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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

XCP volleyball is top seed, will face Mtn. Ridge

Xavier Prep’s Gators got what they wanted – what they earned – the top seed in the 6A Conference state volleyball tournament.

The official bracketing was announced on Saturday (Oct. 28) by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Xavier finished the regular season with a 35-3 overall record. All of its losses came in tournaments and only one came against an Arizona team – Phoenix Mountain Pointe – in the recent Gilbert Invitational.

Mountain Pointe will be seeded No. 3, with defending champion Tempe Corona del Sol at No. 2. Corona del Sol defeated Xavier in last season’s semifinals.

The Gators will begin play on Tuesday (Oct. 31) in their Activity Center home against No. 16 Glendale Mountain Ridge (9-15) at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Ridge had a “play-in’’ game on Thursday (Oct. 26) and defeated Yuma Kofa to earn the right to face Xavier.

The winner of the Xavier-Mountain Ridge contest will meet the winner of Tuesday’s match between No. 8 host Chandler Basha and No. 9 Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Nov. 2. Xavier did not play Mountain Ridge this season, but defeated Basha three times and Sandra Day O’Connor once.

Xavier Prep roster

Jr. Ashley Yeung, Jr. Jennelle Yarwood, Soph. Jasmine Knight, Soph. Brianna McKnight, Jr. Trinity Cavanaugh, Jr. Shannon Shields, Jr. Hayley Nash, Sr. Alyna Draper, Frosh Serena Turner, Frosh Christianna Griedl, Sr. Erika Snopko, Jr. Kate Spellman, Sr. Alexis Diaz-Infante, Sr. Lanie Wagner.

6A Conference first-round matches

Tuesday, Oct. 31 (seeding in parentheses)

Glendale Mountain Ridge (16) at Phoenix Xavier Prep (1), Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (9) at Chandler Basha (8), Anthem Boulder Creek (12) at Gilbert Perry (5), Gilbert Highland (13) at Goodyear Millennium (4), Phoenix Desert Vista (14) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe (3), Mesa (11) at Chandler Hamilton (6), Surprise Valley Vista (10) at Phoenix Horizon (7), Mesa Skyline (15) at Tempe Corona del Sol (2).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Gators' Ehmann receives Wendy's Heisman honor

Photo op !!

As if Kinsey Ehmann needed prodding. The Xavier Prep senior was happy to grab the school’s Division I state soccer championship trophy from 2016 for a photo to accompany an article.

As for the article itself (this one), it details what Ehmann is all about, the fact that she helped the Gators win the soccer title as a goalkeeper and how she was part of a second-place relay team (4x800) and a third-place relay team (4x400) in last spring’s state track and field meet. She also competed in the individual 800 and 400.

Now comes another prestigious designation.

Ehmann recently was named the Arizona girls’ winner of the Wendy’s Heisman Award, which goes to a high school student who excels in athletics, academics (she has a 4.3 grade-point average), leadership and community service. The boys’ winner is Karsten Householder, a baseball player from Scottsdale Chaparral.

She will receive $1,000 to go toward college and be eligible for another $5,000 if she is selected as one of five national finalists. A $10,000 college bonus goes to the overall winner. Results of those will be announced in the coming weeks.

Wendy's Heisman winner Kinsey Ehmann takes time to do some weight lifting with last season's Xavier state championship soccer trophy (Photo by Don Ketchum).

The application process began shortly after the first of the new year in January, and the second phase of award chronology came in September. Ehmann knew she would be recognized for her school, and knew she might have a chance to become the state winner.

Still, it came as sort of a surprise when the award was announced a week or so ago.
She was in class when she received texts from her parents.

“Call us,’’ was the message.

It was the real deal. She was the award recipient for the entire state.

“I was so excited. It is such an honor,’’ Ehmann said. “It is the best feeling. I am so proud to be chosen and represent my school and my teammates in both sports.’’

It was kind of a dizzying pace. She had experience with being dizzy for real in soccer last season.

During warm-ups before a game late in the season, she went to dive after a teammate’s shot. It struck one of the posts and hit her in the back of the head.

“Like a laser,’’ she said.

She was forced to miss two games, and teammate Madeline Warren filled in admirably.

Xavier soccer coach Barb Chura couldn’t stop raving about Ehmann and what she means to the program.

“Kinsey is a perfectionist. She works as hard as anyone out there,’’ Chura said. “She is ultra-competitive and wants to win . . . She has been the starting goalkeeper since she has been here and has really matured over the years. This also is how she is in the classroom. Kinsey is extremely bright and strives for greatness and will continue her education at Pepperdine University (Malibu, Calif.) next year while playing soccer.

“I have watched Kinsey grow as a person and soccer player over the years and I could not be more proud of her . . . Whatever Kinsey decides to do, she will be a success.’’

Xavier track and field coach Dave Van Sickle is equally impressed.

“She is a fierce competitor, one of the best competitors I’ve ever worked with,’’ he said. “She is one tough kid.’’

Ehmann gave an oral commitment to Pepperdine in February and has visited the school.

She will begin by taking marketing and business courses, and once she graduates, she would like to attend law school, somewhere in the East.

Her early life was spent in the San Jose area, followed by a cross-country move to Massachusetts. Then came the move to Phoenix for her freshman year at XCP in the fall of 2014.

“I just love the atmosphere here at Xavier,’’ Ehmann said. “The “Women of Faith Pursuing Excellence’’ is the perfect title.’’

Between Xavier soccer practice, club soccer practice and homework to do when she returns home at around 9 p.m., it is a good indicator of how focused a student-athlete must be.

“If you work hard enough, it will pay off,’’ Ehmann said.

“I always want to be the best. I know that there’s somebody better than me out there and I need to keep working to reach that level.’’

Thursday, October 26, 2017

XCP runners win sectional with 7 in top 23

Xavier Prep’s cross-country runners finished with another big win on Thursday (Oct. 26) in the Division I, Section II sectional race at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix, with the biggest race of all just nine days away.

Gators coach Dave Van Sickle held out his top six runners in order to allow them to prepare for the state championship race on Nov. 4 at the Cave Creek Golf Course.

But Xavier still had enough depth to produce the win with 52 points in the 13-team event. The Gators’ seven runners finished in the top 23.

Glendale Mountain Ridge was second with 89 points, followed by Mesa Mountain View with 112.

“We did what we needed to do,’’ Van Sickle said. “We (coaches) know the girls’ fitness, and that continues to show. All the girls finished pretty high today. To have one of them finish farther down the list would have been a surprise, and today, no surprises was a good thing.’’

Van Sickle has one of the top teams he’s had at Xavier in quite some time.

“I’ve heard some people say that we have one of the deepest teams in the U.S.,’’ he said.

Whether that translates to a state championship remains to be seen.

With the six runners held out, that left one spot open for the state meet and Van Sickle used the sectional to determine who that will be.

The top finisher for the Gators on the warm Thursday morning was junior Karina Hawkins, who was third overall on the 5,000-meter course with a time of 19:18.2. Mountain Ridge’s Taylor Mellenhour was the winner, followed by Mountain View’s Kailey Welch.

“That (finish) doesn’t necessarily mean a “slam dunk’’ (on his choice for the No. 7 spot), but it was a good sign,’’ Van Sickle said.

Other XCP finishers in the sectional . . .

Senior Caroline Liddy, 5th at 19:25.7, junior Karina Smith, 10th at 19:47.4, sophomore Grace Valandra, 16th at 20:11.6, sophomore Kristen Keeble, 18th at 20:15.1, junior Karli Baker, 20th at 20:18.0, and senior Annika Nielson, 23rd at 20:20.7.

The six Xavier runners getting some extra rest were junior Helen Innes, senior Caroline McClelland, freshman Camille Merickel, sophomore Mia Olsen, freshman Jamie Stelnik and senior Kate Straneva.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Playoff road ends in semis for Xavier badminton

The road for Xavier Prep’s badminton team hit a dead end on Wednesday night (Oct. 25) and there was no turning back.

The Gators gave it all they had in a Division I semifinal match against Gilbert Perry, but the strength and power of the Pumas were too much to overcome as they rolled to a 5-0 victory at Phoenix Desert Vista.

Xavier, which defeated Perry for the title a year ago, watched their Premier Region rival win the first state title in the school’s history in any sport. Xavier finished as the No. 4 seed with a 13-3 overall record.

Perry, the top seed and perhaps one of the best teams in the state’s history, moves on to play third-seeded Glendale Mountain Ridge for the state title on Thursday night (Oct. 26) at Phoenix Sunnyslope. Mountain Ridge defeated host Desert Vista 5-1 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

Xavier was swept in two games in five singles matches and the sixth, with junior Misaal Irfan, was deadlocked at one game apiece after two games. That match was not completed because Perry already had reached the necessary five wins, and none of the doubles matches were required.

“Something like this is never easy. Perry is a very good team and they played better than we did tonight,’’ said Sue Conteras, wrapping up her second season as Xavier coach.

Conteras, her assistant coaches and players gathered in a secluded area out of the main gym and talked about their match and the overall season.

Asked what she told the girls, Contreras said, “To not hold their heads down. There was no reason for them to walk out of this gym with their heads down. We (coaches) told them how proud of them we all are.

“The last couple of weeks, we have come together as a family and trained hard. The girls did everything we asked them to do and you can’t ask for more than that.’’

Gators sweep Hamilton, have chance to be top seed

After an impressive three-game sweep of host Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday night (Oct. 24), Xavier Prep’s volleyball team brought home the 6A Conference Premier Region championship, accompanied by an excellent chance to be the No. 1 overall seed in the state tournament that begins on Oct. 31.

Scores were 25-19, 25-21 and 25-13.

“That was our goal tonight, to finish as the unbeaten region (Premier) champ and to be ranked No. 1. In that sense, this match was crucial,’’ said XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, whose team finished the regular season at 35-3 overall and 8-0 in region play.

Xavier was one of eight teams listed by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Wednesday (Oct. 25) to be an automatic qualifier. There will be eight “play-in’’ games for teams ranked 9 through 24 on Thursday (Oct. 26), and the final brackets will be announced on Saturday (Oct. 28) at 4 p.m.

Xavier would host a first-round match on Oct. 31 and likely a quarterfinal on Nov. 2. Semifinals are Nov. 7 and finals Nov. 9, both at Gilbert Mesquite.

The Gators had the early advantage in the first game, but Hamilton did not fold. The Huskies held a 17-16 lead, but it was short-lived. Xavier earned the final four points of the game, the last coming when Hamilton returned a shot too far beyond the end line.

Hamilton stayed close in the second game. The Gators scored the final two points when the Huskies blocked a shot by Bri McKnight out of bounds and Shannon Shields came up with a block.

The third game was all Xavier. Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner led the way with some powerful swings. The final point came when Alexis Diaz-Infante placed a return shot far into the back corner where the Huskies could not reach it.

Wagner posted 24 kills and 15 digs. McKnight, a sophomore outside hitter, had 14 kills and 12 digs. Shields, a junior setter, had 17 digs, 31 assists, 2 blocks and 3 kills. And senior libero Alyna Draper had one of her best matches of the season, particularly with her serving. She had a pair of aces, 18 digs and 9 assists.

Now the Gators will have a week to analyze their approach and make any necessary adjustments. Bryant said they also will take a close look at video of possible opponents.

“This (state tournament) is a tough environment so you have to have mental preparation,’’ she said. “We need to be mentally strong and be able to stay healthy.’’

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Badminton will have to buckle up against Perry

This will be about as difficult a challenge as you can have.

Xavier Prep’s fourth-seeded, defending Division I state champion enters Wednesday’s (Oct. 25) semifinal match to face what could be one of the strongest badminton teams in the state’s history.

Top-seeded Gilbert Perry was so dominant in last weekend’s state individual singles and doubles championships that it had both championship singles players and both championship doubles teams.

Perry also will be out to make up for a 5-3 loss to Xavier in last season’s state title match. Xavier was seeded first, Perry second. The Pumas got a measure of revenge late in this regular season with a 6-3 victory at home over the Gators, but it is doubtful that satisfied their hunger.

So now the teams face off at neutral Phoenix Desert Vista at 6:30 p.m. with the winner moving on to the championship match on Thursday night (Oct. 26) at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

“We’re going to have to play very well against them, but we know we are capable,’’ said Xavier coach Sue Contreras. “We want to go out and have fun.’’

She pointed out that both Xavier and Perry have altered their lineups since they last met, which should create a bit of intrigue.

Contreras has been putting her players through the paces in recent practices, treating them as if they were actual matches, in order to keep them sharp.

It worked against fifth-seeded Tempe Corona del Sol on Monday (Oct. 23) with a 5-1 win at the Activity Center. Corona del Sol defeated Phoenix Central 5-1 earlier in the day.

Xavier winners against Corona del Sol were Alexa Wolfson, Misaal Irfan, Rebecca Ryan, Mimi Zurbriggen and Maeve Lee. Because five singles players won, no doubles matches were required.

Three Xavier golfers honored by JGAA

Three Xavier Prep golfers received awards on Saturday (Oct. 21) at the Junior Golf Association of Arizona awards banquet.

The JGAA Girl Player of the year was XCP sophomore Ashley Menne. The sportsmanship award for the15-18 age group was junior Holly Otlewski. And the sportsmanship award for the Championship Division was sophomore Bre Matthews.

Congrats, Gators !!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Gators' Reinhart, Wolfson finish 4th in doubles

Xavier Prep’s second-seeded doubles team of Maddie Reinhart and Alexa Wolfson finished in fourth place in Saturday’s (Oct. 21) final day of the Division I state tournament at Glendale Independence.

In the consolation championship match against Mesa Skyline’s Ana Munoz and Michaela Daas, Reinhart and Wolfson won the first game in the best-of-three format 15-1, but were defeated in the next two games 15-13 and 15-8.

In a semifinal match earlier in the day, Reinhart and Wolfson fell in three games to Gilbert Perry’s unseeded team of Megan Crow and Kylie Goldberg. Crow and Goldberg then went on to capture the overall championship by defeating their top-seeded Perry teammates, Jordan Pierson and Jessica Read.

The team portion of the badminton state tournament begins on Monday (Oct. 23). Xavier, the fourth seed in Division I, will host one of the first-round and second-round matches at the Activity Center.

