Winning back-to-back championships is hard enough, but Willow Canyon softball on pace for 3-peat

SURPRISE – Since the return of sports after the COVID-19 outbreak, only one team has won the 5A softball state championship and they look to do it for the third straight year in a row. Willow Canyon is a powerhouse in the West Valley, sporting a 23-0-1 record and currently ranked 15th in the country by MaxPreps.

A batter gets ready to hit at a Willow Canyon softball game.

Arizona’s ‘super season’ gives state financial shot of adrenaline

PHOENIX – A May report from Arizona's Common Sense Institute showed that 6.4% of the state’s total economy comes from the sports and tourism sector. With the Super Bowl and many other major sporting events in town in 2023, Arizona saw plenty of positive economic benefits.

Spectators sit behind home plate at Camelback Ranch and watch a baseball game.

Stanford’s Rose Zhang continuing dominance at Pac-12 Women’s Championship as World’s No. 1 amateur

PHOENIX – Through her first two years at Stanford, Rose Zhang has done everything imaginable in amateur golf except winning a conference championship. Now she is in contention of winning the Pac-12 individual championship title.

Stanford sophomore Rose Zhang is the second-round leader at the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championship after firing back-to-back rounds of 67 and 68, respectively. (Photo by Dylan Nichols/Cronkite News)

Cactus High’s Bradey Henige fills tall order as two-sport 7-footer

GLENDALE – Cactus High School’s Bradey Henige just finished up his junior basketball season, where he emerged as one of the top players in the nation in rebounding. He also plays volleyball to help his skills on the basketball court as schools start gaining interest.

Cactus High junior Bradey Henige finished third in the nation in rebounding average and will enter his senior season drawing interest from college basketball recruiters. (Photo courtesy of Ed Russell Photography)

Arizona tribal gaming contributions up 20% over last year, nearing $2 billion mark since 2004

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Gaming announced its contributions to the Arizona community, which are up 20% from last year. Close to $2 billion has been contributed to educational, emergency and other Arizona funds.

Arizona is home to 24 Class III casinos, which contribute a percentage of their gross gaming revenue to the state, cities towns and counties. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

U.S. set for 75th meeting against archrival Mexico in friendly at State Farm Stadium

PHOENIX – The U.S. is set to meet Mexico on the pitch for the 75th time as they kick-off in the inaugural Allstate Continental Clásico at State Farm Stadium. The USMNT is undefeated in its previous four games against Mexico.

Jesus Ferreira was one of 10 USMNT players on the current roster to compete in the 2022 World Cup. (Photo courtesy of US Soccer)

Patience pays off for ASU softball first baseman Jordyn VanHook

TEMPE – After three seasons of not seeing much playing time and a short period spent in the transfer portal following the departure of Trisha Ford, Jordyn VanHook has returned and proven herself as one of the top softball players in the PAC-12, doing so with a position change as well.

ASU senior Jordyn VanHook switched to playing first base this season to fill a hole in the Sun Devil lineup and find consistent playing time. (Photo by Kade Cameron/Cronkite News)

As questions surround Tempe entertainment district, studies predict impact ahead of May vote

TEMPE – As the registration deadline closed for voters on Monday, questions still loom over the Tempe Entertainment District’s potential benefits and drawbacks but two studies could provide some answers.

The deadline for residents to register for a May vote on the Arizona Coyotes' new arena and entertainment district in Tempe passed Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Coyotes)

ASU spring game gives fans first glimpse at Kenny Dillingham, new-look roster

TEMPE – Arizona State played its annual spring game and gave fans a sneak peak at what Sun Devil football will look like under new coach Kenny Dillingham. The game demonstrated his pledge to activate the Sun Devil fan base to bring back the winning ways of Arizona State football.

Houston’s Final Four success foreshadows potential economic boost for Arizona in 2024

HOUSTON – On the heels of the 2023 Final Four in Houston, the next stop for the tournament is in Arizona. The Valley of the Sun previously held the Final Four in 2017 and brought in near-record numbers.

For the first time since 2017, the Valley will host the Final Four next year at State Farm Stadium on April 6 and April 8. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Pat’s Run returns to Tempe for 19th annual race honoring Pat Tillman’s legacy

TEMPE – The 19th annual Pat’s Run, a 4.2-mile race that honors former Arizona State and Cardinals star Pat Tillman took place Saturday, with runners of all ages coming together to raise money for the Pat Tillman foundation.

The 19th annual Pat's Run took place Saturday in Tempe. Approximately 28,000 people participated in the 4.2-mile race in honor of Pat Tillman. (Photo by John Cascella/Cronkite News)

Optimism surrounds Arizona football as Wildcats aim to take next step in coach Jedd Fisch’s third season

TUCSON – Coach Jedd Fisch took the Wildcats from a 1-11 to 5-7 season in his first two seasons. Now, with key contributors from last season returning, the Wildcats believe they can keep the upward trend going and qualify for a bowl game – or more.

A record crowd of 23,273 packed Arizona Stadium for the Wildcats' spring football game Saturday. UArizona hopes to build off last season in Jedd Fisch's third year with the program. (Photo by Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics)