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, June 15, 2017

Badminton girls have eye on the future

If you’re looking to beat the heat and learn a new sport at the same time, badminton is good.
That’s what 10 or so ambitious young athletes have been doing this week at Xavier Prep’s annual summer badminton camp in the McGrath Gymnasium.
Most of the girls will be XCP freshmen this fall, although there are a handful of participants from the elementary-school ranks.
The camp is led by former Xavier assistant badminton coach Susie Murphy. She is being assisted by XCP soccer coach Barb Chura. Susan Contreras, who led the Gators to the state championship in her first season as coach last year, is administering all of the school’s camps this summer.
Murphy and former head coach Nancy Meyer ran last year’s camp before Contreras was named, and have maintained contact with the program, attending many of the matches throughout the season. Meyer was unavailable this week while helping with a family project.
“We have always enjoyed working with the girls,’’ Murphy said.
The camp is held from 2-4 p.m. and runs through Friday (June 16).
“Most of the girls have never played before, other than maybe in the back yard,’’ Murphy said. “We want to teach them the basic skills and allow them to have fun.’’
One of the participants is Maggie Kamps, whose sister, Annie, teamed with Tatum Clarke to win the doubles state title last season.
“So she’s got some good potential,’’ Murphy said.
Since the players have very limited experience, “everything starts off equal,’’ Murphy said. “That’s the way we like it to go. If they continue to work at it and learn the skills, they have the potential to be good players.’’

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