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, October 31, 2019

Frosh tennis "A" team takes care of Chandler

The Xavier Prep freshman “A” team completed its regular season on Wednesday (Oct. 30) with an 8-1 victory over visiting Chandler High.

On Thursday (Oct. 31), the A team was scheduled to face the Xavier “B” team in a couple of exhibition matches at the Stark Tennis Center.

Wednesday’s results

Xavier “A” 8, Chandler High 1


C def. Sophia Kleingartner, X, 8-1; Olivia Taylor, X, def. C, 8-0; Alissen Orrego, X, def. C, 8-2; Reese Brown, X, def. C, 8-1; Riley Dowdall, X, def. C, 8-2; Anna Pisoni, X, def. C, 8-0.


Kleingartner-Taylor, X, def. C, 8-4; Bryn Murphy-Mia Feix, X, def. C, 8-7; Grace Nelson-Abby Chrisman, X, def. C, 8-5.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gator v-ball avoids play-in with decisive win

There had been talk that Xavier Prep’s volleyball team would have to win a “play-in’’ game on Thursday (Oct. 31) in order to reach the 6A Conference state tournament.

But the crisis has been averted.

The Gators rose to the occasion on Tuesday night (Oct. 29) by defeating Chandler Hamilton 3-1 in XCP’s regular-season home finale. That, combined with a 3-0 sweep of Chandler High on Monday (Oct. 28), assured Xavier that it would have a Top 8 seed and host a first-round match on Nov. 5.

Of course, the real reason that the Gators did not want to have a play-in on Halloween would mean they would miss out on some sweet treats.

Aside from a Game 3 hiccup against Hamilton, the Gators played about as well as they have in recent weeks and look like they have regained the confidence that has been eluding them.

Scores were 25-19, 25-23, 14-25 and 25-13.

“We showed a lot of pride being able to end the regular season with a win,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, whose team was 29-11 during the regular season.

“We played much better than we have been. We were super confident and our team defense definitely kept us in the match.

“After we were punched in the face (in the third game), we regained our composure, got up off the deck and were able to complete the job.’’

In a match at Hamilton on Oct. 16, Xavier took the Huskies to the limit before falling 3-2. The last game was very close (18-16), and Bryant knew her team would be able to match Hamilton shot for shot, or even better, when they met in the rematch.

Xavier finished off Game 1 when sophomore middle blocker Bella Sinacori unleashed a kill shot that the Huskies could not return in bounds. In Game 2, it was a different hero in sophomore setter Alexa Shiner, who placed a soft, two-handed shot to catch Hamilton off-guard in the deciding play.

Hamilton appeared to get back in the match in Game 3, scoring the game’s final nine points.

And in Game 4, Xavier was in control most of the way, scoring the final two points on another kill by Sinacori and a failed block attempt by the Huskies.

Senior outside hitter Bri McKnight had one of her best games of the season. She had 15 kills, 27 digs on the back row and a pair of service aces. Xavier had nine aces as a team.

“Bri’s serve was super strong, and her play was consistent and aggressive all the way around,’’ Bryant said.

Senior middle blocker Jasmine Knight had 15 kills, Shiner had 40 assists and seniors Abby Converse and Katelen Tellez had three aces each.

6A state tournament

Xavier, the two-time defending champion, was one of eight teams to automatically qualify for the event. No final seedings were released by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Wednesday (Oct. 30), but it appears that Xavier could be as high as No. 5 after beginning Tuesday at No. 7.

The eight automatic qualifiers are (listed alphabetically):  Chandler Basha, Tempe Corona del Sol, Phoenix Desert Vista, Chandler Hamilton, Gilbert Highland, Gilbert Perry, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Xavier Prep.

Tournament brackets will be announced on Saturday (Nov. 2) at 2:30 p.m.

Play-in schedule

Here are Thursday’s play-in games, all at 6:30 p.m. Current seeding in parentheses.

No. 24 Glendale Copper Canyon at No. 9 Phoenix Pinnacle, No. 17 Surprise Valley Vista at No. 16 Phoenix Mountain Pointe, No. 18 Chandler High at No. 15 Mesa Desert Ridge, No. 21 Surprise Shadow Ridge at No. 12 Peoria Liberty.

Also, No. 22 Anthem Boulder Creek at No. 11 Mesa Mountain View, No. 20 Queen Creek at No. 13 Mesa High, No. 19 Mesa Skyline at No. 14 Phoenix North, No. 23 Glendale Mountain Ridge at No. 10 Scottsdale Chaparral.

Xavier frosh tennis "B" team falls to Hamilton

Xavier Prep’s “B” freshman tennis team had a touch match on Tuesday (Oct. 29) at Chandler Hamilton, and was defeated 9-0. It was the final match of the regular season.



H def. Maria Wolowiecki, X, 8-0; H def. Bailey Wolcott, X, 8-0; H def. Morgan Finch, X, 8-2; H def. Ava Hamilton, X, 8-1; H def. Sofia Purcell, X, 8-0; H def. Jessyla Garcia, X, 8-0.


H def. Wolowiecki-Finch, X, 8-1; H def. Wolcott-Hamilton, 8-6; H. def. Purcell-Garcia, X, 8-4.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Badminton a success despite loss in quarters

Xavier Prep’s 2019 badminton started out on a bit of shaky ground.

The program needed a new coaching staff prior to the start of preseason tryouts.

“We heard that people were not expecting us to go very far this year,’’ said Laura Forbes, who took over as the Gators’ coach and leader.

“Despite having new coaches with limited technical knowledge of the game, this team pulled together to help each other become better players and teammates. Through positive attitudes, hard work and perseverance, we marched through the season with the intention of surprising anyone doubting our chances for a successful season.

“Surprise! We finished the regular season with a nice 9-5 record, which qualified us to be the No. 5 seed entering the (Division I) state tournament.’’

And that’s where our story picks up. In a first-round match on Monday (Oct. 28) at Glendale Mountain Ridge, the Gators eliminated No. 12 Phoenix Trevor Browne 5-0.

After a brief rest period, Xavier came back to face host No. 4 seed Mountain Ridge in a quarterfinal match. The two teams were tied 3-3 after singles play, but the Mountain Ridge doubles teams took over to win two matches (the third was not necessary) for a 5-3 victory.

Xavier finished the season at 10-6, while Mountain Ridge advances to Wednesday’s (Oct. 30) semifinals against top-seeded, two-time defending champion Gilbert Perry.

Xavier had defeated Mountain Ridge 7-2 in an early season match, but Forbes said that most of those games went three sets and this rematch could wind up being different.

Sophie Riviere, Lina Vanderwey and Mia Byrd won their singles matches for Xavier.

In doubles, Mountain Ridge’s No. 1 team of Kaitlyn Tucay and Morgan Pearson earned a 21-11, 21-17 victory over Vanderwey and Mayse Dunn.

Xavier’s No. 2 doubles team of Riviere and Zoe Barton started off on a positive note with a 21-18 victory over Shivani Bahl and Alison Pedersen, but the Mountain Ridge girls rebounded to win 21-17, 21-11 in the next two games to clinch the match.

Xavier’s setback was disappointing, to be sure, but the Gators still can reflect back on what they accomplished.

“I could not be more proud of the effort our girls put forth all season long,’’ Forbes said. “I think any coach is happy to see improvement in the skills of their players and I can say this team ended the season playing better badminton than they did when we started. And, just as important, they had fun along the way!’’

Monday’s results

Mountain Ridge 5, Xavier Prep 3


Kaitlyn Tucay, MR, def. Mayse Dunn, X, 21-11, 21-8; Sophie Riviere, X, def. Morgan Pearson, MR, 21-15, 21-12; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Shivani Bahl, MR, 21-16, 21-16; Ali Roskelley, MR, def. Zoe Barton, X, 17-21, 21-14, 21-14; Samantha Rawson, MR, def. Alex Kockinis, X, 21-18, 21-10; Mia Byrd, X, def. Alison Pedersen, MR, 21-18, 23-21.


Tucay-Pearson, MR, def. Dunn-Vanderwey, X, 21-11, 21-17; Bahl-Pedersen, MR, def. Riviere-Barton, X, 18-21, 21-17, 21-11.

