7 incredible Valley sports stories you don't know

Posted at 12:46 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 15:46:40-04

The Valley is full of incredible stories of residents doing amazing things in the sports world.

Sometimes it just takes a little digging to find them.

In the last year, we've compiled a number of stories that, sadly, tend to fall through the cracks far too often.

Here's a look at seven such stories, in no particular order. Click on each person's name to learn more about them and their accomplishments.

Do you have an incredible Valley sports story to share? Tell me about it! Contact me at, or find me on Facebookor Twitter.

1. DeAndre Ayton

The nation’s No. 1 rated high school basketball recruit for the 2017 season goes to school right here in the Valley. The 7-foot-tall Ayton moved from San Diego over a year ago to play at Phoenix Hillcrest Prep. He’s already received scholarship offers from some of the nation’s premier NCAA basketball programs, including Duke and Kentucky.

2. Jerry Pritchett

The Avondale resident and Agua Fria High School graduate is one of the strongest men on the planet. Pritchett, who still works full-time as a metal fabricator at SRP, gave up auto racing in order to participate in worldwide Strongman competitions. In February, he became the first American in history to perform a 1,000-pound deadlift.

3. Kelly Minkin

No, poker isn’t a sport, but the World Series of Poker has been one of the most popular events on ESPN for the last decade. Enter Minkin, a graduate of Scottsdale Chaparral High School and UA who was the last woman standing at the 2015 WSOP main event. Minkin has had success in other high-stakes tournaments across the country – but despite her lifetime winnings of nearly $1 million, Minkin has kept her day job as a medical malpractice defense attorney.

4. Kate Harris

The Chicago native and lifelong Cubs fan saw her dream come true when she got the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs spring training game in March. That may not seem like such an incredible feat until you consider Harris turned 100 years old a month later. Harris, who now lives in Sun City, still drives and makes weekly Meals on Wheels deliveries.

5-7. Analisa Marquez,Nolan Hyland,Meredith Weir

This trio of Valley residents was featured in various episodes during Season 3 of “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge,” arguably the most physically demanding reality show on television. Marquez, who advanced all the way to thefinalson her "Broken Skull" episode, is a UA grad and former pro soccer player. Hyland is the co-owner of a local MMA promotion, and Weir is a Phoenix Mountain Pointe grad who participates in Warrior Dash and other obstacle-course events.

Reminder: If you have an incredible Valley sports story to share, please let me know. Contact me at, or look me up on Facebookor Twitter.