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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

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.

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