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, September 30, 2020

Runners ready for annual Desert Twilight

One of the annual highlight meets in the cross-country season will take place on Friday (Oct. 2) with the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival.

The event has been held in recent seasons at a site in Casa Grande, but this year shifts to the Links Golf Club at Queen Creek in the southeast Valley. Address of the club is 445 E. Ocotillo in San Tan Valley.

Xavier Prep, led by a strong group of underclassmen, will be one of several dozen teams to participate in the event which will be held on Thursday (Oct. 1) with smaller schools and Friday with the larger schools.

The Twilight will be staged with many categories for girls’ and boys’ runners, and starting at approximately 7 a.m. on Friday and running all the way through 9:30 p.m.

Perry proves too tough for XCP volleyball

 Xavier Prep won its first three volleyball matches of the season, but when the schedule flipped to this week, the Gators knew they would have a difficult task with two perennially tough teams in the Division VI Premier Region.

Gilbert Perry, last season’s top seed and state runner-up, was first up on Tuesday night (Sept. 29) at Perry. And after a non-region contest at Mesa Skyline on Wednesday night (Sept. 30), Xavier will face region foe Chandler Hamilton at Xavier on Thursday night (Oct. 1).

Perry proved to be too strong to overcome, with a 3-0 sweep of the Gators. Scores were 25-19, 27-25 and 25-20.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Badminton falls just short against Red Mountain

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team gave it a valiant effort in its attempt to win its second match of the young season, but fell just short on Monday (Sept 28), 5-4 at Mesa Red Mountain.

The scores:


RM def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-15, 21-14. Sophie Riviere, X, def. RM, 21-19, 21-11. Lauren Etsitty, X, def. RM, 21-15, 21-18. RM def. Mia Velasco, X, 21-19, 21-19. Malindi Kilb, X, def. RM, 21-13, 14-21, 22-20. RM def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-18, 15-21, 21-17.


Vanderwey-S. Riviere, X, def. RM, 21-12, 21-15. RM def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-17, 21-12. RM def. Kilb-Barton, X, 21-23, 21-12, 21-17.

The Gators will be back at home in the Activity Center on Wednesday (Sept. 30) for a match against  Mesa Skyline. Match time is 4 p.m.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Coaches "very proud of effort'' by badminton players

 It was the second time out on the badminton floor for Xavier Prep this season, and the Gators came up with a competitive effort against some of the better teams around in the Firebird Invitational at Scottsdale Chaparral on Saturday (Sept. 26).

Xavier coach Laura Forbes said that her singles players, Sophie Riviere, Lina Vanderwey and Mia Velasco, each won their first-round matches.

“They all played exceptionally well,’’ Forbes said.

However, only Vanderwey was able to advance to the quarterfinals before losing to a strong player from Glendale Ironwood, who eventually finished in second place in the tourney.

Xavier’s three doubles teams all won their first-round matches. They were Zoe Barton and Malindi Kilb, Gigi Riviere and Sophia Bonilla and Jasmine Leyva and Caroline Cobb. All were eliminated in the second round.

“It was an excellent experience for all of our players and we (coaches) were very proud of their effort against some very high-caliber competition,’’ Forbes said.

The Gators will play again on Monday (Sept. 28), a road match at Mesa Red Mountain. Their next home match will be Wednesday (Sept. 30) against Mesa Skyline.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Xavier's volleyball effort is full of energy

 Compared to a 3-1 victory over Scottsdale Chaparral on Wednesday night (Sept. 23), Xavier Prep’s volleyball team was much more energetic when it came back on the floor at the Activity Center to face Chandler High on Thursday night (Sept. 24.)

After winning the first two sets, Xavier had a two-point “hiccup’’ in Game 3 before roaring back in Game 4 to win the match 3-1 and raise its record to 3-0 in as many tries.

Scores (Xavier listed first): 25-16, 25-22, 25-27 and 25-8.

Xavier Coach Lamar-Renee Bryant had a tough time watching her team on its rollercoaster ride against Chaparral, but was more optimistic after the win over Chandler.

“It was definitely higher energy for us,’’ she said. “It was an overall better effort. We passed  better, were better at the net and we made good decisions.

“We talked about that earlier today (Thursday). We talked about being in a good mental state and how we need to recover when bad things happen.’’

Despite the two-set discrepancy, Chandler was not a pushover by any means. In their season opener on Tuesday (Sept. 22), the Wolves took powerful rival Chandler Hamilton to five sets.

In the opening game, Xavier got some breathing room midway through when it widened a narrow lead to allow more breathing room with five unanswered points. The Gators finished it off with a block by junior middle blocker Bella Sinacori.

Chandler had the lead in the early stages of Game 2, but Xavier caught the Wolves at 13 and managed to maintain a close advantage the rest of the way. A shot by senior outside hitter Zaira Reyes that grazed the top of the net and dropped into Chandler territory allowed the Gators to wrap it up.

Game 3 went back and forth before Chandler won it with a service ace.

In the fourth game, Xavier jumped to a quick lead and never looked back as the Wolves could not muster much of a challenge. Wolves outside hitter Kaylie Ray had a strong game, but she needed more help.

The Xavier freshman-sophomore team is 3-0 and the junior varsity 2-1 after wins over Chandler. The JV match against the Wolves was noteworthy because XCP trailed through much of the decisive Game 3 before rallying for a 15-13 victory.

The Xavier varsity will have a stretch of three straight games next week just as it did this week. The Gators play at Gilbert Perry on Tuesday (Sept. 29), at Mesa Skyline on Wednesday (Sept. 30) and return home to face Hamilton on Thursday (Oct. 1).



Gator golfers are 9-0, state tourney gets closer

 As the result of their ninth win of the season against no losses on Thursday (Sept. 24), 147-174 over Tempe Corona del Sol, the Xavier Prep Gators earned a trip to Tucson.

Friday’s (Sept. 25) excursion was not for a vacation, but a business trip. For the second straight week, the Gators played a practice round at the Omni Tucson National Resort, site of this year’s Division I state tournament on Oct. 26 and 27.

Xavier, the state runner-up to Phoenix Pinnacle last fall, has used top-notch performances from a group of very talented freshmen to stay in the conversation in regard to the 2020 title.

Junior Ivy Song also has been very consistent, as her medalist effort of 2-under-par 34 at Phoenix Country Club will attest.

Additional point-producers for the team total were senior Lauren Garcia (1-under 35), freshman Kate Hauptman (1-over 37) and freshman Kyla Layman (5-over 41). Junior Audrey Sanchez was the extra player and shot a 9-over 45 (score does not count toward team score).

Other Xavier scores:

Junior Kate Ryan, 1-under 35; freshman Lauren Campbell, even-par 36; sophomore Annie Dawson, 1-over 37; freshman Kalyn Doss, 2-over 38; freshman Jayden Jevnick, 38; freshman Lena Durette, 38; freshman Grace Rubelsky, 7-over 43; junior Ava Mayberger, 9-over 45; senior Mary Beth Doss, 45; freshman Karter Nannen, 11-over 47; and sophomore Sophie Stamatis, 12-over 48.

