Sahuaro’s Outstanding Athletes: 2022


Marley Gandee, Editor

Jordan Pfeiffer – Carroll University

From a kid who started playing football his freshman year just because his friends were, to signing with Carroll University in Wisconsin, Jordan Pfeiffer has given it his all. He picked Carroll University because it was not in Arizona (it is located minutes from Milwaukee), and it will be a new experience for him. The coaches are great, even flying to Tucson to see him. Carroll University also has his major, which is criminal justice. His inspiration for all this comes from his grandfather, a successful, retired cop, who lived on a mountain for most of his life. Jordan enjoys fishing, hunting, airsoft, lifting weights, and hanging out with his friends.

On the topic of friends and memories, Jordan’s best friend, Nathan Goerke said, “So many, just hanging out with him… probably just playing with him was one of the best memories.” Another teammate, Ian O’Donnell said, “He’s fun to play with, and he likes to beat me up, so that’s pretty cool.” Despite Sahuaro’s devastating record this year, Jordan found joy in his journey. One of his favorite games was the opening game versus Arcadia. His go-to celebration is a double flex – or clapping in the opposing team’s faces. To the up-and-coming athletes, he would like to say, “Stick to the process, it’s not easy, and takes a lot out of you, just keep your grades up.”

Jordan would also like to thank the following people for encouragement and help during his high school career; “Definitely my mom has always been my biggest supporter, and I also had a recruiter, my family, my friends, and the coaches that I had that developed me.”

Nathan Goerke – Dakota State University

At the age of only five years old, Nathan Goerke began his football career. Sahuaro was lucky enough to have him playing for our team since his freshman year. In his senior year, he came close to breaking the solo record for the most solo tackles. This was against Pueblo High School, which became his favorite memory of the year. Nathan signed with Dakota State University, the school that he felt was already his home. From the moment he stepped onto campus, he knew that is where he is supposed to be. He got along with the coaches, he liked the environment, and it wasn’t too big of a city or too small of a town.

His encouragement comes from his family. His parents both played collegiate sports, his older sister plays softball in college, and his little sister is a nationally ranked golfer. Most of his family has played football, so that’s what encouraged him to start his career as a middle linebacker.  To the aspiring athletes he would like to say, “Keep your head down and keep working, don’t worry about what other people get or what they have, just worry about yourself, and getting yourself to the next level if that’s what you want to do.” His thanks go out to his family, and his coaches who have helped him along his career.



Isabelle Saldivar-Hale – Pacific University

Since her freshman year, Isabelle “Izzy” Saldivar-Hale has been playing basketball for Sahuaro. She began playing after quitting soccer in 8th grade. She loves the escape from reality that basketball provides her, and she has worked so hard to receive her scholarship at Pacific University in Oregon. She will major in biology, and then hopefully transfer to another school to study marine biology. Izzy will minor in outdoor adventures, which is a class to get your wilderness explorer badge. She loves the small feel of the school and being in Forest Grove, of course around tons of trees and wildlife.

During her time at Sahuaro, she made memories that will last her a lifetime. Her favorite? “Probably would be last school season, junior year, when we made it to the final four. Just the experience with the girls that were seniors that year, it literally changed everything. They were just so supportive and so cool to be around… and it was just fun.” Like most athletes, to Izzy her teammates are everything. “My teammates… they put up with me for like four years, and we have our differences but we make it a point to show our love for each other, on and off the court.”

Congratulations to all of Sahuaro’s athletes who have also recently signed a letter of intent:

Alex Vales has signed to Pierce college to play football.

Ariela Sanchez-Hermosillo will be signing to Pima to play soccer.

Gwen Bess has signed to Brewton-Parker College to play soccer.

Coach Botkin said, “I’m super excited about all 6 athletes that have signed national letters of intent to play college sports.  We are eager to see how they do, we know that they will do well representing the Cougar red and blue as they go on into academics and athletics and we wish them well in the future.”