Fifth-seeded Tempe Corona del Sol will face No. 12 Phoenix Central in the opening match at 3:30 p.m. Defending state champion Xavier has a first-round bye and will meet the Corona del Sol-Central winner shortly after the conclusion of the first match.

Semifinals are Wednesday (Oct. 25) at Phoenix Desert Vista and finals are Thursday (Oct. 26) at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Xavier doubles team reaches badminton semis

The first day of the Division I state badminton individual singles and doubles tournament is in the books after play on Friday (Oct. 20), and Xavier Prep had one of its two doubles teams reach today’s (Oct. 21) semifinals.

The second-seeded doubles team of Maddie Reinhart and Alexa Wolfson began the day with a 15-0, 15-8 victory over Mesa Mountain View’s Brooklyn Heywood and Tatum Monk.

Next came Gilbert Highland’s Abi Cluff and Heather Larsen and the Xavier duo again emerged victorious, 15-4, 15-0.

In the quarterfinal, Reinhart and Wolfson defeated Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor’s Kirsten Norris and Rebecca Felton 15-12, 15-3, to advance to Saturday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against Gilbert Perry’s unseeded duo of Megan Crow and Kylie Goldberg.

The winner of the semifinal match would move on to the final match between either top-seeded Jordan Pierson and Jessica Read of Perry or No. 4 Ana Munoz and Michaela Daas of Mesa Skyline. The losers of the semifinal matches would meet for the tournament’s consolation championship.

Xavier’s other doubles team of Misaal Irfan and Rebecca Ryan was unseeded and fell to Pierson and Read, 15-12, 15-1 in the first round.

Xavier also had an unseeded singles player, Mimi Zurbriggen, and she won her first-round match, 11-6, 11-3 over Chandler High’s Alana Alfredo. Zurbriggen gave it a good effort against Mesa Red Mountain’s fifth-seeded Abby Mann in the second round but fell short, 11-6, 11-8.

Seniors shine in home volleyball finale

Volleyball fans entering the lobby of the Activity Center on Thursday night (Oct. 19) were greeted by life-like cardboard cutouts of the four Xavier Prep seniors that were to be honored on Senior Night before the Gators played Chandler High.

Inside the gym, the real versions of Alyna Draper, Ericka Snopko, Alexis Diaz-Infante and Lanie Wagner were just as impressive.

They helped lead the Gators to a 3-0 sweep of the Wolves in the regular-season home finale. Scores were 25-8, 25-11 and 25-18.

Xavier (34-3) has one regular-season match remaining – on Tuesday (Oct. 24) at Chandler Hamilton.

“All the seniors played a lot of minutes and really helped us,’’ said Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“It was an emotional time for them. They have been watching this (ceremony) as others have gone through it for quite awhile, and this time it was their turn.’’

Bryant granted a request by Draper to play outside hitter in the middle game instead of her customary libero position. The 5-foot-5 Draper responded with three kills and a block.

“I think it was a dream of hers,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier finished off the first game with seven straight points, including two on service aces by Diaz-Infante.

The middle blocker also picked up the final point of the second game with a block.

Chandler put up more of a fight in the third game, but the Gators still prevailed. It seemed fitting that Wagner, a 6-1 outside hitter, pounded the final point home with a kill as she has done so many times during her career here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Power of positive thinking drives diver Largay

You can do it if you put your mind to it.

It is a mantra that has served Xavier Prep junior diver Alyssa Largay very well.

It has helped her calm her fears to become one of the state’s top performers off the board and put her in a position to finish at or very near the top of the Division I list at this year’s state meet.

The Gators also have three more top divers in Talle Donley, Madeline Sewell and Molly Cahill.

Xavier-Brophy diving coach Frank Pipitone also has been coaching Largay since the seventh grade with the Phoenix Dive Club.

“Most of the girls are good divers, but what makes them better is how they manage their concerns,’’ said during a practice break at the Brophy Aquatic Complex.

“Those kinds of fears can be paralyzing, and sports are not always forgiving. Alyssa has been able to rationalize what she has to do and keep working at it. Her results are much better and she has added a few dives that are more difficult.’’

She was able to turn things around in the recent Xavier-Brophy Invitational and it helped raise her to a new level.

“After the first few dives, I was eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, something like that,’’ she recalled. “But I was able to come back and win it. That did a lot for my confidence.

“If I happen to be scared of a dive, I go and talk to Coach Frank and discuss it. He says that I will be safe and will have a good dive. I’m getting better at not having to do that as often.’’

Largay’s maturation process has reached the point to where she is considered to be a team leader.

“When things are going well, she can be infectious (motivational),’’ Pipitone said. “The younger girls need to see that because they have a tendency to be overwhelmed at times.’’

Largay said it doesn’t seem that long ago when she was a freshman herself and trying to get used to academic and athletic life at Xavier. She had an older sister, Kristen, a star volleyball player, to help her along.

“It can be a lot to handle,’’ Largay said. “They had (diving) tryouts my first day of school. That, plus the academics . . . now I’ve gotten used to the Xavier workload.’’

Diving takes up most of Largay’s free time – she continues to train with her club team as well as competes for Xavier.

She understands the commitment and that she might miss a few personal things. But diving is personal, too.

“Some of my best friends, I met through diving and it’s been great,’’ she said.

Largay is looking forward to more improvement as a senior next year and beyond when the path takes her to college.

It appears that her choice will be the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. She said she has visited there and participated in camps and “fell in love with the area.’’

Another reason for such a good fit would be the fact that Kristen Largay plays volleyball for and attends American University in nearby Washington, D.C., so Alyssa would have family support.

Largay was due to compete in a three-way exhibition match with Phoenix Desert Vista and Mesa Mountain View on Thursday (Oct. 19) at Brophy. On Friday (Oct. 20), Xavier was scheduled to be part of the Puma Invitational at Gilbert Perry.

Odd-number formula works fine for Gators

Xavier Prep’s 3-2 volleyball survival over visiting Gilbert Perry was a bit odd.

Odd as in, the Gators won all the odd-numbered games (1, 3, 5) while Perry took the even (2, 4).

It worked out well for XCP on Wednesday night (Oct. 18) as the team took its second five-set win over the Pumas this season and raised its overall record to 33-3. Perry slipped to 31-6.

Scores were 26-24, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25 and 15-9.

The Gators will wrap up their home portion of the regular season on Thursday night (Oct. 19) against Chandler High. It will be Senior Night. XCP will finish the regular season on Tuesday (Oct. 24) at Chandler Hamilton.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant was relieved that her team was able to survive.

“We are super happy we got the win, but there were times when it was like pulling teeth,’’ she said. “But we are proud of the fact that everybody contributed. It took a village to win this match.’’

Sophomore outside hitter Bri McKnight continued to move toward star status with 19 kills. Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner had 16 kills and 14 digs. Senior libero Alyna Draper had 17 digs and junior setter Shannon Shields had 47 assists.

“Shannon did a good job looking at their (Perry’s) alignments, finding the open spots and setting up our hitters,’’ Bryant said.

McKnight had a big run toward the end of the first game by scoring on five straight kills for the Gators.

In the second game, Perry trailed 20-19 but came back to pull even in the match.

