DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four 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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

200 is a big number for Gator golfers

Two hundred of anything is a lot of something.
How about 200 M&Ms? Or 200 text messages from your friends? Or 200 pages to read for homework? Uh oh, better get going.
And then there are the 200 consecutive victories by the XCP golf team.
The Gators reached that lofty location on Monday (Sept. 29) by defeating Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Phoenix Barry Goldwater in a three-way match at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.
The streak goes all the way back to Oct. 6, 1996.
Xavier extended its national record. The previous mark was 188, by Notre Dame Academy of Hingham, Mass.
XCP has had a lot of good teams (31 state titles) and a lot of good players. Athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor has been the coach through all of it. She is proud of what this year’s team has accomplished and what its predecessors accomplished.
She knows that wherever the ball lands on the course, the next shot can create its share of challenges, some of them not necessarily good. But the girls do a great job fighting through any adversity.
“Every hole is a new shot,’’ she said. “It’s like going into a new house. You might not like one room, but there is a new door that opens to another.’’
Winsor tried to downplay the No. 200 possibility entering the match, so as to not put extra pressure on her golfers.
This year’s team is made up of seniors Madison Kerley, Ariana Macioce and Rebecca Redhorse, juniors Mikayla Fitzpatrick, Alisa Snyder and Jessika Zanotti, sophomores Elisabeth Calderelli, Emily Mahar and Lily Worden and freshman Madeline Brown.
Kerley was the medalist on Monday by shooting a 33. She said she knew 200 was coming up, but had forgotten and was surprised when Winsor and co-coach Tui Selvaratnam told the team afterward.
“It’s exciting,’’ Kerley said. “You try to treat every match the same and not add any pressure.’’
Zanotti admitted she might have been a little more nervous had she known ahead of time.
“Everything worked out,’’ she said. “It’s very exciting. You only get so many opportunities to do something like this. It is something you will always remember.
“We have a great team. We are very close this year.’’
As a freshman, Brown is fitting right in. She is well on her way of reaching her goal of becoming a state champion for the Gators.
“I have been very honored to be a part of this tradition,’’ she said. “To think about all the good golfers who started this, who graduated before us, is pretty amazing. Hopefully, we can win more matches.’’
The Gators did not practice on Tuesday (Sept. 30) and met to enjoy their achievement with a celebratory cake.
“Success on the golf course can make girls want to come here, because Xavier has a great reputation for that as well as the educational and religious aspects,’’ Winsor said.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Badminton's Buness 2nd; Golf moves match

Senior Areta Buness was the top finisher for XCP in the (Glendale) Independence Invitational badminton tournament on Saturday (Sept. 27). She finished second in singles play.
The Gators will play their final home match of the season against Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Tuesday (Sept. 30), then finish the regular season with three straight road matches -- at Mesa Mountain View on Wednesday (Oct. 1), at Phoenix Shadow Mountain on Oct. 8 and at Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) on Oct. 20.

Because of storm damage at their Phoenix Country Club home course over the weekend, the XCP golfers will attempt to win their 200th straight match in school history on Monday (Sept. 29) at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. First tee time is 3 p.m.
The opponents are Phoenix Barry Goldwater and Phoenix Sandra Day O'Connor.

Depth of runners carries Gators in Conley

The XCP cross-country team, resting its top three runners, still managed to come up with a strong showing in Saturday’s (Sept. 27) 42nd Doug Conley Invitational at the Rolling Hills Golf Course in Tempe.
The Gators finished second to Gilbert Highland in the team standings.
And sophomore Sarah Carter was the top Xavier runner, crossing the finish line in 10th place in the 5K event with a time of 20:03.88.
Other Xavier runners: Junior Tessa Weiss, 13th (20:12.31), freshman Caroline McClelland, 21st (20:30.52), Sierra Brown, 25th (20:39.59), freshman Caroline Liddy, 26th (20:46.22), and junior Shannan Higgins, 38th (21:17.66).
Tara O'Malley won the JV girls race with a time of 20:51.16.
XCP coach Dave Van Sickle was pleased that he was able to get his younger runners some experience in a higher-profile event.
Because the Gators will participate in Friday's (Oct. 3) Desert Twilight Invitational in Casa Grande, Van Sickle decided to rest senior Lauren Kinzle, junior Jane Miller and senior Shannon  Molvin.
Van Sickle said Carter “is coming around’’ as a runner, and that she is an example of the team’s quality depth.
“It is amazing how we are capable of having a different top runner every week,’’ he said. “If they could all put it together on the same day, it would be great for us.’’
While the Conley had quite a few quality teams and individuals, Van Sickle believes the Desert Twilight will have even more. The Desert Twilight is an evening event.
“We should be able to get an even better idea of what to expect at state,’’ he said.
Phoenix Desert Vista, Highland and Xavier figure to be among the top contenders.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Golfers win, move closer to milestone

