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.

Friday, October 23, 2015

XCP sharp on first day, moves to badminton quarters

Xavier Prep continues to make its presence known in the Division I state badminton tournament.
The three participants representing the Gators, one singles player and two doubles teams, emerged from Friday’s (Oct. 23) early matches unscathed and will play in Saturday’s (Oct. 24) quarterfinals at Independence High School in Glendale.
Senior Kirielle Singarajah, the No. 3 seed in singles, won all of her three matches and will meet sixth-seeded Alexis Mee of Chandler High in the quarters. Semifinal and championship matches will follow if Singarajah continues to win.
Singarajah opened play on Friday with an 11-2, 11-1 win over Amber Mancera of Phoenix Paradise Valley. In the second round, Singarajah defeated Moorea Walker of Scottsdale Chaparral 11-0, 11-1. And in the third round, Singarajah defeated Linnea Wecht of Phoenix Sunnyslope 11-5, 11-4.
Karen Guo of Phoenix Desert Vista and the No. 1 seed this year, also advanced to the quarters with three wins on Friday.
Xavier’s first doubles team, the sixth-seeded combo of junior Tatum Clarke and senior Laura Pearl, will face third-seeded Laike Reader and Lauren Kater of Gilbert Perry.
Clarke and Pearl defeated Garcia and Rosales (first names not available) of Laveen Cesar Chavez 15-0, 15-0 in the opening round. Next up was Jones and Roberts (no first names) of Chandler Basha 15-6 and 15-0. The third-round match proved to be much more challenging. Clark and Pearl dropped the first game against Kelsey Deeker and Isabel Holloway of Gilbert Campo Verde, 9-15, then rallied for 15-12 and 15-3 wins in the next two games.
The second Xavier doubles team, senior Sydney LaPierre and junior Emily Woodrow, was not seeded entering the tournament, but the girls played as if they were among the favorites.
LaPierre and Woodrow will meet fourth-seeded Aimee Clifford and Rachel Goettl of Sunnyslope in the quarters.
The Xavier duo defeated Wright and Nieborek of Goodyear Millennium 15-7, 15-2 in the first round. In the second round, LaPierre and Woodrow downed K. Davis and V. Baca of Phoenix Barry Goldwater 15-3 and 15-3. And in the third round, LaPierre and Woodrow stunned fifth-seeded Katherine Valdez and Sarah Weldon of Mesa Skyline 15-4, 12-15 and 15-12.
The team portion of the tournament will be held next week. The Gators have won two straight titles and three of the last four.

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