The Gators will play a 3-way match at their “second’’ home course, the Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, on Wednesday (Sept. 30), with Chandler High and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

A week before the state tournament, Xavier will play in an invitational tournament, the Aguila, on Oct. 20 at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.



Thursday, September 24, 2020

They are under par, not overmatched by anyone

 Xavier Prep’s golf team shot one of its best collective scores of the season, running its record to 8-0 with a 139-148 victory over a good Chandler Hamilton team at the Phoenix Country Club on Wednesday (Sept. 23).

The 139 was five shots under par. Three of the players who scored were under par and the fourth was at even par.

The top four were junior Ivy Song and senior Lauren Garcia, both at 2-under 34, freshman Jayden Jevnick, at 1-under 35, and freshman Kyla Layman, at even-par 36. The extra golfer was sophomore Annie Dawson, who shot a 2-over 38.

Other Xavier scores:

Freshman Kate Hauptman, 4-under 32; senior Mary Beth Doss, 1-under 35; freshman Lena Durette, even-par 36; freshman Kalyn Doss, 5-over 41; freshman Lauren Campbell, 8-over 44; junior Kate Ryan, 9-over 45; junior Audrey Sanchez, 9-over 45; sophomore Sophie Stamatis, 12-over 48; freshman Grace Rubelsky, 16-over 52; and freshman Karter Nannen, 20-over 56.

Xavier will be back at Phoenix CC on Thursday (Sept. 24) with a match against Tempe Corona del Sol. The match originally had been scheduled for Monday (Sept. 28) at the same site, but had to be switched because the course is starting its annual fall overseeding process.

The team will play its final match of the regular season on Wednesday (Sept. 30) against Chandler High and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor at the Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale.

The Gators will play in the annual Aguila tournament at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen on Oct. 20 and will play in the Division I state tournament on Oct. 26 and 27 at the Omni Tucson National Resort Catalina Course.



Gator volleyball remains a work in progress

 Working with a younger team that has not played together very much can be exhilarating one moment and frustrating the next. As a coach, you’re never quite sure which you are going to get on any given night.

About 24 hours after defeating defending Division I state champion Chandler Basha in its own gym, Xavier Prep returned to the floor on Wednesday night (Sept. 23) for its home opener against Scottsdale Chaparral. The Gators looked strong in spots, not so much in others.

It was enough to create a bit of fog on the shield mask of Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

Xavier took a 25-20 win in the first game, fell 25-22 in the second, finally warmed up in the third for a 25-18 win, and in the fourth game looked to be headed for a Game 5 before managing to avoid that with a 25-20 triumph to take the match 3-1.

“That was hard to watch,’’ Bryant said.

“We hoped we could stay confident, coming from yesterday (Basha), but with a young team, this is what you get.’’

On Thursday (Sept. 24), Xavier will play its third match in as many nights when it plays host to Premier Region opponent Chandler High in the Activity Center. Match time is 6 p.m., preceded by the frosh-sophomore match at 4 and the junior varsity at 5.

Safety precautions will resume after the Chaparral match in which the Xavier staff did a good job of distancing chairs for players in the bench area and disinfecting the volleyballs with a spray and towel after each point. Teams did not switch sides as in a normal match, and there was no physical contact between the athletes, who were required to wear masks when not playing. Spectators were limited to two people per Xavier player, set up before the match in a “will-call’’ format.

Asked about individual efforts from her players, Bryant pointed to sophomore Maddie MacDonald and junior Tiffany Tellez, who helped keep the Gators together with their play off the bench.

In the decisive Game 4, Chaparral held a 17-13 lead and had a 20-19 advantage before Xavier scored six straight points to seal the contest.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

V-ball becomes "The Little Engine That Could''

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team had been waiting a long time for this.

The Gators dropped two regular-season matches to eventual Division I state champion Chandler Basha a year ago, and now they had a chance to make up for it.

They edged the host Bears 26-24 in the first set of the best-of-five duel on Tuesday night (Sept. 22), improved a bit in the second set for a 25-22 victory, then dominated the third set 25-13 for a 3-0 sweep.

The two teams had scrimmaged on Saturday (Sept. 19) at Basha, and Xavier appeared to be ready while outplaying the Bears.

But a real match is different.

“Both teams were nervous,’’ said Xavier head coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“It took us awhile to get going. It was like “The Little Engine That Could,’’ and we kept after it. It was like we finally said, “OK, we’re here.’ In Set 3, we settled in.’’

Xavier was keyed by three players who are trying to establish themselves on the front line. Senior middle blocker Phoebe Lewis is back after sitting out a couple of seasons. Junior middle blocker Bella Sinacori dealt with an injury last season that kept her sidelined for awhile. And sophomore outside hitter Kate Tax is starting to blossom after spending her freshman season learning the ropes.

Lewis had nine kills, Tax eight and Sinacori six. Lewis and Sinacori also were factors on defense with blocks. And junior setter Alexa Shiner had a strong all-around effort with 28 assists, seven digs and three service aces.

Bryant was particularly pleased with how well Tax played.

“She did some good things out there,’’ Bryant said. “She benefitted last year while learning, and this year she has come back bigger and stronger.’’

The Gators’ defense had its moments, led by senior libero Kaori Robertson. The Gators dug out some big Basha shots along the back line.

Xavier will play its home opener on Wednesday night (Sept. 23) at the Activity Center against Scottsdale Chaparral. The fun starts at 6 p.m.



Badminton rescued by doubles teams to start season

 Laura Forbes was looking for competitive match against visiting Phoenix Pinnacle to begin her second season as Xavier Prep’s badminton coach in Tuesday’s (Sept. 22) regular-season opener against Phoenix Pinnacle.

And the Gators won 5-4, rescued by two doubles victories.

“It was a great win,’’ said Forbes.

The all-senior front line group began the afternoon with singles victories by No. 1 player Lina Vanderwey (22-20 and 21-11) and No. 2 Sophie Riviere (21-13, 20-22, 21-13. No. 3 Lauren Etsitty, No. 4 Mia Velasco and No. 5 Malindi Kilb fell short in their singles matches before No. 6 Zoe Barton evened the match at 3 with a 21-4, 21-17 triumph.

Vanderwey and Riviera teamed up in the top doubles match. They started well against the Firebirds’ Chloe Strachan and Bella Williams, scoring a 21-13 win in the first game but fell victim to a Chaparral rally to fall in the last two, 21-14 and 22-20.

Velasco and Etsitty rallied after dropping the first game 21-11 to come away with 23-21 and 24-22 wins. And Kilb and Barton put the Gators over the top with a 21-18, 21-12 win.

Xavier will play next at the Firebird Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 26) hosted by Scottsdale Chaparral. Then Xavier goes on the road on Monday (Sept. 28) to face Mesa Red Mountain.

