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, November 3, 2016

XCP golfers calm in the eye of the storm

Xavier golfers celebrate the school's sixth straight state title and 34th overall (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
 Sr. Lynn Winsor, the long-time athletic director and co-golf coach at Xavier Prep, has been around awhile, so she knows what’s up.
Her experience can allow her to be a bit prophetic.
As Wednesday’s (Nov. 2) Division I state tournament was set to begin at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen, Winsor reminded her players about the importance of playing well in the first round. She told them about 1987, about a dozen years or so before these girls were born, when Xavier led after the first round of the tournament in El Mirage.
Weather canceled out the second round, so the results were reverted back to the first day, and the Gators were declared the winner.
On Thursday (Nov. 3), history repeated itself. Bad weather delayed the start of the event by about two hours in the morning. The players later went out on the course but many could not finish as a powerful storm rolled in from the south with lightning, wind and rain.
Arizona Interscholastic Association representatives and other tournament officials had hoped to resume play, but it was apparent that what was left of the daylight was going to run out. A vote of all coaches put the title trophy in Xavier’s hands for the sixth straight time and 34th in school history, by a scant two shots.
“You never know what is going to happen. That’s why the first day is of the utmost importance,’’ said Winsor, whose team totaled 293 with Hamilton posting 295.
Had Thursday’s scores stood, Xavier likely would have had a bigger margin of victory. At the time the tournament was stopped, the Gators’ lead over Hamilton had increased to 16 shots.
Individual scores also went back to the first round. That meant Xavier senior Elizabeth Caldarelli and freshman Ashley Menne shared medalist honors with Hamilton’s Hannah Li with 2-under-par 70s.
“We (Winsor and co-coach Tui Selvaratnam) are proud of our kids,’’ Winsor said.
Senior Emily Mahar was close behind her two teammates with a 71. Sisters Lily Worden (senior) and Eve Worden (sophomore) shot 82 and 85, respectively.
Caldarelli had not had a top 10 finish in her two previous state tournament appearances, so she will be able to carry this one on when she goes to play at Texas A&M.
“This meant a lot. It was my one last shot. I had never really played that well,’’ said Caldarelli, who was on the 14th tee when play was halted.
She was happy to help Xavier continue its long tradition.
“We all came together. This was a special moment,’’ she said. “We focused on staying positive, and that helped us a lot.’’
Menne, a rising star on the local and national circuit, said she will do whatever she can to keep the string going in the future.
“We’ll take the 2-shot win,’’ she said. “This is great, pretty amazing.’’
Selvaratnam sat in a cart under the patio, ready to dodge raindrops while driving to the team bus, said the Gators “played pretty well the first day and even better today. We wish we could have finished it. I’m happy our two girls got medalist and happy for the whole team.’’

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