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.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Bigger numbers = more track and field points?

With more athletes to work with than he has had in quite some time, it stands to reason that Xavier Prep coach Dave Van Sickle’s track and field team will have a chance to score more points at its meets this spring.

There are about 77 girls out this season, “one of the bigger teams we’ve had,’’ he said.

The athletes represent all four classes, and cover just about every event.

Xavier finished eighth in the Division I state meet last season, with perennial powerhouse Chandler High leading the way in every year but one over the last decade.

Van Sickle said this year’s group of Gators is “comparable,’’ but wouldn’t be surprised if the girls finished a bit higher.

The biggest loss is Jada Sims, who picked up points in many events along the way. After graduating, she moved on to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Xavier probably doesn’t have an individual capable of making that type of impact, but collectively, the Gators still will have a chance to put some decent points on the board.

Van Sickle also is the school’s cross-country coach, so he should have his usual contingent of quality distance and middle-distance runners.

“We will be strong there,’’ he said.

Xavier also has been traditionally solid in the relays.

The coach is interested to see how senior Sophie Brohard fares in a number of events, including the 400 and the 4x400 relay.

Junior Macy Kerwin will be one of the Gators who will carry the banner in the field events, notably the pole vault.

Sophomore Maria Benitez, a cross-country runner, also provides some versatility in the 400, the 800, hurdles and a few relays.

Xavier’s first meet will be a dual against Gilbert Perry on Wednesday at the Brophy Sports Campus (4 p.m.)

Xavier Prep 2020 Track & Field roster

(Athletes listed alphabetically)

Head coach + distance – Dave Van Sickle. Pole vault – Alex Bishop. Throws – Shaun Fitzgerald. Distance – Eden Higgins. Distance – Vito Perrone. Sprints – Ryan Regula. Assistant – Andrea Williams.

D – Distance. SJH – Sprints/jumps/hurdles. MD – Middle distance. SDJ – Shot, discus, javelin. PV – Pole vault.

Catherine Alaimo, So., D; Amaka Alilonu, Sr., SJH; Sarai Arkeveld, Fr., MD; Sofia Asher, So., SJH.

Serena Banghar, Jr., SDJ; Bethany Barnwell, Jr., SDJ; Maria Benitez, So., SJH; Brooke Besh, Jr., PV; Lauren Besh, Jr., PV; Grace Bianchi, Fr., MD; Sam Braun, Jr., MD; Brooke Bream, Jr., MD; Sophie Brohard, Sr., SJH; Kyle Brown, Fr., MD; Morgan Brown, Sr., MD; Ansley Burns, So., D.

Caroline Calihan, Jr., MD; Briony Campisi, So., SJH; Olivia Charles, Fr., D; Citali Chimal, Jr., SDJ.

Cat Devine, So., D.

Callie Ehmann, Fr., SJH; Collins Entz, Fr.

Morgan Finch, Fr., SJH; Lulu Fischer, So., D; Calista Flick, Fr., D; Lily Foster, Fr., SJH.

Alessandra Galasso, Sr., SJH; Erika Germinario, So., D; Tatum Goforth, So., SJH; Anna Gong, Sr. Cierra Gonzalez, So., SJH.

Ruby Halperin, Jr., PV; Emmie Halter, Jr., D; Sophia Healy, Jr., D; Ellie Higgins, So., SJH; Ania Hiler, Jr., SJH.

Macy Kerwin, Jr., PV; Grace Kline, So., MD; Isabella Kobierowski, So., SJH.

Taylor Linaman, Fr., MD; Lily Londen, So.

Abby Macaluso, So., D; Taryn Maher, Jr., MD; Macarthy Mahoney, So.; Marissa Mansour, So., MD; Emily Manuelito, Fr., D; Charlotte McClelland, So., D; Grace McClelland, Fr., SJH; Alma Melendez, Fr., D; Jessica Mirmelli, Sr., D; Karime Morales, So., D; Madigan Moran, Fr., SJH.

Mia Olsen, Sr., D; Mikayla Osborne, Fr., MD.

Barbara Paez, Fr., D; Mia Portillo, So., SJH.

Lindsay Roney, Jr., MD; Cassara Ryan, Fr., D; Riley Ryan, So., MD.

Rishita Shah, Jr., D; Reyna Silva, Fr., D; Elena Soderstrom, So., SDJ; Molly Stegman, Jr., PV; Jamie Stelnik, Jr., D.

Jozlin Tanner, Jr., SDJ; Grace Teevan, So., D; Bella Titus, Fr., D.

Reagan Van Norman, Jr., SDJ.

Morgan Webber, Fr.; Maia Weingard, So., MD; Hannah Wheeling, So., D; Ryie Wood, Fr., SDJ.

Cece Yanes, So.; Naomi Young, Fr., D.

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