Xavier Prep 5, Trevor Browne 0


Mayse Dunn, X, def. Jenna Nguyen, TB, 21-14, 21-10; Sophie Riviere, X, def. Lisette Hernandez, TB, 21-12, 21-10; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Arianna Torres, TB, 21-1, 21-8; Alex Kockinis, X, def. Milca Hernandez, TB, 21-15, 21-11; Mia Byrd, X, def. Ruby Tovar, TB, 21-14, 21-4.

V-ball rolls, now plays regular-season finale

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team recorded a 3-0 sweep over visiting Chandler High on Monday night  (Oct. 28) and now turns its attention to Tuesday night’s (Oct. 29) regular-season finale at home against Chandler Hamilton.

The Gators are hoping for a reversal of their Oct. 16 match at Hamilton, which held on for a 3-2 victory.

Xavier (28-11) had a balanced effort against Chandler. Senior outside hitter Bri McKnight had 11 kills and two service aces. Senior outside hitter Juli Westfall had 10 kills.

Senior middle blocker Jasmine Knight paced the defense with six blocks. Junior defender Kaori Robertson had 14 digs, and sophomore Alexa Shiner had 34 assists.

Frosh "B" tennis team edges Desert Mtn.

Xavier Prep’s freshman tennis “B” team defeated host Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 5-4, on Monday (Oct. 28) as Desert Mountain lost five matches by default.

The B team will travel to face Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday (Oct. 29). The Gators’ “A” team, meanwhile, has a home match on Tuesday against Chandler High.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Badminton singles, doubles out after first day

The individual singles and doubles portion of the Division I badminton state tournament began on Friday (Oct. 25), and unfortunately, the Xavier Prep competitors were unable to make it to Saturday’s (Oct. 26) semifinals at Glendale Independence.

Junior Lina Vanderwey made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated.

Vanderwey defeated Chandler Basha’s Aubriella Whisler, 21-9, 21-10 in the first round of the best-of-three competition.

Vanderwey then took seventh-seeded Alexis Davies of Peoria Liberty to the limit in the quarters before falling 25-21, 19-21 and 19-21.

Xavier’s other singles player, senior Mayse Dunn, also had a three-set match in the first round, falling to Charity Mattingly of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, 21-11, 15-21 and 21-19.

Xavier had a doubles team – juniors Sophie Riviere and Zoe Barton. They, too, were involved in a three-set match against Kelsey Slaugh and Brynn Dorsey of Mesa Red Mountain. The Red Mountain players won 12-21, 21-14 and 21-13.

The Gators now turn their attention to the overall team competition. Xavier is seeded fifth and will play a first-round match on Monday (Oct. 28) against Phoenix Trevor Browne at Glendale Mountain Ridge (3:30 p.m. start). The winner of that match will move on to face No. 4 seed Mountain Ridge in a quarterfinal match later in the day.

Semifinals are Wednesday night (Oct. 30) at the sites of the higher seeds, and the finals are Thursday night (Oct. 31) at Gilbert Mesquite.

Gators fall to Basha, hope to avoid "play-in'

While Xavier Prep’s volleyball team improved its play at Chandler Basha on Thursday night (Oct. 24), the check-engine light remains on as the Gators approach a dangerous stretch of road.

In a match that went to the limit, Basha came away with a 3-2 victory. After Xavier forced a fifth game with a 25-22 win in Game 4, the Bears bounced back for a 15-11 win in the final game.

The match featured a classic Game 3. Xavier had set point three times but couldn’t put the Bears away, and Basha stretched it out for a 33-31 victory.

The scores were (Basha listed first): 23-25, 25-18, 33-31, 22-25 and 15-11.

Xavier slipped to 27-11, while Basha improved to 21-16. Basha also defeated Xavier 3-1 in an Oct. 9 meeting at Xavier.

Xavier has two regular-season matches remaining at home on back-to-back nights, on Monday (Oct. 28) against Chandler High and Tuesday (Oct. 29) against Chandler Hamilton.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said those matches “are do or die’’ for her two-time defending state champions.

“If we don’t win those last two, then we would possibly be in a dangerous situation where we would have to win a “play-in’ game to get in the (6A Conference) state tournament.’’

The top eight teams on the Arizona Interscholastic Association power points list get automatic spots at state. The rest, from spots 9-24, will meet in play-in games on Oct. 31 at the sites of the higher seeds, and those winners advance to state. The good news for Xavier would appear that they still would have a high enough spot to host a play-in game should it come to that.

Xavier was sixth after Friday’s (Oct. 25) latest rankings. The Gators had been seventh entering the Basha match, but climbed despite the loss due to the strength of schedule. Basha remained in the fourth spot.

Late in the fifth game, the score was tied at 10, but Basha scored four of the next five to win it.

Simply put, the Gators were not as aggressive on a consistent basis as they could have been.

“When the score reached 10, we tipped the ball, while they (Basha) swung,’’ said Bryant, referring to the softer vs. more powerful shots.

Throughout the night, many of those big Basha shots were provided by outside hitters Jaelyn Hodge and Samantha Drewry.

“We battled and we are getting better, but we still need to have more discipline,’’ Bryant said.

Senior middle blocker Jasmine Knight had 24 kills and six blocks for the Gators, and senior outside hitter Bri McKnight had 15 kills and 25 digs. Sophomore setter Alexa Shiner had 53 assists in the marathon along with four service aces. And senior libero Abby Converse and junior libero/defensive specialist Kaori Robertson each had 22 digs.

Swimmers, divers sail to big win over Red Mtn.

Xavier’s swimming and diving team wrapped up the dual-meet portion of their schedule on Thursday night (Oct.24) with a convincing 133-63 win over Mesa Red Mountain at the Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa.

Xavier, which defeated Chandler High in a meet earlier in the week, will compete again on Nov. 2 at the annual AMDG Invitational at the Brophy Prep aquatic center.

From there, it will be on to the state meet on Nov. 7-8 at Kino.

Individual winners against Red Mountain were Kelly Scott (200-yard freestyle), Mia Rankin (200-yard individual medley, 500-yard freestyle), Gracie Munk (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke), Jordan Herrera (100-yard butterfly) and Pao Guerra (100-yard breaststroke).
The Gators’ three relay teams continued their strong seasons with victories. Xavier got key relay efforts from Olivia Paliscak, Maddie Wright, Hope Nolan and Vica Dow.

Better shots help frosh tennis stay in the game

Xavier Prep’s “A” and “B” freshman tennis teams were back on the court on Thursday (Oct. 24) with the A team defeating Phoenix Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee 9-0 and the B team falling to Gilbert Highland 5-4 in a close match at Xavier.

The two Xavier squads will meet in an exhibition on Monday (Oct. 28) and part of the B team also will play at Scottsdale Desert Mountain.


Xavier “A” 9, Mountain Pointe 0


Taylor Linaman, X, def. MP, 8-3; Campbell Linaman, X, def. MP, 8-6; Nancy Langmade, X, def. MP, 8-2; Jenna Burch, X, def. MP, 8-3; Lily Helfert, X, def. MP, 6-0; Maggie Wuycheck, X, def. MP, 6-2.


T Linaman-C Linaman, X, def. MP, 8-2; Langmade-Burch, X, def. MP, 8-1; Xavier won third match by default.

Highland 5, Xavier “B” 4


Maria Wolowiecki, X, def. H, 8-7 (7-3); H def. Tiffany Wedell, X, 8-2; Jessyla Garcia, X, def. H, 8-5; H def. Sophie Saia, X, 8-2; H def. Alex deLeon, X, 8-1; Morgan Finch, X, def. H, 8-0.


Wolowiecki-Finch, X, def. H, 8-4; H def. Wedell-Saia, X, 8-3; H def. Garcia-deLeon, X, 8-4.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Frosh tennis beginners compete for real

Xavier Prep’s beginner freshman tennis players finally got a taste of what real competition is like on Wednesday (Aug. 23) when they traveled to face Chandler Basha. The Gators’ “B” team  gave it a good effort before falling 9-0.

Xavier was due to play again on Thursday (Aug. 24) with a home match against Gilbert Highland.

