Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Twilight is good time to run for Xavier girls

Xavier Prep’s outstanding cross-country runners were among hundreds of athletes participating on Friday (Sept. 28) evening in the annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival at the Casa Grande Sports World facility.

Xavier had 22 finishers in three divisions – the Sole Sports Sweepstakes, the Large School Open and the Big School Freshman.

The first finisher for Xavier in the Sweepstakes race (all events were 5,000 meters) was junior Mia Olsen, who in the 23rd spot out of about 150 runners with a time of 18 minutes and 9 seconds.

Other Sweepstakes spots for Xavier runners: sophomore Jamie Stelnik, 32nd, 18:16; sophomore Sammy Braun, 55th, 18:55; senior Karina Hawkins, 66th, 19:02; senior Karina Smith, 86th, 19:43; senior Karli Baker, 87th, 19:43; senior Helen Innes, 96th, 19:48; and junior Grace Valandra, 97th, 19:48.

Four Xavier runners were in the Large School Open Division. They were senior Josie Vanezia, 13th, 21:13; senior Johnnie Mitchell, 20th, 21:30; senior Megan Woodbury, 79th, 23:30; and sophomore Rishita Shah, 103rd, 24:04.

Xavier had eight runners finish in the top 100 in the Big School Freshman Division, a very good sign for the Gators’ future.

They were Ansley Burns, 5th, 21:33; Maria Benitez, 12th, 22:22; Ellie Higgins, 17th, 22:49; Karime Morales, 31st, 23:30; Hannah Wheeling, 41st, 24:23; Erika Germinario, 55th, 25:18; Catherine Devine, 56th, 25:23; MK Fairbanks, 57th, 25:30; Briony Campisi, 79th, 26:41; and Lulu Fischer, 96th, 27:21.

The Gators are scheduled to run in two events on Saturday (Oct. 6), the Thunderbird Invitational at Mountain View Park in north Phoenix, and the Asics Clovis Invitational in Woodward Park, Calif.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Senior swimmer Gomez reflects on her time at XCP

The Xavier Prep swimmers and divers have churned and splashed in the water at the Brophy Aquatics Center and elsewhere for quite some time this fall, but for some, it may seem more like the blink of an eye.

Especially the seniors. Thursday (Sept. 27) marked the Gators’ final home dual meet of the season (they will have the AMDG Invitational on Oct. 27), so the team held its Senior Day during its meet against Anthem Boulder Creek.

Three swimmers, two divers and three team managers were honored with tributes from teammates and tokens of appreciation, such as flowers.

One of the seniors was Izzy Gomez, who has endured many ups, along with a few downs, along the way. She is swimming for her third set of coaches in four years. Through it all, she has remained a loyal Gator.

She knew this would be the last day, but it didn’t seem to hit her until she began to talk about it.

Gomez, whose specialty is freestyle events, including relays, laughed with her teammates and hung out under the blue Xavier canopy where coaches Mark Rankin and Jennifer James were monitoring the team’s progress.

“This day is a little bittersweet,’’ Gomez said. “I will have to leave all of my teammates and my wonderful coaches, and that will be hard.’’

The other seniors likely would echo those sentiments.

“My teammates have been there for me, cheering me on, making me feel better if things didn’t go the way I had hoped, and making me laugh,’’ she said.

Swimming was all about fun when Gomez arrived at Xavier as a freshman. As a sophomore, she and her teammates were introduced to a new coach, Maureen “Mo’’ Rankin, who emphasized the seriousness of the tasks ahead but realized that kids are still kids and they need to be silly every now and again.

Then last year, when Gomez was a junior, things came crashing down on everyone when Mo had a recurrence of a previous cancer. She fought hard, but did not survive, passing away on Sept. 25. Her husband, Mark, and James helped guide the girls through the darkness.

The season was dedicated to Mo, and the team vowed to win the state championship.

They stayed true to that and had one of the strongest performances of any Xavier team in quite some time.

“After she died, we became even more of a team,’’ Gomez said. “It was great to be able to dedicate everything to her.

“Mo was really supportive of me and my teammates. She got me through some mental blocks. She always asked me how I was doing, not just in my swimming, but more than that, with my life outside of swimming.’’

Gomez hopes to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she would like to earn a degree in the medical field.

Her journey has not been much different than those of her teammates, past, present and those who will remain when she graduates. She has had some good moments in the pool and some challenges, and will leave Xavier with a complete experience.

And you can’t ask for much more than that.


A big 100-point win for swimmers, divers

Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team gave its graduating seniors a lovely parting gift with a big 100-point victory over visiting Anthem Boulder Creek on Thursday (Sept. 27) at the Brophy Aquatics Center.

Xavier won all three relay events, all individual races and diving.

Individual winners were senior Alyssa Largay in diving, freshman Gracie Munk in the 100-yard breaststroke, sophomore Emma Sharp in the 200-yard freestyle, sophomore Kelly Scott in the 100-yard backstroke, freshman Hope Nolan in the 200-yard individual medley, sophomore Sydney Millane in the 500-yard freestyle, junior Vica Dow in the 100-yard butterfly and freshman Daisy Maldonado in the 100-yard freestyle.

Xavier had a 1-2-3 finish in the 50-yard freestyle with Munk, sophomore Jordan Herrera and sophomore Mia Rankin.

In the 200-yard medley relay, the Xavier group of Dow, freshman Ashleigh Baros, junior Olivia Paliscak and junior Carlie Herrmann touched the wall first.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, it was Herrera, Rankin, senior Clare Carlson and Maldonado.

And in the 400-yard freestyle relay, it was Rankin, junior Gracie Schumacher, Millane and Scott.

Xavier will compete next in the PCDS Invite on Saturday (Sept. 29) at Phoenix Country Day School.




Badminton, volleyball teams hanging in there

Xavier Prep’s badminton team won two of three matches this week, while the Gators’ volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss to Gilbert Perry on Wednesday night (Sept. 26) to defeat host Chandler Basha 3-0 on Thursday night (Sept. 27).

The badminton team now has a 6-3 record after defeating Mesa Red Mountain, 8-1 and Chandler Basha, 6-3, and falling against Gilbert Perry, 7-2.

The volleyball team is one victory away from 20 for the season after rolling past Basha, 25-17, 25-14 and 25-23.

Badminton has three more matches next week, on Monday (Oct. 1) at Chandler High, on Wednesday (Oct. 3) at Mesa Skyline and Thursday (Oct. 4) at home against Phoenix Desert Vista.

The volleyball team has one match on Tuesday at Chandler and then will participate in the annual Gilbert Invitational on Friday (Oct. 5) and Saturday (Oct. 6) at Gilbert High.

