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, March 30, 2016

Basketball players reign with brain power

Xavier Prep’s basketball team had success in the classroom this season as well as on the court.
Five Gator players were named Honorable Mention by SportsAZ360 sports affiliate on its 2015-16 Arizona All-Academic Girls Basketball Team.
The players are (GPA in parentheses):

Katie Hassett, sophomore (4.1)
Alana Kelley, sophomore (3.8)
Vanessa Murphy, senior (4.3)
Sarah Perrin, senior (4.1).
Brittany Robinson, junior (4.1).

Congratulations, Gators !!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Gators' Murphy receives big honor from

Easter Sunday (March 27) brought another big honor for Xavier Prep outgoing senior Vanessa Murphy.
The 6-foot-2 Murphy was named a Division I First Team selection by
Basketball players from all over the state were eligible for selection for All-Arizona, All-Division I, All-Division II, All-Division III, All-Division IV and All-Division V.
Murphy, who will play collegiately at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, averaged about 14 points and nine rebounds for the Gators this season and was a key factor in a turnaround that had XCP missing the playoffs during her junior season and reaching the tournament this year.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

XCP softball glides past the Pride

Xavier Prep softball players will be happy to search for Easter eggs after putting scoreless eggs on the board for visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe in a game on Wednesday (March 23) at Petznick Field.
The Gators had a strong comeback in the 9-0 victory, 24 hours after suffering a 9-8 setback against host Peoria Sunrise Mountain on Tuesday (March 22).
Senior pitcher Caitlyn Dickman and freshman Kylie Rodgers combined for a four-hitter as Xavier ran its record to 11-3 entering the Easter break.
Dickman and Mountain Pointe’s Danielle Farinas were locked in a scoreless duel through the first three innings.
Xavier scored the only run it would need in the fourth inning. Leadoff hitter Becky Ducar reached first on an infield error and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Marie Funes.
The floodgates opened in the fifth as the Gators scored five runs on six hits, along with an error.
Megan Donahey, Ducar, Emily Richards, Funes and Jordan Bassett each drove in a run in the frame.
Two more errors by the Pride and a hit by Ducar contributed to three more XCP runs in the sixth.
“The girls get disappointed when they lose, and that motivates them to come back,’’ said Xavier coach Carrie Markham. “Working to eliminate mistakes makes them mentally stronger.’’
Asked that allowed the Gators to break the game open, Markham said, “We started executing our short game, reading their defense. They were playing us way back.’’
Markham said the team will have limited practices during the break, due in part that some of the players will be out of town with their families.
The Gators were due to play three games in their first week back, but one of those, a road contest at Scottsdale Desert Mountain, has been moved from April 6 to April 14. In the first week, Xavier will play home games against Gilbert High on April 5 and Gilbert Highland on April 8.

Complete performance pushes Xavier track

Wednesday (March 23) was a productive day for the Xavier Prep track and field team.
The Gators scored 107 points and shared the girls’ team top spot with Goodyear Millennium in the Fr. Olivier Friendship Invitational at the Brophy Sports Campus.
There were two categories for each event – the Invitational for the top younger athletes and the Open for the older athletes.

Overall team scores – Xavier Prep 107, Goodyear Millennium 107, Buckeye Verrado 103, Mesa Desert Ridge 83, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 75, Phoenix Shadow Mountain 58, Gilbert Mesquite 36, Buckeye Youngker 21, Phoenix Arcadia 18, Scottsdale Coronado 13, Phoenix St. Mary’s 13.

