DM’s GOATs

DM athletes honored at inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony

SAFE+AT+HOME

Courtesy of the Scottsdale Independent

SAFE AT HOME--The inaugural class of the Desert Mountain High School athletic Hall of Fame returns home for a Jan. 10 ceremony: Former athletic director Steve Harris, Tara Mueller (volleyball), David Greer (baseball), Tyeler Davison (football and wrestling), Emily Harris (badminton and tennis), Chad Christensen (track, football, and basketball), and Angela Duckworth (swim). The inductees were consumed with nostalgia when they returned to their old stomping grounds. “I just remember taking classes in that building, I think I had my psych class junior or senior year there," said Angela Duckworth. "We had our graduation night in that gym and in that building, so [it] definitely brings back good memories of just high school and hanging out with the friends in the hallways, and seeing the teachers I hadn’t seen in years was kind of wild too."

Jonah Krell, Sports editor

Though COVID-19 has effectively cancelled Desert Mountain’s athletic calendar for the rest of the school year, DM sports fans still have something to celebrate.

DM unveiled its Hall of Fame in conjunction with the school’s 25th anniversary.

“I think it’s time to have a Hall of Fame, said Stephen Cervantez, Desert Mountain’s athletic director.

To be considered for this honor, an athlete must be nominated by a former coach. A committee, organized by Cervantez, considered nominees and voted based on several qualifications, which include All-Region, All-District, All-State, any national honors, and team performance. 

“We put this all together and that makes you qualified for being able to be inducted,” Cervantez said.

The inaugural class of the Desert Mountain Hall of Fame was inducted in front of a packed crowd Jan. 10 at a home basketball game. The class includes:

  • track, football, and basketball player Chad Christensen (Class of 2001)
  • swimmer Angela Duckworth (Class of 2008)
  • football and wrestling player Tyeler Davison (Class of 2010)
  • volleyball player Tara Mueller (Class of 2007)
  • badminton and tennis player Emily Harris (Class of 2010)
  • baseball player David Greer (Class of 2013)
  • former athletic director Steve Harris (from 1995-2013)
  • and the entire 2005 swim team. 

We have tons of people who went through here that were outstanding athletes that we wanted to honor, and not only because they’re good athletes, but they were good parts of the community.”

— Stephen Cervantez

All the inductees received numerous individual accolades, with some winning state titles for their respective sport. 

“While I was individually singled out, I know that being included was also a representation of the teams I played on, the teammates that I had, and the coaches that I had,” said Christensen, who said he was “honored and humbled” to be recognized with the other successful athletes. He credited his teammates for helping him.

“Without that group I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I was able to accomplish,” Christensen said.

Each Hall of Famer had interesting connections to the other inductees. For example, Emily Harris was inducted with her father, Steve, who was also Chad Christensen’s basketball coach. Duckworth found it extra special that the 2005 swim team, which she was a part of, was honored in addition to being individually recognized. Mueller enjoyed reuniting with Duckworth, who was her old neighbor.

“I couldn’t tell you the last time I was actually in that gym, and to be back and be inducted,” said Mueller. “For me, it was extra special because that was our home gym, like I played on that court, which was really neat.” 

Duckworth confessed that the ceremony marked the first time she ever attended a DM basketball game. Regardless, she said returning triggered quite a bit of nostalgia.

Courtesy of the Scottsdale Independent
A view of the hall of fame plaques outside the Desert Mountain gymnasium. Though these plaques were already raised, the identities of these Hall of Fame athletes were officially introduced to students when the athletes were inducted at halftime of a January 10th home basketball game. This wall will continue to grow with names in ensuing years, as AD Stephen Cervantez plans to make this an annual tradition.

“I just remember taking classes in that building, I think I had my psych class junior or senior year there,” Duckworth said. “We had our graduation night in that gym and in that building, so [it] definitely brings back good memories of just high school and hanging out with the friends in the hallways.”

“And seeing the teachers I hadn’t seen in years was kind of wild too.”

Once the news first broke of the new Hall of Fame, current DM students might wonder if recent graduates like Kedon Slovis, Brandon Kron, Kyle Allen, and Mark Andrews would be inducted. Slovis was a star quarterback at USC this past year, while Kron was a two-sport athlete at Desert Mountain and was a four-year starter for the basketball team. Allen and Andrews are the most known players, considering their recent success in the National Football League. 

However, these athletic stars will have to wait their turn. 

Cervantez says that athletes must be out of high school for six years to even be considered, and Allen and Andrews are almost at that point.

So while this first class has yet to achieve national fame, Cervantez said they remain beloved here at DM–and he plans on annual inductions.

Through this new tradition, students will be able to learn more about the school’s athletic history and connect with past stars. Their names will forever hang above the Desert Mountain hallways for students to look up and be inspired. 

So it was pretty special they thought of me in that way, to be represented that way.”

— Tara Mueller

Furthermore, honored athletes will have the opportunity to rekindle the memories that made high school special to them, while being provided a closing chapter on their storied athletic careers. “Just to be thought of like that,” Mueller said, “I always just thought of us as so much of a team, and so for me to be pulled aside…I always worked really hard and tried to have a good time and support my teammates.”

“So it was pretty special they thought of me in that way, to be represented that way.”