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, May 3, 2018

Xavier tied for 4th in first day of D-I track & field

Chandler High appears in position to earn another Division I state track and field championship, but Xavier Prep is poised for a top-five finish after Wednesday’s (May 1) first day of the event at Mesa Community College.

Chandler High was the leader with 61 points, followed by Phoenix Desert Vista (28) and Gilbert Highland (22), with Xavier and Yuma Kofa tied for the fourth spot.

There were a handful of finals events run Wednesday, along with a long list of preliminaries.

Those who did well in the prelims advance to the finals on Saturday (May 5).

Junior Jada Sims, one of the most versatile athletes in the meet, finished second in the high jump finals at 5 feet, 7 inches and 17th in the long jump at 16-0 ¾. Javelin was official for the first time, and Xavier’s Kendall Swanson was 24th at 69 feet.

Xavier finished third in the 4x800-meter relay final, behind Chandler High and Chandler Hamilton. The Gators’ team of Megan Zacher, Sammy Braun, Karina Hawkins and Kinsey Ehmann covered the distance in 9:28.80.

The Gators had two runners in the final of the 3,200-meter run. Mia Olsen was seventh in 11:15.58 and Jamie Stelnik was ninth in 11:19.78.

Xavier’s 4x400-meter relay team had the fourth-best time in the prelims (3:59.54) and qualified for Saturday’s final.  The members of that group are Sims, Zacher, Sophie Brohard and Ehmann. Zacher also will run in the 800 final on Saturday.

Sims qualified No. 6 in the 100-meter hurdles prelims. She had a time of 15:21.1.

Xavier also got a good effort from its 4x100-meter relay team, but unfortunately did not qualify. That team was Bisola Ojeniyi, Leila Grant, Johnnie Mitchell and Ololade Adebayo.

Saturday’s schedule has the field events beginning at 11:30 a.m. Running events begin at 2:30 p.m., with the last one starting at approximately 8 p.m.

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