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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gators a big success in academics as well as volleyball

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has announced that Xavier College Preparatory was one of 237 girls high school teams from across the country to earn the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2014-15 season.
There are separate categories for college and junior-college teams. All teams displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative GPA on a 5.0 scale.
Way to go, Gators !!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Volleyball's Lanier chosen for national team

Classes will be starting soon for students at Xavier Prep, but before that happens, senior Khalia Lanier will have some last-minute traveling to do.
The 6-foot-2 star outside hitter has received another prestigious honor, selected to the 12-player USA Volleyball U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team that will play in the Girls’ U18 World Championships in Lima, Peru, from Aug. 7-16.

Xavier senior Khalia Lanier.
 The players were selected during tryouts across the country.
Before the tournament in Peru, the Youth National Team will participate in a tournament hosted by the Argentina Volleyball Foundation beginning Tuesday (July 28) in Buenos Aires. The Americans will be playing Italy, Argentina and Mexico before moving on to Peru.
There are four pools of teams in the World Championships. The U.S. team is in a pool with the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Russia and Belgium in its pool. After pool play, the teams with the best records are set to advance.
Lanier will lead Xavier in the 2015-16 season before heading off to USC on a volleyball scholarship.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

XCP's Martin coach of year candidate, so please vote!

It’s time to vote!!
XCP tennis coach Laurie Martin is one of 24 coaches being considered as America’s Best Coach in conjunction with USA Today’s High School Sports section.
Martin’s teams have won four straight Division I titles in Arizona and she was honored with several national awards during the last school year.
To vote, go to
Voting is open until 11 a.m., Arizona time, on Friday (July 24).

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

World Cup title can serve as motivator for youth

Did you happen to see the front page of the sports section on Monday (July 6), where the American women’s soccer team was celebrating its victory over Japan in the World Cup Final?
In the background, hanging over the railing, is the Arizona state flag.
It was a symbol of support and a symbol of hope for our state, and the young athletes playing the sport here. It certainly helps that American player Julie Johnston was a graduate of Mesa Dobson High and played club ball in the Valley.
If a young woman was sitting atop the fence, deciding whether she should give the sport a try, perhaps the emotion of the moment will motivate her to make the move.
Perhaps not this coming season, but in future years, when the new players will sprout their wings, the programs such as the ones at Xavier Prep and others around the state will get stronger because of it.
It will be exciting to see, that’s for sure.
Xavier fans will get to see the unveiling of the new Gators team this winter, under the leadership of coach Barb Chura, so come out to Petznick Field and watch. These players work hard and one day, you might just see one of them in a World Cup Final.