“Perry made some adjustments. This game is a life of adjustments,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier had things well under control in the third game, but Perry was not out of it yet.

Sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Knight scored on a kill to tie it at 21 for the Gators in the fourth game, but they weren’t able to get over the top as Perry scored four of the final five points.

The Gators entered the decisive fifth with resolve and had a much easier time with it than some might have expected, given the ebb and flow of the earlier games.

McKnight scored the match’s final point on a kill.

Asked about her team’s play in the last game, Bryant said, “We were passing better and serving tougher.’’

Senior Ericka Snopko had nine digs on the night, while Knight and freshman Serena Turner had seven each. Turner appears to be playing with more confidence each time out and that could translate into more playing time.

Reinhart, Wolfson No. 2 seed in badminton doubles

The time has arrived for one of the things that Xavier Prep does best – play badminton with high stakes on the line.

The Division I individual singles and doubles brackets begin on Friday (Oct.20) at Glendale Independence with the tournament continuing and champions crowned on Saturday (Oct. 21) at the same location.

Xavier will have two doubles teams and one singles player.

The first doubles team is made up of seniors Maddie Reinhart and Alexa Wolfson. They will be seeded second. The second team features junior Misaal Irfan and senior Rebecca Ryan. Xavier’s singles entrant is Mimi Zurbriggen, a senior. Irfan and Ryan are unseeded, as is Zurbriggen.

Reinhart and Wolfson will play their first match on Saturday against unseeded Brooklyn Heywood and Tatum Monk of Mesa Mountain View. The winner would advance to the second round later in the day. All first-round matches begin at 10 a.m.

Irfan and Ryan have a tougher task ahead of them. They face the top-seeded duo of Gilbert Perry’s Jordan Pierson and Jessica Read. And Zurbriggen is set to meet Chandler High’s Alana Alfredo.

From Day 1 at the start of the season, Xavier coach Sue Contreras said Reinhart and Wolfson wanted to play together. They also were 1 and 2 in singles.

“Sometimes girls say they want to be playing partners, but that doesn’t always work out for whatever reason,’’ Contreras said. “In our case, we are fortunate that this one did.’’

The pair gradually built confidence in themselves and each other, and it came through in a big way when they won the Forner Invitational tournament at Phoenix Sunnyslope in mid-September. They also nearly won the Independence Invitational.

“Something just sparked and we got it going on in that tournament (Forner),’’ said Reinhart. “I think we sort of figured out some things that worked and some that didn’t.’’

Said Wolfson: “We’ve been working well, especially the last few weeks, and we are “amped up’ to be playing at the state tournament.’’

Contreras agreed.

“That (Forner) was one of those points within the season where something kind of makes you start to click,’’ she said. “The communication skills are better, the way they move . . . they are playing as a team instead of as individuals and when you do that, good things happen.’’

Reinhart said she and Wolfson have been working hard “and we are going to do whatever we can to play our best.’’

Both girls played for Xavier in the state tournament last year, including the separate team portion, and they said that experience should keep nervousness at a minimum.

Team badminton brackets – The early pairings have been announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association and that tournament will begin on Monday (Oct. 23) at the sites of the high seeds. Semifinals are Oct. 25 at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee and finals are Oct. 26 at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Xavier, the defending state champion, is seeded No. 4. The Gators will host the first round at the Activity Center. Fifth-seeded Tempe Corona del Sol will meet No. 12 Phoenix Central at 3:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to meet Xavier shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's always crunch time for Xavier mountain bikers

It’s the desert. Not much going on, right?

Well, take a closer look at some of the terrain at the Dreamy Draw Park in Phoenix, just east of the 51 freeway on Northern Avenue.

You can make out the whooshing sound of tires on the nearby freeway. Birds circle above and call to one another. Then there are the crunching sounds of bike tires on the gravel pathways along with the clicking of gears and chains.

Welcome to practice for the combined Xavier/Brophy club mountain biking team. About 10 or so girls and nearly two dozen boys work their way up and down the trails and the hills of the area.  If you look up to the top of a nearby ridge, you will see a handful of them. One moment they are there, then they are gone. They have to keep moving.

The fourth race of the five-race season is coming up on Sunday (Oct. 22) at the McDowell Mountain Park on the northern edge of Fountain Hills. The finale will be on Nov. 5 at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell in the west Valley.

The temperature is in the mid-90s as the riders embark on their circuits and loops. Some of those courses offer more of a cardiovascular workout and the others give riders more of a sense of what an actual race will be like.

There are five racing groups, color-coded: Double Black for the most experienced, Black for very good, Blue for those nearly ready to race, Green for those just beyond beginners, and Beginner Green, for those just starting out. There are even some middle-school students who participate.

Coach Rich Perrott and about 11 volnuteer assistants, some of them on bikes themselves, monitor the riders and keep an eye on them in the event of injury/equipment concerns.

On this day, Perrott, a retired firefighter from the Phoenix Fire Department, must stay close to the team’s gathering spot, a canopy that also helps to provide a small bit of shade. He suffered a knee injury and expects to have surgery soon. He moves slowly up the path on crutches.

These riders do not take a back seat to their fellow students in other sports in terms of conditioning. When they are not out an actual location, they get a close simulation during “spin’’ sessions at the school. Spinning lasts about an hour, practice on the various courses in the area goes about 90 minutes.

Some riders use their own bikes, others use “loaners’’ kept at the school, provided by the coaches and through community donations.

In the early days of the club, coaches handled most of the mechanic-type work and maintenance, and now some of that responsibility is on the riders themselves.

“The more simple things, they are capable of handling,’’ Perrott says.

The sport, which had about 160 to start with a few years ago, now has about 900 riders statewide. Perrott envisions the number climbing to a big 1,000 next year.

The team, Perrott said, appreciates the support from family and friends. At many of the races, a little camp is set up where race-watchers cook out like at a football tailgate party.

“We have a vibrant, family type of atmosphere,’’ Perrott said.

The girls finished seventh at their most recent race in Sierra Vista, which the team has not done before. And sophomores Heather Kwapiszeski and Erin Hill have a chance to finish among the top five individuals in the state for the first time in team history.

“Both girls are very good all-around athletes,’’ Perrott said.

One of Perrott’s main goals is for the sport to switch from a club to a regular sport in the eyes of the Arizona Interscholastic Association. Also to become a year-round sport, similar to how the club crew organization operates.

Volleyball bests Basha; Perry is next challenge

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team added another mark in the victory column on Tuesday night (Oct. 17) with a three-game sweep of visiting Chandler Basha at the Activity Center. Scores were 25-11, 25-13 and 25-22.

The Gators raised their overall record to 32-3, and as of Wednesday morning (Oct. 18) were the top-ranked team in the 6A Conference by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

XCP now turns its attention to Gilbert Perry, which comes into the Activity Center on Wednesday night as the No. 5 team in 6A. When the two Premier Region rivals met on Sept. 13 at Perry, Xavier made one of the top comebacks of the season when it rallied from an 0-2 deficit for a 3-2 victory and knocked the Pumas from the unbeaten ranks in the process.

Perry has cooled off a bit since, falling in regular-season matches to Goodyear Millennium and Chandler Hamilton.

