DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for more than three decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Gator golfer Menne to fly solo in prestigious tourney

Ashley Menne is ready to tee it up.

The junior-to-be from Xavier Prep already is one of Arizona’s top junior golfers and a two-time Arizona Interscholastic Association state champion. She will be the lone representative from our state on Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) at the Thunderbird International Junior tournament at Grayhawk in Scottsdale.

She has played in 12 American Junior Golf Association events, winning once.

A victory by Menne in the T-bird would make her the second player in Arizona history to accomplish the feat. Former Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep player Philip Francis won the event in 2006 before going on to play at UCLA and Arizona State.

The T-bird tournament features players age 12-19 representing 17 states and 16 countries.

Menne has been a Junior Golf Association of Arizona member since 2012, and won 15 of her 21 JGAA events in 2017. She has been named the JGAA Player of the Year in three different age divisions since 2013.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New seniors will be ready to roll in 2018-19

The XCP Files recently profiled the graduating senior athletes from 2017-18.

Now we pass the torch to an outstanding group of juniors who will be stepping in as seniors in 2018-19 and assuming leadership roles in addition to showing their athletic abilities.

Here are names taken from the 2017-18 sports rosters – we hope to see all in uniform in the new school year after tryouts are completed.

Go Gators!!

Badminton – Misaal Irfan.

Cross Country – Karina Hawkins, Helen Innes, Karina Smith, Josie Venezia, Arden Smith, Katherine Thomas, Megan Woodbury.

Golf – Emily Cons, Eve Worden, Laura Lu, Holly Otlewski.

Swim-Dive – Molly Cahill, Alyssa Largay, Talle Donley, Clare Carlson, Izzy Gomez, Maggie Hull, Cat Worth.

Hotshots (target shooting) – Lindsay Armstrong, Janeth Arvizu-Rivera, Hailey Infante, Ava Koehler de Celaya, Chloe Porter, Loralai Ramirez, Riley Simms, Rileigh Walsh.

Volleyball – Trinity Cavanaugh, Shannon Shields, Ashley Yeung, Hayley Nash, Kate Spellman, Jennelle Yarwood.

Basketball – Cara Coffman, Truly Helton, Leilani McIntosh, Bianca Nava, Addie Putnam, Paris Rasheed-Moore.

Soccer – Karla Alvadado-Lopez, Izzy Culver-Witt, Kyla Ferry, Katie McGee.

Gatorline – Sarah Byrne, Abby Jones, Tatum Pylman, Meade Schraff.

Spiritline – Kennedy Brown, Megan Gleason, Katie Holmes, Addy Livingston, Alexis Mullard,  Renee Pierson, Sara Reck, Monique Shilliday, Kate Warner, Savannah Wasson.

Crew (rowing) – Rachel Chung, Maeve Lee, Maddie Wickers.

Mountain Biking – Lulu Castro, Yacinta Irakoze, Isabella Plumb.

Lacrosse (club) – Grace Martinez, Sarah Minton, Emma Tawney, Izzy Mancilla, Alexa Wear.

Softball – Makynlee Blodgett-Schmidt, Analisa Roman, Kylie Rodgers.

Track & Field – Karli Baker, Gisselle Bojorquez, Molly Cahill, Taylor Davis, Leila Grant, Abby Hamad, Karina Hawkins, Natalia Hiler, Janna Hynds, Helen Innes, Maeve Jones, Johnnie Mitchell, Mariah Morales, Kolbe Pierce, Jada Sims, Arden Smith, Karina Smith, Katherine Thomas, Josie Venezia, Megan Woodbury.

Tennis – Tristanne Dechoux, Emily Good, Kate Stegman.

Beach Volleyball – Trinity Cavanaugh, Emily Conn, Cassie Kuhler, Lauren Lykins, Lydia Rush, Shea Sciarappo, Shannon Shields.

Summer camps highlight sports calendar

The month of June is hot, but certainly not boring around Xavier Prep.

The school will hold its annual sports camps starting June 4 and running all the way through June 22.

Athletes eligible to participate are from grades 5 through 9, depending on the sport.

Brochure and registration form are available at Fee is $100, with May 21 as registration deadline.

The sports . . .

