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, September 30, 2015

Varsity, JV badminton keep on rolling

The Xavier Prep badminton team ran its dual-match record to 10-0 on Wednesday (Sept. 30) with a 9-0 victory over visiting Mesa Mountain View, and the XCP junior varsity matched that record with a 9-0 victory.
“The girls are coming along,’’ said Xavier assistant coach Susie Murphy, filling in for head coach Nancy Meyer. “We’re not quite where we need to be. We have three matches left (actually four), so hopefully we’ll be peaking at the right time.’’
Xavier’s final four matches are Thursday (Oct. 1) at Mesa Dobson, at home against Mesa Red Mountain on Oct. 7, at Phoenix Desert Vista on Oct. 14 and at Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Oct. 20.
The Gators breezed through their six singles matches, but Mountain View put up more of a challenge in doubles. A couple of those matches were close, including the one between XCP’s No. 1 duo of Kirielle Singarajah and Katie  Russell, who defeated Mountain View’s No. 1 team of Amber Beeney and Shalise Uchytil 15-12 and 17-15.
“We need to work a little more on our doubles,’’ Murphy said.

Wednesday’s results
No. 1 Kirielle Singarajah (X) def. Amber Beeney (MV) 11-0, 11-2. No. 2 Sydney LaPierre (X) def. Ashley Church (MV) 11-2, 11-6. No. 3 Katie Russell (X) def. Shalise Uchytil (MV) 11-4, 11-9. No. 4 Laura Pearl (X) def. Briana Allred (MV) 11-4, 11-3. No. 5 Emily Woodrow (X) def. Brenna  Cordon (MV) 11-0, 11-2. No. 6 Kiana Macdonald (X) def. Brynn Shults (MV) 11-2, 11-4.
No. 1 Singarajah-Russell (X) def. Beeney-Uchytil (MV) 15-12, 17-15. No. 2 LaPierre-Woodrow (X) def. Church-Allred (MV) 17-14, 15-6. No. 3 Pearl-Macdonald (X) def. Cordon-Shults (MV) 15-12, 11-4.

Volleyball learns hard way that Hamilton is for real

The Xavier Prep volleyball team got a big dose of reality on Tuesday night (Sept. 29).
The Gators came into their showdown with host Chandler Hamilton riding the crest of a 13-1 season, a season in which they hope to have a shot at taking the Division I state championship.
Hamilton, which defeated Xavier in last year’s semifinals, was on top of its game in every aspect in this one, pinning a three-game sweep on the Gators (23-25, 18-25 and 24-26).
Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said she “has had better days’’ after a lengthy post-match team meeting. Hamilton (17-1) has lost only one game all season.
“We were overwhelmed,’’ Bryant said. “We couldn’t get into a rhythm.
“Hamilton outplayed us. We self-destructed.
“From the beginning of the match, they (Hamilton) were game-on. They were lights out. Their defense did not let the ball hit the ground.’’
Hamilton had about a half-dozen players with double figures in digs, and the Huskies neutralized Xavier’s big hitters, Khalia Lanier, Lanie Wagner and Makena Patterson.
Xavier also had a few injury issues.
First, senior setter Callie Jones has been out for a few weeks with a finger injury suffered in the recent Durango Fall Classic tournament in Las Vegas and the timetable for her return is uncertain, Bryant said.
That means junior Cierra Flood and freshman Shannon Shields will have to pick up the slack. They are getting better, Bryant said, but need to continue that trend.
Second, Lanier, a 6-foot-2 senior who is one of the top players in the nation, twisted an ankle during the third game of the match and was limited after that.
Bryant said the ankle will continue to be monitored and she won’t hesitate to keep Lanier out of the lineup for Thursday’s (Oct. 1) home match against Anthem Boulder Creek and for this weekend’s Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.
“If we do our part, we will have a chance (to win),’’ Bryant said.

Monday, September 28, 2015

XCP golfers rule in four-way match

Monday’s (Sept. 28) golf match between Xavier Prep, Phoenix Desert Vista, Chandler Hamilton and Scottsdale Chaparral provided the Gators with one of their most competitive moments of the season.
Defending state champion Xavier, winner of 32 state crowns, was neck and neck with the teams in the early going before pulling away with some improved chip shots.
Xavier totaled 135 points, with Desert Vista and Hamilton tying at 152 and Chaparral scoring 170 over the par-36 front nine at Phoenix Country Club, one of two home courses for the Gators.
“It was good competition. They are all excellent teams,’’ said Sr. Lynn Winsor, the team’s co-coach along with Tui Selvaratnam. “As a group, they are the best teams we’ve faced.’’
Three Xavier players were under par. Medalist Emily Mahar shot 31, Mikayla Fitzpatrick shot 33 (including an eagle) and Elizabeth Caldarelli shot 35. Sisters Eve and Lily Worden shot 36 and 37, respectively.
Xavier returns to action on Oct. 7 at Camelback Country Club, its other home course, with Phoenix Horizon serving as the opponent.