After Wednesday night’s match against Perry, Xavier will have two more regular-season matches – on Thursday night (Oct. 19) at home against Chandler High and Oct. 24 on the road against Hamilton.

Sophomore outside hitter Bri McKnight unloaded some big swings in the opener against Basha, including three kills in a row that helped fuel a 9-0 Xavier run after Basha had pulled to within four points.

Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner led the way in the second game with strong play at the net, including three key kills down the stretch. Freshman Serena Turner finished off the Bears with a decisive kill.

The third game was much closer, but Xavier managed to prevail in the end. A kill by Wagner, a service ace by McKnight and an unforced Basha error sealed it. Senior middle blocker Alexis Diaz-Infante provided strong defense at the net.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Gators pass test against West's top runners

The George Fox Cross-Country Classic in Gervais, Ore., annually features some of the top teams and individual runners in the Western U.S.

And on Saturday (Oct. 14), Xavier Prep once again finished among the top teams in the Varsity and JV Gold divisions at the Willamette Mission State Park.

In the varsity race, Xavier scored 103 points to finish second behind Summit, Ore. (73). Since opening in 2001, Summit has been one of Oregon’s top teams, having won 11 girls state titles, including eight in a row.

Xavier’s average time over the 5,000-meter course was 18:49.

Leading the way for the Gators was senior Caroline McClelland, who finished 13th at 18:35.7.

Xavier had six more runners in the race that featured 123 entries.

The Gators and their finishes . . .

Freshman Jamie Stelnik, 15th at 18:37.9, junior Helen Innes, 23rd at 18:52.2, sophomore Mia Olsen, 27th at 18:55.0, senior Kate Straneva, 32nd at 18:59.9, freshman Cami Merickel, 39th at 19:11.4, and freshman Sammy Braun, 67th at 19:56.9.

Xavier had five runners in the top 10 and eight in the top 15 in the JV Gold race and went on to take the team title with 19 points. Camas, Wash., finished second with 51. Xavier’s average time was 19:42.

Junior Karina Hawkins and senior Caroline Liddy separated themselves from the swarm of 227 racers to finish first and second, respectively. Hawkins covered the 5,000 meters in 19:07.5, Liddy 19:33.6.

Other Gators in the top 10 were junior Karina Smith, 5th at 19:50.6, sophomore Kristen Keeble, 6th at 19:57.5 and senior Annika Nielson, 8th at 19:58.2.

Finishing in the top 15 were junior Karli Baker, 11th at 20:21.0, sophomore Grace Valandra, 13th at 20:23.1, and senior Abbie Conrad, 15th at 20:31.2.

Congratulations to the Gators for their outstanding effort !! It was well worth the trip !!

XCP runners show well in Titan Invitational

Xavier Prep’s cross-country team took a third-place finish in the 5,000-meter Big School Open Division and had a strong showing by its freshmen on Friday (Oct. 13) in the annual Titan Invitational at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

The Gators finished third with 93 points, behind winner Phoenix Desert Vista (19) and Gilbert Perry (72).

Individuals in the Big School Open were junior Josie Venezia, 4th at 22:44, sophomore Hannah Phillippi, 13th at 23:26, sophomore Kaitlyn Lauck, 14th at 23:26.89, junior Megan Woodbury, 23rd at 24:38, and junior Arden Smith, 46th at 26:52.

Xavier had three of its four runners finish in the top 10 of the Big School Freshman Division.

The four Gators were Joey Hernandez, 3rd at 21:50, Sophia Healy, 4th at 22:03, Rishita Shah, 9th at 22:59 and Caroline Calihan, 15th at 24:28.

Xavier was due to have some of its top runners compete on Saturday (Oct. 14) in the George Fox Invitational in Gervais, Ore.

The Gators are next scheduled to compete in the Division I Section II Sectional qualifier for the state meet on Oct. 26 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north Phoenix. The state meet will be held at the Cave Creek Golf Course in north Phoenix on Nov. 4.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Freshman tennis was full of superlatives

For several weeks this fall, 70 girls came out to participate in Xavier Prep’s freshman tennis program and when the season was recently completed, they came away with a better idea about the game, their teammates and especially themselves and where they might be headed during their four-year stay on campus.

Laurie Martin, who coaches the no-cut, two-team program as well as the highly competitive varsity group in the spring, said winning is important, “but it’s way more than that. It’s about learning a lifetime sport, gaining friendships, being a part of something at school and having fun with each other.’’

Many of the parents will approach her during the season and after and say thank you to helping their daughters become accustomed to their “new’’ life at the high school level.

“When they do that, it makes you feel really good, and you know you are going about it the right way,’’ Martin said.

Part of Martin’s role is as an administrator, making sure paperwork is in order and logistics such as travel are covered.

“I definitely would like to spend more individual time with the girls, but with the numbers we have, that makes it difficult,’’ Martin said. “That’s why we have such a great staff here to help keep things moving along.’’

Martin’s assistant coaches are Ann Coover, Amy Gallo and Joy Rodey.

Surviving the early season heat was another of the challenges, but the girls did a good job of keeping themselves hydrated.

One of the teams finished with a 10-1 record, the other 4-6.

“With the 4-6 team, there were some close matches that could have gone either way,’’ Martin said.

“I’d say the girls on both teams gave a great effort and learned a lot. Whether they make it to the JV or varsity remains to be seen. You need to take it one step at a time. Making the varsity involves a big commitment, like some of the girls playing almost year-round. But it has been done before, so you never know.

“As we said before, there are a lot of reasons for doing this and that is why we enjoy it.’’

Wind shifts, but Gator volleyball holds on

Tuesday’s (Oct. 10) volleyball match began as a breeze for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team when it faced host Phoenix Horizon.

Then the wind shifted and the Gators had to fight for their very lives.

Xavier won the first two games in the best-of-five match, 25-18 and 25-20. Horizon regained its composure in the third game for a 25-20 victory. The Huskies’ hot streak continued in the fourth game and looked as if they might force a fifth game.

Horizon held a 17-12 lead but its advantage evaporated shortly thereafter, due to a 6-0 Xavier run that gave the Gators a 23-20 lead.

Horizon scored the next two points, the second on a nice placement just inside Xavier’s back line. Then Xavier’s Ericka Snopko came up with a big kill and a return by Horizon was long as the Gators held on for a 25-22 win and took the match, 3-1.

“Horizon is a good team with a good coaching staff and they came after us,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, whose team is 31-3.

Asked what led to the turnaround in the fourth game, Bryant said, “We were focused, which we weren’t earlier and that got us into a hole.’’

Bryant praised the leadership of senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner and junior setter Shannon Shields.

“They helped give us the fight to win,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier returns to action next week and will have home matches on three straight nights – against Chandler Basha on Oct. 17, Gilbert Perry on Oct. 18, and Chandler High on Oct. 19. The Gators will finish their regular season with a road match at Chandler Hamilton on Oct. 24.

Depth a factor again in XCP golf victory

Xavier Prep’s golf team wrapped up its regular-season schedule on Tuesday (Oct. 10) with an 11-shot victory over Phoenix Horizon at the Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley.

The Gators finished the regular season at 11-0, adding victories in four tournaments.