Frosh tennis: Road smooth and not so smooth


Xavier Prep’s two freshman tennis teams are busy, and they added two more matches to the ledger on Thursday (Sept. 27).

Both teams played on the road. The “A” team slipped past host Chandler Hamilton 5-4 and the “B” team fell to host Scottsdale Desert Mountain 8-1.

They will return to action next week. The “A” team will have three matches – on Monday (Oct. 1) at Tempe Corona del Sol, on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at home against Tempe Marcos de Niza, and on Thursday (Oct. 4) at Gilbert Perry.

The “B” team has one match – on Thursday at Queen Creek Casteel.

The latest results:

Frosh “A” 5, Hamilton 4

Singles – Hamilton def. Victoria Chrostowski, 8-1; Sammy Field def. Hamilton, 8-4; Hamilton def. Piper Kilb, 8-5; Hamilton def. Grace Paul, 8-3; Halston Yerxa def. Hamilton, 8-1; Diana Briguglio def. Hamilton, 8-3.

Doubles – Hamilton def. Chrostowski-Kilb, 8-2; Field-Yerxa def. Hamilton, 8-7 (7-2 tiebreaker); Paul-Briguglio def. Hamilton, 8-4.

Desert Mountain 8, Frosh “B” 1

Singles – DM def. Elena Titus, 8-3; DM def. Emily Lunt, 8-1; DM def. Caroline Cobb, 8-2; DM def. Katie Anthony, 8-4; DM def. Virginia Brown, 8-0; DM def. Sophia Flores, 8-3.

Doubles – Titus-Cobb def. DM, 9-7; DM def. Lunt-Anthony, 8-3; DM def. Brown-Flores, 8-2.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

When Laura Lu puts her mind to it, things happen

Laura Lu thinks about things in many different ways.

And then there are the rest of us.

Try as we might, we can’t always comprehend the numerous types of projects with which the Xavier Prep senior was or currently is involved.

And that doesn’t count the hours required to refine her skills as a member of the school’s golf program that is among the nation’s best.

All of it is simply amazing.

Laura Lu has a lifetime of experiences in just a few short years. (Photo courtesy of Laura Lu).

She has been happy creating apps that help in various domains. She has participated in a “hackathon,’’ where computer enthusiasts and software designers meet for three or four days to develop software projects.

In Lu’s case, her team stayed up for about 36 hours (with only an hour or two of sleep) and made an app for a food bank. It had the outline of the brain, where users could click on various areas of the brain to see which kinds of foods help a particular area of the brain to operate as efficiently as possible. It also listed information about grocery stores closest to the user and information about expiration dates.

That project earned a first-place designation.

She said she was hesitant about competing at first because of the degree of its intensity, but gradually built her confidence and was able to contribute.

Around the time of her junior year at Xavier, Lu applied to be an intern at the Transitional Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix. She was accepted and thus began eight months worth of research (10 hours a week during after-school hours) on projects with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and how to improve treatments.

Lu also has been an officer at Litas for Girls, a non-profit coding school and she hosted a month-long “Incubator’’ in computer sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Litas helps young women become the next generation of leaders in CS and STEM fields.

She was among those selected to participate in a Business Summer Camp for 2018 at Northwestern University in the Chicago area.

Lu was a co-founder of Phynergetix. She and her three teammates built a company using augmented reality to help injured athletes, primarily runners, in their recovery.

The goal of Phynergetix is to develop a method in which rehabilitation could be curtailed considerably. The computer app coexists with a patterned compression sleeve to track the knee joint’s movements and provide a game-oriented format of exercise. It helps people use the proper form and details overuse prevention.

Forty potential customers signed up for e-mail updates and five users signed up for beta testing.

Lu also won awards for her work at the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

And her eye for artwork and photography helped her earn an Honorable Mention award for Scholastic Art and Writing for 2017. Her entry was called “The Shoreline.’’

“I took it from the Santa Monica Pier in California,’’ she said proudly.

Back home, she volunteered for a Christian service and worked at a Memory Care facility, helping residents with art therapy.

“It helps to stimulate the brain when they are painting. It is interesting how they see things,’’ she said.

At Xavier, she is the Vice President of the Key Club and President of the Photo Club. She enjoys taking nature photographs and portraits. She said some Xavier students approached her about creating their senior portraits.

“Through those types of portraits, I want to be able to promote diversity,’’ Lu said. “Adolescents are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to that. It would help put them in a place where they could have confidence. Their view of themselves will change.’’

And Lu has her own Web site – www.bylauralu.com, where examples of her photography are displayed. She tells the viewers that she would like to become a creative director in digital photography, film, graphic design or oil painting. There are plenty of directions to try.

She continues to work hard in the classroom.

Her interaction with all sorts of people as well as her future should be enhanced by the fact that she can speak four languages – English, Spanish, Portugese and Mandarin. And by the way, she also is now learning French.

 To her credit, she still finds time to play golf. Xavier golf coach Sr. Lynn Winsor said Lu has improved a great deal for the team.

“I really like golf. It’s important to play a sport in high school,’’ said Lu, whose parents have been and continue to be very supportive.

“Golf is a good mental game. Playing at Xavier has helped my mental approach to things. When I played as a freshman, I was nervous because of the number of people watching. But now I have learned to focus on the ball better.’’

She has played in Junior Golf Association of Arizona tournaments during the summer.

What comes next after Xavier?

Lu is looking at some colleges on the East Coast, some on the West Coast. She is leaving her options open as far as playing golf is concerned.

She is a triplet, and her brothers already are in college. Nicholas is majoring in Business and Finance at Boston University and Thomas is majoring in Computer Science at Cornell.

Based on what Lu has accomplished in her life thus far, it would appear that she will not have much difficulty as she takes the next step.

Perry stands its ground, ends Xavier's spell

Xavier Prep’s spell over Gilbert Perry on the volleyball court is gone.

The Gators, who defeated the Pumas in three five-set marathons a year ago, including the 6A Conference semifinals, got a bit of payback in a five-set triumph on Wednesday night (Sept. 26) at the Activity Center.

Defending state champion Xavier looked strong out of the gate, coasting to a 25-14 win, but things began to unravel after that. Perry won the next two, 25-18 and 26-24. Xavier sent it to a fifth game with a 25-19 win, but Perry got the last laugh with a 15-9 win to decide it.

Xavier (18-5) led in the early stages of Game 2, but Perry (16-3) rallied to take the lead and established itself. The Pumas finished the game with five straight points.