Xavier-Chaparral swimming and diving results

 Swimming and Diving results

Xavier Prep vs. Scottsdale Chaparral

Sept. 17, Xavier at Brophy Prep Pool, Chaparral at Cactus Pool

Chaparral 129, Xavier 58

200-yard medley relay – 1. Chaparral A 1:47.10. 2. Xavier A (Gracie Munk, Paola Guerra, Jordan Herrera, Kelly Scott) 1:49.2. 3. Xavier C (Bethany Barnwell, Regan Gunzy, Grace Hull, Bella Guerra) 1:54.40.

200-yard freestyle – 1. Ashley Strouse, C, 1:52.56. 2. Grace Dunn, C, 1:57.97. 3. Ava Cunningham, C, 2:01.26.

50-yard freestyle – 1. Samantha Krew, C, 24.23. 2. Greer Pattison, C, 24.36. 3. Kelly Scott, X, 24.50.

1-meter diving – 1. Machenna Stocker, C, 223.05. 2. Bella Posorske, C, 210.15. 3. Michella Mierzwa, X, 179.55.

100-yard butterfly – 1. Morgan Brophy, C, 56.70.70. 2. Samantha Krew, C, 57.12. 3. Gracie Munk, X, 59.99.

100-yard freestyle – 1. Riley Courtney, C, 52.30. 2. Kelly Scott, X, 53.88. 3. Lauren Richards, C, 55.62.

500-yard freestyle – 1. Ashley Strouse, C, 5:04.24. 2. Ava Cunningham, C, 5:18.43. 3. Grace Dunn, C, 5:19.43.

200-yard freestyle relay – 1. Chaparral A 1:38.09. 2. Xavier A (Paola Guerra, Kelly Scott, Hope Nolan, Lainey Weiland) 1:42.70. 3. Chaparral B 1:45.91.

100-yard backstroke – 1. Greer Pattison, C, 58.89. 2. Gracie Munk, X, 1:01.75. 3. Claire Douglas, X, 1:05.43.

100-yard breaststroke – 1. Riley Courtney, C, 1:05.03. 2. Blakely Schuricht, C, 1:08.54. 3. Paola Guerra, X, 1:09.24.

400-yard freestyle relay – 1. Chaparral A 3:35.11. 2. Chaparral B 3:47.62. 3. Xavier A (Daisy Maldonado, Jordan Herrera, Mia Rankin, Gracie Munk) 3:52.45.

Monday, September 21, 2020

No mountain bike season, but Gators continue to ride

 Mountain bike riders from Xavier Prep and their counterparts from Brophy Prep will be scooting over the terrain in the coming weeks, just not in the same format that originally was intended.

The organization in which the combined club team competes, the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League, has announced the cancellation of its five-race season due to complications with some of the issues related to the Covid-19 virus.

Both the girls and boys will continue to practice, however, and compete in events independent of the AICL, according to Xavier/Brophy Head Coach and Team Director Rich Perrott.

Shortly after a visit by The XCP Files to a Xavier practice ride in the mountainous Dreamy Draw area in Phoenix around the start of September, the AICL made the decision and informed its 80 teams, including a handful in New Mexico. It came in the form of a letter from Mike Perry, President and Executive Director of the AICL.

“Despite our resolve, event gathering size restrictions, physical distancing requirements and the ongoing threat of transmission persist,’’ Perry wrote. “It’s become clear that we will not be able to host a race this season.’’

The AICL will refund teams’ entry fees, and seeks to help teams continue to be insured and ride through the official end of the season on Dec. 6.

“It’s been about two weeks (since it happened),’’ Perrott said. “It kind of blindsided us. For the first couple of days, we asked ourselves, “What are we going to do?’ ’’

The Xavier and Brophy riding groups voted to continue to work and ride together.

They rode on their own recently on the course of the Arizona Nordic Village in Flagstaff, which would have hosted the AICL’s first race last weekend. And they were expected to ride in three events, including the three-hour Humboldt Hill Climb that goes 1,680 feet and has an 81 percent average grade, according to the event’s Web site.

Other sites, according to Perrott, are the White Tank Regional Park in the west Valley community of Waddell (a location for AICL races in prior years), and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills, which was listed fourth on this year’s five-race schedule.

Perrott said Xavier, which has about 10 riders, and the larger Brophy group “are excited as we continue to move forward.’’

Hopefully, that will include operating with a clean slate in 2021.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Solid scrimmage sets up volleyball season opener

 So far, so good.

That’s the sense of optimism that Xavier Prep volleyball coach Lamar-Renee Bryant carried away from Chandler Basha’s gym on Saturday (Sept. 19) after her Gators dueled the host Bears in a 90-minute scrimmage that precedes the “real’’ season opener on Tuesday (Sept. 22) at Basha.

Bryant was like most coaches, wanting to get a sense of her team’s capabilities once it waded into the reality of a competition situation, with the litmus test being even more crucial since Basha comes into the 2020 season as the defending champion in Division I.

Xavier has only a handful of players who have extensive high school experience beyond club ball, so blending in the others who are looking for more playing time was one important goal.

Xavier looked strong in the opening “match,’’ nearly doubling the Basha score (a 25-12 lead would have been a victory under normal circumstances) and winding up with a nine-point cushion.

That is where Bryant got a look at her likely starters, who played very well, notably the middle blockers, 6-foot-2 senior Phoebe Lewis and 6-1 junior Isabella Sinacori.  And 5-8 junior setter Alexa Shiner appears to be on her way to another productive campaign.

The reserves sought to battle for greater playing time during the longer second “match,’’ taking control against the Bears and maintaining a comfortable advantage.

“It was a good start for us,’’ said Bryant, whose team finished 30-12 a year ago but then saw the graduation of middle blocker Jasmine Knight, the Player of the Year, and outside hitter Bri McKnight.

“Everyone got to play, and it was a good test run for all of the (safety) protocols (masking up when not out on the court, etc.). We got to see a lot of different lineups.’’

One key thing she wants her players to do is to take care of the ball after their initial contact.

“We did some of that today, and if we can continue to do that, we can be a pretty good team,’’ she said.

So now it’s on to the opener, and Bryant is well aware that Basha is very capable of turning things around as it did against Premier Region rival Gilbert Perry in the state title match, rallying from an 0-2 deficit to win it all.

Runners have good showing in W. Equinox event

 Xavier Prep’s cross-country team finished second and fifth, respectively in separate categories and junior Tatum Goforth won one of those two, the 5K Run Open Big Schools Session I in the Western Equinox Cross Country Festival  on Saturday (Sept. 19) at Freestone Park in Chandler.

Goforth’s effort of 20:19.3 enabled the Gators to finish second in that category, only three points behind winner Gilbert Highland.

In the 5K Run Varsity Big Schools Session I, Xavier finished fifth with 131 points. The top individual for XCP was junior Ansley Burns, who was 18th at 19:57.2.

