The high school playoffs kick into high gear each February, with state tournaments in a variety of sports.
The wrestling state tournament took place the weekend of Feb. 14 in Prescott. Liberty High claimed the lone West Valley team title, winning its second consecutive Division 1 championship. Nine Liberty wrestlers won state titles.
In Division 2 wrestling, Raymond S. Kellis, Ironwood, Apollo, Millennium, Sunrise Mountain and Independence high schools cracked to top 20.
Division 2 individual top four placers included:
• Colby Ryan, Raymond S. Kellis, second place.
• Gavin Gonzales, Ironwood, third place.
• Troy Ramirez, Sunrise Mountain, third place.
• Markell Rivera, Ironwood, second place.
• Ty Ryan, Raymond S. Kellis, champion.
• Jeremiah Voliva, Apollo, third place.
• Jasiel Tapia, Independence, champion.
Division 3 individual top four placers included:
• O’Conner Vega, Peoria, third place.
• Isaac Castro, Peoria, third place.
• Armando Valencia, Peoria, second place.
• Abraham Rivera, Buckeye Union, third place.
• Nick Olson, Deer Valley, third place.
• Nate Quinones, Cactus, third place.
• Steven Dortch, Thunderbird, second place.
• Colton Johnson, Greenway, second place.
• Alan Montesinos, Thunderbird, third place.
• Gilbert Calderon, Washington, third place.
Individual top four placers in girls wrestling:
• Emily Porras, Ironwood, champion.
• Erica Pastoriza, Raymond S. Kellis, third place.
• Sofia Carranza, Desert Edge, third place.
• Genesis Higuera, Odyssey Institute, champion.
• Olivia Bauer, Ironwood, second place.
• Mia Didur, Centennial, champion.
Eight West Valley girls soccer teams reached the state soccer playoffs.
In 3A, Trivium Prep lost in the semi-finals.
In 5A, Millennium fell to Desert Mountain in the quarterfinal round. In a tight first-round match, Millennium edged Verrado. Sunrise Mountain lost to Desert Mountain in the first round.
Thunderbird was knocked out in the first round in 4A competition.
In 6A, Liberty lost its first-round match, as did Sandra Day O’Connor.
In boys soccer, Odyssey Institute made it to the second round of 3A before falling.
Washington advanced to the 4A soccer championship, scheduled for Tuesday night, Feb. 25.
Ironwood and Sunrise Mountain advanced to the 5A semifinal roundbefore losing. Independence, Verrado and Raymond S. Kellis fell in early rounds of the 5A state tournament.
Tolleson Union, Sandra Day O’Connor and Copper Canyon made it to the 6A tournament, but lost early-round matches.
Multiple girls basketball teams qualified for the state tournament.
In 4A, Buckeye Union knocked out Deer Valley in the first round but lost in the second. Greenway, Desert Edge, Moon Valley and Estrella Foothills fell in the first round.
The Millennium girls blew out their first two opponents to cruise to the Wednesday, Feb. 26, semifinal round. Sunrise Mountain landed in the other semifinal. Verrado was upset in the first round.
In the 4A boys basketball tournament, top-seeded Peoria took down Deer Valley in the quarterfinal round to make a Feb. 25 semifinal game against St. Mary’s. Deer Valley edged Desert Edge in the first round. Thunderbird also fell in the first round.
Millennium’s hopes for a boys-girls double title are alive, as the boys cruised to a Thursday, Feb. 27, quarterfinal game against South Mountain. Sunnyslope and Ironwood have a showdown in the other semifinal. Sunrise Mountain, Centennial and Apollo lost in first-round games.
La Joya Community made the boys 6A tournament but fell in the first round.