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, August 18, 2015

Golfers are ready for another sweet season

Xavier Prep golfers have a sweet tooth, as evidenced by the brownies and cookies that awaited them during recent tryouts and practices.
The Gators also have sweet swings, as evidenced by the team’s 32nd title in school history in 2014. XCP has won every Division I crown since 2000 except for one, in 2010.
That standard of excellence is not an easy thing to uphold, but co-coaches Sr. Lynn Winsor and Tui Selvaratnam and their players are ready to go as they attempt to win No. 33.
“We have a good opportunity to win our 33rd if we work hard and play our best,’’ said Winsor, also the school’s athletic director.
Winsor added that Selvaratnam, a former player at Arizona State, is in her 10th season at Xavier “and is such a great person to have in our program.’’
The Gators completed tryouts last week. Winsor said the team has a good balance this year of two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.
“I think we’re going to be in good shape the next couple of years,’’ Winsor said.
The seniors are Mikayla Fitzpatrick and Alisa Snyder. The juniors are Elizabeth Caldarelli, Emily Mahar and Lily Worden. The sophomores are Madeline Brown and Lauren Faulkner. And the new-kid freshmen on the block are Emily Cons, Laura Lu, Holly Otlewski and Eve Worden.
The team lost three seniors to graduation, including state individual winner Madison Kerley, who now is at Arizona State, Rebecca Redhorse, who will play at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and Ariana Macioce, at Georgia Southern.
Kerley, Redhorse, Gabby Gutierrez (class of 2014) and Megan Miller (2011) have all stopped by to lend their encouragement. Kerley brought cookies, Redhorse brownies. Some of the current Gators bring treats as well during the season, such as the blue-and-green cupcakes brought by Lu (she learned how to make them on YouTube).
Snyder finished third in last year’s state tournament and Fitzpatrick tied with Mahar for fourth. Caldarelli was 11th.
Snyder and Fitzpatrick also will be counted on for their leadership.
“We have some new girls on the team and we think we’re going to be good,’’ Snyder said. “We want to help the freshmen and the other girls grow.’’
“Our goal is to help everyone improve and feel welcome,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
The seniors have developed a strong friendship since their freshman year and have played in more than a combined two dozen tournaments each over the summer, including being on the same team that represented Arizona in the Junior America’s Cup in Wyoming.
Xavier’s long, strong tradition is a motivating factor for Fitzpatrick and Snyder.
“It’s an honor to represent Xavier. It stands for excellence, not just for golf but in academics,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
Snyder said that Xavier “is one of the top programs in the nation. We’re not just playing for ourselves, but all of those great players from the past.’’
Improving the mental part of her game was Fitzpatrick’s goal. She said she has improved in that area. Snyder improved with her chipping. The courses she played back East during the summer have thicker grass in the roughs, as opposed to some of the courses out here.
Fitzpatrick also gained some distance on her drives after she switched to a new driver, from a Ping G20 to a Ping G30.
Winsor said both players are certain to play in college. Snyder will play at the University of Michigan and Fitzpatrick, winner of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona Girls Championship Player of the Year Award in 2014, continues to evaluate her options. Winsor said Xavier’s junior players also are receiving attention from college recruiters.
“Mikayla and Alisa are really good leaders and both of them love sharing that leadership,’’ Winsor said.

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