Xavier scores for the day:

5K Run Open Big Schools Session I: Tatum Goforth 20:19.3, Catherine Alaimo 20:33.6, Karime Morales 21:15.6, Erika Germinario 21:18.1, Charlotte McClelland 21:48.8, Sophia Healy 23:04.7, Briony Campisi 23:12.2, Sejal Patel 23:43.4, Riley Ryan 23:56.3, Ellie Higgins 24:42.3, Marissa Mansour 25:05.6, Rishita Shah 25:23.0, Mk Fairbanks 25:27,6, Sammy Braun 26:24.3.

5K Run Varsity Big Schools Session I: Ansley Burns 19:57.2, Macarthy Mahoney 20:17.4, Hannah Wheeling 20:20.5, Reyna Silva 20:28.9, Holland Carey 21:12.4, Maria Benitez 21:29.9, Emmie Halter 21:57.6.

Xavier will run next on Sept. 26 at the Ray Wherley Invitational at Pioneer Park in Prescott.

Invisible opponent sinks Gator swimmers, divers

 It was a strange day on Thursday (Sept. 17) for Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team.

The Gators had their first meet of the season at next-door Brophy Prep, but their opponent was nowhere to be found.

The reason was safety protocols and lessening the chances of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

So Chaparral, the Division I state champion the last two years ahead of Xavier, swam its portion of the meet at its home venue, Cactus Pool in Scottsdale.

Numbers from both teams’ races were combined and when the results floated to the surface, Chaparral and its truckload of Olympic-caliber athletes scored a comfortable 129-58 victory.

“I guess you could say we did OK for the opener,’’ said Xavier head coach Mark Rankin before learning how Chaparral fared due to a later start time.

This was the first true competition in quite awhile for many of the Xavier swimmers.

“Some of them really haven’t raced in months, and that includes club,’’ Rankin said.

He lamented the number of rules and protocols the teams must deal with, such as keeping masks on when not in the pool. That part of it has not completely been installed in the girls’ memory banks, or in those of their Brophy brethren, for that matter.

“It’s something we all have to learn to do. You have to keep reminding them,’’ Rankin said.

Brophy’s crew did a good job sanitizing the blocks (platforms) after each race with a disinfectant spray.

Xavier had some noteworthy swims.

Rankin liked his sprinter, senior Kelly Scott, in the 100- and 50-yard freestyles.

“She was respectable. I am very pleased,’’ he said.

He also liked the work of junior Ashleigh Baros, who competed in two individual freestyle events as well as a couple of relays.

Senior Mia Rankin was slowed by an ear infection, but the coach expects the Ohio State commit to return to her competitive self soon.

Xavier finished 3-4-5 in diving, all by a group of promising sophomores.

Michelle Mierzwa led the way with 179.55 points, followed by Claira Chong at 162.75 and Libby Surgent at 154.20.

Xavier’s next meet will be at Brophy on Thursday (Sept. 24) against Mesa Mountain View.



Friday, September 18, 2020

Annual X Breakfast is emotional, memorable

 The video camera followed Sr. Lynn Winsor, Xavier Prep’s Vice Principal for Activities and Athletic Director, as she wheeled her Zappy transporter down the sidewalk in front of Founders Hall. She hopped off, stepped into the hall and . . .

Nothing. All was quiet.

“Where is everybody?’’ she asked, voice echoing off the walls. “Isn’t this the day that we are supposed to have the X Breakfast?’’

True, indeed. Then she “remembered’’ that the annual fund-raising event on Thursday (Sept. 17) was being held virtually due to health and safety concerns brought about by the Covid virus. This year, the 13th X Breakfast was being watched on a live stream video by people on campus, in the Valley, state and country, and even across the world.

What everyone witnessed was a story of fear, heartbreak, strength, recovery, encouragement  and spirituality by XCP 2000 alumna Elena Flores-Breese.

Elena Flores-Breese, Class of 2000.

On April 15, 2013, she was near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, waiting for her husband, Jeff Breese, to cross.

Suddenly, there was a horrific explosion of two pressure-cooker bombs, built and placed by two Chechen-American brothers. Three people lost their lives in this despicable act of terror and several hundred others were injured. Thankfully, Jeff was not injured, as he was a few miles behind the leaders.

There were countless others who were traumatized by what happened. Many, like Flores-Breese, suffered Post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It was a day when my bubble burst forever,’’ she said. “The images were time-stamped on my heart and in my mind.’’

Still, such an occurrence does not necessarily manifest itself in a serious manner right away. The aftermath treats everyone differently.

For Flores-Breese, a mother of two, it didn’t fully take over until 2016.

“I couldn’t understand. I had been canceling events, had anxiety,’’ she said. “But it was three years and four months of mental anguish.’’

She checked herself into a psychiatric hospital, where she stayed for six days.

Once she realized what was happening, she began the road to recovery.

“I think that this trauma shaped me after that and it does now in these changing times,’’ she said.

One of the primary tools that helped her was to make time for prayer and meditation.

She interacted with others from around the world at an annual International Congress for Victims of Terror in Nice, France, in 2019. There were 400 survivors from 80 countries.

Flores-Breese, who lives with her family in the Phoenix area, also has been writing a blog about her experiences for the last three years called Stillbloomingme.

One of those experiences came in 2018, when her husband was finally able to finish what he started when the family traveled to Boston for the race.

And she said she could not have made it without the lessons learned at Xavier, not necessarily just in the classroom. There was the sense of friendship, family and spirituality.

She reads her Bible regularly, writes a journal and even sings songs she learned at Xavier to herself.

Near the end of the video, viewers got to see other alumni talk about their Xavier experience, and see current students trying to find their way.

A song played softly in the background. It sounded quite familiar to The XCP Files sports blogger. Where had it been heard before?

Finally, the answer came. It was sung by varsity volleyball players as they warmed up before a match.

It was line from the chorus of the song Thy Word, written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, based on Psalm 119, Verse 105.

It is worth remembering, a joyful noise for all of us.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Thank you, Elena.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Golf team raises its record to 7-0

 Xavier Prep’s golf team, playing its second match in as many days, met Gilbert Perry on Wednesday (Sept. 16) in a match at Lone Tree Golf Course in Chandler and came away with a 14-shot victory, 151-165. Xavier is now 7-0 in the regular season.

Junior Ivy Song was the top finisher for the Gators, shooting an even-par 35.

Others figuring in the team score were senior Lauren Garcia (3-over 38), sophomore Annie Dawson (38) and freshman Kyla Layman (5-over 40). The extra player was freshman Jayden Jevnick, and she came in with a 6-over 41.

Other Xavier scores:

Freshman Kalyn Doss (38), senior Mary Beth Doss (38) and freshman Kate Hauptman (4-over 39).

The schedule will allow the Gators to take a brief breather, as they do not return to action until next Wednesday (Sept. 23), when they meet Chandler Hamilton at the Phoenix Country Club.

