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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Campers watch the birdie . . . and hit it

After a long tenure as the badminton coach at Xavier Prep, Nancy Meyer is moving on to other family and business interests. But she has one last goal – to pass along her expertise to young players just learning a sport at the annual summer camp.
Under the watchful eye of Meyer and assistant Susie Murphy, daily two-hour sessions were held each afternoon in the XCP gym.
The girls are responsible for setting up the nets and close to 20 of them are ready to go. With some rock music from a nearby speaker setting the tone, the players go through a series of conditioning drills – yes, badminton players must be in condition.
Most of the players will be incoming freshmen.
“We are looking for new blood, and there’s a nice group of girls out here,’’ said Meyer, who has coached the Gators to several state championships. “There are some freshmen who appear to have some potential.’’
Most of the girls do not have a lot of experience, but they are making strides. Meyer suggested that after the camp is over, the girls continue to develop their skills at Guy Chadwick’s Arizona Badminton Center in the east Valley. A number of Xavier players have worked at the center, including recently graduated senior Kirielle Singarajah.
“This is a good first step, having them learn the basics of the game,’’ Meyer said.
The camp was to conclude with a mini tournament.
If the players wish to continue and have a chance to make the varsity roster, Meyer urged the girls to be involved with open gym later in the summer, which is followed by a week of tryouts as the season officially gets going in late August.

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