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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weather forces sand title match to Wednesday

Saturday night’s (April 30) Division I state championship sand volleyball match between Xavier Prep and Tucson Salpointe Catholic has been postponed until Wednesday (May 4) due to weather concerns.
The contest at Gilbert Mesquite High was to have started at 7 p.m. It now will be played at the same location on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Xavier will be aiming for its fifth title in as many tries as sand volleyball continues to gain ground in Arizona. Xavier defeated Salpointe 4-1 in a match earlier this season.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Lacrosse to face Notre Dame in first round

After wrapping up its regular season with a 16-10 victory over Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Wednesday (April 27), the Xavier Prep club lacrosse team turns its attention to the Arizona Girls Lacrosse Association state tournament that begins Monday (May 2).
Xavier (11-5) will face Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep at Arizona State University West in Glendale (55th Ave. and Thunderbird Road) at 6 p.m. The Gators defeated Notre Dame twice during the season, 14-11 and 18-8.
If XCP wins its first game, it would move on to the next round, at ASU West on Wednesday (May 4) at 6 p.m. The degree of difficulty increases because the opponent would be Phoenix Pinnacle, which defeated the Gators twice, 14-7 and 14-8.

Gators gain momentum in track and field

Xavier Prep’s track and field team came up with one of its best performances of the season at just the right time, winning the Northeast Valley Regional at Phoenix Horizon and building momentum for the Division I state meet on May 4 and 7 at Mesa Community College.
The Gators scored 115 points in the Northeast, which began Monday (April 25) and finished up on Wednesday (April 27). Cave Creek Cactus Shadows was second with 97 points.
Xavier had two winning relay teams (4x100 and 4x800) and one individual winner (senior Teresa Roessler in the long jump).
Other key performances:
Senior Tessa Weiss (2nd, 800), junior Sarah Carter (2nd, 3,200), sophomore Caroline McClelland (3rd, 3,200), senior Cydeni Carter (2nd, 100-meter hurdles), junior Annie Grant (3rd, 100-meter hurdles and 3rd, 300-meter hurdles) and the 4x400 relay team (2nd).

Xavier results:
100 – Bisola Ojeniyi, So., 5th, 12.95; Taylor Ford, Jr., 12th, 13.53.
400 – Leila Grant, Fr., 4th, 60.60; Calista Kistler, Fr., 11th, 63.79; Sarah Fox, Fr., 12th, 65.60.
800 – Tessa Weiss, Sr., 2nd, 2:15.50; Ally Novacek, Sr., 16th, 2:28.72; Sarah Carter, Jr., 18th, 2:31.01; Shannan Higgins, Sr., 24th, 2:32.72.
1,600 – Sarah Carter, Jr., 4th, 5:17.51; Shannan Higgins, Sr., 5th, 5:17.85; Helen Innes, Fr., 6th, 5:20.71; Caroline McClelland, So., 12th, 5:27.33.
3,200 – Sarah Carter, Jr., 2nd, 11:31.52; Caroline McClelland, So., 3rd, 11:33.00; Helen Innes, Fr., 4th, 11:33.96.
100 hurdles – Cydeni Carter, Sr., 2nd, 15.73; Annie Grant, Jr., 3rd, 15.82; Jada Sims, Fr., 9th, 17.01.
300 hurdles – Annie Grant, Jr., 3rd, 45.59; Teresa Roessler, Sr., 5th, 48.11; Jada Sims, Fr., 8th, 50.40; Izzy Estes, So., 13th, 53.42.
4x100 relay – Xavier 1st (Bisola Ojeniyi, Annie Grant, Cydeni Carter, Maddie Minton), 49.12.
4x400 relay – Xavier 2nd (Kinsey Ehmann, Teresa Roessler, Leila Grant, Annie Grant), 4:03.50.
4x800 relay – Xavier 1st (Tessa Weiss, Shannan Higgins, Jane Miller, Ally Novacek), 9:37.82.
Shot put – Gisselle Bojorquez, Fr., 11th, 28-00; Joyce Karekezi, So., 17th, 26-07.
Discus – Jai Nero, Jr., 15th, 79-03, Gisselle Bojorquez, Fr., 29th, 67-01; Joyce Karekezi, So., 62-04.
High jump – Helene Hart, Fr., 6th, 4-10; Olivia Zanczucchi, Sr., 9th, 4-08; Mary Long, So., 12th, 4-06; Emma Strouse, Jr., 12th, 4-06.
Pole vault – Molly Cahill, Fr., 13th, 7-0.
Long jump – Teresa Roessler, Sr., 1st, 16-11; Maddy Todd, Jr., 10th, 14-7 ½; Emma Strouse, Jr., 12th, 14-3; Jada Sims, Fr., 17th, 13-8 ½.
Team scores – Xavier Prep 115, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 97, Phoenix North Canyon 86 ½, Scottsdale Chaparral 63, Phoenix Pinnacle 55 ½, Phoenix Shadow Mountain 52, Gilbert 36, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 36, Tempe 25, Phoenix Horizon 25, Fountain Hills 24, Scottsdale Prep 18, Phoenix Arcadia 10, Scottsdale Saguaro 8, Phoenix Veritas Prep 7, Tempe Marcos de Niza 2.
 *Results provided by assistant track coach Chris Pfaff.