Early volleyball challenge awaits Gators

 Just about every team wants to know how good it is capable of becoming when a season begins, and one of the best ways is to face one of the state’s top competitors early.

That is what Xavier Prep’s volleyball squad is facing, not once, but twice, when the Gators travel to face defending Division I state champion Chandler Basha in a scrimmage on Saturday morning (Sept. 19), then turn right around to visit the Bears again three days later (Sept. 22) in the season opener.

Amid the swirl of uncertainty that is the Covid virus, the Gators are trying to make sense of it all.

“It’s definitely been a difficult time, and we are taking it day by day,’’ said XCP Coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “We want the girls to go out and compete strong and let them be competitive.’’

After two days of recent tryouts, Bryant finally nailed down her 14-player roster. It is made up of three seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and one freshman.

Of the obstacle posed by Basha, Bryant said, “To be the best, you have to play the best. Our region (Premier) is really, really tough. I think it has had the last three or four state champions (including Xavier in 2017 and 2018).’’

All of the teams must deal with what Bryant calls “the new normal.’’ Xavier is not allowing spectators at its home matches (per Diocese of Phoenix mandate), but is expected to have the home matches available via streaming video on its Web site. Xavier’s Spiritline has been given permission by the Diocese and the Arizona Interscholastic Association to perform its routines at the home matches.

And there are the safety and sanitization issues to deal with.

“We want to adhere to all of the safety precautions,’’ Bryant said. “We have been working very hard at it, getting ready.’’

That means having to designate a person or persons to wipe down the volleyballs after each point. After that cleaning, the volleyballs are placed in a wheeled cart and are ready to go. The teams must practice social distancing and Xavier is required to wear masks when the players are not in the game.

At least early in the season, Xavier should be the strongest in its setter (junior Alexa Shiner), libero (senior Kaori Robertson), and with its middle blockers (senior Phoebe Lewis and junior Isabella “Bella’’ Sinacori).

“We will be looking at our outside hitters and see if we can round out that group in front,’’ Bryant said.

In just one full year of varsity play, Shiner developed into one of the state’s top setters. There’s not much mystery in how she did it, just old-fashioned repetition and hard work through practice with both Xavier and her club team.

“It will be strange not having people at our home matches. There won’t be as much energy in the air, so we will have to make sure we keep focused,’’ Shiner said.

“We are very excited to play a match, even the scrimmage, where we can get a feel for the opponent and what they do. It’s always good to play against different people instead of just ourselves.’’

Because of the virus, Shiner’s club season was cut short, so she had to go solo for the most part while lifting weights a couple of times a week and staying in shape.

Shiner will serve as a primary conduit for distributing energy in the matches as well as the assists. Her leadership skills have improved, as she follows in the footsteps of former XCP star setter Shannon Shields, now at Arizona State after beginning her college career at Louisville.

”I am trying my best to be a leader on the court,’’ Shiner said. ”I think the setter is kind of a natural position to be a role model.’’

So the season is just about here. The Gators want to take everyone on an enjoyable journey.

Xavier Prep badminton roster – 2020

Seniors – Kaori Robertson, Phoebe Lewis, Zaira Reyes.

Juniors – Alexa Shiner, Emma Soderstrom, Hannah Ulisch, Isabella Sinacori, Tiffany Tellez.

Sophomores – Emma Caruso, Kate Tax, Lauren Vanderwey, Maddie MacDonald, Mei Tsou.

Freshman – Finley Workman.


(Subject to change)

Sept. 22 -- @ Chandler Basha. Sept. 23 – Scottsdale Chaparral. Sept. 24 – Chandler High. Sept. 29 -- @ Gilbert Perry. Sept. 30 -- @ Mesa Skyline. Oct. 1 – Chandler Hamilton. Oct. 6 – Mesa Mountain View. Oct. 7 -- @ Phoenix Sunnyslope. Oct. 8 -- @ Peoria Liberty. Oct. 13 – Tempe Corona del Sol. Oct. 15 -- @ Chandler High. Oct. 20 – Gilbert Perry. Oct. 21 -- @ Phoenix Desert Vista. Oct. 27 -- @ Chandler Hamilton.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Golfers swing their way to another comfortable win

 A new week means a new victory for Xavier Prep’s golf team.

The Gators notched another triumph with a 144-183 decision over visiting Scottsdale Desert Mountain at the Phoenix Country Club on Tuesday (Sept. 15).

It was Xavier’s sixth win of the young season.

Freshman Jayden Jevnick and junior Ivy Song led the way with 1-under-par 35s. Freshman Kyla Layman and sophomore Annie Dawson were next with 1-over 37s, giving the team an even-par finish at 144. Junior Ava Mayberger was the extra player and shot 8-over 44.

Other Xavier scores:

Freshman Kalyn Doss, even-par 36; senior Lauren Garcia, 36; senior Mary Beth Doss, 1-over 37; freshman Kate Hauptman, 2-over 38; freshman Lena Durette, 5-over 41; junior Kate Ryan, 7-over 43; sophomore Sophie Stamatis, 8-over 44; freshman Lauren Campbell, 9-over 45; freshman Grace Rubelsky, 45; junior Audrey Sanchez, 45; and freshman Karter Nannen, 13-over 49.

The Gators are back on the course on Wednesday (Sept. 16) with a match against Gilbert Perry at the Lone Tree Golf Course in Chandler.

XCP, Chaparral ready to renew swim-dive rivalry

 The Division I state swimming and diving championship for 2020 likely will come down to a battle between Scottsdale Chaparral and Xavier Prep.

The two have combined to win the last three titles – Xavier in 2017 and Chaparral in 2018 and 2019. Chaparral also won the Division II crown in 2016 and 2017.

On Thursday (Sept. 17), they will renew that rivalry when they meet again at the Brophy Prep pool.

Chaparral has a number of Olympic-caliber swimmers (yes, you are reading that correctly). Xavier has a number of senior swimmers who have three previous years of experience, most notably distance athlete Mia Rankin, who has committed to Ohio State. Xavier also is traditionally strong in the relay events.

Xavier is once again coached by Mark Rankin and Jenny James, along with first-year coach Tootie Rankin. The divers are coached by Frank Pipitone. The team’s student manager is senior Maddie Weiland.

The Gators’ noteworthy seniors are Paola Guerra, Jordan Herrera, Kelly Scott and Emma Sharp.

Xavier Prep swimming and diving roster – 2020


Seniors – Paola Guerra, Jordan Herrera, Mia Rankin, Kelly Scott, Emma Sharp, Chimal Citlali, Bethany Barnwell.

Juniors – Allegra Wilga, Ashley Baros, Grace Hull, Daisy Maldonado, Grace Munk, Hope Nolan.

Sophomores – Perla Akiki, Waverly Bagley, Maryn Day, Dylan Miller, Laney Weiland, Cassie Worth.

Freshmen – Elle Edwards, Ava Gill, Bella Guerra, Brooke Person, Madison Siordian, Sophia Sweatlock.