Wednesday’s result

Basha 9, Xavier Prep 0


B def. Nora Hinkle, X, 8-1; B def. Lillian Ash, X, 8-5; B def. Dina Gorman, X, 8-0; B def. Emily Bergeron, X, 8-3; B def. Samantha Patton, X, 8-0; B def. Perla Akiki, X, 8-0.


B def. Hinkle-Ash, X, 8-0; B def. Gorman-Bergeron, X, 8-2; B def. Patton-Akiki, X, 8-0.

XCP in state badminton: 2 singles, 1 doubles team

The scene has been set for the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 2019 Division I state badminton singles and doubles tournament. Xavier Prep will have four girls competing, two in singles as well as a doubles team.

The action begins at 10 a.m. on Friday (Oct. 25) at Glendale Independence. First-round winners also will play later in the day, with semifinals and finals on Saturday (Oct. 26).

Senior Mayse Dunn is Xavier’s highest seed, at No. 9. She will meet Charity Mattingly of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor in the first round.

The other XCP singles competitor is junior Lina Vanderwey. She will oppose Aubriella Whisler of Chandler Basha.

And the Xavier doubles team will feature juniors Sophie Riviere and Zoe Barton. They will meet Kelsey Slaugh and Brynn Dorsey of Mesa Red Mountain.

Good luck, Gators !!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Xavier badminton team seeded fifth at state

Xavier Prep’s badminton team has been designated as the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Division I state team tournament.

First day of the tournament is on Monday (Oct. 28).

Xavier will play at Glendale Mountain Ridge against No. 12 seed Phoenix Trevor Browne at 3:30 p.m. After a brief rest period, the winner will go on to face host Mountain Ridge in a quarterfinal match. Xavier defeated Mountain Ridge 7-2 in a match at XCP on Sept. 9.

The winners of the quarterfinal matches will meet on Oct. 30 in the semifinals at the sites of the higher seeds. The championship is Oct. 31 at Gilbert Mesquite. Gilbert Perry is the two-time defending state champion.

Seeding for the individual singles and doubles portion of the tournament (separate) will be posted by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on its Web site on Thursday (Oct. 24). Singles and doubles competition will be held on Friday (Oct. 25) and Saturday (Oct. 26) at Glendale Independence.

Division I team seeds

1 – Gilbert Perry. 2 – Phoenix Pinnacle. 3 – Chandler Hamilton. 4 – Glendale Mountain Ridge. 5 – Xavier Prep. 6 – Scottsdale Chaparral. 7 – Chandler Basha. 8 – Chandler High. 9 – Gilbert Highland. 10 – Mesa Mountain View. 11 – Tempe Corona del Sol. 12 – Phoenix Trevor Browne.

Frosh tennis players show improvement

Xavier Prep’s freshman “A” tennis team split matches with Queen Creek Casteel and Chandler Basha on Monday (Oct. 21) and Tuesday (Oct. 22), and the freshman “B” team earned a road win over Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday.

The A team is due to face Phoenix Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee on Thursday (Oct. 24), and the B team plays on Wednesday (Oct. 23) at Basha and Thursday at home against Gilbert Highland.


Casteel 9, Xavier Prep “A” 0 (Monday)


Bella Branton, C, def. Alissen Orrego, X, 8-2; Addy Liepold, C, def. Olivia Taylor, X, 8-3; Sophia Dilly, C, def. Reese Brown, X, 9-7; Brynn Williams, C, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 8-6; Kenzie Summers, C, def. Bailey Brown, X, 8-1; Liberty Harcrow, C, def. Anna Pisoni, X, 8-2.


Branton-Dilly, C, def. Orrego-Grace Nelson, X, 8-1; Liepold-Summers, C, def. Bailey Brown-Pisoni, X, 8-2; Williams-Harcrow, C, def. Dowdall-Brynn Murphy, X, 8-2.

Xavier Prep “A” 9, Basha 0 (Tuesday)


Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Alexa Davidson, B, 8-1; Olivia Taylor, X, def. Amelia Cunningham, B, 8-1; Reese Brown, X, def. Trinity Williams, B, 8-1; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Ava Johnson, B, 8-0; Brynn Murphy, X, def. Savanna Wickstrom, B, 8-2; Jocelyn Salgado, X, def. Amy Lu, B, 8-4.


Kleingartner-Taylor, X, def. Davidson-Cunningham, B, 8-2; Dowdall-Grace Nelson, X, def. Williams-Johnson, B, 8-4; Murphy-Salgado, X, def. Wickstrom-Lu, B, 8-2.

Xavier Prep “B” 7, Corona del Sol 2 (Tuesday)


Maria Wolowiecki, X, def. CDS, 8-6; Bailey Wolcott, X, def. CDS, 8-0; CDS def. Ava Hamilton, X, 8-6; Caroline Cody, X, def. CDS, 8-4; Morgan Ulrich, X, def. CDS, 8-4; Jessyla Garcia, X, def. CDS, 8-0.


Wolcott-Hamilton, X, def. CDS, 8-4; Wolowiecki-Ulrich, X, def. CDS, 8-5; CDS def. Cody-Garcia, X, 8-6.

Gator archers do well in qualifier event

Xavier Prep’s Hotshots archery club team had a solid showing on Saturday (Oct. 19) in the Northern State Qualifier at Chauncey Ranch in Mayer.

Junior Alexandra Scott shot a personal best of 276, including 13 bullseyes to place fourth for high school girls overall and first for 11th graders.

Freshman Evelynn Papez fired off a 269 with 11 bullseyes to finish ninth. And sophomore Ana Bhatti had a total of 229.

Next up for the Gators is the Wickenburg Rodeo Shoot on Nov. 2 at the Everett Bowman Rodeo Arena in Wickenburg.

V-ball struggles: "It comes down to confidence"

Sometimes the mind can overrule what the body is trying to accomplish.

You have to be confident.

And Xavier Prep’s volleyball team is struggling with its confidence right now.

The Gators faced visiting Gilbert Perry, the No. 1 team for power points in the 6A Conference, on Tuesday night (Oct. 22).

Xavier won the first game, lost the next two and appeared to be on the way to forcing a fifth and deciding game with a late lead in Game 4. But the Gators were not able to hold on and Perry took the match 3-1 to sweep the two-match Premier Region series.

The scores were Xavier 25-20 and Perry 25-18, 25-21 and 27-25. In the final game, Xavier held a 24-22 lead, watched Perry rally to tie it at 24, and went ahead 25-24 before Perry came back to score three points, the last two on a block and a mishandled return by the Gators.

Despite the win, Perry was overtaken on Wednesday (Oct. 23) for the top spot in power points by Tempe Corona del Sol. Xavier is seventh.

Asked what led to the final sequence and overall approach during the match against Perry, Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said, “It comes down to confidence. You have to believe in yourself.’’

It is tied to the old adage of trying not to lose instead of trying to win.

“It is something we need to continue to work on,’’ Bryant said.

The coach has enlisted the assistance of a “mindfulness coach’’ to help with this issue “and the internal battles we have going on.’’

The team will be put to the test again on Thursday night (Oct. 24), when it travels to face Chandler Basha in another Premier Region contest. Xavier fell to Basha 3-1 on Oct. 9 at Xavier.

“It is going to be another tough one,’’ Bryant said.

Senior outside hitter Bri McKnight and senior middle blocker Jasmine Knight were effective at times against Perry, and senior libero Abby Converse was acrobatic with some of her digs in the backcourt. And there was a bit more encouraging news with the return of sophomore middle Bella Sinacori after sitting out with a leg injury. She gives the team good athleticism along the front line.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Two Gators earn junior golf awards

Senior Ashley Menne, left, and freshman Annie Dawson hold their Junior Golf Association of Arizona Player of the Year awards. (Photo courtesy of Denise Dawson)
The golfing torch continues to burn bright at Xavier Prep.

Senior Ashley Menne and freshman Annie Dawson received top honors over the weekend at the Junior Golf Association of Arizona awards ceremony.

Menne was named Player of the Year in the Girls Championship Division, and Dawson stepped into the spotlight with the Player of the Year designation in the Girls 13-14 Division.