Volleyball – June 4-8 (9th grade), 2-4 p.m. in the Activity Center and same dates for 7th and 8th graders from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Activity Center and Vestar Hall. June 18-22 for 5th and 6th graders from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Activity Center and Vestar Hall.

Tennis ­­-- June 4-8 (grades 5-9), 7-9 a.m. at the Stark Tennis Center. The number of entrants will determine whether this portion will be held.

Softball – June 11-14 (grades 5-8), 8-11 a.m. at Petznick Field.

Badminton – June 11-15 (grades 6-8), 2-4:30 p.m. in the Activity Center and/or Vestar Hall.

Beach volleyball – June 18-21 (grades 6-9), 7-9:30 a.m. at Cavanaugh Courts. The number of entrants will determine whether this portion will be held.

Basketball – June 18-22 (grades 5-9), 2-4 p.m. in the Activity Center.

Sr. Lynn is HOF candidate -- cast your vote

If you are searching for a candidate who completely embodies a person who should be elected to the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, look no further than Xavier Prep’s own Vice Principal for Activities and Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

The Hall of Fame currently is in a voting campaign for 2018. Sr. Lynn is among several candidates who are eligible. Read on and find out how to cast your ballot.

Not many are Arizona through and through, as she is. She is a graduate of XCP, received her college degree from Arizona State and came back to Xavier in 1974 as a teacher, and in 1977 became the school’s VP for Activities and AD.

Sr. Lynn Winsor
She coached several sports upon joining the XCP staff, but she dug her heels in on the golf course and guided the Gators to a national-record 35 state championships, including seven in a row. Several of her golfers have gone on to the college/professional ranks.

Among her awards are National High School Athletic Director of the Year, National Golf Coach of the Year (twice) and the National Award of Merit. She also was a member of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Executive Board.

Here is how to vote for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame . . .

Go to the organization’s Web site, On the left side of the page, there is a spot you can click to get a ballot. The ballot will have two full columns of candidates. They are listed alphabetically and she will be on the right side, under S for “Sister.’’ Hit the button that says “Submit’’ and you are done. It is an easy way to support and recognize her and the school.

Voters are allowed only one vote. Selectors can mark as many candidates they believe are worthy, but only are allowed to vote once.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Gators' Matthews gets close look at Woods qualifier

Breyana Matthews, left, and Cheyenne Woods (Xavier photo).
Xavier Prep sophomore golfer Breyana Matthews got the chance to play with former Gator golfer Cheyenne Woods on Monday (May 14) in the U.S. Women's Open Qualifier at the Arizona Country Club in Phoenix.
Only two would qualify for the U.S. Women's Open May 31-June 3 in Shoal Creek, Ala., and Woods was one of those.
Congratulations, Cheyenne, and here's hoping that Matthews can one day use this experience as motivation to accomplish a similar feat.

Ex-Gator Coppola wins beach title for LSU

Former Xavier Prep beach volleyball player Claire Coppola has gone from state champion here to a national champion at LSU!!

Coppola, a 2016 Gator graduate, teamed with teammate Kristen Nuss to win the USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championship over the weekend at Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Claire Coppola (LSU photo).
The pair had to win twice on Saturday (May 12) to take home the trophy. Thirty pairs competed in the event.

In the semifinals, they defeated Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden and Emily Sonny 21-17, 23-21. Then it was on to the title match, which proved to be about as tough as you can get.

Coppola and Nuss faced Florida State’s Hailey Luke and Kailey Horton. Coppola and Nuss won the first game 21-9, fell in the second 21-17 and won the third and deciding game 15-8.

With the win, Coppola and Nuss are expected to represent the U.S. at the 2018 FISU Championships July 9-13 in Munich, Germany.

Friday, May 11, 2018

So long, senior athletes -- we're proud of you!!

Saturday (May 12) is the annual rite of passage for Xavier Prep seniors. They will slip into their caps and gowns and experience the thrill of graduation.

Many of these students have proudly worn the uniform of XCP athletic teams.

We would like to acknowledge them one last time and wish them the best.

Here is a brief look at some of them, along with a highlight or two . . . we’ll start with the fall of 2017 and work our way toward the spring sports.