Juniors – Anastasia Bhatti, Alicia Jasinski, Emma Valentine.

Sophomores – Claira Chong, Michelle Mierzwa, Libby Surgent.

Gator badminton to rely heavily on seniors

 The coaching staff for Xavier Prep’s badminton team is optimistic about the prospects of a strong team this fall, and why not? The Gators are loaded with experience in the form of their top six players, all of them seniors.

“We are excited,’’ said second-year varsity coach Laura Forbes.  “Because of the (Covid) virus, we had a long “wait and see’ leading up to when we started having open gyms and were juggling 40 kids back and forth. Then we had the tryouts and now are ready to start the season.’’

Xavier will be playing a compacted 11-game regular season with one mid-season tournament, with the season’s end coming seemingly almost before it gets started, on Oct. 22. The Gators will begin the schedule on Sept. 22 with a home match against Phoenix Pinnacle.

Some weeks will have three matches in the week.

Xavier had a good showing last season, finishing 9-5 with a No. 5 seeding in the state tournament in Forbes’ first season guiding the program.

“We’re looking toward a good, competitive season,’’ Forbes said. “We were fifth in the state last season and now we are talking about doing something better.’’

The team will play “ladder matches’’ every Friday during the season, and how well the players do in that could determine which ones will be on the top list the following week. Someone from the junior-varsity team could step up and make a contribution with the varsity.

“It keeps them all very competitive,’’ Forbes said.

The top singles player is expected to be senior Sophie Riviere (pronounced Revere, as in Paul Revere), and Riviere likely will team with senior Lina Vanderwey in the leading competitive doubles team.

“They are good at what they do,’’ Forbes said of Riviere and Vanderwey. “When they’re “on,’ when they’re focused, they can be very, very good.’’

Said Riviere: “It will be interesting to see how the season goes. I think we have more girls out here who are capable of making more of a contribution.’’

Xavier will not have spectators at its home matches, per a mandate from the Diocese of Phoenix. But XCP is planning to live stream those through a NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) network on the school’s Web site. However, matches at Chandler schools will carry on as before, with fans expected.

“Sometimes you get fired up for the big matches, but we will have to do that all the time, make our on motivation,’’ Riviere said.

She and Vanderwey played doubles only occasionally last year but now are ready to make their move each time out.

“It didn’t take long for us to find out that we work well together,’’ Riviere said. “We know how each other plays, what our strengths are.’’

After these seniors graduate, the cupboard won’t be empty in the following years.

“We feel we have some promising (young) talent,’’ she said.         

Xavier Prep badminton roster – 2020


(Listed alphabetically, not by placement order)

Zoe Barton, Sr.; Lauren Etsitty, Sr.; Malindi Kilb, Sr.; Sophie Riviere, Sr.; Lina Vanderwey, Sr.; Mia Velasco, Sr.

Junior varsity

Sophia Bonilla, Jr.; Caroline Cobb, Jr.; Jasmine Leyva, Jr.; Dani Rivera, Jr.; Sara Castlen, So.; Riley Dowdall,  So.


Alexis Garman, So.; Grace Riviere, So.; Kasia Smilielski, Fr.; Lila Williams, Fr.


Head coach – Laura Forbes. Assistant – Brian McNerney.

Student managers

 Jillian Brown, Sr.; Sienna Martinez, Sr.


(Subject to change)

Sept. 22 – Phoenix Pinnacle. Sept. 28 -- @ Mesa Red Mountain. Sept. 30 – Mesa Skyline. Oct. 1 -- @ Chandler Hamilton. Oct. 3 – Forner Invitational at Phoenix Sunnyslope. Oct. 6 – @ Glendale Mountain Ridge. Oct. 7 – Phoenix Sunnyslope. Oct. 8 – Peoria Liberty. Oct. 13 -- @ Tempe Corona del Sol. Oct. 14 -- @ Chandler Basha. Oct. 15 – Chandler High. Oct. 20 – Gilbert Perry.

Monday, September 14, 2020

"Xtensive' promotion builds interest in X Breakfast

The XCP Files is happy to let you know about a project that is certain to bring a smile to your face.

See that Big X?

Yes, it is hard to miss it.

The X marks the spot in the parking lot. (Photo by XCP Dads' Club).

The XCP Dads’ Club, led by club President Matt Campisi, and numerous Gator students wanted to promote the upcoming annual fundraising X Breakfast, which this year will be presented virtually on Thursday (Sept. 17) at 8 a.m.

Those interested can go to the school’s Web site, click to register and link to the video of the program. Elena Flores Breese, XCP Class of 2000, will be the Keynote Speaker and is sure to provide an inspirational message.

And there is a second button on which to click that will allow donations.

Tbe Big X was made up of about 40 cars, representing the school’s four classes, set up in the south parking lot of the nearby North Phoenix Baptist Church on Saturday (Sept. 12).

XCP Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor showed up at 7 a.m., just before the start of the event, to offer encouragement, along with school President Sr. Joan Fitzgerald and Principal Sr. Joan Nuckols. The full roster of a combined 100 students and parents took shape shortly after the administrators were there.

Photos and videos were taken from a drone high above the event.

Way to go, Gators, and the Dads’ Club !!


Young XCP cross-country runners get their chance

The rumble of pounding feet accompanied by waves of dust can only mean one thing – high school cross-country season is here!!

Many of Xavier Prep’s top young Gators got things going on Saturday (Sept. 12) by competing in the Chandler Invitational 5K run at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler.

Only 20 runners from each school were allowed to compete, according to Coach Dave Van Sickle, so he decided to go with the freshmen and sophomores to allow them to get some early experience.

The group of older XCP runners (juniors and seniors) will get their chance on Sept. 19, in the West Equinox Cross Country Festival at Freestone Park in Chandler.

Xavier finished eighth in the freshman session in the Chandler Invitational and the sophomores finished third in their race.

The top freshman finisher was Summer Goodman, who finished 23rd (out of 67) with a time of 22:48.2.

Other XCP freshmen followed close behind, Julietta Tavizon Heredia (27th, 23:00.0), Madison Gould (32nd, 23:45.7), Maya Nagaraj (40th, 25:18.2), Susan Findlay (41st, 25:41.7), Sophia Corona (44th, 25:53.0), Adelaide Luna (58th, 28:57.4) and Arya Banks (65th, 32:20.7).

The top sophomore finisher was Reyna Silva, who was eighth (out of 82) with a time of 20:21.2. The other swift sophs were Olivia Charles (18th, 21:29.8), Calista Flick (19th, 21:33.0), Naomi Young (20th, 21:36.5), Emily Manuelito (31st, 22:17.5), Sarai Arkeveld (33rd, 22:22.4), Grace McClelland (43rd, 22:59.8), Cassara Ryan (45th, 23:12.9), Bella Titus (46th, 23:16.3), Barbara Paez (51st, 23:35.5) and Alma Melendez (62nd, 24:59.9).

