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.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Runners compete in Tempe, California races

Xavier Prep’s cross-country runners were out in full force on Saturday (Sept. 21), competing in one meet in Tempe and another in Norco (southern), Calif.

The Gators, with seven runners, finished 22nd out of 27 teams in the 3-mile Sweepstakes category at the Woodbridge (Calif.) Invitational.

Closer to home, Xavier flooded the course with 21 runners in the annual Doug Conley Invitational at the Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe. The Gators finished second behind Gilbert Highland out of 18 teams in the Non-Varsity category.

Xavier’s top finisher in the Woodbridge was senior Mia Olsen, who was 49th out of 199 runners with a time of 17:31.5.

Others in the Gator contingent were junior Jamie Stelnik (72nd, 17:45.9), senior Jessica Mirmelli (153rd, 18:58.4), senior Grace Valandra (159th, 19:05.9), freshman Reyna Silva (160th, 19:07.5), sophomore Maria Benitez (161st, 19:08.3) and junior Sammy Braun (184th, 19:42.7).

Sophomore Karime Morales topped the Gators’ list in the Conley Invitational (9th overall), with a time of 21:31.57 in the event that had 268 runners.

Other XCP finishers: sophomore Hannah Wheeling (10th, 21:32.3), junior Sophia Healy (12th, 21:42.56), junior Rishita Shah (14th, 21:46.13), freshman Calista Flick (17th, 21:57.11), freshman Barbara Paez (18th, 22:09.75), junior Joey Hernandez (21st, 22:13.32), sophomore Catherine Alaimo (23rd, 22:20.99), sophomore Ellie Higgins (34th, 22:47.13), sophomore Catherine Devine (35th, 22:47.98), sophomore Abby Macaluso (40th, 22:58.71).

Also, sophomore Briony Campisi (42nd, 23:01.90), sophomore Grace Teevan (47th, 23.12.72), sophomore MK Fairbanks (52nd, 23:32.70), sophomore LuLu Fischer (60th, 23:42.28), sophomore Riley Ryan (62nd, 23:48.99), sophomore Marissa Mansour (64th, 23:49.79), freshman Grace McClelland (70th, 24:07.26), freshman Bella Titus (73rd, 24:07.55), freshman Alma Melendez (99th, 24:56.79) and sophomore Maia Weingard (147th, 26:27.04).

All of Xavier’s runners will reunite on Friday (Sept. 27), traveling to Casa Grande for the Desert Twilight event at the Sports World facility. Races start at approximately 4 p.m. and run past dusk.

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