A Farewell To Our Fall Sports: Senior Edition Q&A

A Farewell To Our Fall Sports: Senior Edition Q&A

Hennessy Gonzalez, OwlFeed Sports Reporter

Throughout the month of October, we have had many Senior Nights to honor our Fall Sports Seniors: Football, Swim, Cheer, Pom, Volleyball, Cross Country, Band, Badminton, Golf, and our Student Trainers, have all been showcased at least one night this past month. The young individuals who have shown integrity, dedication, perseverance and so many other amazing qualities throughout their four years of high school will be showcased below, along with a message from their coaches and a description from our stars themselves.


Questions Asked & Answered By Our Athletes:


What is your favorite memory from your sport? 

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? 

What is one thing you look forward to in the future? 

What is one thing you will miss about high school?



Tanner Johnson: “My favorite memory of the swim team has to be the first invite I went to. To see how many people shared my passion for swimming, there is one pool it was an amazing experience. In ten years, I see myself working in the power industry, whether that be at Palo Verde or elsewhere. One thing I look forward to in the future is being able to follow a career path that I can grow inside of for as long as I end up working for. The main thing I will miss about high school is the people and the teachers. Over my four years at Agua Fria, I’ve felt a genuine connection with the teachers and my classmates.”

Photo Credit: AF Swim Page

Message from Hannah Snell: “Tanner, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed coaching you during your time in high school. You proved to be hardworking, passionate (especially about breaststroke!), and a strong leader for our boy’s team. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!”


Message from Ian Murphy: “It has been a joy to watch Tanner develop as a person, student, and swimmer – in that order, over my 3 years as his coach. He has grown immensely as a person in the 4 years he was on the team, and I watched him grow from a quiet sophomore to a senior leader and someone who could be counted on to do the hard work to improve in and out of the pool. I appreciated that Tanner always knew school came first and would communicate with me if he was going to miss practice. There are people who simply go through a program; there are people who leave an impact, and I know Tanner is one who left an impact.”



Leslie Vergara Gallardo: “My favorite memory was meeting other bands at football games; there was always positive energy. 10 years from now I see myself pursuing a career in nursing. In the future, I look forward to seeing what each band member has accomplished and how everyone is doing. I will miss the people, and the activities I did with the band.”


Jazmine Contreras: “My favorite memory would be the bus rides home from competitions. In 10 years I see myself being a music therapist helping people through music. In the future, I look forward to seeing myself as a better musician. I’ll miss the people that I’ve met in band and the friends I made along the way.”


Aurora Medrano-Carranza: “My favorite memory was performing in winter percussion. In 10 years, I see myself being a music educator and going around performing with other musicians. In the future, I look forward to coming back to visit the band every once in a while to see how they’re doing, also being in college and learning about different instruments sounds very cool. I think I will miss my section the most. The best memories I’ve had were with the people I performed with. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress they’ve made and the progress that will continue to grow.”


Photo Credit: Jeremy Garcia

Risa Ellison: “My favorite memory from band was hosting our home competition, having the crowd cheer for you, seeing everyone smile and having that moment of joy after. I see myself in 10 years teaching other people how to enjoy music. I look forward to joining a college band or even joining a winter guard group like Breakthrough or Vision. I will miss the community, my teachers, but mostly my friends.” 


Macayla Johnson: “My favorite memory from the band was going to UoA every year for a competition and meeting people from their band. What I see myself in 10 years is working at an animal vet clinic. One thing that I look forward to is coming back and watching the band improve and grow each year. What I will miss are my friends.”


Message from Jeremy Garcia: “Seniors, you have had a lifetime of memories in the past four years in the band program, both good, sad, and everything in between. Thank you for giving the music program your all. You have had a lasting impact on the band.

Good luck in your future and make sure to visit!”

Message from Sarah Dehnbostel: “Your dedication to the band family has left an impression on your fellow members, staff, and the whole school community. Thank you for your hours of hard work and perseverance through the challenges you’ve faced these past four years. Remember 

to take that love, drive, and passion with you through the next chapter of your life, and trust that you can achieve your next goals as long as you commit yourself to getting there.” 



Photo Credit: Jenielle Sephia Bongo

Alissah Smith: “My favorite memory this season was being able to spend time with my friends Sofia and Jenielle. Honestly, I don’t know but hopefully somewhere with a nice home or apartment with a hobby that I like and some bomb food. How I’m going to figure out what is gonna change and what decision I have made to be where I am in the future (If that makes sense). Probably just being free. I know that high school isn’t stress free but entering the real world comes with bigger problems and that is something that high school kind of takes off your shoulders for 4 years. Entering the real world all of that just falls back onto you.”