Both players will be in action Nov. 4-5 as Xavier will attempt to defend its Division I state championship at the Omni Tucson National Resort.

XCP/BCP riders in 7th spot with one race to go

The Xavier/Brophy club mountain biking team finished eighth overall in the most recent Arizona Cycling League race on Sunday (Oct. 20).

The fifth race of the six-race season was held at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills.

XCP sophomore Hailey Schwartz continued her outstanding season with a fifth-place finish in the JV1 race (2 laps, 5.65 miles per lap) with a time of 57:05:85. Overall, Schwartz sits in third place with one race to go, on Nov. 3 at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell.

Other Xavier riders in the JV1 race were senior Heather Kwapiszeski (14th, 1:01:81.83) and senior Erin Hill (19th, 1:10:51.14).

Xavier’s three finishers in the JV2 race (also 2 laps) were sophomore Aria Tseffos (23rd, 1:15:01.58), senior Catherine Wandachowicz (27th, 1:22:01.22) and sophomore Rachel Reyes (1:39:55.73).

And the Gators were represented by two riders in the Freshman race. They were Chloe Lindeback (17th, 1:16:19.01) and Grace Morgan (23rd, 1:22:35.36).

In the overall team standings through five races, Xavier/Brophy is seventh with 14,758 points, just 11 behind No. 6 Anthem Boulder Creek.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Seniors provide spark in volleyball victory

For one night, at least, on Thursday (Oct. 17), Xavier Prep stepped away from the dangerous riptide that is the 6A Conference Premier Region (Gilbert Perry, Chandler Hamilton, Chandler Basha and Chandler High) and into a comparative sense of calm.

Not that the Gators’ opponent, Phoenix Desert Vista, is in sedate surroundings in the 6A Central (with Tempe Corona del Sol and Gilbert Highland, among others).

Still, a win is always good, particularly since the Gators had dropped two matches in a row (to Basha and Hamilton).

Xavier picked up a 3-0 sweep against Desert Vista on Senior Night at the Activity Center to put its overall record at 27-9. Desert Vista slipped to 19-15.

Xavier senior players Abby Converse, Jasmine Knight, Bri McKnight, Katelen Tellez, Juli Westfall and Quinn Voorhees and team manager Maggie Williams were honored in pre-match ceremonies.

Then the Gators went out to win 25-7, 26-24 and 25-16.

“It was a fantastic match for all the seniors,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “They went out and did what it takes.’’

She said the team was “heartbroken’’ after a narrow 3-2 loss at Hamilton on Wednesday night (Oct. 16) and subsequent shift of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 6A power points rankings.

Xavier was third before the match and then dropped four spots to No. 7, while Hamilton moved up from No. 10 to No. 8.

But on Friday morning (Oct. 18), Xavier had climbed back to No. 5, behind Perry, Corona del Sol, Basha and Highland).

A 9-0 run by the Gators to begin Game #1 against Desert Vista left little doubt as to what the outcome would be.

Game #2 was much different. Desert Vista led most of the way and had only two points to go with a 23-19 advantage. Xavier scored five straight points to stay alive and even took the lead before the Thunder tied it back up at 24. A kill by Knight and a Desert Vista return into the net ended it.

Xavier had another run to begin Game #3, scoring the first six points. Desert Vista couldn’t gain any traction and the Gators went on to wrap up the match on a kill by Westfall and a wide return by the Thunder.

Now it’s back to the Premier beginning on Tuesday (Oct. 22) when Perry will visit the Activity Center. On Thursday (Oct. 24), Xavier will travel to face Basha.

“It’s true all season, but especially now . . . tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so we have to find our focus and stay sharp,’’ Bryant said.

Strong finish gives Gator badminton No. 5 spot

Xavier Prep’s badminton team finished its regular season on Thursday (Oct. 17) by winning its third straight, 8-1 over host Phoenix Desert Vista, and putting a strong 9-5 record on its resume entering the upcoming Division I state tournaments.

Invividual singles and doubles matches will be held Oct. 25 and 26 at Glendale Independence.

The first round and quarterfinals of the team competition will be held Oct. 28 at the sites of the highest seeds. Semifinals are Oct. 30, also at the high seeds, and the championship will take place on Oct. 31 at Gilbert Mesquite.

When Friday’s (Oct. 18) power points rankings were announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, Xavier was listed fifth.

Thursday’s results

Xavier Prep 8, Desert Vista 1


Sophie Riviere, X, def. Brenna Wallen, DV, 21-17, 21-17; Mayse Dunn, X, def. Caitlin Halim, DV, 21-15, 21-17; Carolyn Hulse, DV, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-17, 20-22, 21-18; Zoe Barton, X, def. Tess Minhinnick, DV, 17-21, 21-16, 21-10; Alex Kockinis, X, def. Madison Gonzales, DV, 21-13, 21-18; Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Mia Jung, DV, 21-19, 15-21, 21-19.


Dunn-Vanderwey, X, def. Hulse-Halim, DV, 21-14, 21-18; Riviere-Barton, X, def. Minhinnick-Gonzales, DV, 21-12, 21-18; Kockinis-Etsitty, X, def. Wallen-Jung, DV, 21-14, 17-21, 21-19.

XCP frosh teams offer tennis challenge

Xavier Prep’ freshman “A” tennis team fell to host Gilbert Perry 5-4 on Wednesday (Oct. 16) and defeated host Scottsdale Desert Mountain 5-4 on Thursday (Oct. 17). The B team also played Perry on Thursday, this one at home, and dropped a 6-3 decision.

Next week, the A team will have three matches – on Monday (Oct. 21) at home against Queen Creek Casteel, on Tuesday (Oct. 22) at home against Chandler Basha and on Thursday (Oct. 24) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee.

The B team, meanwhile, will play twice – on Wednesday (Oct. 23) at Basha and Thursday against Gilbert Highland at XCP’s Stark Tennis Center.


Perry 5, Xavier “A” 4


Alissen Orrego, X, def. Perry 8-5; Perry def. Reese Brown, X, 8-5; Perry def. Anna Pisoni, X, 8-4; Perry def. Grace Nelson, X, 8-6; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Perry 9-7; Bryn Murphy, X, def. Perry 8-4.


Perry def. Orrego-Brown, X, 7-6; Perry def. Pisoni-Nelson, X, 8-1; Dowdall-Murphy, X, def. Perry 4-1.

Xavier “A” 5, Desert Mountain 4


Desert Mountain def. Grace Nelson, X, 8-0; Desert Mountain def. Bailey Brown, X, 8-2; Desert Mountain def. Lexie Pankow, 8-2; Xavier won last three by default.


Desert Mountain def. Abby Chrisman-Mia Feix, X, 8-0; Xavier won last two by default.

Perry 6, Xavier “B” 3


Perry def. Maria Wolowiecki, X, 8-6; Perry def. Morgan Finch, X, 8-2; Perry def. Caroline Cody, X, 8-2; Ava Hamilton, X, def. Perry 6-5 (darkness); Perry def. Jessyla Garcia, X, 8-5; Morgan Ulrich, X, def. Perry, 8-5.


Perry def. Bailey Wolcott-Finch, X, 8-0; Perry def. Wolowiecki-Cody, X, 8-3; Hamilton-Garcia, X, def. Perry 8-6.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Good intentions carry Gator badminton to win

There’s plenty of action that figures into an athletic team’s success.

But once in awhile, there’s also a key word that provides motivation that is thrown into the mix.

In the case of Xavier Prep’s badminton team, the word is intention.

“There is a difference in wanting to win and intending to win. If you intend to win, it means you have confidence,’’ said Xavier first-year coach Laura Forbes.

The mindset has helped the Gators win four of their last five matches, including a 9-0 triumph over visiting Mesa Skyline on Wednesday (Oct. 16) as Xavier held its annual Senior Day ceremony.

Xavier (8-5), which was No. 7 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division I power points entering Wednesday’s play, now wraps up its regular season on Thursday (Oct. 17) at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee. Skyline was No. 10 in power points on Wednesday, Desert Vista ninth.

Xavier won each individual match 2-0 except for one doubles duel, but managed to win that in three sets.

Forbes was pleased with the turn of events.

