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, March 23, 2017

XCP's Cahill on the rise as pole vaulter

The pole-vault bar was set at 8 feet, 6 inches for Wednesday’s (March 22) track and field dual meet between host Xavier Prep and Tempe Corona del Sol at the Brophy Sports Campus.
It was Molly Cahill’s turn.
The Xavier Prep sophomore sprinted down the runway and planted the pole. Up, up, up and . . . not over. Not quite, but almost.
Cahill had to settle for a winning height of 8 feet, matching her career best. She is certain to reach even higher at some point this season or in her last two seasons. She has that kind of work ethic and always asks questions.
As the only girl left in the competition as the bar went to 8-6, she talked to the boys vaulters and watched them, trying to learn anything that would help her.
“It’s good to look at the different techniques that everybody has,’’ Cahill said.
She also consults with fellow Xavier vaulter Remy Feagles. The junior did not compete against Corona del Sol.
When Cahill showed up at Xavier a year ago, she wanted to try out for track, but she wasn’t quite sure which event(s). She talked to assistant coach Chris Pfaff, who suggested she try the pole vault.
Pfaff said Cahill was a diver for Xavier (she finished 17th overall in last fall’s state meet) and had an athletic sense about her.
“She had decent speed and she just looked like an athlete,’’ Pfaff said. “Being a diver helped her to be able to control her body in the air. She has that kinesthetic awareness.’’
Cahill proved Pfaff to be correct.
“It (pole vault) was really fun and I decided to stick with it,’’ she said.
She has noticed improvement in her approach and results and looks forward to more of the same.
“My speed has picked up and that has helped me get more of a bend in the pole, helps me get elevation,’’ she said.
She has thought about trying other events such as hurdles, but she knows she has plenty on her plate with the vaulting.
Cahill and her Xavier teammates rolled to a 107-19 victory over Corona and next will compete in the Chandler Rotary meet at Chandler High on Friday (March 24) and Saturday (March 25).

Wednesday’s Xavier results
Xavier Prep 107, Corona del Sol 19
100-meter dash – Bisola Ojeniyi 1st, 13.11. Maddie Minton 2nd, 13.35. Elysia Fleetwood 3rd, 13.36.
200-meter dash – Paris Rasheed-Moore, 1st, 26.47. Annie Grant, tie for 2nd, Johnnie Mitchell, tie for 2nd, both at 27.41.
400-meter run – Elysia Fleetwood, 1st, 1:01.52. Megan Zacher, 2nd, 1:02.31. Johnnie Mitchell, 3rd, 1:06.42.
800-meter run – Kristen Keeble, 1st, 2:23.7. Natalia Heiler, 2nd, 2:37.4. Heather Kwapiszeski, 3rd, 2:39.1.
1,600-meter run – M.J. O’Gara, 1st, 5:35.0.
3,200-meter run – M.J. O’Gara, 1st, 12:17.1.
100-meter hurdles – Jada Sims, 1st, 16.16. Tatum Cork, tie for 2nd, Izzy Estes, tie for 2nd, both at 17.94.
300-meter hurdles – Izzy Estes, 1st, 52.37. Mariah Morales, 2nd, 55.61.
4x100-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 49.68.
4x400-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 4:33.3. Xavier “A’’ 2nd, 4:34.1.
4x800-meter relay – Xavier 1st, 11:15.6.
High jump – Mary Long, 1st, 4-09. Jada Sims, 3rd, 4-06.
Pole vault – Molly Cahill, 1st, 8-0.
Long jump – Maddy Todd, 1st,15-09 ½. Mariah Morales, 2nd, 14-08.
Shot put – Tatum Cork, 1st, 30-03. Joyce Karekezi, 2nd, 27-10. Kendall Swanson, 3rd, 26-09.
Discus – Tatum Cork, 1st, 82-10. Jai Nero, 2nd, 79-06. Giselle Bojorquez, 3rd, 61-11.

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