Game 3 went back and forth, but Xavier walked more of a tightrope – its mistakes seemed more magnified. With the score tied at 24, Perry scored on a kill, and Xavier handed the Pumas the victory with a return that sailed beyond the back line.

Perry led most of Game 4 before Xavier was able to turn things around. A Xavier block evened the score at 18, and the Gators went on to win it on a couple of kills by Jasmine Knight, the last one landing in the back corner.

In the decisive Game 5, Perry jumped to a 5-1 lead and Xavier could not recover. Perry claimed the win with the help of its defense on a couple of blocks among its final three points.

Xavier won’t have much time to reflect on the outcome because it has its third match in as many nights on Thursday (Sept. 27) with a road meeting with Chandler Basha.

Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant hopes her players can regain some of their mental strength.

“We didn’t show up tonight,’’ she said after the Perry contest. “You can’t get behind by as many points as we did. We got nervous. We have to look to get better, because we are going to see them again (Oct. 16 at Perry).’’

Part of the players’ mindset should include increased aggressiveness.

“You’ve got to want to have the ball come to you so you can make a play,’’ Bryant said. “Some of our players didn’t want that.’’

Xavier and Perry were 1-2 in Arizona Interscholastic power points ratings entering the match, and now they have switched spots.

Freshman "A" tennis team still improving

Xavier Prep’s freshman tennis “A” team had a strong match on Wednesday (Sept. 26), defeating visiting Gilbert Perry 9-0 at the Stark Tennis Center. The match was a makeup from an earlier postponement.

The “A” team will be back in action on Thursday (Sept. 27) with a match at Chandler Hamilton, and the Xavier “B” team will travel to face Scottsdale Desert Mountain.

Xavier’s results vs. Perry:

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski (X) def. Perry 8-0; Sammy Field (X) def. Perry 8-1; Piper Kilb (X) def. Perry 8-1; Grace Paul (X) def. Perry 8-1; Halston Yerxa (X) def. Perry 8-1; Diana Briguglio (X) def. Perry 8-0.

Doubles

Chrostowski-Kilb (X) def. Perry 6-3; Paul-Yerxa (X) def. Perry 6-5; Briguglio-Caroline Purtill (X) def. Perry 6-1.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gators grit their teeth, rally past Mesa

Was it because Xavier Prep’s Gators finally woke up, or were they ticked off?

Maybe a little bit of both.

Whatever the reason, a 25-16 loss to visiting Mesa High in the first game of their volleyball match at the Activity Center on Tuesday night (Sept. 25) got their attention.

And they came back like the top-rated Arizona team that they are, taking the match with three straight wins – 25-12, 25-14 and 25-15.

Now comes one of the biggest tests of the season. The Gators (18-4) will play host to second-ranked Gilbert Perry (15-3) on Wednesday night (Sept. 26).

If this match is anything like last season, fans will be on the edge of their seats.

The teams squared off three times last season, twice during the regular season and in the Division I semifinals. All went five sets, with Xavier winning each time. After defeating Perry in the semifinals, the Gators went on to claim the title with a 3-1 win over Tempe Corona del Sol.

In the first game against Mesa on Tuesday night, nothing that the Gators tried to do worked. That, combined with the powerful swing of Jackrabbits outside hitter Annie Hatch, put Xavier in a 1-0 hole.

“A lot of what we did was self-inflicted,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

She admitted that her team had some fatigue after playing 14 matches over back-to-back weekends in national high-profile tournaments. And there was Perry’s big elephant munching on peanuts while waiting in the lobby for Wednesday night.

Bryant admitted the loss to Mesa irritated her players a bit – she called them “emotional.’’

“We were able to settle down. Our serving was better after that and we played better overall,’’ Bryant said.

In Game 2, Bri McKnight’s return of a kill into the back corner gave the Gators the point and they had a 9-1 lead. Mesa did not get close the rest of the way.

Mesa put up more of a fight in the early stages of Game 3, but Xavier appeared to have its mojo back, rolling all the way through to victory. Jennelle Yarwood’s kill provided the Gators with their final point.

And Xavier did not want to allow Mesa to force a decisive fifth set in Game 4. The Jackrabbits held a 5-2 early lead, but the Gators seven straight points for a lead they would not surrender. Back-to-back service aces by Kate Spellman for the final two points of that run gave XCP the momentum it needed.

After the Perry match, the Gators will play their third match in as many nights, on Thursday (Sept. 27) at Chandler Basha.


Division I power-points rankings

(from the Arizona Interscholastic Association)

1 – Xavier Prep. 2 – Gilbert Perry. 3 – Chandler Hamilton. 4 – Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. 5 – Tempe Corona del Sol. 6 – Phoenix Mountain Pointe. 7 – Mesa High. 8 – Phoenix Desert Vista. 9 – Chandler Basha. 10 – Phoenix Pinnacle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Gator golfers swing away in another triumph

Xavier Prep’s golf team bid adieu on Monday (Sept. 24) to its Phoenix Country Club home with its final match there until the 2019 season, and the Gators came through with one of their better efforts of the season.

The Gators outdistanced Gilbert Perry and Mesa Mountain View, 135-167-227.

The team’s 9-under-par finish (36 over 9 holes) was highlighted by its top four players finishing under par.

Junior Ashley Menne led the way to earn medalist honors with a 4-under 32. Junior Breyana Matthews and sophomore Bailee Tayles were next with 2-under 34s, and sophomore Lauren Garcia had a 1-under 35.

“We scored very well,’’ said Xavier co-head coach Sr. Lynn Winsor. “Hopefully this will be the last hot day we have to worry about.’’

Winsor said course officials had placed large mounds of sand in some of the sand traps, and the girls were allowed to take a free drop if they landed there. The traps and the overall course, which will be overseeded beginning Oct. 1, are being spruced up for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship Nov. 5-11. It is the final tournament of the year for the PGA Champions Tour.

Meanwhile, Xavier will play its last two home matches at the Camelback Golf Club on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. The first of those two is against Chandler. The next day, on Oct. 2, they will face their top rival, Phoenix Pinnacle, on the Pioneers’ home course, Tatum Ranch Golf Club in north Phoenix.

“That will be our biggest test heading toward the state tournament,’’ Winsor said. “Our girls have worked very hard to be ready for this part of the season.’’

The remainder of the Xavier scores on Monday:

Senior Holly Otlewski, sophomore Mary Beth Doss and freshman Ivy Song all were at 1-under 35; senior Emily Cons was at 3-over 39, senior Eve Worden and junior Sisi Wang were at 5-over 41; senior Laura Lu was at 6-over 42.

