller leads UA to the Pac-12 title with Rondae Hollis Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, T-J McConnell and Stanley Johnson
* The Wildcats though would fall in the Elite Eight to Wisconsin
* UA alum Chip Hale took over as manager of the Diamondbacks
* Nogales native Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah who won the Kentucky Derby to the excitement of Baffert's young son
* American Pharoah would go on to win the first horse racing Triple Crown in 37 years
* Katyiana Mauga's bat powered Arizona Softball in 2015 as the Cats advanced to Super Regionals on a walkoff single by Kellie Fox
* Cienega Boys Volleyball showed swagger when one of their teammates served an ace
* Kayla Green led Cienega Softball to a state championship
* Salpointe Catholic's Donny Sands had a memorable pitching performance in an epic game with Tucson that the Badgers won 4-3 on a walkoff double by Fernando Mungaray
* CDO beat the Badgers in Phoenix to win the Division II state baseball championship
* Kevin Newman stole home in the bottom of the 9th to help Arizona Baseball beat Rice
* Andy Lopez retired as the Wildcats Baseball coach
* UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne hired Jay Johnson as the Wildcats new baseball coach
* Andre Iguodala led a contingent of Arizona Basketball alums including Golden State head coach Steve Kerr to the NBA Championship
* Sahuaro’s softball team song Lean on Me as a motivational tool before games
* Aerosmith's Steven Tyler rejoiced in the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Seahawks

Part 2

* Sahuarita's Anthony Birchak knocks out Joe Soto to win his first UFC fight
* The UA 4-by-400 men's relay team advances to the NCAA Championships for the first time in 34 years
* New UA Baseball coach Jay Johnson throws out the first pitch the UA alum Chip Hale at the Diamondbacks game
* Hale got ejected for the first time of his career in a July game against the Mets
* Gage McCoy is one of many youngsters learning the art of competitive racing out at the Tucson Quarter Midget Association
* The FC Tucson Women just missed out on making the post-season while FC Tucson's Pedro Espindola delighted crowds all summer at Kino North Stadium
* Rio Rico Little League got disqualified from the state tournament but Noagles advanced to the Seniors World Series and the Sunnyside Juniors made a trip to their World Series
* Vanessa Robinson won three races in the NASCAR Whelen All-American series and was named Rookie of the Year at Tucson Speedway
* The Wildcats lost All-American linebacker Scooby Wright to injury in the season's first game
* Arizona Soccer advances to the NCAA Tournament thanks to great penalty kick saves like this one by goal keeper Lainey Burdette
* Will Parks had college football's Hit of the Year on Oregon State’s Jordan Villamin
* Sahuarita's Gabe Hernandez kicked a 52-yard field goal in win over crosstown rival Walden Grove
* Tucson's Mia Sokolowski was the top prep volleyball player in Southern Arizona and signed to play in college at NCAA powerhouse Florida
* Salpointe Catholic though was the top prep volleyball team advancing to the Division II Final Four
* There was no better prep football player than Flowing Wells' Dionte Flores
* Pima Men’s Soccer made a return to the National tournament for a second straight year.
* The Pima women's team also made it to Nationals while Aztec Football had a fabulous season finishing 7-4
* Triple crown winning horse trainer Bob Baffert returned to a standing ovation at his alma mater
* Pusch Ridge Christian Academy won their first ever state football title
* Kalei Mau led UA Volleyball back to the NCAA Tournament
* Arizona Football once again upset a Top 10 at the Stadium when the Wildcats took down 10th ranked Utah in double overtime
* Tucson High's Alexis Cortez joined the 2,000-point club
* Gabe York and UA Basketball went 12-1 in the non-conference to start the season
* Scooby Wright had 15 tackles and two sacks in his final UA game declaring after the New Mexico Bowl that he would leave for the NFL

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