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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Xavier cross country displays depth

It was the last big meet before the upcoming sectional qualifying meet, and Xavier Prep’s showing in Friday’s (Oct. 16) Titan Invitational in Gilbert proved to be a good indicator of the cross-country team’s chances to perform well down the road.
Xavier had a total of 207 points and tied Phoenix Greenway for the No. 7 spot in the Big School Varsity Division. The top finishers were Phoenix Desert Vista (36), Sierra Vista Buena (122), Tempe Corona del Sol (135), Gilbert Campo Verde (135), Scottsdale Prep (165) and Tucson Ironwood Ridge (199).
Top Xavier runners such as junior Sarah Carter and seniors Shannan Higgins, Jane Miller and Tessa Weiss sat this one out to rest, but their teammates showed that the Gators figure to have depth in the near future and in 2016.
Gator runners in the 5,000-meter course were senior Ally Novacek (17th, 20:38), junior M.J. O’Gara (22nd, 20:51), sophomore Kate Straneva (37th, 21:59), freshman Karina Hawkins (69th, 23:20), sophomore Abbie Conrad (76th, 23:46), freshman Telissa Colelay (78th, 23:47.90) and junior Victoria Amaro (81st, 23:55).
Approximately 120 runners participated in the Big School race, while more competed in Open and Freshman divisions.
“This gave some of our other girls the chance to show what they can do, particularly going into the sectional,’’ said Xavier coach Dave Van Sickle.
“It was our last race (in the regular season) and we had a very strong effort, particularly going against some of the other schools’ main varsity teams. It was stiff competition out there.
“Some of our runners are kind of just beginning, so this should provide good motivation for next year.’’
Xavier will run in the Northwest Sectional on Oct. 30 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. The state meet will be held Nov. 7 at the Cave Creek Golf Course in north Phoenix.

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