“We (coaches) feel like the girls have shown improvement throughout the whole season,’’ Forbes said. “They all played really well today.

“We are playing well at the point of the season where we wanted to be playing well.’’

The individual singles and doubles portion of the state tournament will run Oct. 25-26 at Glendale Independence. First-round team play and quarterfinal play will be held at the highest seeds on Oct. 28, with semifinals on Oct. 30 at the high seeds and finals on Oct. 31 at Gilbert Mesquite.

“We at Xavier are proud of Laura and her team,’’ said Xavier Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

“Laura had not had much experience with badminton before this season, but she spent many hours watching video and learning as much as she could about the game, and you can see the results out on the court. The most important part is that the kids are going out and having fun.’’

The seniors who were honored on Wednesday were players Mia Byrd, Mayse Dunn, Alex Kockinis and team manager Paige Gehringer.


Xavier Prep 9, Skyline 0


Sophie Riviere, X, def. Stephanie Quinones, S, 21-19, 21-17; Mayse Dunn, X, def. Priscilla Mendoza, S, 21-16, 21-10; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Dylania Herrera, S, 21-9, 21-17; Zoe Barton, X, def. Whitney Brown, S, 21-11, 21-18; Alex Kockinis, X, def. Emily Muir, S, 21-12, 21-17; Mia Byrd, X, def. Tore Burton, S, 21-13, 21-13.


Vanderwey-Dunn, X, def. Mendoza-Quinones, S, 21-19, 21-18; Riviere-Barton, X, def. Herrera-Burton, S, 21-13, 21-15; Kockinis-Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Muir-Brown, S, 21-3, 13-21, 21-17.

Volleyball takes Hamilton to the limit but falls

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team proved to be tough competition for host Chandler Hamilton on Wednesday night (Oct. 16), but fell in five sets.

Xavier slipped to 26-9 overall, while Hamilton improved to 24-10.

The Gators return home to the Activity Center on Thursday night (Oct. 17) with a match against Phoenix Desert Vista. Xavier will celebrate its seniors with the annual Senior Night.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Runners No. 1 across the board in Titan races

Xavier Prep’s cross-country runners were hoping for a big day in Friday morning’s (Oct. 11) Titan Invitational at Freestone Park in Gilbert, and the Gators were successful across the board with winning team efforts in three different races.

Xavier won the Big Schools Varsity, the Big Schools Open and the Big Schools Freshmen. All races were at a 5K distance.

In the Big Schools Varsity, Xavier came in with a winning effort of 61 points.

The Gators had five of the top 25 runners in the 118-runner event. Junior Jamie Stelnik was second at 18:40.7 and senior Mia Olsen was right behind her at No. 3 with a time of 18:52.9. Flagstaff High’s Mia Hall crossed the finish line first at 18:33.1.

Senior Jessica Mirmelli was 13th at 19:50.2, freshman Reyna Silva was 20th at 20:09.9 and sophomore Maria Benitez was 25th at 20:30.5.

With 16 runners competing in the Big School Open race, Xavier sprinted to a first-place effort with 21 points as sophomore Hannah Wheeling won the event at 21:17.4.

Xavier had four more in the top 10 (out of 150 total). They were junior Sammy Braun, 3rd at 21:33.7, sophomore Catherine Alaimo, 6th at 21:53.8, junior Sophia Healy, 9th at 22:11.5 and sophomore Karime Morales, 10th at 22:17.2.

Other XCP finishers were sophomore Ellie Higgins, 14th at 22:48.6, junior Rishita Shah, 23rd at 23:15.7, sophomore Grace Teevan, 24th at 23:21.4, sophomore Briony Campiski, 27th at 23:26.0, sophomore Maia Weingard, 29th at 23:31.0, sophomore MK Fairbanks, 35th at 23:46.7, sophomore Riley Ryan, 37th at 23:48.9, sophomore Lulu Fischer, 41st at 24:03.0, sophomore Catherine Devine, 47th at 24:29.5 and sophomore Marissa Mansour, 55th at 24:55.9.

Xavier had six more runners in the Big School Freshmen race and finished with a winning team score of 40 points.

Four of those runners finished in the top 10 – Barbara Paez, 5th at 22:13.6, Olivia Charles, 6th at 22:18.0, Emily Manuelito, 7th at 22:18.7, and Cassara Ryan, 9th at 22:24.6. The Gators also got strong efforts from Calista Flick, 16th at 23:11.7, and Alma Melendez, 37th at 26:31.7.

Some of Xavier’s runners will compete in the annual Mt. SAC Invitational at Mount San Antonio College in California on Oct. 26.

A Division 1 state qualifying meet for Section 1 will be held on Nov. 7 at Cesar Chavez Park in Laveen, and the Division 1 state meet will be held Nov. 16 at the Cave Creek Golf Course in north Phoenix.

Thunderbird High School/Dave Doerrer Invitational

Xavier had 14 runners in the Freshman/Sophomore race and one lone competitor in the Varsity race.

Both races were at 2.8 miles and were held Oct. 5 at Mountain View Park in north Phoenix.

In the Freshman/Sophomore race, freshman Cassara Ryan was the top finisher, 19th at 20:25.

She was followed by sophomore Ellie Higgins, 24th at 20:44, freshman Calista Flick, 25th at 20:46, sophomore Briony Campisi, 28th at 21:03, sophomore Riley Ryan, 29th at 21:10.1, sophomore MK Fairbanks, 34th at 21:22 and sophomore Grace Teevan, 38th at 21:31.

Also, sophomore Catherine Devine, 39th at 21:55, sophomore Abby Macaluso, 40th at 21:58, freshman Grace McClelland, 44th at 22:21, sophomore Marissa Mansour, 48th at 22:25.0, freshman Bella Titus, 53rd at 23:21, sophomore LuLu Fischer, 56th at 22:37 and freshman Alma Melendez, 69th at 23:37.

Senior Jessica Mirmelli finished second in the Varsity race at 18:15.8.

Badminton maintains top 8 power points spot

Xavier Prep’s badminton team maintained a spot in the top eight in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division I power points listing with a 7-2 victory over visiting Chandler High on Thursday (Oct. 10).

Xavier (7-5) was seventh as of midday on Friday (Oct. 11).

The Gators have two more regular-season matches remaining, Wednesday (Oct. 16) against Mesa Skyline at home (make-up of an Oct. 9 match) and Thursday (Oct. 17) at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee.


Xavier Prep 7, Chandler High 2


Katherine Chou, C, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 21-17, 21-15; Mayse Dunn, X, def. Alana Alfredo, C, 25-23, 21-17; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Mattie Shumaker, C, 23-25, 21-19, 21-13; Zoe Barton, X, def. Evelyn Gomez, C, 21-10, 21-13; Alex Kockinis, X, def. Katherine DeDakis, C, 21-11, 21-7; Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Tegan Sanders, C, 21-14, 20-22, 21-16.


Vanderwey-Dunn, X, def. Alfredo-Chou, C, 21-12, 21-5; Shumaker-Isabel Honzay, C, def. Riviere-Barton, X, 21-14, 21-16; Kockinis-Etsitty, X, def. Gomez-DeDakis, C, 21-9, 21-17.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Gators' v-ball demise partly of their own doing

Chandler Basha’s volleyball team has burst through the door this week and into contender’s status in Arizona’s 6A Conference.

The Bears defeated highly regarded Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday night (Oct. 8) with a 3-0 sweep, then came back on Wednesday night (Oct. 9) with an impressive 3-1 conquest of host Xavier Prep at the Activity Center.

Scores were 25-15, 20-25, 26-24 and 25-19. Basha is now 18-15 and Xavier is 26-8.

Basha had the height advantage, and outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge, a transfer from Queen Creek, had numerous big swings that rival the power of Xavier’s Bri McKnight and Jasmine Knight.

After dropping the first game, Xavier came back in the second and appeared to have turned things around in the third.

The Gators had a 24-21 lead but could not get the final point as Basha scored the final five points. That was the turning point and the Bears cruised in the fourth game.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said her team’s difficulties “were self-induced.

“When you can’t serve or pass well, that makes it difficult to win. And everyone needs to want the ball coming to them (opponents’ shots), but we didn’t have a lot of that tonight.’’

