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 8, 2017

There's plenty of action for Xavier tennis

There’s plenty of tennis news for Xavier Prep fans to check out.
Let’s start with the annual summer camp.
Coach Laurie Martin led a group of about 12 young players (grades 5 through 9) in the camp that began on Monday (June 5) and was due to conclude on Friday (June 9).
“It’s all about fun, making friends and learning the game,’’ Martin said.
There are three incoming freshmen who are participating “and it’s good to get them out here on campus,’’ Martin said.
The coach huddled with her players prior to Thursday’s (June 8) set of drills. She gave them a quiz to test their knowledge of the rules and terminology. Martin was helped out by assistant coach Joy Rodey and recently graduated senior player Jordan Craft, who will attend and play for Chapman University (Orange County, Calif.) beginning in the fall.
One player is participating in the camp for the third year in a row.
Incoming freshmen will play in the fall on Martin’s freshman team that has gained notoriety as a no-cut program, which had close to 80 players in recent years. She tries to instill a work ethic in the players now so it becomes as much a part of them as breathing.
Martin told the story of Emily Even, who attended the camp a few times, played freshman tennis last fall, graduated to the varsity in the spring was among the team’s top six singles players.
Several types of tennis balls are used at the camp. Some are larger and made of a spongy substance that has pock marks/dimples that resemble the surface of the moon. Others are used that have varying pressure and colors to help the players determine a shot’s speed and spin.
“It’s very enjoyable being out here. These girls have the potential to get better and contribute to the program,’’ Martin said.
The camp runs from 7-9 a.m. to minimize the effects of the heat.
Martin is award candidate – Martin has been named a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association national coach of the year in tennis. Eight finalists from across the nation will be honored on June 21 during the National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet which is part of the NHSACA’s national convention in Peoria, Ill. Coaching honors will be announced in 19 sports categories.
Martin was nominated by Arizona’s high school coaches’ association. The selection is based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years and winning percentage.
Former Gator Clarke earns collegiate honor – Madison Clarke (XCP class of 2015) of Santa Clara (Calif.) University recently was named as a singles player on the West Coast Conference All-Conference First Team. Clarke, a sophomore, and her doubles partner, Daniela Silva, were Second Team doubles.
Clarke had an 18-6 overall record in singles. Clarke’s sister, Tatum, graduated from XCP in 2017 and helped lead the Gators to the state badminton championship.
Cohen now a ‘Cat – Maggie Cohen (XCP class of 2014), who won three state doubles titles here, just completed her junior season with the University of Arizona Wildcats after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Texas Christian. Cohen plays singles and doubles for Arizona.
Current players staying busy – Martin said junior-to-be Tristanne Dechoux and sophomores-to-be Lorelei Glidden and Erica Stutz are due to play in a Southwest Junior Tennis event that will be held soon.

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