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Salt River High School, Junior High Athletes Celebrated

SRHS senior and future Benedictine University Mesa Redhawks basketball player Desiree Pacheco received the MVP award for girls basketball. SRHS Athletic Director Brandon Tauscher announced the award.

On May 4, Salt River Schools celebrated student athletes at its annual sports awards banquet.

The high school had plenty to celebrate this year, especially with its seniors, which included a wrestling state championship and two basketball stars signing to play college basketball.

Most Valuable Players, Most Improved Players and Eagle Award winners were announced for the school’s 16 athletic programs, including junior high teams.

Salt River seniors Desiree Pacheco (girls basketball), Delano Watson (boys basketball) and Emiliano Acosta (wrestling) were honored as MVPs for their respective teams.

In March, Pacheco and Watson both committed to play basketball for the Benedictine University Mesa Redhawks. In February, Acosta finished an undefeated wrestling season with a state championship and was named Canyon Athletic Association (CAA) Wrestler of the Year.

“We usually call our ‘MVP’ the Outstanding Wrestler in wrestling. It’s kind of hard to play wrestling, and everybody is valuable, so our Outstanding Wrestler was a really easy decision for us,” wrestling coach Na Humma said. “The Canyon Athletic Association was not ready for this kid (Acosta). There was nobody that could stand in front of him.”

Brandon Tauscher, SRHS athletic director, announced the awards for girls basketball. He had complimentary words for Pacheco, who was recently named to the CAA All-State team.

“She’s not only an inspiration, but she’s a great story, a leader,” Tauscher said. “We talk about perseverance, and she embodies it.”

The evening included a meal and guest speaker, former college basketball player Lamoni Yazzie. Yazzie (Comanche/Navajo/Sac and Fox) played basketball in Colorado at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1998 to 2002, where he was the first Division I Native American team captain. Yazzie is a sibling of Salt River Schools Administration Chief of Staff Dawn Yazzie Howard.

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