The Gators looked to have regrouped after an up-and-down showing in the Nike Tournament of Champions over the weekend with a 3-0 road sweep of Chandler High on Tuesday night. Whatever momentum that was gained did not last long.

Bryant did note a few bright spots with the play of sophomore setter Alexa Shiner, McKnight, junior defensive specialist/libero Kaori Robertson and senior defensive specialist/libero Abby Converse.

Xavier will have nearly a week to rest a bit and fine-tune its game before traveling to face Hamilton on Oct. 16. That will be followed on Oct. 17 with a home match against Phoenix Desert Vista.
Xavier will have another chance to defeat Basha on Oct. 24 at Basha.

Hotshots archers ready to pull back and let it fly

The Xavier Prep Hotshots Archery Team is taking aim at another season with a full roster of potential.

Coach Leslie Kanda has announced the group that will participate in the Northern State Qualifier on Oct. 19 at the Chauncey Ranch Camp in Mayer.

The archers (listed alphabetically):

Senior Rachael Ashford, team captain; sophomore Ana Bhatti; senior Samantha Cardinal; freshman Sarah Castlen; freshman Kylie Cavanagh; sophomore Areli Esparza; freshman Felicia Fitzgerald; freshman Jaqueline Galvan; freshman Alyssa Hooper; freshman Samantha Jose.

Also, freshman Sophia Lopez; senior Anisia Madrid Query; junior Alyssa Marino; freshman Serena Mendez; junior Kaitlyn Nguyen; freshman Evelyn Papez; junior Gabriela Ruiz; senior Claire Sabol; junior Anna Santana-Garcia; junior Alexandra Scott; junior Isabella Stenzel; senior Madeline Tribolet; and freshman Daria Turico.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Arizona State Hall induction includes Coach Tui

A tip of the cap to Tui.

Tui Selvaratnam, Xavier Prep’s associate athletic director and golf co-head coach, will be honored this weekend as part of Arizona State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame celebration for 2019 when she and members of ASU’s 1995 undefeated team will be inducted and honored at halftime of ASU’s football game against Washington State on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 12).

She was a redshirt freshman during that season, along with two-time XCP state champion Keri Cornelius, and went on to play four more years for the Sun Devils. Selvaratnam was a part of several NCAA Champion teams led by long-time coach Linda Vollstedt.

Selvaratnam  was an All Pac-10 Second Team selection in 1998 and 1999 and was chosen for the conference’s All-Academic First Team in 1999 and Second Team in 1997 and 1998.

Xavier's Tui Selvaratnam
She has continued to play at a high level since graduating from ASU in various national and Arizona women’s amateur competitions. She also has won numerous tournaments in Asia.

When she first came to ASU from her native Sri Lanka, Selvaratnam said she was essentially a “walk-on’’ who wound up impressing Vollestedt and earning a spot on the Sun Devils’ roster.

And the rest is history.

She said the main things she learned while playing for ASU were “patience, teamwork, camaraderie and working hard. It got me where I am now and I try to teach those things to the girls here at Xavier.’’

Also, if a team is down a number of strokes during a tournament, she lets the players know “that it’s not over until it’s over. You always have a chance.’’ She said she experienced that first-hand at ASU when the Sun Devils rallied.

Quite a few Xavier players have gone on to ASU, including current Sun Devils coach Missy Farr, Madison Kerley, Grace Park and Katie DeFrancesco. Current Gator seniors Ashley Menne and Breyana Matthews will join the ranks next year.

Selvaratnam hopes they had/will have the same experience as she did.

“It was a great five years I had there,’’ she said. “I loved every minute it. It helped provide me with many great opportunities.’’

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Gators prevail in championship-type golf match

Tuesday’s (Oct. 8) golf match between Phoenix Pinnacle and Xavier Prep had all the trappings of a state championship duel. The only thing missing was a shiny title trophy.

Xavier’s eight-time defending champions came away with a six-shot victory at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, but it wasn’t until the last few holes that the match was decided.

The Gators shot a 5-under-par 139, while Pinnacle was at 1-over 145.

The win enabled XCP to finish the regular season unbeaten at 10-0 and extend its unbeaten match streak to 255-0 since 1996 (there were two ties that count in that figure) and dominating 477-25 mark since 1974.

Tuesday’s score was Xavier’s second-lowest of the season. The Gators shot 134 in a three-way match with Tempe Corona del Sol and Mesa Desert Ridge on Sept. 10 at Phoenix Country Club.

Pinnacle, which finished ahead of Xavier in the Antigua and Aguila tournaments, figures to be nipping at Xavier’s heels, or maybe vice versa, in the two-day Division I state tournament on Nov. 4-5 at the Omni Tucson National Sonoran course. The Sonoran is one of the toughest challenges of the season, with rugged up-and-down terrain.

Long-time Xavier golf Co-Head Coach and Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor and Co-Head Coach and Associate AD Tui Selvaratnam indicated that the Gators appear to be peaking at the right time. But defeating Pinnacle would not be easy.

“The state tournament is going to be very, very close,’’ Winsor said. “Our whole team stepped up against one of the very best teams in the state.’’

Said Selvaratnam: “We’re proud of all the girls, and particularly the seniors. They knew in their hearts what they needed to do today.’’

The coaches wanted the seniors to go out never having lost a match, particularly three-time state individual champion Ashley Menne and her future Arizona State teammate, Breyana Matthews. This is Menne’s fourth year on the varsity and Matthews’ third.

Menne finished second on Tuesday, behind rising sophomore star Ivy Song. Song shot a 4-under 32 for medalist honors and Menne had a 2-under 34. Matthews and freshman Annie Dawson birdied the final hole to help make the winning margin more comfortable. Dawson had two birds in this round.

Both Matthews and Dawson finished with 1-over 37s, one shot behind junior teammate Mary Beth Doss, who was at even-par 36.

“They came into the match and played like champions because they are champions,’’ Winsor said.

For about the next four weeks, the Gators will get a chance to focus on whatever parts of their game that will help them the most. And with as strong as Pinnacle is, they are going to need it.

Xavier scores

Sophomore Ivy Song, 4-under-par 32; senior Ashley Menne, 2-under 34; junior Mary Beth Doss, even-par 36; freshman Annie Dawson, 1-over 37; senior Breyana Matthews, 1-over 37; senior Sissi Wang, 5-over 41; junior Lauren Garcia, 7-over 43; senior Sydney Trout, 9-over 45; freshman Sophie Stamatis, 9-over 45; sophomore Kate Ryan, 11-over 47; senior Danae Bravo, 11-over 47; sophomore Ava Mayberger, 12-over 48, sophomore Audrey Sanchez, 12-over 48.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Schwartz's 4th-place finish helps XCP/BCP bikers

Sophomore Hailey Schwartz came up with one of her best rides of the season on Sunday (Oct. 6), helping the Xavier/Brophy mountain biking club team finish seventh in the third race of the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League at the Wren Arena in Fort Huachuca.

Xavier/Brophy is in the No. 6 spot overall, with two races to go. Race #4 is at the Fort McDowell Regional Park in Fountain Hills on Oct. 20, and Race #5 is at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell on Nov. 3.

Schwartz, riding in the JV 1 race, finished fourth in the 3-lap event (4.1 miles per lap) with a time of 1:06.49.35. Two more Gators had a productive day, senior Heather Kwapiszeski in 1:13.44.05 (11th) and senior Erin Hill in 1:21.58.17 (17th).

Xavier had two riders in the 2-lap Freshman race. Chloe Lindeback was 16th with a time of 57:31.70 and Grace Morgan was 18th at 1:08.32.51.

Four more Xavier riders competed in the 2-lap JV 2 race. They were sophomore Aria Tseffos, 1:00.36.12 (22nd), senior Sam Sandoval, 1:02.30.83 (25th), senior Catherine Wondachowitz, 1:04.20.03 (26th) and senior Camdyn Rael , 1:07:49.95 (27th).

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Gators 6th in Nike v-ball tourney's Gold Bracket

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team finished in sixth place in the Gold Bracket of the annual Nike Tournament of Champions on Saturday (Oct. 5) at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Phoenix.

