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, March 31, 2017

Track & field impressive in invitational

Xavier Prep’s track and field team had what might have been its best overall performance of the season on Thursday (March 30) in the Ron Smith Classic invitational at Phoenix Shadow Mountain.
The Gators had six first-place finishes, including two relays and seven second-place finishes, including another relay.
Xavier individual winners were Paris Rasheed-Moore in the 200-meter dash, Helen Innes in the 1,600-meter run, Sarah Carter in the 3,200-meter run and Jada Sims in the 100-meter hurdles. Xavier also won the 4x100 and the 4x400 relays.
The Gators are expected to participate in the Sun Angel Classic invitational at Arizona State on April 6 and the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational on April 7 and 8.

Thursday’s Xavier results
Ron Smith Classic
At Shadow Mountain High
100-meter dash – Bisola Ojeniyi 2nd, 12.98. Paris Rasheed-Moore 3rd, 13.04. Maddie Minton 4th, 13.10.
200-meter dash – Moore 1st, 27.10. Ojeniyi 3rd, 27.40. Minton 5th, 27.73.
400-meter run – Leila Grant 2nd, 1:01.32. Johnnie Mitchell 10th, 1:04.74.
800-meter run – Megan Zacher 2nd, 2:26.25. M.J. O’Gara 3rd, 2:30.10. Kristen Keeble 8th, 2:35.37.
1,600-meter run – Helen Innes 1st, 5:25.12. Karina Smith 2nd, 5:37.12. Annika Nielson 6th, 5:54.53.
3,200-meter run – Sarah Carter 1st, 10:55.64. Karina Hawkins 7th, 12:35.02. Karli Baker 11th, 12:59.84.
100-meter hurdles – Jada Sims 1st, 15.57. Izzy Estes 10th, 18.41.
300-meter hurdles – Annie Grant 2nd, 48.17. Sims 7th, 52.08.
4x100-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 49.50 (Ojeniyi, Annie Grant, Moore, Minton).
4x400-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 4:14.06. (Elysia Fleetwood, Moore, Leila Grant, Zacher).
4x800-meter relay – Xavier 2nd, 10:13.22. (Keeble, Caroline Liddy, Mia Olsen, Kinsey Ehmann).
Shot put – Tatum Cork 7th, 28-8 ½. Gisselle Bojorquez 15th, 26-3 ¾. Joyce Karekezi 17th, 25-7 ¼.
Discus – Kendall Swanson 17th, 77-0 ½. Bojorquez 19th, 75-5 ¾. Cork 28th, 67-3 ½.
High jump – Sims tie 9th, 4-9. Estes tie 12th, 4-7. Mary Long tie 12th, 4-7.
Pole vault – Molly Cahill tie 9th, 8-0. Remy Feagles tie 9th, 8-0.
Long jump – Maddy Todd 2nd, 16-2. Sims 3rd, 16-2. Mariah Morales 19th, 14-1 ½.

XCP softball survives on game-saving defensive play

Of all the ways a softball game could end, this scenario probably wouldn’t be near the top of the list.
But it happened, and the play enabled Xavier Prep to survive with a 7-6 victory over visiting Chandler Basha on Thursday (March 30). The teams were to play again on Friday (March 31), this time at Basha.
The Bears had scored twice in the top of the seventh to cut the deficit to one run, had the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at first with only one out.
Sydney Stolze lofted a fly ball into foul territory about medium depth in left field. Gators left fielder Katie Donahey caught the ball and saw that baserunner Paige Gregersen was tagging up at third.
It was no contest. Donahey’s throw to catcher Jordan Bassett was in plenty of time and just like that, the game was over.
What a finish!
The win was very important for Xavier because it snapped a four-game losing streak.
Gators coach Carrie Markham didn’t go so far to claim that it was a make-or-break game, “but it was a real good win to get.’’
In the seventh, as Basha made its comeback attempt, Markham put Mercedes Silva in the pitching circle with one out. Silva replaced Marisa Sgambati, who had pitched a solid game to that point.
Markham huddled with her players as Silva warmed up and reminded them that the outcome could hinge on a play at the plate. It did, although Markham thought the play would be a hard-hit ball to the infield.
“We talked about being ready for something, and they were,’’ Markham said.
Xavier raised its record to 6-10, while Basha dipped to 12-10.
“Our team collectively hit well today,’’ Markham said.
Xavier had 11 hits, Basha 12.
Outfielder Annamarie Hartman led the way with three hits, including a double and triple. First baseman Melissa Fedorka and second baseman Macrina Zachar had two hits each. Fedorka and Silva each drove in two runs to highlight a six-run third inning for the Gators.
Bassett’s groundout brought home what would prove to be the winning run in the Xavier fifth.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Work ethic allows Daniel to flourish in tennis