Message From Coach

Message from Heather McCarthy: “Alissah–the best team captain and senior! Gosh, there are so many nice things I can say about her. She gets along with everyone, inspires everyone including the adults to be their absolute best and is just an all around great person. I know Alissah is going to go on to great things in her life and I can’t wait to see what she decides to do!” 



Brennan Eich: “My favorite memory is when we had our tournament up in flagstaff my sophomore year. In 10 years, I hope to see myself somewhere in the film industry and hopefully have a good lifestyle. I look forward to furthering my film education at college and also having new experiences there. One thing I’ll miss most is the teachers and coaches, they’ve been a big help and are the reason Agua Fria has a good name.”

Photo Credit: AF Golf Page

Jack Borges: “My favorite memory is having the best round of my life during a tournament during my junior year. I see myself being a computer programmer living comfortably. I look forward to being at college. I will miss my friends, teachers, and coaches I had at high school.” 


Message from William Babyar: “To my golf boys, I am so incredibly proud of you! Go out into this world and do amazing things. Remember to be intentional with everything that you do; your impact on this world will be great!”

Cross Country

Photo Credit: AF Owls Page

Connor Lange: “While this entire season has been an absolute blast, many memories come to mind when reflecting on the past. Spending time with the team in any sense always felt like a second home and was always super fun whether on the track working for new PR’s or at the home football games hanging out. As for the future, I plan on taking my running as far as it can take me in College or otherwise, living with my now girlfriend and pursuing my dreams of creating films and music. I’m excited to see where I can take my hard work and I will continue working to make a living to support my family comfortably. High school has been like a second home, and the security and routine that gave me will certainly be missed, and the friendships I’ve made with students and teachers alike can never be replaced. Many memories have been made and I’ll cherish them forever.” 

Message from Andrew Haubenstricker: “It has truly been a pleasure this year to see each of you develop and improve throughout the course of the season! Our sport is very demanding in terms of mentality and flexibility to be able to succeed throughout the entirety of the season. Each workout and race presents us with the classic dilemma of “Why did I sign up for this?”, but you are the athletes who time and time again find a reason to motivate and persevere when many others will not. Congratulations! It truly is a rewarding experience to get to work with such great humans on a daily basis.”



Kiersten Cruz: “My favorite memory from my sport is being able to have bonding time with my team before the games. In 10 years, I see myself done with college and hopefully having my own business. One thing I look forward to in the future is having my own place and being able to explore and find new things and places. I will miss all of my friends and the fun spirit weeks and events we have.”


Sophia Flores: “My favorite memory I have with cheer is when I first attempted a Baja and I landed upside down in the girl’s arms because it took a second to realize that I was upside down. In 10 years I see myself done with school, surrounded by my friends and family. I look forward to having my own place to call home. I will miss having all my friends close to me and a very set schedule for my life.”


Analyssia Murillo: “My favorite memory from cheer was when my team went to nationals and we celebrated by going to Disneyland and eating at cheesecake factory. In 10 years, I see myself graduating from college and in the Air Force doing the job I love: being a pilot. In the future, I look forward to traveling and have created my own family. One thing I will miss about high school is being so close to the people I have right now.”

Photo Credit: Mikalah Larkham

Mikalah Larkham: “My favorite memory from my sport is being able to go to Disney with my team and celebrating how much work we all put into the season for nationals. In 10 years, I see myself working with kids and mental health and still being involved in cheer in some way whether that is coaching or being on the UCA staff. I look forward to having my own home and getting to help those around me in the future. One thing I will miss about high school is all of my cheer friends and having a second place to call home.”


Coach Beltran (Head Coach): “I can’t believe that my first-year freshmen are graduating! I am so incredibly proud of all of you! I am so glad I had the opportunity to coach you girls. You really are a great group of girls! Smart, talented, funny, outgoing, and I can go on and on! I am excited to see what your future holds, I know you guys will do great things! You guys hold a special place in my heart and I will always be here for you!”


Coach Summer (JV Coach/Assistant): “Seniors! I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you! Your guys’ leadership and energy have truly made a difference for the team. I am so lucky to have been able to coach and watch you grow as athlete. I cannot wait to see what you all achieve after high school. I am confident that you all will achieve great things!”


Coach Vilcak (Assistant Coach): “Happy senior night! I am so happy that I was able to help coach you all. You all are awesome ladies and will do great things in life! Just remember everything that you have learned will be used or needed throughout your life. So work hard, push through, and achieve your goals. If you ever need anything I am here.”