Also, junior Sydney Trout was at 10-over 46, freshman Ava Mayberger was at 15-over 51, junior Danae Bravo was at 17-over 53, freshman Kate Ryan was at 19-over 55 and freshman Audrey Sanchez was at 20-over 56.

Note: Cons provided her teammates with a pleasant surprise on Monday when she announced that she has chosen the Univerity of Arizona in Tucson to continue her golf career and study.

Way to go, Emily!!


Monday, September 24, 2018

Swimmers, divers second in BCP/XCP Invite

Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team finished second to rival Scottsdale Chaparral over the weekend in the annual Brophy Prep/Xavier Prep Invitational at the Brophy Aquatics Center.

The Gators had some very good swims in the individual races.

Junior Vica Dow finished third in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley. Freshman Gracie Munk was second in the 100-yard butterfly and third in the 200 IM.

Sophomore Sydney Millane was second in the 100-yard backstroke and junior Maddie Wright was third in the 500-yard freestyle.

Xavier also performed well in diving. Junior Maddy Sewell finished second and senior Alyssa Largay was fourth.

The girls will be back in the Brophy pool on Thursday (Sept. 27) for a two-way meet with Anthem Boulder Creek.

And Xavier will participate in the annual Phoenix Country Day School Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 29) at PCDS.

Mountain bikers have another strong showing

The Xavier Prep mountain biking club team combined with their Brophy Prep brethren to finish fourth overall among Division 1 teams on Sunday (Sept. 23) in the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League’s second race of the five-race season at Pioneer Park in Prescott.

Brophy/Xavier is fourth overall in the team standings after the two races.

Erin Hill finished 11th in the Girls’ JV 1 race with a time of 1:10.39.79 over the 2-lap course that was 6.3 miles per lap. Fellow junior Heather Kwapiszeski was right behind Hill in the 12th spot at 1:11.00.46.

Hailey Schwartz was seventh in the Girls’ Freshman category with 1:14.30 over the 2-lap course. And junior Camdyn Rael finished 25th in the Girls’ JV 2 race at 1:44.30.57 over 2 laps.

And Mary Hill provided a promising glimpse into the future by winning the Girls’ 7th Grade event with a time of 32:11.49 over the single-lap race.

The BCP/XCP team will race again on Oct. 7 at the Wren Arena in Fort Huachuca, south of Tucson.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Xavier finishes 7th of 96 teams in Nike TOC

Although it wasn’t quite what Xavier Prep’s Gators were hoping for, they could stand tall while leaving the Sun Devil Fitness Center in Tempe after Saturday’s (Sept. 22) Nike Tournament of Champions wrapped up its 10th volleyball edition.

The Gators were 5-2 in the tournament and finished seventh to raise their overall record to 17-4. They were 2-2 on Saturday.

Xavier began the day by defeating St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) 25-18, 25-18 to advance to the Platinum bracket, featuring the 96-team tournament’s top eight teams.

In their first Platinum match against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), the Gators lost the first game 25-16, won the second game 25-16 before falling in the decisive third game 25-12.

That put XCP up against Valley rival Phoenix Horizon. Xavier had the upper hand in their recent meetings, but not this time as the Huskies won in three sets, 25-19, 21-25 and 15-3. By winning the match, long-time Horizon coach Valorie McKenzie earned the 900th win of her career.

Xavier went on to defeat Jesuit (Ore.) in the seventh-place match, 20-25, 25-18 and 15-12. Horizon, meanwhile, fell to Walton (Ga.) in the fifth-place match, 23-25, 25-20 and 15-13.

The Gators will attempt to get their rest after a rigorous two weeks that included two high-profile tournaments. They will play three matches in the coming week – at home against Mesa High on Tuesday (Sept. 25), at home against Gilbert Perry on Wednesday (Sept. 26) and on the road against Chandler Basha on Thursday (Sept. 27).

Xavier runners have solid effort in Conley Invite

While Xavier Prep’s top runners sat out the race to rest for next weekend’s Desert Twilight Invitationa in Casa Grande, their remaining teammates did a very respectable job while competing in Saturday’s (Sept. 22) annual Doug Conley Invitational at the Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe.

Xavier had five runners in the Girls’ Invitational 5,000-meter race that had 195 entries. The Gators finished as follows:

Josie Venezia 12th (20:19), Sophia Healy 57th (21:52), Johnnie Mitchell 63rd (21:59), Karime Morales 66th (22:08) and Maria Benitez 76th (22:22).

Xavier was not represented in the Girls’ Elite 5,000. The Gators had nine of the 315 runners in the Non-Varsity Girls’ 5,000. They were:

Rishita Shah 58th (23:18), Hannah Wheeling 68th (23:49), MK Fairbanks 77th (24:05), Catherine Devine 81st (24:11), Briony Campisi 95th (24:32), Ellie Higgins 110th (24:55), Erika Germinario 113th (24:57), Eliza Mulkern 178th (26:32) and Lulu Fischer 179th (26:34).

Friday, September 21, 2018

Xavier wins first three matches in Nike v-ball

It’s so far, so good for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team in the 10th annual Nike Tournament of Champions.

The Gators won six of seven games on Friday (Sept. 21) in their four-team Pool D at the Sun Devil Fitness Center in Tempe.

Xavier (15-2) moves on to a qualifying match at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 22) at the Sun Devil Fitness Center against the No. 2 finisher from Pool E.

If the Gators win that one, they will move to the tournament’s top bracket, the Platinum. If the Gators lose, they will drop to the second-highest bracket, the Gold. Win or lose, they would play their next match at 11:30 a.m.

West Orange, Fla., gave Xavier its only loss in pool play, Xavier dropped the first game 25-18 but came back to win the next two, 25-6 and 15-11.

Xavier also defeated The Bishop’s School of Calif., 25-22 and 25-22, and handled Sprague, Ore., 25-19, 25-13.

Volleyball Gators accomplish their objective

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team had a tough task ahead of it on Thursday (Sept. 20).

The Gators traveled all the way out to the northwest Valley community of Surprise, played a 4 p.m. match against host Valley Vista and cris-crossed back to Tempe’s Arizona Grand Resort to attend the opening ceremonies of the 10th annual Nike Tournament of Champions.

For those wondering what became of the Gators, coach Lamar-Renee Bryant answered that with a three-word text after the team arrived in Tempe.

“We made it!’’ she said.

The Gators were due to play three matches on Friday (Sept. 21) at ASU’s Sun Devil Fitness Center in Pool D of the 96-team event (31 from Arizona). They will be back for more on Saturday (Sept. 22) as bracket play begins.