Swim-dive finishes 2nd, ready to co-host invitational

Xavier Prep’s swimmers and divers tuned up for this weekend’s Xavier-Brophy Invitational with a strong second-place finish in the Phoenix Country Day School Eagle Invitational on Friday (Sept. 25) and Saturday (Sept. 26) at PCDS.
Xavier scored 101 points. Scottsdale Chaparral won the meet with 133 points, and Phoenix Veritas Prep finished third with 100.
Xavier’s best finish came in the 200-yard freestyle relay, good enough for third place. Contributing to the 1:42.82 time were junior Jocelyn Jones, senior Alice Hick, junior Quinn Blake and sophomore Mary Roediger.
Another Gator team finished eighth with a time of 1:45.23 in that relay, comprised of senior Jennifer Keenan, senior Jaqueline Winston, freshman Clare Carlson and senior Lisbet Maldonado.
Other events . . .
200-yard freestyle – senior Alice Hick 1:57.73 (5th), senior Madeline Rapp 2:02.64 (12th), freshman Maggie Hall 2:12.34 (24th) and freshman Helena Valenzuela 2:12.88 (25th).
200-yard individual medley – senior Jennifer Keenan 2:15.82 (9th), junior Quinn Blake 2:19.64 (17th), and freshman Nine LaFave 2:48.65 (41st).
200-yard medley relay – XCP was fourth in 1:53.33. Swimmers were sophomore Kaitlyn McCoy, senior Madeline Rapp, junior Jocelyn Jones and freshman Izzy Gomez.
50-yard freestyle – sophomore Mary Roediger 25.51 (8th), junior Jocelyn Jones 25.61 (9th), senior Jaqueline Winston 25.87 (11th), senior Jennifer Keenan 25.88 (12th), senior Hailey Schramm 25.89 (13th), freshman Izzy Gomez 26.64 (19th), freshman Clare Carlson 26.65 (20th), and junior Maddie Campbell 28.49 (49th).
100-yard butterfly – sophomore Kaitlyn McCoy 59.50 (7th), senior Madeline Rapp 1:00.34 (11th), senior Jaqueline Winston 1:02.88 (19th) and sophomore Kate Hubbard 1:03.35 (20th).
100-yard freestyle – senior Alice Hick 55.03 (6th), senior Lisbet Maldonado 55.85 (10th), freshman Izzy Gomez 57.47 (16th), senior Hailey Schramm 57.89 (19th), freshman Clare Carlson 58.91 (23rd) and senior Mackenzie Christensen 1:04.01 (50th).
500-yard freestyle – senior Lisbet Maldonado 5:54.95 (20th).
100-yard backstroke – sophomore Kaitlyn McCoy 1:00.25 (8th), junior Quinn Blake 1:02.92 (16th), sophomore Kate Hubbard 1:05.08 (23rd) and sophomore Nicole Johnson 1:08.50 (34th).
100-yard breaststroke – sophomore Mary Roediger 1:09.89 (5th), junior Jocelyn Jones 1:10.17 (6th), sophomore Taylor Guthrie 1:17.80 (23rd) and sophomore Alexandra Perez 1:20.58 (32nd).
400-yard freestyle relay – Xavier had two teams. The first won finished fifth at 3:43.62. Swimmers were sophomore Kaitlyn McCoy, senior Lisbet Maldonado, senior Alice Hick and senior Madeline Rapp. The second finished eighth at 3:51.16. Swimmers were senior Jennifer Keenan, freshman Clare Carlson, junior Quinn Blake and senior Hailey Schramm.
Xavier also did well in the 1-meter diving event. Freshman Alyssa Largay was fourth with 326.95 points, senior Libby Decker was fifth with 311.95, freshman Molly Cahill was 14th with 262 and freshman Talle Donley was 15th with 256.80.
Brophy was the top boys team in the PCDS Eagle Invitational. The Broncos and Xavier will host the Xavier-Brophy Swim and Dive Invitational this weekend at the Brophy pool. Diving is Friday (Oct. 2) at 8 a.m. and swimming is Saturday (Oct. 3) at 10 a.m.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Singarajah stops defending state champ in badminton

Although Xavier Prep’s badminton program lost quite a few players to graduation after winning the Division I state championship, the current group is playing like a third state title is well within reach.
The Gators played some of their best badminton of the season on Saturday (Sept. 26) in the Independence Invitational at Glendale Independence High.
In singles, senior Kirielle Singarajah won the tourney title by defeating the player who won last year’s individual state crown, Karen Guo of Phoenix Desert Vista. And senior Katie Russell had a strong effort by finishing fourth in singles.
In doubles, junior Tatum Clarke and senior Laura Pearl reached the semifinals, where they had a setback against Desert Vista.
XCP coach Nancy Meyer was pleased with the turn of events.
“We are so proud of all of them,’’ she said.
Xavier, which is 8-0 in dual matches thus far, has three matches this week. They are Tuesday (Sept. 29) at Mesa High, Wednesday (Sept. 30) at home against Mesa Mountain View and Thursday (Oct. 1) at Mesa Dobson.