Maddie Reinhart and Alexa Wolfson – They formed one of the most competitive badminton doubles teams in the state.

Abbie Conrad, Caroline Liddy, Caroline McClelland and Annika Nielson – One usually could find them at cross-country practice and in meets, flowing like a blue wave. They did a good job helping some of the younger runners and it paid off with a runner-up finish at the state meet.

Madeline Brown and Lauren Faulkner – Xavier won its seventh state golf title in a row and 35th overall with the help of the leadership provided by these two.

Kaitlyn McCoy and Mary Roediger – After the death of their coach, Maureen “Mo’’ Rankin in September after a brave battle with cancer, the Xavier swim and dive team reached down deep with one of the strongest, most emotional performances and won the state championship. McCoy won two final events for the second straight year and Roediger excelled in many of the relay events.

Other seniors on the swim and dive roster included Megan Brown, Thea Cartier, Kyle Gunzy, Taylor Guthrie, Kate Hubbard, Nicole Johnson and Alex Perez.

Kira Dean and Lauren Kessler – These two were right on target most of the year for the Xavier Hotshots in archery and clay-target shooting.

Other seniors on the Hotshots roster included Olivia Camargo, Domenique Chirumbolo, Taylor Lopez, Krista Potenza, Bella Ricardo Finch, Belen Santistevan, Siena Spilotro and Kyra Stehly.

Alexis Diaz-Infante, Alyna Draper, Ericka Snopko and Lanie Wagner – Diaz-Infante was an effective shot-blocker and all of these girls helped drive Xavier to the state championship in volleyball. Draper was the primary libero, while Snopko and Wagner were strong at the net. Wagner is among the finalists for Player of the Year that will be announced June 10 by

Payton Davis, Katie Hassett and Montana Oltrogge – Xavier defied the rest of the state and reached the state championship basketball game, finishing as runner-up. Izzy Wirth and Mary Long were valuable in reserve.

Mady Chait, Kinsey Ehmann, Nicole Hook and Abby Hubbard – The Fab Four seniors were in the middle of most of the action on the soccer field as Xavier earned its second straight state crown. Chait made one of the most memorable goals ever in a Senior Night win over Chandler Basha. Ehmann was steady in goal, Hook was a formidable defender and scored the winning (only) goal in the state title game, and Hubbard had the knack for putting the ball exactly where it needed to go. Ehmann also was a successful middle-distance runner in track.

Other seniors on the roster were Abby Castlen, Katie Hessell and Jessie Simmons.

Kailey Klein and Taylor Lopez – They were instrumental in helping Xavier reach the quarterfinals as the No. 5 seed before the Gators lost to eventual state champion Gilbert Perry.

Caylie Wagner – Xavier had an up-and-down season in lacrosse, but game-in, game-out, Wagner was one of the bright spots as the team’s leading scorer. Other seniors were Brooke Howard and Ashlyn Zale.

Jordan Bassett, Melissa Fedorka, Abby Rascon, Mercedes Silva and Kristiann Ferreira – Bassett was the catcher and hit cleanup for the softball team as the primary power source. Fedorka played first and got some big hits. Rascon and Silva worked hard in the pitching circle and Ferreira proved to be a valuable element in the outfield.

Caroline Armknecht, Maddy Corley and Kate Straneva – Xavier’s tennis assembly line produced three more seniors that helped the program earn the No. 3 seed at the state tournament. Straneva also achieved success as a cross-country runner in the fall.

Track and field – The aforementioned cross-country group was back for more in the spring, and Xavier had a strong relay runner and sprinter, Bisola Ojeniyi. Other athletes were Megan Brown, Izzy Estes, Kelly Jehle, Joyce Karekezi and Alley Vanderwey.

Gatorline – Farewell to seniors McKenzie Baker, Molly Brown, Ashley Cantrell, Grace Halter, Caroline Moore and Lauren Prebil.

Spiritline – The cheer won the state title while pom finished second. Seniors included Remy Feagles, Aydyn Hernandez, Claudia Gillem, Brooke Harris, Gabby Leier, Lulu Lundstedt, Grace McClain, Dani Rizzo, Brianna Roosevelt, Cami Schroeder and Tatum Webb.