The team will be practicing for the next 2 ½ weeks as it prepares for the Division I state tournament.

This year, the event will be held at the Omni Tucson National course in Tucson. Xavier played the course twice earlier this year, in the Nighthawk Invitational and a practice round.

Individual totals against Horizon on Tuesday . . .

Junior Holly Otlewski (1 over), sophomore Breyana Matthews (1 over), junior Emily Cons (1 over), junior Eve Worden (2 over), sophomore Millburn Ho (2 over), junior Laura Lu (2 over), freshman Mary Doss (3 over), freshman Lauren Garcia (5 over), senior Madeline Brown (6 over), freshman Bailee Tayles (6 over), senior Lauren Faulkner (10 over), sophomore Danae Bravo (14 over) and sophomore Sydney Trout (21 over).

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Xavier part of volleyball's "Big Three''

If play in this year’s Gilbert Invitational is any indication, Xavier Prep, Tempe Corona del Sol and Phoenix Mountain Pointe are the teams most likely to win the 6A Conference state volleyball championship.

Xavier was ranked No. 1 by the Arizona Interscholastic Association entering Saturday’s (Oct. 7) play, with Corona del Sol second and Mountain Pointe third. Tournaments such as this, however, do not figure into those ratings.

Those three teams took turns beating each other in the eight-team tournament, which had a round-robin format.

Corona del Sol defeated Mountain Pointe but lost to Xavier on Friday’s (Oct. 6) first day. Mountain Pointe came back to take care of Xavier on Saturday, 25-23 and 25-17. Xavier had defeated Corona del Sol in three games.

Xavier won six times in the tournament, including Saturday matches against host Gilbert High (25-19 and 25-11) and Chandler Hamilton (25-21 and 25-17). The Gators are now 30-3 overall. The loss to Mountain Pointe was the team’s first in Arizona.

The Gators have had a series of Houdini-like escapes this season, but could not pull it off against Mountain Pointe, which had defeated XCP in this same tournament a year ago.

Mountain Pointe, in some ways the most athletic of these three teams, showed its power, agility and quickness against the Gators.

“I’d still say that we had a good day. We just came up a little bit short against Mountain Pointe,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“Mountain Pointe is a good team and they were very aggressive. They were the smarter team and we always seemed to be a step slow.

“But we (coaches) are super proud of the girls and the way they recovered (against Hamilton). They came out poised and ready to play.’’

Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner was a pillar of consistency for the Gators during the tournament.

“She is a steady leader,’’ Bryant said. “You can see her improving with her power swing, the way she moves her feet and the overall court sense she has.’’

Xavier’s schedule now lets up a bit, if only for the coming week.

The Gators’ only match comes on Tuesday (Oct. 10) at Phoenix Horizon.

Gators may be down, but they're not out

Have you ever wondered how a sports team is able to come back from a deficit to win – not just once but time and again?

Just ask Xavier Prep’s volleyball team. The Gators have become quite proficient in accomplishing that task.

Xavier staged a big comeback for the third time this season in Friday’s (Oct. 6) first day of action in the Gilbert Invitational at Gilbert High.

The Gators stunned rival Tempe Corona del Sol, dropping the first game but then coming back to win the next two. Matches in the round-robin tournament are best of three instead of the normal best of five.

Scores on Friday were 22-25, 26-24 and 15-13.

It was the second time in a week that Xavier had victimized the Aztecs in such a manner. In last week’s Nike Tournament of Champions, Xavier lost the first game but won the next two against the team that defeated the Gators in last year’s Division I semifinal game before going on to win it all.

Xavier began the day in the Gilbert Invitational with wins over Chandler Basha and Phoenix Sunnyslope to set up the rematch with Corona del Sol.

The Gators had the early lead in the first game but Corona del Sol came back to go in front. Xavier made a couple of comeback attempts but could not get over the top. The Aztecs mixed up their shots pretty well, and senior star Brooke Nuneviller came as advertised at outside hitter, and showed why the University of Oregon will have a place for her on its roster in 2018.

Game 2 went back and forth until the Gators managed to do just enough at the end to hold on.

As Game 3 entered the home stretch, senior libero Alyna Draper came up with some big serves to help XCP win it.

Xavier later won a fourth match on the day, 25-16 and 25-9 over Gilbert Highland. Xavier is now 28-2 on the season.

The Gators will have three more games on Saturday (Oct. 7) in the Gilbert Invitational, against host Gilbert at 9 a.m., against Phoenix Mountain Pointe at noon and against Chandler Hamilton at 1 p.m.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said her team actually played “cleaner’’ against Corona in the Nike, that the Gators had some mental lapses on Friday.

“But we were able to do what we needed to do,’’ said Bryant, whose team also staged a recent monumental comeback against Gilbert Perry, winning 3-2 after falling in the first two games.

“We were not “buttoned up,’ or how I like to call it when we are near the top of our game. We were a step slow.

“Our seniors kept us in it, the way seniors are supposed to do. Alyna with her serves, Lanie (Wagner, outside hitter) with her great play at the net, Ericka Snopko with some big blocks.’’

Bryant said she is not sure what will happen down the stretch in the regular season and how the Gators will wind up being seeded in the state tournament, but she expects to see the Aztecs again at some point.

Given the first two meetings, No. 3 also should be well worth watching.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Swim-dive maneuvers past Mountain View

Chalk up another victory for the Xavier Prep swimmers and divers.

The Gators rode wins in three relay races and three individual events for a 99-87 triumph over Mesa Mountain View on Thursday (Oct. 5) at the Kino Aquatic Complex in Mesa.

The 200-yard medley relay team won with freshmen Sydney Millane and Paola Guerra, sophomore Olivia Paliscak and senior Mary Roediger.

Also, the 200-yard freestyle relay with freshman Kelly Scott, sophomores Vica Dow and Maddie Wright and Roediger.

And the 400-yard freestyle relay group touched the wall first with Scott, Guerra, Wright and Dow.

Individual wins went to freshman Mia Rankin in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle and Paliscak in the 100-yard butterfly.

Xavier now will have a bit of a break before participating in a relay exhibition with Phoenix Desert Vista and Mountain View at Brophy on Oct. 19.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Badminton turns it around after tough loss

After absorbing a tough 6-3 loss to top-rated Gilbert Perry on Tuesday (Oct. 3), Xavier Prep’s badminton team rebounded nicely with a 9-0 triumph over host Chandler Basha in the Gators’ regular-season finale on Thursday (Oct. 5).

Xavier finished the regular season at 12-2 and now will wait until Oct. 20, when the Division I state tournament for singles and doubles players begins. The team portion of the state tournament will begin Oct. 23.

“The match against Perry was tough on so many levels. It was a difficult match, both physically and mentally,’’ said Xavier coach Sue Contreras, whose team defeated Perry a year ago to win its fourth straight state title.

“We expended a lot of energy against Perry, but we came back today and battled through.’’

The Gators will focus initially on the singles and doubles play, but it is the team aspect that will draw the most attention in the coming weeks.

“We want to be prepared for the tournament and we want to finish strong as a team,’’ Contreras said.

Xavier did not lose a game against Basha and seniors Maddie Reinhart and Alexa Wolfson led the way with victories in singles and a triumph in doubles.