"Fantastic five'' within reach of XCP sand team

Five for five?
Xavier Prep’s sand volleyball team is on the verge of a milestone in which it could win its fifth Division I state championship in the five-year existence of the sport.
The Gators downed Scottsdale Chaparral 4-1 in the semifinals on Thursday night (April 28) at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale, and will face Tucson Salpointe Catholic for the title on Saturday night (April 30) at 7 at Mesquite High in Gilbert. Salpointe advanced with a 3-2 semifinal win over Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.
Despite the fact that Chaparral was missing a handful of key players due to a club team scheduling conflict, “they gave us all we could handle,’’ said Xavier coach Tim McHale.
The Gators defeated Salpointe 4-1 in an early season match on March 7 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
After that match, McHale said, “The result was not indicative of what kind of team Salpointe is.’’
Some of the Xavier players also got a good look at some of the Salpointe players when they participated in the Catbox tournament at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
And after Salpointe’s win over Sandra Day O’Connor, which some considered to be an upset, McHale said, “That was a big win for them. They are ridiculously athletic. They have a very deep team.’’
Xavier’s No. 5 team of Ainsley Ramsey and Alyna Draper won by forfeit because Chaparral was short on players.
The No. 3 team of Taylor Lopez and Kailey Klein fell 2-1 to the Firebirds, but the No. 1 duo of Caroline White and Macy Gordon, the No. 2 team of Kasie Thompson and Cierra Flood and the No. 4 team of Emma Cisneros-Luebke and Kristen Klein all recorded 2-0 triumphs.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gators hold No. 6 seed in softball tournament

The Xavier Prep softball team had hoped to enter the upcoming Division I state tournament at no worse than the No. 5 seed, but in a surprising revelation, will be No. 6 instead.
Bracketing announced on Thursday (April 28) by the Arizona Interscholastic Association has the Gators (20-4) with an opening-round bye on Saturday (April 30). They would begin play in the second round on Tuesday (May 3) at 4 p.m. with a game at their Petznick Field home against the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 22 Gilbert High (8-17) and No. 11 host Chandler High (17-12).
The first two rounds of the state tournament are in the single-elimination format, then double-elimination thereafter.
If Xavier wins next Tuesday, it would advance to the next round on May 5 at 7:30 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north Phoenix.
Xavier’s opponent would be No. 3 Mesa Desert Ridge, No. 19 Chandler Basha or No. 14 Peoria Centennial. The latter two play on Saturday for the right to advance against Desert Ridge. Xavier has played all three teams, losing to Desert Ridge, defeating Basha and had a 2-1 edge in games against Centennial.
Xavier has three solid pitchers – seniors Caitlyn Dickman and Emily Richards and freshman Kylie Rodgers.
It is in the hitting department where coach Carrie Markham has some concerns, at least in the early parts of games. She would just as soon not have to rally for victories as the team had to do in the latter stages of the regular season.
“We have to stay consistent, attack the ball early in the count and try to score early in the game,’’ she said. “We are certainly capable of coming back against almost any team, but you really don’t want to put that kind of pressure on yourself if you can avoid it.’’
Markham will rely on the top five in her batting order to get things going.
Those players are left fielder Annamarie Hartman at leadoff, center fielder Megan Donahey at No. 2, shortstop Becky Ducar at No. 3, pitcher-first baseman Dickman at No. 4 and pitcher-second baseman Richards at No. 5.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Xavier tennis advances with win over Centennial

As expected, Xavier Prep’s four-time defending Division I tennis team rolled to a 5-0 victory over visiting Peoria Centennial in Wednesday’s (April 27) opening round of the state team tournament.
Xavier (16-0) will host another match next Wednesday (May 4) against Phoenix Arcadia. The Gators defeated the Titans 5-4 on April 12.
That match against Arcadia was on the road, and two more road matches followed in successive days – at Mesa Mountain View and Scottsdale Desert Mountain. The Gators defeated Mountain View 5-4, Desert Mountain 6-3 and Scottsdale Chaparral 6-3 in their final regular-season home match on April 18.
XCP coach Laurie Martin said those close matches should benefit the Gators when they face tougher competition in the tournament.
“It should help us,’’ she said. “Playing under pressure is good training. I’d rather have those kinds of matches than not, where everything is pretty easy and you wonder how the girls will respond in a close situation.’’
Xavier won its first five singles matches against Centennial, omitting the need for doubles play.
Singles results were:
Caroline James, X, def. Angela Bell, C, 6-0, 6-2.
Jordan Craft, X, def. Shannon Snyder, C, 6-0, 6-1.
Caroline Armknecht, X, def. Rissa Strieby, C, 6-0, 6-0.
Madeline Corley, X, def. Avery Lucas, C, 6-0, 6-0.
Stephanie Burckhard, X, def. Elizabeth Nicole-Fylling, C, 6-0, 6-0.
The quick victory enabled James and Craft to get some extra practice time in as a doubles team.
They play on Saturday (April 30) in the Division I individual semifinals against Mountain View sophomore twins Anya and Madeline Lamoreaux. The match will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale. The Lamoreauxs are the defending champions.