Jaycee Carter: “My favorite volleyball memory is getting a kill and having everyone excited for me. 10 years from now I see myself in my own home working as an esthetician, and I look forward to growing myself as a person in the future. I will miss the volleyball team from high school.”


Ashlyn Blakley: “My favorite volleyball memory is the night I hit 1500 assists and celebrating with everyone. 10 years from now I see myself traveling and enjoying my career in finance. In the future, I look forward to seeing how much I have changed and see how my career has grown. I will miss my friends and playing volleyball.”

Haylie Mulhausen: “My Favorite Memory is just the support and love everyone gave me on the team. In 10 years I see myself with maybe a family and pursuing my career in sports marketing. One thing I look forward to in my future is probably seeing how far I go, and what my career may look like. I will definitely miss all of my friends and the teachers who have made me the person I am today!”

Photo Credit: – AF Owls Page

Taylor Willams-Aguirre: “My favorite volleyball memory is definitely my Senior Night. Just having my family there to watch and support me was just the best thing ever. 10 years from now I see myself as very successful and maybe have a family. One thing I look forward to in my future is seeing how much I have grown as a person. One thing I will miss about high school is all the memories and my friends.”


Message from Jen Weeg: “To the Senior Women’s Volleyball Class of 2023, the joy of coaching the four of you has been a pleasure.  Whether you were in the program for all four years or new to us just this year, know that I enjoyed every moment with you, good or bad. Remember to fight and work hard for everything in life just as you fought point for point on the volleyball court. Hold on to the great memories we have had as a team because you will forever be the Lady Owls Volleyball Class of 2023 together!”



Ruben Garcia: “I have too many memories to pick a favorite; there were many bonding, happy, exciting, and also sad moments as well. Whether these moments were losses, a dropped pass, a missed tackle . . .These were all things that helped me grow as not only an athlete but as an individual as well. I can’t say specifically where I see myself in 10 years as life deals us many cards, some we want and others we don’t. But it’s never about the cards we were dealt, but the strategy we use to win this game called life. My only goal is to be happy about a career that allows me to feel comfortable financially as well as influence the ones around me. Something I look forward to in the future is being able to see the best version of myself and my family, to watch my brothers grow, and guide them to be better than I ever could be. I will miss all the great memories and people that I’ve met over these years. I will miss this team as well as my coaches and couldn’t be more appreciative of the people that have been placed in my life.”


Photo Credit: Agua Fria Owls

Bryan Salcido: “I have so many memories but my favorite one was when we went to camp. I have never experienced anything like that. In 10 years I see myself with a beautiful family and finished with college. Something I look forward to in the future is helping my family with anything they need and providing for them. But also be that good older brother that everyone wants. I’m going to miss a lot of things and people but I’m always going to miss my freshman football team. 

It was my first year playing football in my life and since then football has helped me get to the man I am today.”

Carlos Elzy: “The memories made over the last 4 years have been amazing. The chance to be able to experience a camp with the team and win a region championship my sophomore year has all added to the experience of high school football. I see myself in 10 years doing what I’ve always wanted to do, which is flying and becoming a pilot and getting my life on the path I’ve always wanted it to go. One thing I’m looking forward to in the future is the goals I will accomplish and all the things ahead for me in the future. I will also look back at the past and reminisce about all the fun things I did and things that happened to me and how they affected me. I will miss putting the pads on every Friday Or Thursday and I will miss the atmosphere of running out of the tunnel with the crowd cheering. I will miss the friends I have made and the experiences I have encountered that have made me who I am. I’m going to miss the teachers and the staff that have helped me through all 4 years of my high school experience. It’s going to be hard to accept the fact that high school is coming to an end but I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.”


Brady Salinas: “I don’t know if I could specifically pick a favorite memory throughout the four years I’ve been a part of this program. There are so many lasting memories that I will always hold tight but I’ll never forget the bonds that I was able to create with such hard-working, determined individuals. Now, in ten years I can see myself in the United States Air force flying a beast of a machine, an F-35. One thing I’m looking forward to in life is constantly pushing myself to strive for greatness. Whether this is at my job, the gym, or simply going out and expanding my comfort zone. One thing I’ll miss about high school is the sports. I don’t think it gets better than a little friendly competition with those you love most. In the end, there’s so many bonds and connections that are made through these high school programs that’ll last a lifetime.” 


Isaac Aguirre: “My favorite memory of football is playing varsity my sophomore year and winning the region championship. In 10 years I see myself finished with college, and having a happy family. In the future I look forward to being able to provide for my family and help everybody that has helped me when I was younger. I’ll miss a lot about highschool but the main thing is going  to be seeing my friends everyday and just being around them.”