Xavier is 12-2 overall and 7-0 in Arizona after its three-game sweep of Valley Vista, 25-14, 25-8 and 25-13.

“We were able to get everyone into the match and it gave us some good preparation for the Nike,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier got strong play from senior libero Ashley Yeung, senior setter Shannon Shields, senior outside hitter Hayley Nash and sophomore outside hitter Serena Turner. The Gators also looked good on defense.

Shields was one of six players (the only one from Arizona) honored with a presentation of her accomplishments during the Nike opening ceremonies. She will play as a freshman for the University of Louisville starting in 2019.

Xavier swimmers and divers dominate

The Xavier Prep swimming and diving team recorded a rare shutout on Thursday (Sept. 20), winning every event (including relays) on the way to a 128-55 victory over visiting Tempe Corona del Sol at the Brophy Aquatic Center.

Individual winners  were Vica Dow, Hope Nolan, Maddie Wright, Olivia Paliscak, Gracie Munk, Ashleigh Baros, Mia Rankin and Maddy Sewell (diving).

The Gators will be busy this weekend when they co-host the Brophy/Xavier Invitational at Brophy. The diving portion of the competition was due to be held on Friday (Sept. 21), with swimming events beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 22).

Freshman tennis teams divide their results

The Xavier Prep freshman “A” and “B” tennis teams split their matches on Thursday (Sept. 20).

The “A” team made the long trip to Queen Creek Casteel and dropped a 6-3 decision. The “B” team remained at home at the Stark Tennis Center and earned an 8-0 victory over visiting Chandler Basha.

The teams will each have one match next week. The “B” team will play on the road against Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Wednesday (Sept. 26), and the “A” team also will be on the road on Thursday (Sept. 27) against Chandler Hamilton.

Thursday’s results

Casteel 6, Xavier “A” 3

Singles – Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Casteel, 8-0; Casteel def. Sammy Field, X, 8-6; Piper Kilb, X, def. Casteel, 8-6; Casteel def. Grace Paul, X, 8-3; Halston Yerxa, X, def. Casteel, 8-4; Casteel def. Caroline Purtill, X, 8-2.

Doubles – Casteel def. Chrostowski-Field, X, 8-6; Casteel def. Kilb-Paul, X, 8-4; Casteel def. Yerxa-Purtill, X, 8-3.

Xavier “B” 9, Basha 0

Singles – Emily Lunt, X, def. Basha, 8-2; Elena Titus, X, def. Basha, 8-0; Caroline Cobb, X, def. Basha, 8-2; Sophia Flores, X, def. Basha, 8-5; Katie Anthony, X, def. Basha, 8-0; Virginia Brown, X, def. Basha, 8-0.

Doubles – Lunt-Titus, X, def. Basha, 8-4; Cobb-Flores, X, def. Basha, 8-3; Anthony-Brown, X, def. Basha, 8-0.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rain or shine, Gators still rule golf course


Xavier Prep’s golf team enjoyed its round of golf in umbrella weather on Wednesday (Sept. 19), leading at even par after seven holes of its match against Gilbert Highland and Glendale Mountain Ridge at Phoenix Country Club.

Highland was 11 over par after halting play on the seventh hole and Mountain Ridge completed its round at 55 over.

The only Xavier golfer who did not finish her round was junior Ashley Menne, who was 3-over through seven holes.

Other Xavier scores: sophomore Lauren Garcia, 3 under; sophomore Bailee Tayles, 1 over; junior Breyana Matthews, 1 over; senior Eve Worden, 1 over; sophomore Mary Beth Doss, 2 over; Menne, 3 over; senior Emily Cons, 3 over.

Also, senior Laura Lu, 6 over; freshman Ava Mayberger, 6 over; freshman Ivy Song, 6 over; junior Sydney Trout, 6 over; senior Holly Otlewski, 7 over; junior Sisi Wang, 10 over; freshman Kate Ryan, 14 over, junior Danae Bravo, 16 over, and freshman Audrey Sanchez, 21 over.

Tuesday golf -- Xavier Prep had nine of the top 10 finishers to roll away from Phoenix Horizon and Phoenix Desert Vista in a three-way match at Phoenix Country Club on Tuesday (Sept. 18).

The Gators finished at 8-under-par 568. Horizon was at 21-over 597 and Desert Vista was at 27-over 603.

The Xavier scores:

Menne 3-under 69, Garcia 3-under 69, Worden 3-under 69, Matthews 2 under 70, Song even-par 72, Tayles even-par 72, Cons 2-over 74, Doss 2-over 74, Lu 3-over 75.

Also, Otlewski 5-over 77, Wang 7-over 79, Trout 11-over 83, Mayberger 13-over 85, Bravo 15-over 87, Sanchez 16-over 88 and Ryan 21-over 93.

Up next – The Gators return to Phoenix Country Club on Monday (Sept. 24) for a three-way match against Mesa Mountain View and Gilbert Perry. Start time is 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Gator volleyball doesn't waste any time

Forty-nine minutes.

That’s how long it took for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team to dispose of host Mesa Red Mountain and walk out into the night air with a three-game sweep on Tuesday (Sept. 18).

The scores were 25-5, 25-12 and 25-8, and the Gators did not seem to show signs of fatigue after winning five of seven matches in two days over the weekend in the Durango Classic in Las Vegas.

“Everyone played, got some good experience,’’ said XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“We were able to work on our discipline and our serves. We did not want to end our serving streaks ourselves. Offensively, we were able to move the ball around.’’

The coach added that senior outside hitter Hayley Nash played extremely well.

“Hayley got in some great swings,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier (11-2) now travels to the opposite end of the Valley, to Surprise, for its next match on Thursday night (Sept. 20).

The Gators will play in another tournament, the Nike Tournament of Champions, this coming weekend on Friday (Sept. 21) and Saturday (Sept. 22). Bryant said her team is seeded No. 4 and will play most of its games at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe.

Victories for badminton, frosh tennis "B'

Xavier Prep’s varsity badminton team and the freshman “B’ tennis team chalked up victories on Tuesday (Sept. 18).

The badminton team defeated visiting Mesa Mountain View 9-0. The freshman team defeated visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe 7-2. Virginia Brown won her match for the Gators and the rest were by default.

The badminton team is entered in the Forner Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 22) at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

The freshman “B” team will play on Thursday (Sept. 20) at home against Chandler Basha, and the freshman “A” team will travel to face Queen Creek Casteel on Thursday. Both matches begin at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Xavier 4th of 64 teams in Durango Classic

Do the math. When you finish fourth out of 64 teams in a tournament, you’re looking pretty good.

That was the story of Xavier Prep’s participation in the two-day Durango Classic for volleyball teams from across the nation on Friday (Sept. 14) and Saturday (Sept. 15) in Las Vegas.

The Gators won their first 10 sets of the tournament, lost a pair in the semifinals and took it to the 3-set limit in the third-place match before falling. Xavier lost to Redondo Union (Calif.) in the semis 25-22, 25-21 and Mater Dei of Santa Ana (Calif.) 25-18, 18-25 and 25-17 in the third-place match.

“Seven of the top 10 teams were nationally ranked and 19 of the top 100. The Gators were among elite company,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, whose defending Arizona 6A state champions are now 10-2 this season.

Xavier had two players named to the All-Tournament Team – senior setter Shannon Shields and junior outside hitter Bri McKnight.

The Gators will be busy again this week. They will have two road matches on Tuesday (Sept. 18) and Thursday (Sept. 20) against Mesa Red Mountain and Surprise Valley Vista, respectively. And they will play in another tournament – the Nike Tournament of Champions – at various locations in Phoenix and the southeast Valley next Friday (Sept. 21) at Saturday (Sept. 22).

Xavier scores in the Durango Classic:

Pool play

XCP def. Beckman (Calif.) 25-8, 25-13. XCP def. La Costa (Calif.) 25-18, 25-19. XCP def. Centennial (Nev.) 25-14, 25-20.

Qualifying round

XCP def. Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) 25-19, 25-19.

Championship  bracket

XCP def. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 25-16, 25-20.

Semifinals

Redondo Union (Calif.) def. XCP, 25-22, 25-21.

Third place

Assumption (Ky.) def. XCP, 25-18, 18-25, 25-17.

Gator runners still making their mark

Xavier Prep’s cross-country teams had a lot of royal blue-clad athletes running all over the place on Saturday (Sept. 15).

A group of the team’s top runners had 6th- and 10th-place finishes in the Sweepstakes and Varsity A divisions in the Woodbridge Classic in Norco, Calif., and eight freshman runners had a strong showing in the Ojo Rojo Invitational on Saturday at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler. They led Xavier to the team title, ahead of second-place Page High.

Woodbridge Classic results

Sweepstakes Division (3 miles)

Mia Olsen, Jr., 31st (17:04.4), Jamie Stelnik, So., 38th (17:08.2), Karina Hawkins, Sr., 67th (17:42.9), Sammy Braun, So., 82nd (17:52.5), Helen Innes, Sr., 86th (17:55.8), Grace Valandra, Jr., 137th (18:39.9) and Karli Baker, Sr., 150th (18:52.8).

Blue Division Varsity A (3 miles)

Karina Smith, Sr., 23rd (19:02.1), Ansley Burns, Fr., 34th (19:17.3), Johnnie Mitchell, Sr., 61st (19:51.2), Josie Venezia, Sr., 72nd (20:03.0), Sophia Healy, So., 103rd (20:44.1) and Megan Woodbury, Sr.,  145th, (22:00.9).

Ojo Rojo Invitational results

Freshman Division (5K)

Maria Benitez, 3rd (21:59.9), Karime Morales, 5th (23:07.9), Ellie Higgins, 7th (23:51.5), M.K. Fairbanks, 9th (23:52.7), Hannah Wheeling, 11th (24:24.6), Erika Germinario, 12th, (24:30.4), Catherine Devine, 13th (24:48.6) and Lulu Fischer, 20th (22.03.0).

Next up

Xavier will run in the annual Doug Conley Invitational at the Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe on Sept. 22. Races begin at 7:15 and 8:15 a.m.

Frosh "B" tennis team falls short vs. Perry

Xavier Prep’s freshman “B’’ tennis team took host Gilbert Perry to the limit on Thursday (Sept. 13) before falling 5-4. The “B’ team is now 1-2.

Singles results: Perry def. Caroline Cobb (X) 8-4; Perry def. Elena Titus (X) 8-2; Perry def. Virginia Brown (X) 8-6; Emily Lunt (X) def. Perry 8-0; Lauren Ashton (X) def. Perry 8-7; Sophia Flores (X) def. Perry 8-5.

Doubles results: Perry def. Cobb-Titus (X) 8-1; Perry def. Brown-Lunt (X) 8-7; Ashton-Flores (X) def. Perry 8-2.

The “B’ team is scheduled to play twice this week, on Tuesday (Sept. 18) against Phoenix Mountain Pointe at the Stark Tennis Center and Thursday (Sept. 20) against Chandler Basha at the Stark Tennis Center. The freshman “A’ team will play on Thursday at Queen Creek Casteel.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Gator badminton team wins it for coach

With coach Sue Contreras away from her Xavier Prep badminton team due to illness, the Gators gave her an uplifting 7-2 victory over visiting Scottsdale Chaparral on Thursday (Sept. 13).

Xavier rebounded from a 5-4 loss to Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday (Sept. 11) to win its third match in five tries this season.

The Gators were coached by former head coach Nancy Meyer, along with other coaches Francis Hartojo and Karina Magana.

With Contreras out for an indefinite period, Meyer said she hopes to continue to help the team out whenever she can as her schedule permits.

“This was a great win today, very exciting,’’ she said.

Xavier players signed a large brightly colored banner after the match that was to be presented to Contreras.

Singles results: Maeve Lee (X) def. Elena Bionocole (C), 11-0, 11-4. Jane Tiffany (X), def. Candy Fajardo (C), 11-6, 11-0. Taylor Dines (X), def. Meredith Fedyna (C), 11-3, 11-2. Maddie Dines (X), def. Malie Kravertz (C), 11-7, 11-0. Emelia Pham (C), def. Mayse Dunn (X), 11-8, 11-4. Lina Vanderwey (X), def. Midori Pham (C), 13-10, 13-11.

Doubles results: Lee-Tiffany (X), def. Bionocole-Kravertz (C), 15-9, 15-11. T. Dines-M. Dines (X), def. Fajardo-E. Pham (C), 15-4, 15-4. Fedyna-M. Pham (C), won by forfeit over Dunn-Vanderwey (X).

Xavier will play next on Tuesday (Sept. 18) against Mesa Mountain View in the Activity Center. The event will begin at 4 p.m.

Swim-dive wins again, set for Chandler meet


A day after a big win over Mountain View, Xavier swimmers were back at it with a Friday morning practice at Brophy. (Photo courtesy of XCP swimming).
Xavier Prep’s swimmers and divers appear to be on the way to another strong season.

The Gators, who won last year’s Division I state title, scored an impressive 116 ½-69 ½ victory over host Mesa Mountain View on Thursday (Sept. 13) at the Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa.

Xavier won all three relay events as well as the following individual races:

Freshman Gracie Munk (100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke), sophomore Mia Rankin (500 freestyle), sophomore Pao Guerra (50 freestyle) and junior Vica Dow (100 freestyle).

The XCP divers also had a strong showing.

Senior Alyssa Largay won the event, while freshman Sam Klein finished third.

Xavier has a quick turnaround, competing in the annual Wolves Classic at Chandler High on Saturday (Sept. 15). First race begins at 8:30 a.m.

Xavier frosh tennis "A' team blanks Basha

The Xavier Prep freshman “A” tennis team added another win to its 2018 list by defeating visiting Chandler Basha 9-0 on Thursday (Sept. 13) at the Stark Tennis Center.

Singles results: Victoria Chrostowski (X) def. Basha, 6-2; Sammy Field (X) def. Basha, 6-0; Piper Kilb (X) def. Basha, 6-0; Grace Paul (X) def. Basha, 6-3; Caroline Purtill (X) def. Basha, 6-0. Halston Yerxa (X) won by default.

Doubles results: Chrostowski-Kilb (X) def. Basha, 6-0; Field-Paul (X) def. Basha, 6-1. Purtill-Yerxa (X) won by default.

The “A” team returns to action on Sept.20 on the road against Queen Creek Casteel.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Gator volleyball, 5-0, heads for Vegas tourney

A relaxing bus ride to Las Vegas, including a stop at an In-N-Out burger joint, is a lot better for a volleyball team after a sweep than the other way around.

Xavier Prep’s Gators, who departed campus on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 13), are ready for another year in the prestigious Durango Classic, on Friday (Sept. 14) and Saturday (Sept. 15).

Their most recent conquest came on Wednesday night (Sept. 12) when they swept host Scottsdale Chaparral, 25-21, 25-14 and 25-16.

Xavier is now 5-0 heading into the Durango.

The Gators, who had swept Tempe Corona del Sol the night before, began the first game by giving up the first three points and later trailing 6-2.

Coach Lamar-Renee Bryant attributed some of that to players’ concerns in regard to a teammate’s injury during warm-ups.

“Once we settled down, we were able to play better,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier took its first lead at 14-13 and was able to hang on the rest of the way.

The more familiar version of the Gators showed up for the second game and had things well in hand.

The third game featured a battle within a battle. Xavier senior setter Shannon Shields, perhaps the best passer in the state, showed she also can play the power game with three key kills in a five-point stretch in the middle of the game.

The reason? Standing on the other side of the net was Chaparral outside hitter Amber Stivrins, Shields’ club teammate with the Arizona Storm and a future teammate when both athletes play at the University of Louisville starting next year.

Bragging rights?

“I guess you could say that,’’ Bryant said.

The coach added that senior outside hitter Hayley Nash “did a great job in the middle’’ on both offense and defense, as did junior middle blocker Jasmine Knight. And sophomore outside hitter Serena Turner continues to develop into a go-to presence.

Xavier begins play in the 64-team Durango with three matches on Friday at Coronado High in the suburb of Henderson, Nev. The Gators are in Pool 8 along with La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.), Beckman (Irvine, Calif.) and Centennial (Las Vegas).

Bracket and championship play will be held Saturday at Durango High.

Four other Arizona teams are entered in the event – Gilbert Campo Verde, Tucson Ironwood Ridge, Queen Creek and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Frosh tennis "B' team picks up first win

Xavier Prep’s “B” freshman tennis team rebounded nicely from an opening-match loss and defeated Tempe Marcos de Niza 6-3 on Tuesday (Sept. 11) at the Stark Tennis Center.

Singles results: Regan Perrin (X) def. Marcos de Niza, 6-3; Marissa Mansour (X) def. Marcos de Niza, 6-4; Isabella Buse (X) def. Marcos de Niza , 6-2; Aria Tseffos (X) def. Marcos de Niza, 6-2; Marcos de Niza def. Chelsea Weil (X), 6-2; Julia Papolizio def. Marcos de Niza, 6-4.

Doubles results: Marcos de Niza def. Perrin-Mansour (X), 6-2; Buse-Tseffos (X) def. Marcos de Niza, 6-2; Marcos de Niza def. Hailey Seaman-Mary Ellis (X), 6-2.

The freshman “A” team was due to play host to Gilbert Perry on Wednesday (Sept. 12).

Both the “A” and “B” teams will be on the court again on Thursday (Sept. 13), the “A” at home against Chandler Basha and the “B” on the road at Perry. All start times are 3:30 p.m.

Coach goes "home,' team records sweep

Xavier Prep volleyball coach Lamar-Renee Bryant was experiencing a bit of déjà vu when she walked into Tempe Corona del Sol High for her team’s game on Tuesday night (Sept. 11).

Back in the day, Bryant was a student and outstanding athlete for the Aztecs.

Someone asked her if she had searched for her locker. Maybe there was a granola bar or notebook and pencils still in there.

No, she did not do that, but she did find a photo of one of the teams she played on.

But it was the present that was her main focus.

Her volleyball team is among Arizona’s best, and she wanted to see a strong showing against the team the Gators defeated for last year’s Division 6A state championship.

The Gators complied with her wishes, earning a 3-0 sweep in a match that was competitive most of the way.

The scores were 25-20, 25-19 and 25-19.

Bryant said that her team “learned its lesson’’ in its previous match against Phoenix Mountain Pointe on Thursday (Sept. 6). In that contest, Xavier won the first two games, only to have the Pride rally for two wins to force a fifth game. Xavier won that one to take the match, 3-2. The Gators didn’t want to take any chances after winning the first two against Corona del Sol.

“We stayed focused on what we needed to do and we are happy to get out of here by winning all three,’’ she said.

Bryant was pleased with the play of sophomore outside hitter Serena Turner, senior libero Ashley Yeung and senior setter Shannon Shields. Turner was a powerful force at the net, Yeung had another strong effort digging out shots along the back line, and Shields was an equal-opportunity passer while helping to provide scoring opportunities.

Xavier (4-0) will have another road match on Wednesday (Sept. 12) against Scottsdale Chaparral.

This weekend, the Gators will be back in Las Vegas to play in the 64-team Durango Classic, sponsored by Nike. Xavier will be in pool play with three other teams on Friday (Sept. 14), and  switch to bracket play on Saturday (Sept. 15).

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Xavier swimmers and divers defeat Pinnacle


Xavier Prep coaches Jenny James and Mark Rankin and their swimmers were all smiles as the team earned a victory over visiting Phoenix Pinnacle on Sept. 6 (photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
Xavier Prep’s swimmers and divers rebounded nicely from a season-opening setback to Scottsdale Chaparral with a decisive 131-55 victory over Phoenix Pinnacle on Sept. 6 in the Gators’ first home meet at the Brophy Aquatics Center.

Xavier had two individual swimmers each win a pair of events.

They were sophomore Mia Rankin (200-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke) and junior Maddie Wright (50 freestyle and 500 free).

Other swimmers earning wins were junior Vica Dow (100 backstroke), freshman Gracie Munk (200 individual medley) and sophomore Pao Guerra (100 free).
Xavier and Pinnacle swimmers are about to hit the water.
In addition, senior diver Alyssa Largay compiled her personal-best points total with 261 to win her event.

Largay will be back in action on Wednesday (Sept. 12) with the diving portion of the annual Wolves Classic hosted by Chandler High. The diving event begins at 9:30 a.m.

The swimming portion of the Wolves Classic will be held on Saturday (Sept. 15), beginning at 8:30 a.m.

In between the two Wolves Classic days, Xavier will participate in a meet against Mesa Mountain View on Thursday (Sept. 13) at the Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa. That event starts at 4 p.m.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Xavier/Brophy mountain bikers finish 7th

The combined team of Xavier Prep and Brophy Prep finished seventh overall among Division I schools on Sunday (Sept. 9) at Fort Tuthill Park in Flagstaff in the opening race of the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League’s five-race season.

Xavier/Brophy scored 3,598 points.

The course was a 5.9-mile loop. Xavier and Brophy competed in the JV 1 and 2 levels as well as a freshman race. The JV 1 level is 3 laps (17.7 miles) and the JV 2 and freshman levels is 2 laps (11.8 miles).

The Xavier riders were led by junior Heather Kwapiszeski, who finished 10th in the JV 1 race with a time of 1:35:04.46.

The Gators’ Hailey Schwartz finished 16th in the Girls’ Freshman race, with a time of 1:18:02.99 over the 2 laps.

Juniors Camdyn Rael and Catherine Wandachowicz competed in the JV 2 race. Rael finished 29th with a time of 1:35:21.27 over 2 laps and Wandachowicz was 31st with 1:37:11.23.

The cycling team’s next race is Sept. 23 (Sunday) at Pioneer Park in Prescott. Start time is 9 a.m.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Gators' Song in tune with Aguila Golf Course

Ashley Menne has made quite a name for herself in her first two years playing golf for Xavier Prep. She already has won two individual state championships.

But almost before you know it, the junior will have graduated and moved on to play at Arizona State.

So which of Menne’s current teammates is in line to become the next big thing in Xavier golf?

If Saturday’s (Sept. 8) play in the second round of the Aguila Invitational at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen was any indication, the person fitting that description could be Ivy Song.

The freshman had the best round of her young career, making eight birdies on the way to the top Day 2 score with a 5-under-par 67, finishing second overall with a 2-under 142 to help the Gators win the tournament again.

Goodyear Millennium’s Madeline Laux had a 72 to go with her first-round 69 to earn medalist honors with a 3-under 141.

The Aguila was lengthened to 36 holes over two days this year, and Xavier was at two-over-par 578, winning by 43 shots over second-place Phoenix Pinnacle.

Menne rallied from an opening-round 76 on Friday (Sept. 7) to post a 4-under 68 on Saturday. Her second round was highlighted by six birdies, allowing her to finish in third place overall with an even-par 144.

Xavier athletic director and co-head coach Sr. Lynn Winsor said she and co-coach Tui Selvaratnam “are pleased with the way the kids played. The course played longer than it usually does, and it is a good practice for what we will face in the state tournament.’’

The state tournament was played at Aguila for several years and last year moved to the Omni Tucson National Golf Course, where it will be played again this fall.

“We are encouraged by the depth we have with our players,’’ Winsor said.

That means virtually anyone is capable of finishing among the leaders on any given day.

And then there is Song.

“She is a good addition to our team,’’ Winsor said. “She has come on very strong in the last couple of weeks. She is quiet, but she is a very efficient golfer.’’

After going through a busy first few weeks of the season, the Gators will get a break of a little more than a week. No matches are scheduled for this coming week, but they are scheduled for back-to-back matches at their Phoenix Country Club home on Sept. 18 against Phoenix Horizon and Sept. 19 against Glendale Mountain Ridge.

Aguila Invitational

Team scores

Xavier Prep 578, Phoenix Pinnacle 621, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 624, Mesa Red Mountain 641, Chandler Hamilton 645, Goodyear Millennium 676, Phoenix Horizon 704, Mesa Desert Ridge 709, Gilbert Perry 733, Gilbert Highland 736, Phoenix Desert Vista 746, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep 767, Scottsdale Chaparral 783, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 826.

Xavier individual totals

Ivy Song 142 (2 under), Ashley Menne 144 (even), Breyana Matthews 147 (3 over), Lauren Garcia 147 (3 over), Bailee Tayles 153 (9 over), Mary Beth Doss 157 (13 over).

Friday, September 7, 2018

Freshman tennis teams begin their seasons

The Xavier Prep freshman tennis A and B teams opened their season on Thursday (Sept. 6).

The A team traveled to Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) and won 3-1. Some matches were reduced to the exhibition classification, Xavier playing against itself, due to limited numbers for Mountain Pointe.

Team A results:

Singles

Halston Yerxa (X) def. Mountain Pointe 6-0. Emma Whetstone (X) def. Mountain Pointe 6-0. Mountain Pointe def. London Wood (X) 6-4.

Doubles

Gracie Garrett-Alison Harris (X) def. Mountain Pointe 6-0.

The B team played at home at the Stark Center, falling to visiting Chandler Hamilton 6-3.

Team B results:

Singles

Hamilton def. Caroline Cobb (X) 8-2. Elena Titus (X) def. Hamilton 8-6. Hamilton def. Virginia Brown (X) 8-3. Katie Anthony (X) def. Hamilton 8-4. Emily Lunt (X) def. Hamilton 8-3. Hamilton def. Lauren Ashton (X) 8-6.

Doubles

Hamilton def. Cobb-Titus (X) 8-0. Hamilton def. Megan Scheller-Katie Anthony (X) 8-3. Hamilton def. Marissa Mansour-Sophia Flores (X), 8-0.

What’s next?

Team B will play Tuesday (Sept. 11) at home against Tempe Marcos de Niza. Team A will play Wednesday (Sept. 12) at home against Gilbert Perry.