An annual Southern Arizona sports tradition is the Top 100 Sports Figures of the Year, as put together by veteran Arizona Daily Star sportswriter Greg Hansen. As usual, Desert Speed School athletes featured prominently in his compilation, with six athletes from the high school, collegiate, and professional level named to his Top 100 of 2021.
Featured athletes included:
25. Kylie Wild. In one of the top track and field seasons in Tucson prep history, Wild, a junior at Salpointe Catholic High School, won state championships in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters in May, and then won her second straight state title in girls cross country in the fall.
43. Nick Gonzales. In his first full year of minor-league baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2020 first-round draft pick from Cienega High hit .302 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs. He made the Single-A All-Star team while playing for the Greensboro Hornets, then became an Arizona Fall League All-Star, hitting .380 for Peoria.
54. Carlie Scupin. After an elite softball career at Tucson High, Scupin hit .343 as Arizona’s starting first baseman, belting nine home runs. Scupin was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week as well as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week in 2021.
63. Riley Nielson. One of Arizona’s leading softball players, Nielsen was a dominant player in Sabino’s run to the state championship, 17-1 with an 0.96 ERA pitching, and a .441 batting average with 25 RBIs.
86. Logan Cole. Salpointe’s junior infielder hit .560 with 25 RBIs helping the Lancers to a state championship. She has signed to play for Arizona.
87. Trinity Morales. As Salpointe won the girls Class 4A state soccer championship, Morales scored in the state finals and became a first-team all-state selection.
Congrats to all these athletes on a successful 2021 year!
(Photo credit: Andy Morales, AllSportsTucson/AZPreps365)