Best Of Tucson®

Best Local High School Athlete

Kendra Strohm

READERS' PICK: People are understandably impressed with the fact that Strohm has won three straight Class 5A state tennis singles championships and has a great shot at becoming the only four-time winner in Arizona history. But that's just rich-white-people-hangin'-at-the-country-club stuff. What we're impressed with is her kamikaze style on the basketball court. Tennis stars aren't supposed to play basketball this way--diving on the floor, taking charges and crashing into walls. If she sets the tennis mark, good for her. But what we're going to miss is her dribbling into traffic, red-faced and head down, a collision waiting to happen.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Ai-Ris Yonekura of Catalina Foothills. After starring in volleyball and soccer for the Falcons, Ai-Ris became only the second Tucsonan ever to win the prestigious AIA State Scholar-Athlete Award. (Our own Darlene Danehy won it last year.) And like all stereotypical jocks, Ai-Ris took the award with her when she went off to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

OF MYTHIC PROPORTIONS: Katie Kempton of Amphitheater. Talk about an all-around star. Kempton, only a junior, is currently playing volleyball at Amphi and will probably lead her Panther basketball team in scoring this winter. If she were allowed to play multiple sports in the same season, she could be All-City in soccer and could easily start for the Amphi softball team. But in the spring, she dominates the local track and field scene like no one in recent memory. Last year, as a sophomore, she won 5A-South titles in the high jump, the high hurdles and the triple jump, and missed a fourth title when a kid from Buena hit a hurdle in the 300-meter intermediate hurdle race, stumbled out of her lane, and crashed into Kempton, dropping the Amphi star to third place. Kempton also holds the school record in the pole vault, runs the relays, excels in the long jump and has even competed in the shot put.