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, October 27, 2015

Focused Gators reach badminton semifinals

The final four is set for high school badminton as the 2015 state team tournament moves to Gilbert Perry High for Wednesday’s (Oct. 28) semifinals.
Xavier Prep, the two-time defending state champion, is seeded No. 1 and will meet No. 4 Phoenix Desert Vista at 6:30 p.m. The other 6:30 semi is between No. 3 Mesa Red Mountain and No. 2 host Perry. Semifinal winners will meet for the title on Friday (Oct. 30) at Perry with a 6:30 p.m. start.
Xavier hosted a four-team first-round and two-team quarterfinal matches on Monday (Oct. 26).
The Gators defeated Goodyear Millennium and Glendale Cactus, both by 5-0 scores. Cactus defeated Prescott in the first round.
There is no easy draw for unbeaten Xavier (16-0) at this point.
Desert Vista gave the Gators one of their toughest matches of the season on Oct. 14. Xavier escaped with a 5-4 victory.
“Without a doubt, Desert Vista is very tough,’’ said Xavier coach Nancy Meyer. “At this point in the season, it doesn’t matter which seed a team is, you have to keep focused. We are going to have to bring our game and be ready.’’
Desert Vista’s top player is Karen Guo, who won her second straight singles championship on Saturday over Xavier’s Kirielle Singarajah. There is no doubt that Singarajah, a senior, would like to atone for that setback.
Other singles players for Xavier are expected to be junior Tatum Clarke, senior Sydney LaPierre, senior Katie Russell, senior Laura Pearl and junior Emily Woodrow.
The top three doubles teams for the Gators are Clarke and Pearl, Russell and Singarajah and LaPierre and Woodrow.
First round results
Xavier 5, Goodyear Millennium 0
Singles – Singarajah def. Taryn Bolte 11-0, 11-2. Clark def. Hailey St. Bernard 11-2, 11-2. LaPierre def. Madi Wright 11-7, 11-0. Russell def. Veronica Nieborek 11-3, 11-1. Pearl def. Adrianne Mailari 11-3, 11-6.
Quarterfinal results
Xavier 5, Glendale Cactus 0
Singles – Singarajah def. Katie Cuthbertson 11-0, 11-0. Clarke def. Julia Hansen 11-7, 11-2. LaPierre def. Lexi Thompson 11-7, 11-3. Pearl def. Nicole Osteen 11-4, 11-6. Woodrow def. Donesia Wilburn 11-1, 11-1.

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