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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Track's Brohard makes the right decision

Sometimes it takes awhile for an athlete to determine which sport fits them best. They look around, go for a “test drive,’’ so to speak, and then come to a decision.

For Xavier Prep senior Sophie Brohard, that came in her early years as a Gator. She had played club soccer for awhile and even tried it as a freshman here.
But she eventually chose track and field, in part because it wasn’t as time-consuming, and “because I got pretty decent at it (track). I really liked it,’’ she said.

That efficiency has carried her through her older Xavier years to the spring of 2020, when the senior is an integral part of what the team is trying to accomplish.

She is a mainstay in the 200- and 400-meter dashes and appears in at least one relay event, the 4x400.

Senior Sophie Brohard shows speed in several events for Xavier. (Photo by Don Ketchum).
Brohard won the 200 and 400 in a dual meet against Gilbert Perry last week and finished seventh in the 400 in last weekend’s Aztec Invitational at Tempe Corona del Sol.

She will compete in the annual AMDG Invitational on Thursday (March 12) at the Brophy Sports Campus (weather permitting).

“Sophie has been with us all four years and you have been able to see the improvement each year,’’ said Xavier track and field head coach Dave Van Sickle.

Said Brohard: “You’re out there and just trying to go as fast as you can,’’ she said.

Brohard and some of her teammates have been working with a new speed coach, Tim O’Neil, and that seems to be working out well.

She admires her teammates who run in distance events. She tried cross country for about a week in the early days, but found that it wasn’t her cup of tea.

“To me, there is a certain kind of pain that you get from distance events than you do from the sprints,’’ she said. “The distance pain seems to hang around more and takes longer to go away, but the sprints are just there and gone.’’

As race time draws near, she keeps her distance from her opponents and doesn’t talk much, preferring to focus on listening to music.

“Depending on the day, it can relax you or get you pumped up,’’ she said.

When she graduates from Xavier, she might attend college at either the University of Arizona or the University of Texas at Austin and study business. Track might not be on the agenda, although she said she might consider “walking on.’’

She would want to feel that she made the right decision, just as she did at Xavier.

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