If you are trying to find an example of how perseverance leads to success, look no further than Xavier Prep tennis player Shelby Daniel.
The senior has battled her way up the ladder, from the depths of the junior varsity roster as a freshman and sophomore to a spot in the state tournament in doubles as a junior last year to another strong effort in doubles again as a senior this season.
Daniel once was a softball player who drifted away from that sport, and her father urged her to try another athletic endeavor when she first came to Xavier.
Tennis was the choice. Daniel was a good athlete, but she admitted she knew little about the rules and what to do, how to develop a presence at the net and learning how to serve.
“Coach (Laurie) Martin (Xavier coach) has been a great help to me, helping me learn everything and being supportive,’’ said Daniel before Xavier’s 9-0 victory over visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe on Wednesday (March 29).
“I have become a lot more comfortable and have a lot more confidence, but I’m still working on it.’’
Playing in last year’s state team tournament as a No. 1 doubles player along with then-senior Caroline James was a memorable experience.
“If you would have told me as a freshman that I would eventually play at that level, I wouldn’t have believed it,’’ Daniel said.
This season, Daniel’s primary doubles partner is junior Kate Straneva. Daniel, a team co-captain with senior Jordan Craft, also is in Martin’s lineup on occasion as a singles player.
“We (Daniel and Straneva) like each other a lot,’’ Daniel said. “We play off each other’s strengths. I think mine are being able to work the net and being able to hit the ball at good angles. My backhand has been improving, too.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it has been a lot of fun and very rewarding.’’
Daniel has attended clinics and worked with Martin’s daughter, Amanda, a former Xavier assistant coach.
Daniel’s Xavier career is nearing the end, but she hopes to continue to play tennis at the club level at Arizona State, where she plans to major in business.
“They have a good club program there, and I am looking forward to it,’’ she said.
Martin has enjoyed watching Daniel develop into a mature person, both on the court and off.
“Coming into Xavier as she did and then work their way up like she has, you just don’t see many people do that,’’ Martin said. “What she has done has been really amazing.’’
Xavier was due to play its third match in as many days on Thursday (March 30), at home against Scottsdale Desert Mountain. Start time was 2:30 p.m.

Xavier results
At Phoenix Desert Vista, Tuesday (March 28)
Desert Vista 6, Xavier 3
Tristanne Dechoux, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Jordan Craft, X, def. Desert Vista.
Emily Even, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Maddy Corley, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Jessica Miramelli, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Caroline Armknecht, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Dechoux-Craft, X, def. Desert Vista.
Corley-Miramelli, X, lost to Desert Vista.
Even-Shelby Daniel, X, def. Desert Vista.

Vs. Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Wednesday (Marach 29)
Xavier 9, Mountain Pointe 0
Jordan Craft, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-0, 6-0.
Emily Even, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-0, 6-1.
Maddy Corley, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-0, 6-0.
Jessica Miramelli, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-1, 6-0.
Lorelei Glidden, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-0, 6-1.
Caroline Armknecht, X, def. Mountain Pointe 6-0, 6-0.
Glidden-Armknecht, X, def. Mountain Pointe 8-0.
Corley-Miramelli, X, def. Mountain Pointe 8-0.
Shelby Daniel-Kate Straneva, X, def. Mountain Pointe 8-0.

Track and field athletes hit their stride

Xavier Prep scored a 65-51 victory over Phoenix Mountain Pointe in a track and field dual meet for freshman and sophomores only on Wednesday (March 29) at the Brophy Sports Campus.
The Gators produced seven event winners.
Xavier was back in action on Thursday (March 30) at the Ron Smith Classic invitational meet at Phoenix Shadow Mountain.

Wednesday’s Xavier results
Xavier Prep 65, Mountain Pointe 51
100-meter dash – Johnnie Mitchell 1st, 13.55. Taylor Brown 2nd, 13.58. Taylor Ford 3rd, 13.64.
200-meter dash – Taylor Brown 2nd, 28.68.
800-meter run – Natalia Hiler 1st, 2:39.0. Tori Jehle 2nd, 2:42.0. Heather Kwapiszeski 3rd, 2:43.0.
1,600-meter run – Kristen Keeble 1st, 5:48.0. Abbie Conrad, 2nd, 5:49.0. Karli Baker, 3rd, 5:50.0.
100-meter hurdles – Eliza Mulkern, 1st, 18.26. Mariah Morales, 2nd, 19.54.
300-meter hurdles – Eliza Mulkern, 2nd, 55.23. Mariah Morales, 3rd, 57.95.
4x100-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 5:11.0.
High jump – Kolbe Pierce, 3rd, 4-00.
Pole vault – Molly Cahill, 1st, 8-06. Remy Feagles, 2nd, 8-00.
Long jump – Eliza Mulkern, 1st, 15-0 ½. Kolbe Pierce, 2nd, 14-09.
Shot put – Kelly Jehle, 3rd, 26-02.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beach duo claims another CatBox crown

Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball players left home in a van at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday (March 25) with the University of Arizona’s CatBox Classic in Tucson as their destination.
By the time they returned home, seniors Macy Gordon and Cierra Flood won the pairs d event for the second straight year. They finished 7-0 and defeated a duo from Tucson Salpointe for the title.
Xavier had six of the 32 pairs that competed, which meant that the Gators likely would be matched against each other at some point. Xavier had five teams qualify for the Gold Division and one for the Silver Division.
In the opening round, Gordon and Flood were matched against Kristen Klein and Lydia Rush, and Trinity Cavanaugh and Taylor Lopez faced Alyna Draper and Shannon Shields.  Draper and Shields finished on top in their match.
In addition to Gordon and Flood’s record, Xavier’s other teams went like this . . . Draper and Shields 5-1, Cavanaugh and Lopez 4-1, Klein and Rush 4-1, Analy Carbine and Juli Westfall 1-4 and Sydney Johnson and Shea Sciaroppo 1-4.
Xavier returns to team action on Wednesday (March 29) with a home contest against Anthem Boulder Creek. Start time is 4 p.m.