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, October 7, 2016

Xavier golfer Caldarelli makes the grade

It’s something that never seems to get old.
A Xavier Prep athlete is honored for her hard work as a Gator team member and in the classroom.
The most recent accolade belongs to senior golfer Elizabeth Caldarelli.
She was named to the American Junior Golf Association 2016 Transamerica Scholastic Honor Roll. Only 32 players across the country reach that level.
Candidates must have a 3.5 grade-point average (unweighted) and finish in the top five of an AJGA event. Caldarelli achieved the second part of that this summer at a tournament in Missouri.

Xavier senior golfer Elizabeth Caldarelli.

 “I didn’t really know about this until I got an e-mail saying congratulations,’’ Caldarelli said. “It’s a great honor. I am very excited and happy about it.’’
She said she has earned mostly A’s during her academic career.
“I take academics very seriously,’’ she said. “Having success in academics helps you round your life out, helps you be a better person.’’
While she has received good grades, it is not something that comes easy.
“It takes a lot of time with homework, study hall and your time-management skills,’’ said Caldarelli, who lists math and English as her favorite subjects.
She committed to play golf and study at Texas A&M about a year ago, and hasn’t swayed from that choice.
The plan is to study business or sports management with an eventual goal of getting a golf-related job, perhaps at a country club or with the PGA or LPGA tours.
The relationship between Caldarelli and Texas A&M “was kind of a random thing,’’ she said.
“I played in a tournament about two years ago and one of their coaches happened to watch me play and asked if I would be interested in maybe going there. I made a visit and fell in love with the school, the area and the program.’’
Caldarelli won’t be alone at Texas A&M. Current Xavier senior volleyball player Makena Patterson also will compete and study there.
When she is swinging her clubs in the sun, Caldarelli said that what makes her successful is her determination.
“Don’t give up on the course, have a good attitude,’’ she said.
How she plays a round “depends on the situation. One of my golf coaches told me to be conservative in my decision-making and aggressive with my swing. And if it doesn’t work out, you have to learn from you mistakes.’’
Caldarelli and her Gator teammates soon will be playing in the state tournament with a chance to add to a long tradition and earn the school’s sixth straight championship and 34th overall.
 “That’s at the top of our list,’’ Caldarelli said. “We have all been working so hard. We want to do it for the coaches, for the team, and for the school.’’

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