The Gators were 4-3 in the event, which featured 96 teams from across the country, including 28 from Arizona. Xavier is now 25-7 entering matches this coming week.

Xavier was 3-0 in pool play on Friday (Oct. 4), but fell 25-18, 25-20 to North Raleigh Christian Academy (N.C.) in an early morning qualifying match on Saturday. Instead of the top bracket (Platinum), the loss put the Gators in the Gold, one level below.

In the first round of the Gold, XCP was defeated by Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) 25-10, 26-24 to drop into the loser’s side of the bracket.

The Gators’ next match was against a more familiar team from Arizona, Phoenix Sunnyslope, and Xavier earned a 25-16, 26-15 triumph.

That put XCP in the fifth-place game against Walton (Ga.) and the Gators were defeated in their final match of the tournament, 25-21, 25-16.

Xavier now returns to regular programming this week, with a match at Chandler High on Tuesday (Oct. 8) and a home encounter against Chandler Basha on Wednesday (Oct. 9). The latter contest was moved from Thursday (Oct. 3) to allow both of those teams to[ prepare for the Nike.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Xavier untouched thus far in Nike tournament

It’s so far, so good for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team in the annual Nike Tournament of Champions.

The Gators won all three of their matches in Pool H on Friday (Oct. 4) at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix and will play a match in the qualifying bracket on Saturday (Oct. 5) at 9:30 a.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center at 13th Street and Broadway Road in Phoenix.

If Xavier wins that one, the Gators would advance to the top Platinum Bracket at 9:30 a.m., and if they fall, they would go into the Gold Bracket at 10:30 a.m., which is slightly below the Platinum. All Platinum and Gold matches are in the Kroc Center.

Friday’s scores for Xavier (24-4) in Pool H of the 96-team tournament (28 from Arizona):

Xavier def. North Oldham, Ky., 25-14, 25-21. Xavier defeated Phoenix Scottsdale Christian, 25-18, 25-21. Xavier defeated Plant, Fla., 28-26, 25-20.

Golf opponents can't keep up with Gators

Xavier Prep’s golf team put another “W” on the board on Thursday (Oct. 3) by winning a three-way match with Gilbert Perry and Mesa Mountain View at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa. The match had been moved after its original day of Monday (Sept. 30) at Camelback Golf Club.

Senior Ashley Menne earned medalist honors with a 3-under-par 33. She was the only individual to finish under par.

As a team, the Gators were 8 over par, 15 shots better than Perry. Mountain View was at +77.

Xavier’s next match will be back at Camelback Golf Club on Tuesday (Oct. 8) against Phoenix Pinnacle, considered as one of the top challengers to Xavier’s championship reign. The Gators have won all nine of their matches this season.

Other Gator scores:

Junior Mary Beth Doss, 1-over 37; sophomore Ivy Song, 2-over 38; senior Sissi Wang, 5-over 41; senior Breyana Matthews, 8-over 44; freshman Annie Dawson, 9-over 45.

Also, senior Sydney Trout, 11-over 47; junior Lauren Garcia, 12-over 48; sophomore Kate Ryan, 14-over 50; senior Danae Bravo, 15-over 51; freshman Sophie Stamatis, 15-over 51; and sophomore Audrey Sanchez, 16-over 52.

XCP badminton defeats Basha, dominated by Perry

Xavier Prep’s badminton team had a very good day on Wednesday (Oct. 2) with a 6-3 victory at home over Chandler Basha, but the the tables turned dramatically on Thursday (Oct. 3) with a 9-0 defeat at the hands of host two-time defending state champion Gilbert Perry.

Mayse Dunn, Lina Vanderwey, Zoe Barton and Mia Byrd picked up singles wins against Basha. In doubles, Sophie Riviere and Barton and Alex Kockinis and Byrd earned victories.

Perry was strong across the board, particularly with its No. 1 and defending state champion doubles team of Ashley Rodarte and Nikhita Jayaraj. They defeated Xavier’s Mayse Dunn and Lina Vanderwey.

Now with a 6-5 record, the Gators play at home, against Chandler High on Tuesday (Oct. 8). A second home match against Mesa Skyline on Wednesday (Oct. 9) has been pushed back one week, to Oct. 16.


Xavier Prep 6, Basha 3


Katie Pryor, B, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 18-21, 21-15, 21-15; Mayse Dunn, X, def. Hannah Doyle, B, 21-18, 21-18; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Aubriella Whisler, B, 21-17, 21-9; Eve Taylor, B, def. Alex Kockinis, X, 21-15, 21-19; Zoe Barton, X, def. Allie Ferin, B, 21-15, 21-11; Mia Byrd, X, def. Sydney Flores, B, 21-9, 21-16.


Doyle-Prior, B, def. Vanderwey-Dunn, X, 21-14, 18-21, 21-19; Riviere-Barton, X, def. Whisler-Flores, B, 21-15, 21-12; Kockinis-Byrd, X, def. Taylor-Ferin, B, 21-16, 19-21, 21-19.

Perry 9, Xavier Prep 0


Sue Kwon, P, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 21-16, 21-17; Nikhita Jayaraj, P, def. Mayse Dunn, X, 21-14, 21-15; Sophie Jex, P, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 17-21, 21-17, 21-17; Kate MacPherson, P, def. Alex Kockinis, X, 21-16, 21-10; Ashley Rodarte, P, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-8, 21-8; Mackenzie Holian, P, def. Mia Byrd, X, 21-16, 21-5.


Rodarte-Jayaraj, P, def. Dunn-Vanderwey, X, 21-11, 21-12; Jex-Megan Dye, P, def. Riviere-Barton, X, 21-14, 21-7; Kwon-Emma Braeutigam, P, def. Kockinis-Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-13, 21-11.

Freshman tennis teams continue to work

The Xavier Prep “A” and “B” freshman tennis teams continued to move along in their seasons this week. The A team defeated Gilbert Highland 8-1 on Thursday (Oct. 3), while the B team defeated Phoenix Mountain Pointe 8-1 on Tuesday (Oct. 1) and fell to Tempe Corona del Sol 9-0 on Wednesday (Oct. 2).

Both teams will face Gilbert Perry in their next match, Oct. 16 for the A team at Perry and Oct. 17 for the B team at Xavier.


Xavier “A” 8, Highland 1


Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Highland 8-0; Olivia Taylor, X, def. Highland 8-1; Alissen Orrego, X, def. Highland 8-3; Highland def. Grace Nelson, X, 8-5; Bryn Murphy, X, def. Highland 8-1; Alia Feix, X, def. Highland 8-1.


Kleingartner-Taylor, X, def. Highland 8-0; Orrego-Nelson, X, def. Highland 8-2; Murphy-Bailey Brown, X, def. Highland 8-2.

Corona del Sol 9, Xavier “B” 0


CDS def. Savannah Smith, X, 8-5; CDS def. Maddie Farren, X, 8-3; CDS def. Nora Hinkle, X, 8-2; CDS def. Lillian Ash, X, 8-4; CDS def. Dina Gorman, X, 8-3; CDS def. Emily Bergeron, X, 8-3.


CDS def. Smith-Farren, X, 8-2; CDS def. Hinkle-Bergeron, 8-4; CDS def. Gorman-Anna Gregg, X, 8-3.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Senior swimmers, divers honored at home finale

For Xavier Prep’s group of senior swimmers, the last four years have seemed very quick, or about the same time it would take to swim a couple of laps at the Gators’ Brophy aquatic complex home.

The seniors will be honored on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 3) in the team’s final home meet of the season, against Anthem Boulder Creek.

Among the seniors who have made an impact on the program are Vica Dow and Maddie Wright. Both are contributors to the Gators’ outstanding relay teams and participate in other individual events, Dow in the 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, and 100-yard freestyle and Wright in the 200 free and 100 free.

Does it seem like the time has gone by quickly for them?

“It has for me,’’ Dow said. “It has been fun these four years. Sometimes the school year itself has seemed longer, but the swimming part – we have made a lot of friends. We are really close to each other.’’

Said Wright: “It has gone way too fast. Swimming is the best part of the year. It will be kind of sad to leave, but we are also excited to move on. There are a lot of good swimmers who will still be here and we are leaving things in good hands.’’