Saturday, September 12, 2020

In the sky or on the wall, sports eyes everywhere

 Fear not, fans of the Xavier Prep Gators . . . just because you won’t be able to see some of your favorite XCP sports teams in person at the Activity Center or at Petznick Field this school year doesn’t mean you will be shut out altogether.

The school has entered into an agreement with the National Federation of High Schools Network and the Pixellot company that produces sports competitions throughout the country to live stream XCP home games in volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer and lacrosse on the school’s Web site,

And who will be watching?

“Fans from all over the planet. Now you will be able to see Xavier athletics from just about anywhere,’’ predicted long-time Xavier Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

Winsor said the Diocese of Phoenix is not allowing spectators for sporting events “at this time.’’ Only a limited number of essential personnel will be in attendance at the home games – that includes athletic trainers, scorer, timer, announcer and the XCP spirit lines.

Viewing will be by way of a subscription, be it for one specific event or an entire season. Winsor said fans will be able to pay by credit card, although the final fees have not been determined.

The installation of equipment has begun, with one pole that will have a video camera affixed to the top at Petznick Field for soccer (winter) and club lacrosse (spring). The location for the Activity Center will be on the south wall, behind the scorer’s table area, and the camera will serve as the eyes for badminton and volleyball (fall) and basketball (winter).

The new video camera pole that will be used to live stream events at Petznick Field, left, looms over the equipment truck (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

It is hoped that the equipment installation will be complete during the week of Sept. 14. Winsor and the athletic department staff hope that badminton and volleyball will have their first home games available on Sept. 22 (badminton vs. Phoenix Pinnacle) and Sept. 23 (volleyball vs. Scottsdale Chaparral).

Believe it or not, the genesis of the video system came in December of 2019, before the invasion of the COVID virus.

Winsor said regular school funds were used to purchase the system and it was obtained through the state athletic directors’ convention rate.

You have to make sure the pole is deep and secure in the ground.

“It seems that a lot of schools around the country were having good luck with it,’’ Winsor said. “We went to Sr. Joan (Fitzgerald, current Xavier President and former Principal) and she thought it would be a good idea, so we went ahead. It was strange how it all played out later. This is going to be exciting for us.’’

It is Winsor’s goal to live stream the freshman/sophomore and junior-varsity games in addition to the varsity.

So get ready to round up your laptops, grab a slice of pizza or some other culinary delight and your favorite soda, but please don’t spill. We want all the thrills to be during the games.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Freshman golfers continue to shine for Xavier

Xavier Prep’s golf team was on top of its game once again on Wednesday (Sept. 9) with its top four players combining to shoot 1-under-par for a 33-shot win over Phoenix Desert Vista at the Foothills Club West course in Ahwatukee.

Mesa Desert Ridge also was to compete, but only brought three players, who competed for the individual title.

Freshmen Jayden Jevnick and Kyla Layman each shot 1-under 35s to lead the way for XCP. Junior Ivy Song was at even-par 36 and sophomore Annie Dawson was at 1-over 37. Senior Lauren Garcia was the extra among the team’s top five players and shot a 2-over 38.

Other Gator scores were:

Freshman Lena Durette (1-over 37), freshman Kate Hauptman (2-over 38), freshman Kalyn Doss (1-over 39), senior Mary Beth Doss (5-over 41) and freshman Lauren Campbell (7-over 43).

XCP will have two matches next week on back-to-back days. Scottsdale Desert Mountain will be the opponent on Tuesday (Sept. 15) when the Gators return “home’’ to the Phoenix Country Club. And Xavier will face Gilbert Perry on Sept. 16 at the Lone Tree Golf Course in Chandler.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Gators have good day vs. Goodyear Millennium

Xavier Prep’s golf team raised its regular-season match record to 4-0 on Tuesday (Sept. 8) with a comfortable 151-170 victory over Goodyear Millennium at the Phoenix Country Club.

The top four Gators contributing to the team score:

Senior Lauren Garcia 36 (even), freshman Kalyn Doss 36, freshman Jayden Jevnick (3-over 39) and senior Mary Beth Doss (4-over 40). Freshman Lena Durette (7-over 43) also was in the coaches’ top five entering the event.

Other Xavier scores:

Junior Ivy Song (1-under 35), freshman Kate Hauptman 36 (even), freshman Kyla Layman (1-over 37), sophomore Annie Dawson (5-over 41), freshman Lauren Campbell (6-over 42), junior Kate Ryan 43, freshman Karter Nannen (8-over 44), junior Ana Mayberger 44, junior Audrey Sanchez (10-over 46), freshman Grace Rubelsky (12-over 48) and sophomore Sophie Stamatis (13-over 49).

The Gators turn right around and head to the Foothills West Golf Course in Ahwatukee on Wednesday (Sept. 9) for a 3-way match with host Phoenix Desert Vista and Mesa Desert Ridge.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Gator golfers second by only 3 shots in Antigua

If the Labor Day weekend’s Antigua High School Golf Invitational can be used as a measuring stick, then Xavier Prep would appear to have a good chance to make a run at the school’s 37th Division I state championship in November.

Xavier nearly matched defending state champion Phoenix Pinnacle stride for stride in Saturday’s (Sept. 5) final round at the Whirlwind Golf Club’s Devil’s Claw Course in Chandler. Xavier began the day five shots back and finished the tournament just three behind. Cave Creek Cactus Shadows also made a run, finishing one shot behind Xavier.

“They are motivated, yes, for the rest of the season,’’ said XCP co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam. “They have a ton of potential and they believe in themselves.’’

Of Xavier’s six players in the tournament, only one, Lauren Garcia, is a senior. There is a junior (Ivy Song), a sophomore (Annie Dawson), and three freshmen (Jayden Jevnick, Kyla Layman and Kate Hauptman).

“The younger girls already have some experience in AJGA (Arizona Junior Golf Association) events, and the more high school competition they play, the better they will be,’’ Selvaratnam said.

Selvaratnam said Friday’s first round was hot, and Saturday’s was even hotter.

Song was the Gators’ top finisher with a two-day total of 147, 3 over par. Garcia was at 148, Dawson was at 150, Jevnick was at 152 and Layman and Hauptman were at 156. Garcia had Saturday’s top Xavier round with an even-par 72, and Dawson had a 73.

In addition to its Arizona state title, Pinnacle entered this tournament carrying momentum from its victory in August in the High School National Invitational in Pinehurst, N.C. Senior Katie Stinchcomb was medalist in the Antigua after back-to-back 69s. She tied for second in the National Invitational and was seventh as a junior in the Arizona state tournament.

Xavier, unbeaten in three regular-season events thus far, returns to action on Wednesday (Sept. 9) against Mesa Desert Ridge and host Phoenix Desert Vista at the Foothills West Golf Course in Ahwatukee.

Friday, September 4, 2020

XCP within striking distance at Antigua tourney

The Antigua High School Golf Invitational is shaping up to be a battle to the finish in Saturday’s (Sept. 5) final round on the Devil’s Claw course at the Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler.