Raul Valle: “My favorite memory from this year was when we went to camp and stayed there for several days with only each other, which really built special bonds for us. In 10 years from now I hope to have a great career that I’m happy with, with plenty of money saved up and no regrets. One thing I look forward to in the future is having my own life and my own beautiful family that I can raise, along with watching my brother grow up. One thing I will miss about high school is all the conversations and connections I’ve had with the people and friends around me, it was always a great environment all around.”


Iszayah Clark: “My favorite memory from football this year, would be just the overall season in general. I got to compete with and against my brothers for one final year. In 10 years, I hope to have my career in, but happy with myself and the choices that I had made to be in that position within 10 years. One thing I would be looking forward to in the future would be the new beginnings and the next chapters of my own life. A miss about high school would definitely be almost all of it, the teachers that care, my friends and the conversations we have at lunch.”


Rashid Pitre: “My favorite memory is when I first transferred to Agua Fria and immediately felt a part of the family and brotherhood we have here, and I hope to carry those friendships past football season. After high school in 10 years I see myself finished with college and having a career I love and having a happy and healthy family. One thing in the future I look forward to is seeing my younger brother grow up and shine and be the athlete I know he can be while guiding him and giving him all the tools he needs to be successful in life. One thing I’ll miss about high school is going to battle with my brothers everyday on the football field at practice, then being able to share the field with them on Friday nights.”


Demarion Anderson: “My favorite memory from this season was the Westpoint game. We displayed heart and for 48 mins and it was a performance to be proud of. In 10 years, I will have my degree and will be an overseas pro basketball player. One thing I look forward to in the future is looking back at the past and being grateful for the journey of life God allowed me to take. The number one thing I’ll miss about him is the friends I made. I mean this from the bottom of my heart and since that’s the case I will put my best effort in to stay in touch and keep those relationships alive.”


Cameron Mccalla: “My favorite memory was working out in the weight room with my teammates. In 10 years I will have graduated college with a degree in Computer Science. I look forward to buying a house and living a calm and happy life. I will miss the school spirit of Agua Fria High School, along with the interactions I’ve had with my teachers and friends.”


Guy Gray Ndagijimana: “My favorite memories are when we would compete with each other in practice. I see myself as a successful family man with all my degrees and well into my career in 10 years. I look forward to going to college and getting a higher education and hopefully playing college sports. I will miss the relationships I’ve built here.”


Christopher Murillo: “So my favorite memory is where every game the national anthem plays and I will sing it in the background to get me motivated before the game starts. I see myself in 10 years serving in the United States military and making a good career out of it. One thing I look forward to in the future is that I will work hard whatever I do if it’s a job or going to a place that I never went to. The one thing I will miss about highschool is football and the friend’s that you have had since childhood and you will never see them anymore and the connection you had will be gone. So I had fun in high school and now it’s time to move on to be a person that you wanted to be as a child or work toward it, because it will be hard and cruel but never give up even when you lose, you never give up the plan you have, your goals or even your future. This goes out to the rest of my teammates that I grew up with when we were children and the one’s I met when I transferred to this school.”


Student Trainers

Bernadette Taylor: “My favorite memory is getting our first touch down and hearing the fireworks go off. Hopefully I will be living my dream of working with a great author. I look forward to visiting new places and meeting new people. I don’t think there is anything I’ll miss about high school, I would just like to make tomorrow great.”


Mariama Camara: “My favorite memory is when the whole Sports Med team arrives at the sidelines before a football game and gets ready for the game. I see myself working in the Emergency Room as a Physician Assistant. I look forward to making a difference in people’s lives as a Physician Assistant. I will miss all the friends I made throughout the years.”


Alize Ojeda: “My favorite memory in Sports Med is being able to connect with new people on a day to day basis and helping them. In ten years I see myself being a teacher while working on my degree to become a psychologist. One thing I look forward to in the future is being able to connect with people and help change their lives for the better. One thing I miss from high school is being able to go see all my friends in Sports Med.”


Message from Jennifer Vlasak: “Seniors, I want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the sports medicine program. Thank you for making me feel welcome my first year here. It’s been a pleasure to get to know all of you. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Come back and visit anytime.”


Thank you, athletes, for your great dedication to our sports programs these past couple of years. Our programs have been significantly impacted by you, and you will never be forgotten within them. You have done many extraordinary things for your sport, and your dedication has not gone unnoticed. Always remember, “Once an Owl, Always an Owl”. Congratulations Seniors!