Dow continues to search for her next stop. She would like to continue to swim in college, and she has had recent contact with the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Colorado State-Pueblo and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She would like to go somewhere that is closer to home, so that family can watch her. Her initial plan would be to study business, but that might change if she finds something more appealing.

Wright is looking at Tufts in Boston, the University of Denver and the University of Illinois-Champaign. She is interested in studying communication that perhaps could lead to some social work. She has been a member of the student council at XCP.

Both girls have a lot of experience with club teams.

They have enjoyed swimming in Xavier’s relay events.

“A lot of it is being positive with your teammates. Everyone does their best and the support makes you try harder,’’ Dow said.

Wright marvels at the relays’ fast times, and the support from all of the swimmers.

“You are swimming for something bigger than yourself,’’ she said. “We have a good cheering section. And sometimes, the Brophy guys will help out, which is fun.’’

It won’t be long before the state meet arrives and another duel with Scottsdale Chaparral. Chaparral and Xavier finished 1-2 last fall.

Asked what would be the perfect way to wind up their senior season, the two were very much in agreement.

“WIN STATE,’’ they said in unison.

So congrats to Vica and Maddie and all of the seniors! Your efforts have helped Xavier continue to build on its strong foundation.

Momentum disappears, XCP volleyball falls to Perry

Xavier Prep’s second-ranked volleyball team appeared as if it was headed for an upset of top-ranked host Gilbert Perry when the two met on Wednesday night (Oct. 2).

Xavier got the early momentum with a hard-fought 29-27 victory over the Pumas in the first game, and in the second had a promising 16-11 lead a little past the halfway point.

Then, like air rushing out of a balloon, the momentum disappeared.

Perry scored eight straight points and went on to win, 25-21, evening the match at 1 apiece.

The Pumas maintained control for a 25-22 win in the third game and sealed the deal in the fourth with a 25-17 triumph to take the match 3-1.

Perry is 18-3 and Xavier 21-4 with Xavier slipping from No. 2 to No. 3 in the latest power points listing from the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Thursday (Oct. 3). Perry is No. 1, with Tempe Corona del Sol No. 2.

Xavier will move on to play in the annual Nike Tournament of Champions on Friday (Oct. 4) and Saturday (Oct. 5). The Gators will have three games in pool play on Friday at South Mountain Community College. Bracket play championships will be held at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Phoenix on Saturday.

Asked what the loss to Perry will do for the Gators entering the Nike, Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said, “Hopefully, it motivates us.

“We took our foot off the gas in the middle of that second game. We had lost some points due to our serve and pass game, and that makes it difficult to win.’’

Once Xavier got the Pumas’ attention, Perry started ramping up its power game, particularly kill shots by outside hitters Ella Rud and Tatum Stall.

After the Nike, Xavier will return to play in the 6A Conference Premier Region, which features the Gators, Perry, Chandler Hamilton, Chandler Basha and Chandler High.

“We play in the toughest region in the state and you’re going to get matches like this,’’ Bryant said. “You have to be prepared, week-in and week-out.’’

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Gator v-ball downs Mesa, faces top-ranked Perry

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team learned of its No. 3 spot in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s first power points rankings in the 6A conference at mid-day on Tuesday (Oct. 1), and later in the day celebrated with a 3-0 sweep of Mesa High to raise its record to 21-3.

On Wednesday night (Oct. 2), the road will get much tougher when the Gators travel to face Gilbert Perry, the AIA’s No. 1 team.

Scores of the Mesa match were 25-16, 25-11 and 25-20.

Sophomore setter Alexa Shiner had one of her best all-around games of the season with 33 assists and six service aces.

Senior front-liners Bri McKnight and Jasmine Knight helped the offense make its big push with 13 and nine kills, respectively, and junior outside hitter Zaira Reyes had nine kills. Knight also was a force on defense with five blocks.

Xavier was due to play a home match on Thursday night (Oct. 3) against Chandler Basha, but that contest has been moved to Oct. 9 to allow both teams to prepare for this weekend’s big Nike Tournament of Champions, primarily in the southeast Valley.

Teams are seeded in pools for Friday’s (Oct. 4) play, and the Gators will play three matches at South Mountain Community College on south 24th Street. Other venues are the Kroc Center at 13th Street and Broadway in Phoenix, Chandler High School and the Spiral volleyball center on Priest Drive in south Chandler.

Bracket play leading up to the tournament championship will take place on Saturday (Oct. 5).

Impressive triumph at Pebble latest of Menne's magic

To step on the hallowed grounds at California’s Pebble Beach Golf Links is one thing. To actually play a round is another. And to win a tournament there, well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Especially when you are a high school senior.

For five days last week and over the weekend, Xavier Prep’s Ashley Menne got the experience of a lifetime playing in the PGA Tour’s PURE Insurance Championships  Impacting The First Tee, and she earned the female Junior title while playing with veteran Tour veteran Tom Lehman.

Lehman, a Scottsdale resident, and Menne combined to win the female Pro-Junior title at 18-under par over 54 holes, finishing on Sunday (Sept. 29). Menne, a three-time Arizona prep champion, showed her efficiency with the chip shot by winning the chipping contest.

And she teamed with another PGA Pro, Esteban Toledo, to win the Chevron STEM Shootout on Friday (Sept. 27), earning $50,000 for the First Tee national scholarship fund. That event used a modified “Scratch’’ format (alternating their shots) for the first, second, third and 17th holes.

The PURE Insurance event featured 78 pros and 78 of the nation’s top high school golfers, both female and male.

Menne has been with the Phoenix First Tee chapter for five years. She was chosen for this event through an application process that considered the players’ written essays and volunteer work, evaluated by a panel of judges. The field also included two male players from Arizona, Scott Schlader of Phoenix Desert Vista and Cade Kilauwski of Gilbert Perry.

On Thursday (Sept. 26), there was a practice round at the nearby Poppy Course, and then the competition started for real. Menne said Lehman helped her with judging yardage on her shots and offered some advice on how to approach the game in general, and the two played well in Friday’s first round.

The second day on Saturday was more of a challenge. Menne felt like she almost should be tethered down with winds of about 30 mph on the blustery day. It got dark and cold by the end of the round.

Playing the course often is an educational process.

“When the weather is like that, you just try to play one shot at a time and not think too far ahead. Every hole has its own character,’’ said Menne, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average, including AP English.

On one hole, the green was raised to the point where you could not see it, she said, having to rely on loft and accuracy.

In regard to the type of grass on the greens, Menne said there is very little similarity with those in Arizona. And the greens at Pebble appear to be much smaller.

It is no surprise that Menne enjoyed the experience, the golf, of course and meeting many people associated with the game.

Maybe the best of all were the views of the Pacific Ocean as Menne strolled the fairways.

“It’s a view like no other. I just wanted to enjoy it and take it all in,’’ she said. “I have to remember it, because I probably won’t play this course ever again.’’

But with the way she plays the game, you just never know. There could be a return trip some day.

Ivy clings to lead, helps XCP golfers win

Sophomore Ivy Song had a strong effort in the last part of her round on Tuesday (Oct. 1) to earn medalist honors and Xavier Prep’s golf team finished at just two over par for a victory over Chandler High and Gilbert High at the Camelback Golf Club’s Padre course in Scottsdale.

Song birdied three of the final four holes to finish with a 3-under-par 33. Senior Ashley Menne also had a strong round with a 2-under 34.

Xavier finished with a 2-over 146, with Chandler at 192 and Gilbert at 195.

Other Xavier scores: freshman Annie Dawson, 1-over 37; senior Breyana Matthews, 3-over 38; junior Mary Beth Doss, 4-over 40; senior Sydney Trout, 8-over 44; and senior SiSi Wang, 8-over 44.

Also, sophomore Audrey Sanchez, 11-over 47; senior Danae Bravo, 12-over 48; freshman Sophie Stamatis, 16-over 52; sophomore Ava Mayberger, 16-over 52; and sophomore Kate Ryan, 18-over 54.

On Thursday (Oct. 3), Xavier will play a make-up match from Monday (Sept. 30) at the Longbow Golf Course in east Mesa against Mesa Mountain View and Gilbert Perry.