Defending Arizona Division I state champion Phoenix Pinnacle, along with state runner-up Xavier Prep, stayed close in Friday’s (Sept. 4) opening round.

Pinnacle had two golfers shoot below-par rounds (par is 72) which accounted for most of its lead. Xavier did not have anyone below par, but junior Ivy Song was even at 72.

Pinnacle had one finisher in the 80s and two in the 90s.

The Gators had four more golfers in the 70s – freshman Jayden Jevnick (74), senior Lauren Garcia (76), sophomore Annie Dawson and freshman Kate Hauptman (both 77), with freshman Kyla Layman nearly jo ining that group at 81.

Saturday’s competition begins at 6:30 a.m., and Layman is the first Xavier player at 7:30. Hauptman is at 7:40, Jevnick at 7:50, Dawson at 8 a.m., Garcia at 8:10 and Song at 8:20.

Gators help spread the word on wearing masks

Mask Up, Gator Nation !!

It’s important to wear a mask virtually everywhere you go these days, especially here on campus when in-person classes resume on Sept. 8.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association realizes the importance of this, and enlisted the help of an XCP coach (volleyball’s Lamar-Renee Bryant) and a pair of athletes (softball’s Meghan Schouten and beach volleyball’s Serena Turner) to shoot a Public Service Announcement in the Activity Center on Thursday (Sept. 3).

By the end of this coming weekend, the 15-second video will appear on the AIA Web site,, as well as other media outlets around the state.

Be sure to watch for it !!

From left, AIA video intern Simon Williams, AIA Executive Director David Hines, XCP softball player Meghan Schouten, beach volleyball player Serena Turner and indoor volleyball coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. (Xavier photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

Thursday, September 3, 2020

All systems go for Gators as they aim for Antigua

Three and oh is the way to go.

And Xavier Prep’s Gators have emerged from the starting gate in strong fashion with their third golf victory in as many matches on Wednesday (Sept. 2), 143-212 over Chandler Basha at Phoenix Country Club.

Junior Ivy Song continued her strong start with another medalist effort, firing a 3-under-par 33. Other Gators figuring into the team score were junior Kate Ryan (even par 36), freshman Kate Hauptman (36) and senior Mary Beth Doss (2-over-par 38). Freshman Kalyn Doss also was in the top five-player group and shot 38.

Scores for the Xavier extras:

Freshman Kyla Layman (1-over 37), freshman Lena Durrette (37), freshman Jayden Jevnick (2-over 38), sophomore Annie Dawson (3-over 39), freshman Lauren Campbell (4-over 40), senior Lauren Garcia (40), junior Audrey Sanchez (7-over 43), junior Ava Mayberger (8-over 44), freshman Karter Nannen (44), sophomore Sophie Stamatis (44) and freshman Grace Rubelsky (12-over 48).

The Gators now hit the tournament trail, competing in the annual Antigua National Invitational on Friday (Sept. 4) and Saturday (Sept. 5)  at the Whirlwind Golf Club’s Devil’s Claw Course in Chandler. The event is hosted by Chandler Hamilton.

Xavier will feature six golfers on Friday, with tee-times ranging from 6:30 a.m. through 7:20 a.m. Saturday’s round should follow a similar schedule.

The Xavier participants are Song, Garcia, Dawson, Layman, Jevnick and Hauptman. All of the Gators will start on the first tee on Friday.

Because of safety measures, the players are allowed to have just two people watch them participate, and must leave the course at the conclusion of their round.

Other local teams expected to play are Division I defending state champion Phoenix Pinnacle, Hamilton, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, Gilbert Highland and Gilbert Perry. There will be boys teams playing on the Whirlwind’s Cattail Course.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Mountain bikers finally break out, enjoy outdoors

After several months of quarantine, members of Xavier Prep’s club mountain biking team are back in the great outdoors.

The sky has that bright blue color, that clarity. The girls can take a deep breath and then exhale.

And, of course, there are the trails on which they ride. The rocky terrain, in north-central Phoenix’s Dreamy Draw, is beautiful in its own way, and provides a good opportunity for the girls to prepare themselves for the challenge that lies ahead in the form of a five-race season that spreads across the state, including twice in the Phoenix area.

Once again, Xavier will be paired with sibling and neighbor Brophy Prep for the races.

On Monday (Aug. 31), assistant coach Deanna Young led a group of four of XCP’s most experienced riders through Dreamy Draw. A short distance away, in North Mountain Park, head coach Rich Perrott was working with riders who do not have as much experience, hoping to catch a glimpse of traits that will allow them to eventually make an impact.

The riders with Young were junior Aria Tseffos, sophomores Grace Morgan and Chloe Lindeback and freshman Mary Hill.

They were decked out in their riding gear, including small backpacks with water, had a few tools tucked away in their handlebars and kept an eye on the specialized tires that provide a steady grip on the trails.

Young grew up in the Boston area and moved to the Valley about 13 years ago. She has raced competitively and this is her third season at Xavier. She has a son, Barrett Belanger, who is a freshman rider at Brophy.

“One of the reasons I wanted to be at Xavier was to maybe help inspire the girls, but they are the ones who have inspired me,’’ Young said.

Tseffos has been riding since the seventh grade, but became more involved in the competitive world last year.

She said joining the XCP group “was the best decision I could have made. The things that I’ve done, the people that I’ve worked with, will always be a part of my high school experience.’’

Enjoying the rides is what she remembers, including making sure she begins her hydration process three days before a race and a spaghetti dinner that helps provide a boost of energy the night before.

Morgan said “it’s really great to be out here after being stuck at home. I studied Biology most of the time (during the quarantine from the COVID virus), and now I’m able to get back outside and be in the mountains.’’

It is good to interact with her teammates, “to motivate and support each other,’’ she said.

Lindeback and her teammates ride two or three times a week with some conditioning mixed in.

"It's a break from the (computer) screens,'' she said. "It's great being out here with your friends and coaches.''

Of the quarantine, she said, "It can sometimes make you unmotivated, but being out here makes you look forward to most everything,’’ she said.

Hill made opponents take notice when she excelled in the competition for junior high-age riders, representing Xavier.

It’s not surprising. Her older sister, Erin, who graduated from XCP earlier this year, also was a top rider for the Gators. Mary said she has tried to learn from her sister.

Mary knows that she will be competing at a different level now and wants to make sure she is prepared by training more than she has in the past.

“It definitely has been a change,’’ she said.

Xavier Prep 2020 mountain biking race schedule
Race #1 – Sept. 19-20, Arizona Nordic Village, Flagstaff.
Race #2 – Oct. 10-11, Pioneer Park, Prescott.
Race #3 – Oct. 24-25, McKenzie Ranch Trails Park, Vail (Tucson).
Race #4 – Nov. 7-8, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Fountain Hills.
Race #5 – Nov. 21-22, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Goodyear.