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 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.

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