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, September 24, 2016

Young runners get their chance to shine

Several Xavier Prep athletes were on the run in the annual Doug Conley Invitational (cross country) at Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe, and they represented the school in good fashion on Saturday (Sept. 24).
Xavier competed in two of the event’s three divisions.
The Gators won the 3-Mile Invitational division with 92 points, with Phoenix North Canyon finishing second with 121 points.
Freshman Mia Olsen topped the Xavier group with a third-place finish at 18:33.9. Other Gators were sophomore Karina Smith at 19:29.6 (12th), sophomore Karina Hawkins at 20:08.7 (20th), senior Pamela Ebenroth at 20:50.0 (39th), freshman Kristen Keeble at 21:05.9 (48th) and junior Annika Nielson at 21:17.9 (58th).
In the 3-Mile Non-Varsity Division, Xavier finished eighth with 285 points. Gilbert Highland was the top team, followed by Scottsdale Chaparral, Gilbert Higley, Mesa Mountain View, Chandler Hamilton, Mesa Red Mountain and Gilbert Perry.
Freshman Hannah Phillippi was the lead runner in the XCP group, finishing 28th at 21.46.9.
Other Gators were sophomore Katherine Thomas at 22:21.1 (48th), sophomore Josie Venezia at 22:38.1 (59th), sophomore Natalia Hiler at 23:01.5 (81st), sophomore Megan Woodbury at 23:14.4 (92nd), sophomore Arden Smith at 23:33.1 (108th), sophomore Aspen Schaffer at 23:50.2 (115th) and freshman Isabella Risser at 25:19.8 (196th).
Xavier did not compete in the 3-Mile Elite Division. Most of the team’s top runners are expected to return to action for Friday’s (Sept. 30) Desert Twilight Invitational at the Arizona Grande Sports World Complex in Casa Grande.

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