Xavier results (among the top 8 finishers) . . .
100-meter Invitational – 4 – Fr. Leila Grant 13.29; 5 – So. Bisola Ojeniyi 13.49.
100-meter Open – 2 – Jr. Maddie Minton 13:06; 5 – Jr. Taylor Ford 13.43.
200-meter Invitational – 4 – Fr. Leila Grant 27.23; So. Bisola Ojeniyi 28.34; Fr. Johnnie Mitchell 28.71.
200-meter Open – 1 – Jr. Maddie Minton 27.69; 3 – Jr. Taylor Ford 28.34.
400-meter Invitational – 7 – Fr. Helene Hart 1:05.90.
800-meter Invitational – 1 – Fr. Helen  Innes 2:31.50; 3 – Fr. Karina Hawkins 2:38.88; 5 – Fr. Kelli Rasmussen 2:39.82.
800-meter Open – 1 – Sr. Kelly Champeau  2:29.09; 2 – Sr. Ally Novacek 2:32.85; 3 – Jr. M.J. O’Gara 2:33.56.
1,600-meter Invitational – 1 – Fr. Helen Innes 5:27.14; 2 – So. Abbie Conrad 5:53.61; 3 – So. Annika Nielson 5:41.10; 4 – Fr. Karina Hawkins 5:55.90.
1,600-meter Open – 3 – Jr. M.J. O’Gara 5:44.01; 4 – Jr. Pamela Ebenroth 5:48.72; 7 – Jr. Victoria Amaro 6:08.05.
3,200-meter Invitational – 2 – So. Annika Nielson 12:59.28; 3 – So. Abbie Conrad 13:00.24.
3,200-meter Open – 1 – Sr. Tessa Weiss 10:57.23; 2 – Jr. Pamela Ebenroth 12:59.28; 3 – Jr. Victoria Amaro 13:36.99.
300-meter hurdles Invitational – 7 – Fr. Jackie Haring 58.49.
300-meter hurdles Open – 1 – Jr. Annie Grant 47.09; 8 – Jr. Tatum Cork 55.34.
4x400 relay Invitational – 3 – Xavier 4:22.65.
4x800 relay Invitational – 3 -- Xavier 11:45.23; 4 – 11:50.41; 6 – Xavier 11:52.98.
High jump Open – 3 – Jr. Emma Strouse 4-10.
Pole vault Invitational – 1 – Fr. Molly Cahill 6-09.
Pole vault Open – 4 – Sr. Rachel Purcell 6-0.
Long jump Open – 4 – Sr. Teresa Roessler 17-03; 5 – Sr. Cydeni Carter 16-04 ¼.

Tennis team responds to challenge

The challenge was there, and Xavier Prep’s tennis team met it head-on.
Chandler Hamilton, one of the likely teams to battle the Gators for the Division I state championship this season, couldn’t keep up as Xavier pulled away for an 8-1 victory at home on Wednesday (March 23).
Xavier is 9-0, while Hamilton fell to 4-1.

Tristanne Dechoux, X, def. Anamike Deokar, H, 7-5, 6-4; Caroline James, X, def. Emily Smith, H, 6-2, 6-3; Jordan Craft, X, def. Brooke Maclay, H, 6-1,6-2; Caroline Armknecht, X, def. Liz Smith, H, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), (10-8); Maddy Corley, X, def. Kamryn Blawn, H, 6-0, 6-0; Stephanie Burkhard, X, def. Maddie Uthe, H, 6-2, 6-2.
Deokar-E. Smith, H, def. Dechoux-James, X, 8-2; Craft-Kate Straneva, X, def. Maclay-L. Smith, H, 8-5; Armknecht-Burkhard, X, def. Blawn-Uthe, H, 8-5.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Allard earns spot on All-Arizona soccer team

Xavier Prep’s state semifinalist soccer team had three players represent the program in the player honors for Division I. Those teams were released Sunday (March 20).
Senior forward Lexi Allard was the Gators’ most decorated player. She was selected to the All-Arizona Team, which is made up of the top players in the state, regardless of classification.
Allard, who had four game-winning goals during the season, also was selected to the All-Division I First Team.
Teammates Kinsey Ehmann (sophomore goalkeeper) and Quiqui Hita (junior forward) were listed as Honorable Mention selections in Division I.
Congratulations from The XCP Files to these hard-working well-deserving athletes !!