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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gators survive 1st day at state badminton

Xavier’s two singles players and two doubles teams survived Thursday’s (Oct. 23) first day of action in the Division I state badminton tournament for individuals at Glendale Independence High.
After a day off on Friday (Oct. 24), play resumes on Saturday morning (Oct. 25) at approximately 10 a.m. with the finals in the afternoon. The team championship will be held next week at XCP.
Areta Buness, the Gators’ top singles player who was seeded fourth, caught a break in the first round when Gilbert Highland’s Brooklyn Law had to forfeit due to a rules infraction. Buness came back later in the day for her first action of the tournament, defeating Eryn Vanney of Queen Creek 11-3, 11-3.
Buness will play Saturday against Phoenix Sunnyslope’s Avalon Lubera.
The Gators’ Kirielle Singarajah was seeded 10th and began play with an 11-2, 11-1 win over Scottsdale Chaparral’s JoVanna Romeo. Singarajah moved on to play Tempe High’s Zoe Nelson and came away with an 11-0, 11-2 triumph.
Singarajah will face seventh-seeded Jenna Reynolds of Gilbert Perry on Saturday.
Xavier’s top doubles team of Teal Weaver and Mallory Belknap was seeded eighth and opened with a dominating effort, 15-1 and 15-0 over Tempe High’s Sandra Salazar and Melanie Solorzano.
Next came Glendale Deer Valley’s Jovana Kuvac and Hailey Cooper, and the XCP duo came out on top 15-2, 15-3. On Saturday, Weaver and Belknap will meet Phoenix Horizon’s Gennifer Unell and Gina Morell.
Xavier’s doubles team of Baani Khurana and Laura Pearl was unseeded, but managed to produce a mild upset of No. 11-seeded Kathie Cuthbertson and Julia Hansen 15-5, 15-8.
The XCP duo was more dominant in its second match, rolling to a 15-0, 15-1 triumph over Jessica Salas and Kristen Mick of San Tan Valley Combs.
Khurana and Pearl will face Glendale Mountain Ridge’s Katha Patel and Valerie Rozon on Saturday.

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