Xavier vs. Chandler Basha


Maddie Reinhart def. Basha, 11-1, 11-9.

Alexa Wolfson def. Basha, 11-9, 11-7.

Mimi Zurbriggen def. Basha, 11-7, 11-9.

Misaal Irfan def. Basha, 11-5, 11-3.

Maeve Lee def. Basha, 11-4, 11-3.

Anai Hernandez def. Basha, 11-1, 11-1.


Reinhart-Wolfson def. Basha, 15-10, 15-11.

Zurbriggen-Rebecca Ryan def. Basha, 15-10, 15-8.

Hernandez-Maddie Dines def. Basha, 15-4, 15-8.

Survival of fittest for XCP crew members

Xavier Prep’s five-time defending club crew (rowing) team will open its season on Saturday (Oct. 7) in the Hot Heads Regatta at Tempe Town Lake.

There will be several categories of racing, the first race beginning at approximately 8 a.m.

Fall races are 5,000 meters in length, meaning the boats must go the full length of the lake. Spring races are 2,000 meters.

The longer races are more of a test of the rowers’ strength and endurance and they are very winded and fatigued by the end. It is survival of the fittest.

Other races for this school year are Nov. 11 (Mission Bay/San Diego), Dec. 2 (Long Beach, Calif.), March 2 (Tempe Town Lake), April 8 (Long Beach) and May 5 (Gold River, Calif.).

Worden takes medalist honors as Gators roll

Junior Eve Worden earned medalist honors and the Xavier Prep golf team remained unbeaten (9-0 + four tournaments) with a 153-169 victory over Phoenix Horizon on Wednesday (Oct. 4) at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale.

Worden shot an even-par 36, one shot ahead of sophomore Ashley Menne (37) and two ahead of sophomore Millburn Ho (38).

Other Xavier scores:

Senior Madeline Brown and freshman Lauren Garcia, six-over 42, junior Emily Cons and sophomore Breyana Matthews, seven-over 43, freshman Mary Doss eight-over 44, junior Laura Lu nine-over 45, junior Holly Otlewski 12-over 48, senior Lauren Faulkner 14-over 50 and sophomore Danae Bravo 22-over 58.

The Gators will have a rematch with Horizon on Tuesday (Oct. 10) at Camelback Golf Club’s Padre Course. Tee time is 3 p.m.

Xavier volleyball well aware of task at hand

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team came out very focused against visiting Chandler Hamilton on Wednesday night (Oct. 4) and rolled to a 3-0 sweep of the Huskies. Scores were 25-12, 25-16 and 25-14.

Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner led the way with 15 kills and four blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Bri McKnight had 13 kills and two service aces, junior setter Shannon Shields had a balanced effort with six kills, two aces and three blocks, and senior middle blocker Alexis Diaz-Infante had five blocks.

The Gators have a quick turnaround and are due to play another home match on Thursday night (Oct. 5), this time against Mesa Desert Ridge. Start time is 6 p.m.

Xavier’s third tournament of the season will come on Friday (Oct. 6) and Saturday (Oct. 7), the Gilbert Invitational at Gilbert High. The round-robin event will have eight teams, which will play seven matches over the two days. Match format will be the best-of-three instead of the normal best-of-five.

Xavier’s schedule in the Gilbert Invitational

Friday, Oct. 6

9 a.m. – Chandler Basha. 11 a.m. – Phoenix Sunnyslope. 2 p.m. – Tempe Corona del Sol. 4 p.m. – Gilbert Highland.

Saturday, Oct. 7

9 a.m. – Gilbert High. Noon – Phoenix Mountain Pointe. 1 p.m. – Chandler Hamilton.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Powerful Perry too much for Gator badminton

What is the reason Gilbert Perry’s Pumas are the No. 1-ranked badminton team in Division I by the Arizona Interscholastic Association?

“They are a strong team from top to bottom,’’ said Xavier Prep coach Sue Contreras.

Perry had a bit of revenge on its mind on Tuesday (Oct. 3), when it hosted the Gators in a Premier Region match.

The Pumas had fallen to XCP 5-3 in last season’s state championship match. They returned quite a few players from that team, and it showed in their record. Entering Tuesday’s contest, Perry had not lost a game all season.

Xavier changed that by winning three games, but it wasn’t enough as Perry prevailed 6-3.

Xavier slipped to 11-2 while Perry climbed to 14-0. In Wednesday’s (Oct. 4) AIA power points rankings, Perry was first, followed by Phoenix Desert Vista, Glendale Mountain Ridge and XCP. The Gators had been ranked third before the Perry match.

“We did play well at certain times,’’ Contreras said. “I’m not exactly sure why, but if we play a good team, we tend to rise to their level. We did some of that today.

“We always talk about improving, playing better in matches like this and we did a little bit of that, but we still have a lot to work on.’’

Xavier, which has won four straight state titles, knew this season would be a challenge.

“We knew teams were going to come after us,’’ Contreras said. “But it’s still our goal to defend the state championship.’’

Senior Alexa Wolfson had a big day for the Gators.

Playing in the No. 2 singles slot, she battled back and forth with her Perry opponent before emerging with an 11-6, 11-6 win. Wolfson also joined senior Maddie Reinhart for a 15-10, 17-15 triumph as the No. 1 doubles team.

Junior Misaal Irfan was the third winner for Xavier, taking an 11-8, 11-7 singles victory.

Xavier finishes its regular season on Thursday (Oct. 6) with a match at Chandler Basha.

The Division I state tournament for singles and doubles will be Oct. 20-21 at Glendale Independence. The state team tournament begins Oct. 23 at the sites of the highest seeds, then continues on Oct. 25 and 26 with semifinals and finals at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Xavier vs. Gilbert Perry


Maddie Reinhart lost to Perry, 11-5, 11-3.

Alexa Wolfson def. Perry, 11-6, 11-6.

Mimi Zurbriggen lost to Perry, 11-2, 11-3.

Misaal Irfan def. Perry, 11-8, 11-7.

Maeve Lee lost to Perry, 11-1, 11-1.

Anai Hernandez lost to Perry, 11-5, 11-1.


Reinhart-Wolfson def. Perry, 15-10, 17-15.

Zurbriggen-Rebecca Ryan lost to Perry, 15-10, 15-2.

Hernandez-Maddie Dines lost to Perry, 15-4, 15-3.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Swimmers, divers complete exceptional week

Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team honored their late coach, Maureen “Mo’’ Rankin, with a second-place finish among Division I and II teams in the Phoenix Country Day School Eagle Invite on Saturday (Sept. 30).

On Thursday (Sept. 28), Xavier scored a dominating 124-62 victory over Phoenix Pinnacle at the Brophy pool.

And catching up with the Brophy-Xavier Invitational on Sept. 23 at Brophy, the Gators finished a strong second.

Here are the Xavier results for the three meets . . .

Phoenix Country Day School Eagle Invite

Sept. 29-30 at Phoenix Country Day School

Division I-II team scores – Scottsdale Chaparral 228, Xavier Prep 128, Phoenix Arcadia 88 ½, Mesa Mountain View 49, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep 21, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 18, Buckeye Verrado 10, Gilbert Perry 7, Mesa Dobson 4, Phoenix Sunnyslope 1 ½.