The XCP golf team rolled to a big victory on Wednesday (Nov. 24) over Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 150-218, while Phoenix North Canyon forfeited.
The Gators had the top five finishers for 36 holes at their Phoenix Country Club home course.
The medalist was senior Ariana Macioce with a three-under-par 33. Sophomore Elizabeth Caldarelli was second at 37, senior Rebecca Redhorse was third at 39, junior Jessika Zanotti was fourth at 41 and freshman Madelyn Brown was fifth at 46.
Xavier’s next match is Monday (Sept. 29) at Phoenix CC against Phoenix Barry Goldwater and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.
The Gators will be aiming for their 200th straight victory under coach and athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Buness' hard work pays off in class, two sports

The home stretch is in sight for XCP senior Areta Buness as she tries to finish her academic and athletic career with a flourish.
She is one of the top players for the Gators’ defending Division I state champion badminton squad and has been a two-time first-team All-American in lacrosse by U.S. Lacrosse.
In the classroom, she has a 4.6 weighted grade-point average, and is considering a pursuit of engineering in college.
“Sometimes it can be harder to defend (a championship) than to win it the first time. We know what we are capable of doing, but we have to keep working and not take anything for granted,’’ Buness said after the Gators’ 9-0 victory over visiting Tempe McClintock on Wednesday (Sept. 24). The XCP junior varsity also won 9-0.
In the 2013 state team tournament, Xavier was battling then-defending champion Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) down to the wire and it was up to Buness and Hayden Riley to put the Gators over the top in the final doubles match.
Buness and Riley dropped the first game, 10-15, but rallied to win the second game 15-0 and the decisive third game 15-7.
With Riley graduated, Buness has played in quite a few doubles combinations this season.
It can take awhile for the doubles players to communicate effectively, but Buness is confident that the situation will work out.
She played only doubles against McClintock while nursing a sore ankle, but is expected to play singles and doubles when the Gators play in the (Glendale) Independence Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 27).
Buness and four other seniors will be playing their final home match on Tuesday (Sept. 30) against Scottsdale Desert Mountain. The other seniors are Mallory Belknap, Baani Khurana, Maise Porter and Teal Weaver.
Buness enjoys playing singles and the chess-match mentality that goes with it – trying to figure out what the opponent might do, and perhaps catching them off-guard.
As to the keys to her success, she said, “I think I’m good on the returns and trying to tire out the other person.’’
Badminton indeed is a much quicker sport and takes more strength and stamina that one might think at first glance.
“You have to have good quickness and a good reaction time,’’ Buness said.
The same is true with lacrosse, where she is a midfielder and has been the Gators’ scoring leader.
“Offense, defense, you run all over the field,’’ she said.
Part of her interest in lacrosse came from the fact that her older brother, Gage, played at next-door Brophy Prep and for one season at Arizona State.
“It has been really fun. When I first started out, I didn’t think it would be as fun as it is,’’ she said.
Buness likes the challenges that the math curriculum provides, hence an interest in engineering. She isn’t quite sure where she will attend college, although Stanford is a possibility.
In the meantime, she will work hard in sports and school.
Later this fall, she and Xavier will be the host school for the state badminton tournament, and she would like nothing better to bring home another trophy or two.

Xavier varsity 9, Tempe McClintock 0

No. 1 singles – Kirielle Singarajah (X) def. Chloe Perez-Williams (M) 11-8, 11-1.
No. 2 singles – Teal Weaver (X) def. Adriana Puente-R. (M) 11-0, 11-7.
No. 3 singles – Mallory Belknap (X) def. Taylor Ryan (M) 11-3, 11-4.
No. 4 singles – Maisie Porter (X) def. Jolie Lobrutto (M) 11-2, 11-7.
No. 5 singles – Laura Pearl (X) def. Lysette Gonzales (M) 11-2, 11-0.
No. 6 singles – Baani Khurana (X) def. Calista Calvin (M)11-0, 11-1.

No. 1 doubles – Weaver-Belknap (X) def. Perez-Williams –Puente-R. (M) 15-6, 15-11.
No. 2 doubles – Singarajah-Areta Buness (X) def. Ryan-Lobrutto (M) 15-8, 15-1.
No. 3 doubles – Porter-Pearl (X) def. Gonzalez-Calvin (M) 15-0, 15-0.

Xavier junior varsity 9, McClintock 0

No. 1 singles – Katie Russell (X) def. Theint Nwe (M) 11-1, 11-3.
No. 2 singles – Tatum Clarke (X) def. Anniesse Des (M) 11-9, 11-5.
No. 3 singles – Kiana MacDonald (X) def. Vivienne Liebig (M) 11-1, 11-1.
No. 4 singles – Emily Woodrow (X) def. Sajida Elhiber (M) 11-0, 11-2.
No. 5 singles – Julia Blake (X) def. Sofia Brown (M) 11-0, 11-0.
No. 6 singles – Katie Harris (X) def. Siobhan Davis (M) 11-2, 11-0.

No. 1 doubles – Russell-Clarke (X) def. Nwe-Des. (M) 15-1, 15-1.
No. 2 doubles – MacDonald-Woodrow (X) def. Liebig- Elhiber (M) 15-2, 15-3.
No. 3 doubles – Blake-Harris (X) def. Brown-Davis (M) 15-9, 15-2.

Support from teammates helps swim-dive

Xavier’s swim and dive team is having a strong season under first-year coach Kelley Conrad.
The Gators have bonded well this season with five seniors playing key roles – swimmers Maddie Allen, Payton Burnett, Jenna Fitzgerald, Aimee Hatfield and diver Jessica Kuretich.
“Our overall energy and the overall quality of our results has been good,’’ said Conrad.
Allen said she as well as her teammates have entered this year’s meets with better preparation.
Her specialties include the 500-yard and 200-yard freestyles and participation in some of the relay races.
Allen also is one of the caretakers of one of the team’s good-luck symbols, a small troll doll with frizzy hair that she says has been part of the program for about 20 years.
“We’re having a lot of fun out here,’’ Allen said.
Hatfield participates in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles as well as relays.
She said the team has developed a strong bond to this point, and that is evidenced by how many of the girls get close to the lanes and cheer their teammates on.
“We try to do that every meet, to give each other the support,’’ Hatfield said.
“I think we will continue to do well. Coach Conrad has been good, and I think everybody is on the right track.’’

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Xavier teams continue to work hard

Xavier sports teams have been busy this week.
The swim and dive team defeated Phoenix Arcadia 119-67 on Tuesday (Sept. 23) at a meet at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale. The freshman tennis team lost to host Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday 6-3. And the varsity and JV badminton teams defeated host Corona del Sol on Monday (Sept. 22) 8-1 and 9-0.
The swimmers and divers return to action on Oct. 2 against Mesa Mountain View at the Brophy pool. Badminton was due to play at home against Tempe McClintock on Wednesday (Sept. 24). And frosh tennis will play on Sept. 30 at Tempe Marcos de Niza.

Swimming-diving results

200-yard medley relay – Xavier (Kaitlyn McCoy, Jocelyn Jones, Elise Roediger, Aimee Hatfield) 1;54.70; Arcadia, 1:55.64; Xavier (Payton Burnett, Mary Roediger, Jaqueline Winston, Jennifer Keenan) 2:00.53.
200-yard freestyle – Milewski (A) 2:02.06; Allie Worrall (X) 2:02.55; Madeline Rapp (X) 2:03.88.
200-yard individual medley – Carlson (A) 2:14.43; Kaitlyn McCoy (X) 2:18.89; Alice Hick (X) 2:20.09.
50-yard freestyle – Aimee Hatfield (X) 25.33; Lilly Creswick (X) 25.85; Allie Worrall (X) 26.16.
100-yard butterfly – Harrison (A) 1:00.32; Elise Roediger (X) 1:01.45; Madeline Rapp (X) 1:02.44.
100-yard freestyle – Carlson (A) 54.88; Aimee Hatfield (X) 55.45; Lisbet Maldonado (X) 57.62.
500-yard freestyle – Lilly Creswick (X) 5:20.10; Milewski (A) 5:22.41; Alice Hick (X) 5:27.93.
200-yard freestyle relay – Xavier (Allie Worrall, Alice Hick, Lilly Creswick, Aimee Hatfield) 1:45.00; Xavier (Thea Cartier, Hailey Schramm, Madison Rapp, Lisbet Maldonado) 1:49.37; Arcadia, 1:58.55
100-yard backstroke – Harrison (A) 59.64; Elise Roedgier (X) 1:06.70; Payton Burnett (X) 1:07.88.
100-yard breaststroke – Jocelyn Jones (X) 1:13.40; Mary Roediger (X) 1:14.17; Xavier (swimmer not listed), 1:17.27.
Diving – Libby Decker (X); Jessica Kuretich (X); Olhausen (X).
400-yard freestyle relay – Xavier (Lisbet Maldonado, Allie Worrall, Alice Hick, Lilly Creswick) 3:46.51; Xavier (Elise Roediger, Kaitlyn McCoy, Madeline Rapp, Jennifer Keenan) 3:48.99; Arcadia, 3:55.88.

Freshman tennis results

No. 1 singles – Caroline Armknecht (X) def. Katie Panppoulas (CDS) 8-0.
No. 2 singles – Madelyn Corley (X) def. Jocelyn Zhu (CDS) 8-3.
No. 3 singles – Maria Monaco (CDS) def. Aubrey Polk (X) 8-5.
No. 4 singles – Sureya Yarra (CDS) def. Mimi Zurbriggen (X) 8-5.
No. 5 singles – Suda Sidique (CDS) def. Lucy Vietor (X) 8-4.
No. 6 singles – Priya Varra (CDS) def. Rose Larkin (X) 8-3.

No. 1 doubles – Armknecht-Corley (X) def. Panppoulas-Zhu (CDS) 8-3.
No. 2 doubles – Monaco-Yarra (CDS) def. Polk-Vietor (X) 9-7.
No. 3 doubles – Sidique-Varra (CDS) def. Zurbriggen-Larkin (X) 8-1.