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, May 27, 2016

Gators' Lanier to be on Arizona's big stage

Khalia Lanier has played volleyball on some of the biggest stages in the world and collected numerous awards, but it all seems to circle back to another stage in her home state of Arizona.
On June 5, the senior who recently graduated from Xavier Prep, will be on the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix as one of three finalists for the Female Athlete of the Year award at’s inaugural Arizona Sports Awards program.
The 6-foot-2 Lanier, who is headed for a college volleyball career at USC, will be joined by Rio Rico cross-country runner Allie Schadler and Scottsdale Chaparral swimmer Taylor Ruck.

Xavier volleyball star Khalia Lanier is up for Female Athlete of the Year at's Arizona Sports Awards on June 5.

Another recent Xavier graduate, Alisa Snyder, will be honored at the event as the reigning Golf Player of the Year after she won the Division I individual championship and led the Gators to the 33rd state title in school history.
Lanier was the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year last fall. And she is the recipient of two Arizona Republic/ Big School Volleyball Player of the Year awards, as a sophomore in 2013 and again as a senior in 2015.
Xavier was the Division I state runner-up in 2012 and again in 2015, won it all in 2013 and reached the semifinals in 2014. Not a bad run for Lanier and her Gator teammates.
The awards will be handed out in a similar fashion as the annual “ESPY’’ awards. Athletes from all over the state will be honored.
“It really sounds amazing,’’ Lanier said. “It’s always an honor for others to recognize your hard work.’’

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