200-yard medley relay – XCP “A’’ 2nd, 1:49.65 (Kaitlyn McCoy, Paola Guerra, Olivia Paliscak, Mary Roediger). XCP “B’’ 7th, 1:57.07 (Sydney Millane, Regan Gunzy, Kate Hubbard, Thea Cartier).

200-yard freestyle – Maddie Wright 4th, 1:58.81; Carlie Herrmann 8th, 2:01.56; Kelly Scott 11th, 2:02.82; Izzy Gomez 16th, 2:06.59.

200-yard individual medley – Kaitlyn McCoy 1st, 2:06.69; Mia Rankin 5th, 2:09.29; Vica Dow 8th, 2:14.61; Kate Hubbard 16th, 2:21.23.

50-yard freestyle – Mary Roediger 1st, 24.52; Thea Cartier 13th (tie), 26.11; Sydney Millane 13th (tie), 26.11; Nicole Johnson 18th, 26.39; Emma Sharp 19th, 26.44; Anna Leone 21st, 26.59; Kyle Gunzy 24th, 26.77.

100-yard butterfly – Olivia Paliscak 4th, 1:00.14; Haley Hubbard 5th, 1:01.54; Gracie Schumacher 13th, 1:03.32; Taylor Guthrie 18th, 1:05.73.

100-yard freestyle – Maddie Wright 10th, 55.77; Sydney Millane 14th, 56.20; Jordan Herrera 19th, 57.16; Taylor Guthrie 21st, 57.37; Thea Cartier 22nd, 57.61; Morgan Brown 31st, 1:01.51.

500-yard freestyle – Carlie Herrmann 7th, 5:22.83; Jordan Herrera 10th, 5:31.77; Izzy Gomez 13th, 5:41.41.

200-yard freestyle relay – XCP “A” 4th, 1:41.28 (Kelly Scott, Mary Roediger, Vica Dow, Thea Cartier). XCP “B’’ 7th, 1:44.34 (Kyle Gunzy, Sydney Millane, Jordan Herrera, Izzy Gomez).

100-yard backstroke – Kaitlyn McCoy 1st, 56.94; Vica Dow 6th, 1:01.70; Kelly Scott 14th, 1:05.56; Kate Hubbard 15th, 1:06.43.

100-yard breaststroke – Mary Roediger 2nd, 1:06.54; Paola Guerra 4th, 1:08.56; Mia Rankin 7th, 1:10.09; Regan Gunzy 13th, 1:12.38.

400-yard freestyle relay – XCP “A” 2nd, 3:38.75 (Kelly Scott, Vica Dow, Maddie Wright, Kaitlyn McCoy). XCP “B’’ 5th, 3:44.91 (Olivia Paliscak, Mia Rankin, Paola Guerra, Izzy Gomez).

1-meter diving (Friday, Sept. 29) – Alyssa Largay 4th, 372.45; Madeline Sewell 6th, 357.30; Molly Cahill 10th, 301.95.

Dual meet vs. Phoenix Pinnacle

Thursday, Sept. 28, at Brophy Pool

Team scores – Xavier 124, Pinnacle 62

Medley relay – XCP.

200-yard freestyle – Vica Dow (Soph.), XCP.

100-yard freestyle – Dow, XCP.

200-yard individual medley – Paola Guerra (Fr.), XCP.

50-yard freestyle – Mary Roediger (Sr.), XCP.

100-yard breaststroke – Roediger, XCP.

100-yard butterfly – Katie McCoy (Sr.), XCP.

100-yard backstroke – McCoy, XCP.

500-yard freestyle –  Mia Rankin (Fr.), XCP.

200-yard freestyle relay – XCP (Fr. Kelly Scott, Roediger, Sr. Sr. Thea Cartier, Dow).

400-yard freestyle relay – XCP (Scott, Dow, Soph. Maddie Wright, McCoy).

Diving – Talle Donley (Jr.), XCP.

Brophy-Xavier Invitational

Sept. 23 @ Brophy Pool

Girls team scores – Scottsdale Chaparral 461, Xavier Prep 398, Phoenix Pinnacle 180, Peoria Sunrise Mountain 143, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep 135, Tucson Catalina Foothills 115, Peoria Liberty 111, Chandler Hamilton 108, Gilbert Campo Verde 88, Tucson Ironwood Ridge 77, Gilbert High 65, Phoenix Sunnyslope 56, Scottsdale Prep 53, Tucson Salpointe Catholic 50, Phoenix Paradise Valley 43, Mesa High 35, Glendale Mountain Ridge 29, Chandler Basha 28, Phoenix Veritas Prep 27, Flagstaff High 23, Surprise Valley Vista 22, Gilbert Perry 21, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 21, Tempe Corona del Sol 12, Cottonwood Mingus 6, Peoria Centennial 6, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 4, Goodyear Millennium 3, Glendale Ironwood 3, Surprise Shadow Ridge 2.

Xavier results

200-yard medley relay – Xavier 2nd (Katie McCoy, Paola Guerra, Olivia Paliscak, Mary Roediger), 1:48.06.

200-yard freestyle – Vica Dow 3rd, 1:58.60; Maddie Wright 8th, 2:00.99; Jordan Herrera 10th, 2:02.02; Carlie Hermann, 11th, 2:02.32.

200-yard individual medley – Mia Rankin 4th, 2:14.21; Sydney Millane, 2:15.98; Gracie Schumacher 27th, 2:27.29.

50-yard freestyle – Mary Roediger 3rd, 24.67; Kelly Scott  12th, 25.37; Olivia Paliscak 13th, 25.59; Thea Cartier 22nd, 26.28.

100-yard butterfly – Kaitlyn McCoy 1st, 57.30; Olivia Paliscak 7th, 1:00.55; Haley Hubbard 13th, 1:01.82; Taylor Guthrie 25th, 1:04.40.

100-yard freestyle – Vica Dow 3rd, 54.71; Maddie Wright 12th, 55.96; Kelly Scott 15th, 56.07; Paola Guerra 16th, 56.15.

500-yard freestyle – Mia Rankin 3rd, 5:09.32; Jordan Herrera 13th, 5:25.44; Carlie Hermann 14th, 5:27.72; Izzy Gomez, 26th, 5:41.58.

200-yard freestyle relay – Xavier 2nd, (Kelly Scott, Thea Cartier, Vica Dow, Mary Roediger).

100-yard backstroke – Kaitlyn McCoy 2nd, 59.04; Sydney Millane 6th, 1:00.70; Morgan Brown 23rd, 1:06.99.

100-yard breaststroke – Mary Roediger 2nd, 1:07.63; Paola Guerra 6th, 1:08.30; Regan Gunzy 22nd, 1:12.72; Kyle Gunzy 36th, 1:17.13.

400-yard freestyle relay – Xavier 1st (Kelly Scott, Vica Dow, Katie McCoy, Maddie Wright).

1-meter diving – Alyssa Largay 1st, 386.90; Madeline Sewell, 5th, 346.25; Molly Cahill 7th, 335.85; Talle Donley 9th, 323.00.

Next meet – The Gators will be back in action on Thursday (Oct. 5) against Mesa Mountain View at the Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa.