Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Another productive season ends for frosh tennis

 The Xavier Prep freshman tennis season was full of challenges this fall, including a few related to the COVID-19 virus. But the Gators managed to survive with some of the more experienced players assigned to competitive teams and others just starting out and learning the game with exhibition matches.

“These student-athletes showed their team spirit and winning attitude throughout the season,’’ said Coach Judy Hernandez, who with her staff worked with 94 players this season (no cuts).

The Xavier “A” team finished with a 4-5 record, with three home matches and six away matches. The Xavier “B” team finished with an 8-1 record with three away matches and six home matches.

There were 13 players per team and four substitute players per team.

“We played the top six players in our competitive matches and gave the rest of the team exhibition matches to increase their tennis skills,’’ Hernandez said.

Megan Wheeling (Xavier A) and Kristina Stender (Xavier B) were voted Most Valuable Players for the season.

“They were both the No. 1 player on each team, since Freshman Tennis focuses on developing new players, we were able to move the seeding around and offer many players the opportunity to compete,’’ Hernandez said.

Marlee McCloskey (Xavier A) usually competed in the 1 or 2 spot, finishing with five singles victories. Kate Lum Lung (Xavier B) often was in the same situation, and ended her first competitive season with six singles wins.

Lum Lung (B) and Amelia Sabatino (A) were voted their team’s respective Most Improved Players.

Hernandez and her assistants enjoyed the season almost as much as the players.

She said the coaching staff wanted to thank the XCP Athletic Department and the school’s maintenance staff for the support they provided during the season.

The varsity team is due to begin play in the spring under the guidance of long-time coach Laurie Martin. You possibly could see some of the freshmen who started out this fall as a part of that process. And just to learn the game and be competitive at the freshman level is an accomplishment in itself.


Volleyball vs. Hamilton moved, final 2 next week

 Xavier Prep’s lone volleyball match this week, on Tuesday (Oct. 27) at Chandler Hamilton, has been moved to Wednesday (Nov. 4).

That would put the Gators’ final two matches of the regular season on back-to-back nights. The home finale against Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday (Nov. 3) will be played as originally scheduled, followed by the match at Hamilton the next night.

The 6A Conference “play-in tournament’’ for teams rated 9 through 24 will be held Nov. 10, with the winners going on to join seeds 1 through 8 in the actual state tournament starting on Nov. 14. High seeds will serve as the host teams in all the tournaments except for the state final, which will be held on Nov. 21 at a location that will be announced at a later date.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Badminton gets split in final 2 of regular season

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team wrapped up its regular season this week with a split of its final two matches, at home against Phoenix Desert Vista on Tuesday (Oct. 27) and Wednesday (Oct. 28) on the road at Scottsdale Chaparral.

The Gators finished with a 7-6 overall record and likely will enter the Division I state tournament that starts on Nov. 9 with the No. 9 seed. However, the final rankings won’t be announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association until other teams’ final matches on Thursday (Oct. 29) and Friday (Oct. 30).

Teams with the highest seeds will host first-round matches.

The individual singles and doubles portions of the state will be held Nov. 7 at Glendale Independence. Pairings in that event have not been announced by the AIA.

Wins by Xavier’s top four singles players – Lina Vanderwey, Sophie Riviere, Lauren Etsitty and Mia Velasco – sparked the 6-3 victory over Desert Vista.

The Gators struggled most of the afternoon in the 8-1 loss to Chaparral. The No. 1 doubles team of Vanderwey and Riviere allowed XCP to avoid the shutout.

Results

Chaparral 8, Xavier Prep 1

Wednesday, at Chaparral

Singles

Midori Pham, C, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 17-21, 21-17, 21-4. Emiko Pham, C, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 21-17, 21-19. Chi-Chi Bracken, C, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-16, 21-17. Faith Secrest, C, def. Mia Velasco, X, 21-18, 21-18. Jessica Zietz, C, def. Malindi Kilb, X, 21-15, 21-7. Candy Fajardo, C, def. Jasmine Leyva, X, 21-14, 21-11.

Doubles

S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X. def. Secrest-Fajardo, C, 21-16, 21-12. Zietz-M. Pham, C. def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-13, 21-17. E. Pham-Bracken, C, def. Leyva-Kilb, X, 21-14, 21-14.

Xavier Prep 6, Desert Vista 3

Tuesday, at Xavier

Singles

Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Brenna Wallen, DV, 21-7, 21-5. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Breanna Larney, DV, 21-19, 21-10. Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Ainsley Smith, DV, 21-11, 21-18. Mia Velasco, X, def. Miranda Martinez, DV, 21-9, 21-10. Jocelyn Briski, DV, def. Malindi Kilb, X, 12-21, 21-11, 21-15. Aretta Lorenz, DV, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-18, 21-17.

Doubles

Vanderwey-S. Riviere, X, def. Lorenz-Wallen, DV, 21-7, 21-14. Larney-Briski, DV, def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-18, 21-15. Kilb-Barton, X, def. Smith-Martinez, DV, 21-19, 21-14.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Gator golf stops Pinnacle, climbs back to the top

 Xavier Prep’s Gators are back where they belong.

They are on top of the Arizona golf mountain, and the view is great!

For an amazing 37th time in the school’s storied history!

After finishing second to Phoenix Pinnacle a year ago, the Gators came back to withstand a big rally by Pinnacle in Tuesday’s (Oct. 27) second round for a 3-shot victory at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort’s Catalina Course. Xavier had 626, Pinnacle 629, and Chandler Hamilton was third at 656.

Freshman Kate Hauptman, who shared the lead after Monday’s (Oct. 26) first round, was the top individual finisher for XCP in third place. She shot a 3-over-par 76 in the second round and had a two-day total of 152, a respectable 6-over-par.

Peoria Liberty’s Mattie Frick and Hamilton’s Jennifer Seo tied for the No. 1 spot, and Frick took home the individual trophy after a playoff between the two.

Junior Ivy Song had a strong effort for Xavier on Tuesday, shooting a 3-over 76 for an 8-over 154.

The next two Gators to contribute to the team score were another freshman, Jayden Jevnick, who finished 11th, and Lauren Garcia, who finished 16th. Jevnick shot a 6-over 79 on Tuesday and had a final total of 13-over 159.  Garcia capped a memorable senior year with an 8-over 81 and final total of 15-over 161.

The fifth player of the Gator group, sophomore Annie Dawson, shot a 15-over 88 and finished with a 29-over 175 and a tie for 29th.

“Annie played with a lot of heart,’’ said Sr. Lynn Winsor, Athletic Director and co-head coach with Tui Selvaratnam. Jane Ladensack serves as an assistant.

Winsor added that all the Sisters at Xavier used the power of prayer to help the team along.

The Gators welcomed the sentiment. Friday’s round was cold and blustery.

“But the girls kept it together. All of them put in a lot of hard work. We knew they had a chance, but the way they finished was a pleasant surprise,’’ Selvaratnam said.

Winsor said the players participated in a “talent show’’ after the first round and Garcia, being a senior, delivered a memorable motivational message.

“She said, “We lost (to Pinnacle) in the Antigua and the Aguila (tournaments), but we have nothing to lose here,’ ’’ Winsor said.

Winsor said that Xavier, which led Pinnacle by six shots at the end of the first round, found itself with a 16-shot lead after 10 holes of the second round. Everyone knew that the Pioneers were not going to just roll over and give up. They are way too good for that.

Pinnacle’s charge caused the lead to shrink, and the Xavier girls held on for dear life.

“It was nerve-racking,’’ Winsor said.

Selvaratnam followed the team around in a golf cart during the rounds, offering words of advice at various points. The rules say that only one coach is allowed to do that.

 “Tui did an awesome job. The girls stayed balanced,’’ Winsor said.

Song helped keep the Gators afloat on the final hole, sinking a 16-foot put to take some of the pressure off Hauptman, who was playing in the group behind Song’s.

Selvaratnam accompanied the players south on Interstate 10 to the championship course on a few occasions in the weeks leading up to the tournament. It was valuable experience, she said, especially for the freshmen.

“There is a lot to know about this course, and all of them did a great job. They came through when we needed them,’’ Selvaratnam said.

“We are proud of the girls, for sure. This is one of the best wins I have had in 15 years as a coach.’’

The coaches are looking forward to working with the girls next year, seeing how they can improve between now and then. Only two seniors, Garcia and Mary Beth Doss, will graduate. The rest are expected to return.

With uncertainty created by the onset of the COVID-19 virus in the late winter and spring of 2020, nobody seemed to know what the future would bring in the early weeks this fall.

“We ended up happy -- happy to have a season and that the AIA (Arizona Interscholastic Association) was able to have a state tournament at this beautiful course,’’ Winsor said.

DIVISION I STATE GOLF RESULTS

At Omni Tucson National Golf Resort’s Catalina Course

Team scores

Xavier Prep 626, Phoenix Pinnacle 629, Chandler Hamilton 656, Anthem Boulder Creek 674, Peoria Liberty 680, Gilbert Perry 731, Tucson Rincon-University 733, Gilbert Highland 756, Tempe Corona del Sol 769, Phoenix Desert Vista 771, Mesa Red Mountain 791, Mesa Mountain View 807.

Xavier individual scores

Kate Hauptman, Fr., 3rd, 152; Ivy Song, Jr., 6th, 154; Jayden Jevnick, Fr., 11th, 159; Lauren Garcia, Sr., 16th, 161; Annie Dawson, So., Tie-29th, 175.

 

XAVIER’S 37 YEARS OF GREATNESS

State championship seasons

(Starting with Tuesday’s triumph)

2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980.


Swimmers, divers ready to give state best shot

 Xavier Prep’s swim-dive team finished its regular season on Oct. 22 with a 95-68 victory over Phoenix Desert Vista in a virtual dual meet, and now sets its sights on the state meet, which will be held Nov. 6 at the Skyline Aquatic Center in east Mesa.

In a notification released by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, spectators will not be allowed at the meet due to COVID-19 precautions. For more information, go to azpreps365.com, click on swimming, then click on tournaments.

All three “A” relay teams for the Gators dominated in their events against Desert Vista.

Xavier had several individual winners. Jordan Herrera won the 200-yard freestyle. Mia Rankin was a double winner in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle.

Sprinter Kelly Scott won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. Gracie Munk won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke. And Pao Guerra won the 100-yard breaststroke.

Good job, Gators, and good luck at state !!


Monday, October 26, 2020

Xavier golf leads at state, but can't afford to relax

 It’s nice to have the lead after Monday’s (Oct. 26) first round of the Division I state golf tournament as Xavier Prep does, but the Gators can’t really afford to get too comfortable.

That is because looming just six shots behind the Gators is defending state champion Phoenix Pinnacle.

Xavier will be aiming for its 37th state golf title on Tuesday (Oct. 27), playing the Catalina Course at the Omni Tucson National Resort, which has been home of the state tournament from 2017 through this season.

The Gators, who have had many stars shine in Arizona’s golf galaxy over the years, appear to have another one ready to ascend.

Freshman Kate Hauptman was tied with Chandler Hamilton’sophomore Jennifer Seo at the end of the first round, both with 2-over par 75s.

Peoria Liberty’s Mattie Frick and Mesa Red Mountain’s Sydney Bryan were tied for third, both with 3-over 76s.

Pinnacle, meanwhile, fell back early in the day, pulled to within two of Xavier near the turn, and then slipped again as Xavier picked up a small bit of breathing room.

Xavier’s top five players (top four figure in the team scoring) were Hauptman, junior Ivy Song (tied for 9th at 5-over 78), freshman Jayden Jevnick and senior Lauren Garcia (both tied for 17th at 7-over 80). The fifth Gator as sophomore Annie Dawson, tied for 30th with a 14-over 87.

Pinnacle’s top five players were senior Katie Stinchcomb (4-over 77), sophomore Carolyn Fuller (5-over 78), senior Sydney Siegel (6-over 79), senior Kyla Wilde (12-over 85) and senior Lexi Pelle (15-over 88).

The second round is set to begin on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m.

Division I golf first-round team scores

Xavier Prep 313, Phoenix Pinnacle 319, Chandler Hamilton 327, Peoria Liberty 336, Anthem Boulder Creek 342, Gibert Perry 365, Tempe Corona del Sol 369, Gilbert Highland 369, Tucson Rincon University 372, Phoenix Desert Vista 383, Mesa Red Mountain 390, Mesa Mountain View 405.


Scott leads Xavier archers at State Qualifier

 Senior Alexandra Scott led the way for Xavier Prep’s archers on Saturday (Oct. 24) in their State Qualifier at XCP’s Petznick Field.

Scott shot a 282, including an impressive 16 bullseyes. Senior Alyssa Marino also did well with a score of 250.

Senior Ariana Santana-Garcia finished with a personal-best 247, and senior Kaitlyn Nguyen was at 242.

Sophomore Sam Jose shot a personal best, and Alexa Ojeda, a newcomer to the team also had a strong effort.

The XCP archers will take aim next on Nov. 7 in the Wickenburg Rodeo Shoot at Wickenburg’s Everret Bowman Rodeo Grounds.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Eye of the Tiger becomes Run of the Gators

 Xavier Prep flooded two divisions with a combined total of close to 40 runners on Saturday (Oct. 24) in the Eye of the Tiger cross-country invitational at Marana High School, near Tucson.

The Gators had four of the top 10 finishers in the 5K Varsity Gold race, led by senior Jamie Stelnik in the No. 2 spot with a time of 18:41.6. And XCP had three more in the second 10.

In the 5K Open race, Xavier had eight of the top 10 finishers, including winner Charlotte McClelland. The junior covered the route in 20:55.8. Xavier had six finishers in the second 10, four in the third 10 and two in the fourth 10.

All in all, it was a very good day for the Gators, who will compete in the Division I Southwest Section race on Nov. 5 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in north Phoenix. That event serves as the lead-in to the state meet, which runs one week later on Nov. 12 at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

Xavier results

5K Varsity Gold

Jamie Stelnik, Sr., 2nd, 18:41.6; Hannah Wheeling, Jr., 5th, 19:33.3; Tatum Goforth, Jr., 6th, 19:39.8; Catherine Alaimo, Jr., 7th, 20:04.1; Holland Carey, So., 11th, 20:29.1; Kaime Morales, Jr., 20:45.4; Naomi Young, So., 16th, 20:59.2.

5K Open

Charlotte McClelland, Jr., 1st, 20:55.8; Erika Germinario, Jr., 2nd, 21:15.0; Maria Benitez, Jr., 3rd, 21:24.2; Sophia Maroufkani, Fr., 21:47.5; Sophie Healy, Sr., 5th, 22:01.1; Grace McClelland, So., 6th, 22:41.2; Sejal Patel, Fr., 7th, 22:44.0; Summer Goodman, Fr., 10th, 22:51.2; Calista Flick, So., 11th, 22:57.7; Briony Campisi, Jr., 12th, 22:58.8; Olivia Charles, So., 13th, 23:02.6; Cassara Ryan, So., 15th, 23:22.9; Bella Titus, So., 18th, 23:44.5; Madison Gould, Fr., 19th, 23:59.6; Emily Manuelito, So., 20th, 24:03.8; Alma Melendez, So., 25th, 24:29.9; Barbara Paez, So., 27th, 25:11.3; Grace Teevan, Jr., 29th, 25:23.7; Marissa Mansour, Jr., 31st, 25:30.8; MK Fairbanks, Jr., 25:46.9.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Sunnyslope v-ball tries to rally, but Gators stand firm

 One great match deserves another.

In the case of Xavier Prep’s Gators, their rally for a 3-2 volleyball victory over Phoenix Desert Vista on Wednesday night (Oct. 21) set the stage for a 3-1 triumph over 2019 5A Conference state champion Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday night (Oct. 22).

Scores vs. Sunnyslope (Xavier listed first): 25-20, 25-18, 23-25 and 27-25. Xavier is now 8-5, while Sunnyslope, which moved up to 6A this season, slipped to 6-2 with its second straight loss.

Xavier had rallied from two sets down to defeat Desert Vista, and the confidence gleaned from that match carried over at Sunnyslope.

Still, the Gators have some work to do. They were within range of a sweep against the Vikings, leading 23-21 in the third game, but Sunnyslope scored four straight points to send it to a fourth.

“If you are up 23-21 in the third game at state, you have to make sure you finish it off if you want to stay in the tournament. We didn’t do that here,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“We thought the match was over, and it wasn’t. We’re at the point of the season when every match matters when you’re looking at power points (Arizona Interscholastic Association rankings).’’

In the fourth game, Xavier led until late, when Sunnyslope pulled even with the Gators at 20-20 and shortly thereafter took a 22-21 lead on a block.

Back and forth it went after that. Sunnyslope had its last lead at 25-24, on a double hit by Xavier, but couldn’t put it away. The Gators tied it at 25-25 on a block by senior Phoebe Lewis, then picked up the final two points. Finally, they could take a breath.

Bryant liked the play of junior outside hitter Tiffany Tellez, particularly in the early part of the match, and pointed to the consistent efforts of junior outside hitter Emma Soderstrom and senior libero Kaori Robertson. And junior setter Alexa Shiner did a good job setting up her teammates up front with her passing, as well as keeping the Vikings off balance with some strategically placed shots of her own.

Xavier has two regular-season matches remaining: on Tuesday (Oct. 27) at Chandler Hamilton and on Nov. 3 at home against Tempe Corona del Sol.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Xavier volleyball silences the Thunder

 If Xavier Prep goes on to bigger and better things in the 6A Conference state volleyball tournament, perhaps it can say that its effort on Wednesday night (Oct. 21) was a turning point.

The Gators, who had been swept in their two previous matches, took to the road against Phoenix Desert Vista and overcame a two-set deficit against the Ahwatukee school for a 3-2 victory.

Scores were (Xavier listed first): 25-19. 17-25, 23-25, 25-15 and 16-14.

Xavier raised its record to 7-5 while the Thunder fell to 7-3. On Thursday night (Oct. 22), Xavier will play its third match in as many nights when it travels to face Phoenix Sunnyslope, which lost its first match of the year on Wednesday night, a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

After Xavier’s loss to Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night, Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said her team needed a confidence-building win, and soon. XCP got that against Desert Vista.

Xavier got a fine all-around game from junior Tiffany Tellez, who had 14 kills, 3 blocks and 22 digs. Junior setter Alexa Shiner produced 53 assists and had 23 digs. And senior Phoebe Lewis was strong at the net with 15 kills.


Badminton victory breathes life into Gators

 As the badminton regular season winds to a close, Xavier Prep appears to have plenty of life left for a possible playoff run.

The Gators rebounded from a 9-0 setback to Gilbert Perry on Tuesday with a 7-2 road triumph over Tempe Corona del Sol on Wednesday (Oct. 21).  The XCP junior varsity also won 8-1.

Xavier (6-5) has two regular-season matches remaining, at home against Phoenix Desert Vista on Tuesday (Oct. 27) and on the road against Scottsdale Chaparral on Wednesday (Oct. 28).

Xavier Prep 7, Corona del Sol 2

Singles

Merilyn Li, CDS, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-11, 21-18. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Kayla McDonald, CDS, 21-14, 21-10. Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Megan Kirchhardt, CDS, 21-17, 21-15. Mia Velasco, X, def. Adhiti Muruganandam, CDS, 21-18, 21-11. Malindi Kilb, X, def, Savanna Hair, CDS, 21-19, 21-17. Zoe Barton, X, def. Allie Pequeno, CDS, 21-12, 17-21, 21-8.

Doubles

S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X, def. McDonald-Kirchhardt, CDS, 21-18, 21-15. Li-Hair, CDS, def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-19, 21-17. Kilb-Barton, X, def. Pequeno-Muruganandam, CDS, 21-16, 21-9.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Volleyball issues an SOS in last few weeks

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team has four matches remaining in the regular season, including road matches against Phoenix Desert Vista on Wednesday night (Oct. 21) and Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday night (Oct. 22).

Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant would like to have her team finish as strong as possible, in order to get the best seed possible in the upcoming 6A Conference state tournament.

Where the team lands remains to be seen. Simply put, XCP has not been playing well of late, having been swept in its last two matches, including the one against visiting Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Oct. 20) on Senior Night.

Xavier Prep's three seniors and their parents, honored on Tuesday night. From left, Phoebe Lewis, middle, Kaori Robertson, and right, Zaira Reyes. (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

“From a mental standpoint especially, these next games could make a difference in how the rest of the season goes. We need to gain some confidence,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier slipped to 6-5 overall, while Perry remained unbeaten at 9-0. Perry has 3-0 sweeps in seven of its nine wins.

A classy addition to the ceremony: life-size signs in the Activity Center lobby.


The scores indicate that the Gators actually were more competitive in the first match against Perry (also a sweep) at Perry on Sept. 29. The margins of victory by the Pumas were by six, two and five points. In the latest meeting, Perry won by nine, nine and seven (25-16, 25-16, 25-18).

From the looks of things at the beginning of Tuesday’s first game, it appeared that Xavier might have a chance to steal a win. The Gators had an 11-6 lead, but the alarm clock went off for the Pumas and they ran off nine straight points.

Perry had a comfortable lead most of the way in the second game. Xavier attempted a late rally with a 6-1 run, but was in too big of a hole when the charge began and ran out of time.

Xavier was competitive for awhile in the third game, but another 9-0 run by Perry matched its effort in the first game and was never seriously challenged after that.

 

 

Perry dominates Gators in badminton sweep

 Gilbert Perry is leaving little doubt as to which badminton team is Arizona’s best this season.

The Pumas are 9-0.

Xavier had just two matches (one singles, one doubles) that went beyond two sets.

The Gators, now 5-5 overall, have three regular-season matches remaining – on Wednesday (Oct. 22) at Tempe Corona del Sol, on Oct. 27 against Phoenix Desert Vista in the XCP home finale, and on Oct. 28 at Scottsdale Chaparral.

Perry 9, Xavier Prep 0

Singles

Kate Macpherson, P, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-10, 18-21, 21-9. Nikhita Jayaraj, P, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 21-16, 23-21. Ashley Rodarte, P, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-6, 21-10. Adrianna Ramos, P, def. Mia Velasco, X, 21-16, 21-19. Emma Cross, P, def. Malindi Kilb, X, 21-10, 21-7. Jayden Montano, P, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-8, 21-7.

Doubles

Rodarte-Jayaraj, P, def. S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X, 21-12, 21-15. Ramos-Macpherson, P, def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-10, 21-9. Montano-Cross, P, def. Kilb-Barton, X, 15-21, 21-15, 21-16.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Xavier 4th in Aguila golf, state tourney next

 Xavier Prep’s golf team got a taste of what the atmosphere at next week’s Division I state tournament in Tucson will be like when it faced many of the state’s top teams at a state preview tournament on Tuesday (Oct. 20) at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.

The Gators finished in fourth place in the 19-team event at 15-over-par, 10 shots behind winner and defending state champion Phoenix Pinnacle.  Pinnacle was at 5-over 293, followed by Tucson Ironwood Ridge at 8-over 296, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows at 12-over 300, and Xavier.

It had been about three weeks since the Gators’ last competitive match, as the result of course availability around the Phoenix area due to annual fall overseeding.

“This course played long, which is just what the state tournament will be like (on Oct. 26 and 27 at the Omni Tucson National’s Catalina Course next week),’’ said Xavier co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam (with Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor).

“It’s not like our girls haven’t been doing anything these last three weeks. They have been working very hard on their game,’’ said Selvaratnam, who will take most of her players to Tucson on Thursday (Oct. 21) for a practice round, as she has done on a few occasions earlier this school year.

Xavier’s team is made up mainly of underclassmen, including freshmen. In many cases this season, they have played more like older, more seasoned players, which is a good thing.

“We are young and vibrant, a good bunch of kids,’’ Selvaratnam said. “If they play the good golf like they know how, we can be very competitive.’’

In other words, the school’s 37th state championship can become a reality.

Xavier scores at the Aguila:

Ivy Song, Jr., 74 (+2), Kate Hauptman, Fr., 75 (+3), Lauren Garcia, Sr., 75 (+3), Annie Dawson, So., 79 (+7). Also, Jayden Jevnick, Fr., 81 (+9), not included in team score.

Extra Gator players:

Lena Durette, Fr., 78 (+6), Mary Beth Doss, Sr., 79 (+7), Kalyn Doss, Fr., 82 (+10), Kyla Layman, Fr., 83 (+11).

Team scores:

Phoenix Pinnacle 293, Tucson Ironwood Ridge 296, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 300, Xavier Prep 303, Anthem Boulder Creek 312, Peoria Liberty 324, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep 332, Waddell Canyon View 333, Goodyear Millennium 334, Phoenix Horizon 337, Tempe Corona del Sol 347, Phoenix Desert Vista 351, Tucson Salpointe Catholic 359, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 373, Gilbert Perry 376, Gilbert Highland 378, Phoenix Sandra Day O'Connor 381, Glendale Mountain Ridge 390, Scottsdale Chaparral 394.



Friday, October 16, 2020

Swarming with seniors, XCP badminton wins

 In what seemed like a cast of thousands, Xavier Prep honored its elder badminton players on Thursday (Oct. 15) with its annual Senior Day.

The cast was bigger than normal, because all six of its top players (Lina Vanderwey, Sophie Riviere, Lauren Etsitty, Mia Velasco, Malindi Kilb and Zoe Barton), along with managers Jillian Brown and Sienna Martinez, are seniors.

The Gators responded with an impressive 8-1 victory over Chandler High, giving them a 5-4 overall record.

For awhile, the season appeared to be in jeopardy with all of the confusion that was the result of the invasion of the Corona virus.

“They (players) didn’t know if they were going to miss a lot of the senior experience,’’ said Xavier coach Laura Forbes.

“We needed this, because there are a lot of good teams in our region (Premier). We came out flat against (Chandler) Basha (on Wednesday) and we came out strong today. It was nice to get that energy back.’’

The Gators were energetic from the get-go and appeared to be unaffected at even the smallest hint of a challenge from the Wolves.

Xavier has two road matches in the coming week – at Gilbert Perry on Tuesday (Oct. 20) and at Tempe Corona del Sol on Wednesday (Oct. 21).

Xavier Prep 8, Chandler 1

Singles

Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Mattie Shumaker, C, 21-18, 21-10. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Tegan Sanders, C, 21-13, 21-18. Katie DeDakis, C, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 11-21, 22-20, 21-16. Mia Velasco, X, def. Evelyn Gomez, C, 22-20, 21-6. Malindi Kilb, X, def. Adamaris Lopez Morales, C, 21-12, 21-5. Zoe Barton, X, def. Sabina Guzman, C, 21-11, 21-5.

Doubles

Vanderwey-S. Riviere, X, def. Sanders-Gomez, C, 21-10, 21-15. Etsitty-Velasco, X, def. DeDakis-Shumaker, C, 21-15, 21-15. Kilb-Barton, X, def. Guzman-Lopez Morales, C, 21-13, 21-8.


Chandler gets surprising sweep over Gator v-ball

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team took one step forward on Wednesday night (Oct. 14), but turned around just one night later and took one step back on Thursday night (Oct 15).

With the 3-0 sweep by Chandler on Thursday night, the Gators find themselves in a precarious position, as they play a home match against top-ranked Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Oct. 20), followed by road matches against Phoenix Desert Vista on Wednesday night (Oct. 21) and Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday night (Oct. 22). Quality opponents all.

Xavier, which defeated Chandler 3-1 at Xavier on Sept. 24, made a tough run against the Wolves in Game 1 on Thursday night before falling 25-21. Things began to slip away in Game 2 with a 25-18 loss, and Chandler applied the finishing touches in Game 3 with a 25-16 win.

The Gators were deficient with their service (only one ace) and blocks (five, three by senior Phoebe Lewis). Senior libero Kaori Robertson led the defense with 17 digs, and junior Bella Sinacori had eight kills.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Volleyball plays well, but needs to be even better

Of the six schools remaining on the Xavier Prep regular-season volleyball schedule four are slotted ahead of the Gators in the weekly Arizona Interscholastic Association rankings for 6A Conference teams.

That means it is time for the Gators to get down to business.

After struggling against Mesa Mountain View in a 3-2 loss last week, Xavier has come back with a sweep of Peoria Liberty and the latest at home on Wednesday night (Oct. 14) against Premier Region rival Chandler Basha, the defending state champion. The sweep of the Bears was Xavier’s second this season, as Basha is trying to rebuild after losing several key players to graduation.

Scores against Basha were 25-18, 25-11 and 25-12.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant has held team meetings with her players to emphasize what needed to be done if the team wanted to survive late in the season and in the state tournament.

“Tonight, we did a lot of things we needed to do to get better,’’ Bryant said. “And we need to keep working on our confidence.’’

Xavier looked solid in virtually every area, starting with communication.

The numbers reflected the consistency.

Senior Phoebe Lewis and junior Bella Sinacori each had nine kills, and Lewis had three blocks.

The Gators also got a big lift from junior Tiffany Tellez (six kills, four service aces) and senior Zaira Reyes (five kills). Junior setter Alexa Shiner contributed 27 assists, and senior libero Kaori Robertson and junior Emma Soderstrom led the defense with 18 and 13 digs, respectively.

Xavier (6-3) will travel to face Chandler High on Thursday night (Oct. 15) and return home on Tuesday (Oct. 20) against top-ranked Gilbert Perry.


Tough teams are an obstacle for XCP badminton

Xavier Prep was defeated by another one of badminton’s elite teams in Arizona on Wednesday (Oct. 14), 7-2 at Chandler Basha.

Xavier (4-4) has dropped four matches against teams ahead of it in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division I rankings (Phoenix Sunnyslope, Basha, Glendale Mountain Ridge and Mesa Red Mountain), with two more against top teams remaining (Gilbert Perry and Scottsdale Chaparral).

The Gators return home to the Activity Center on Thursday (Oct. 15) to face Chandler High on Senior Day.

Basha 7, Xavier Prep 2

Singles

Jordyn Mee, B, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-16, 21-13. Hannah Doyle, B, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 21-19, 4-21, 21-19. Aubriella Whisler, B, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-11, 21-12. Allie Ferin, B, def. Mia Velasco, X, 19-21, 21-12, 21-16. Tricia Despain, B, def. Malindi Kilb, X, 21-14, 21-6. Zoe Barton, X, def. Elysia DeLaRosa, B, 21-10, 21-11.

Doubles

S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X, def. Doyle-Despain, B, 21-10, 19-21, 21-9. Whisler-Mee, B, def. Velasco-Etsitty, X, 21-12, 21-13. Ferin-DeLaRosa, B, def. Kilb-Barton, X, 21-17, 12-21, 21-19.


Friday, October 9, 2020

XCP regains focus for v-ball sweep of Liberty

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss to Mesa Mountain View on Tuesday night (Oct. 6) with a 3-0 sweep of host Peoria Liberty on Thursday night (Oct. 8).

Scores were 25-15, 25-21 and 25-10.

Xavier, which inched back over the .500 mark at 4-3, will have matches on back-to-back nights next week.

The Gators will play host to Chandler Basha on Wednesday night (Oct. 14) as the second trip through the 6A Conference Premier Region begins. One night later (Oct. 15), Xavier will travel to face Chandler High.

Note

Xavier senior libero/defensive specialist Kaori Robertson has committed to play volleyball and study at the University of Arizona in Tucson, according to the Navajo Times. Congratulations, Kaori !!


Balanced badminton effort boosts Gators

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team is back on the winning track.

The Gators battled back from a loss to Phoenix Sunnyslope on Wednesday (Oct. 7) for a 7-2 win over visiting Peoria Liberty on Thursday (Oct. 8).

Xavier (4-3) picked up four singles victories and swept the three doubles contests.

The Gators will visit Chandler Basha on Wednesday (Oct.14) and play host to Chandler High on Thursday (Oct. 15).

Xavier Prep 7, Liberty 2

Singles

Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Lexi Davies, L, 21-16, 21-11. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Ashlee Inman, L, 21-13, 21-18. Kaci Ballard, L, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-19, 16-21, 21-19. Mia Velasco, X, def. Hannah Kubala, L, 21-11, 21-5. Malindi Kilb, X, def. Riley Jones, L, 21-18, 21-13. Taylor Bettes, L, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-11, 21-15.

Doubles

Vanderwey-S. Riviere, X, def. Ballard-Inman, L, 21-19, 21-15. Velasco-Etsitty, X, def. Davies-Serena Byrne, L, 22-20, 21-10. Kilb-Barton, X, def. Kubala-Jones, L, 21-15, 21-14.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Gator runners congregate in vicinity of finish line

 There was a sea of blue in all directions and a big congregation of Gators.

And a successful congregation at that.

Xavier Prep’s Gators had perhaps their best overall cross-country performance of the season on Thursday (Oct. 8) in the annual Titan Invitational at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

The team had 36 runners participating in three “sessions’’ – 21 in the 5K Open I, eight in the 5K Freshman I and seven in the 5K Varsity I.

Led by junior Catherine Alaimo, Xavier had the first nine finishers in the Open. The team had two of the top 10 finishers in the Freshman and three of the top 10 finishers in the Varsity.

Next up for XCP will be in the Eye of the Tiger Invite on Oct. 24 in Marana, near Tucson.

Thursday’s Xavier results

5K Open

Catherine Alaimo, Jr., 1st, 20:46.7; Naomi Young, So., 2nd, 21:01.2; Erika Germinario, Jr., 3rd, 21:13.6; Maria Benitez, Jr., 4th, 21:15.1; Karime Morales, Jr., 5th, 21:29.0; Sophia Healy, Sr., 6th, 21:50.3; Emmie Halter, Sr., 7th, 21:51.5; Charlotte McClelland, Jr., 8th, 22:00.7; Olivia Charles, So., 9th, 22:13.2; Calista Flick, So., 11th, 22:41.0; Cassara Ryan, So., 12th, 22:42.5; Briony Campisi, Jr., 13th, 22:56.7; Grace Teevan, Jr., 17th, 23:42.9; Riley Ryan, Jr., 18th, 23:50.7; Grace McClelland, So., 21st, 24:01.5; Ellie Higgins, Jr., 22nd, 24:02.9; Becca Titus, So., 23rd, 24:03.2; Barbara Paez, So., 24th, 24:16.9; Marissa Mansour, Jr., 25th, 24:23.4; Emily Manuelito, So., 27th, 24:48.5; Alma Melendez, So., 31st, 25:45.0.

5K Freshman

Summer Goodman, 6th, 22:15.1; Madison Gould, 9th, 23:05.6; Julietta Tavizon Heredia, 11th, 23:50.0; Maya Nagaraj, 12th, 24:23.9; Sophia Corona, 13th, 25:00.6; Susan Findlay, 18th, 26:44.3; Arya Banks, 20th, 27:19.8; Adelaide Luna, 21st, 27:57.0.

5K Varsity

Jamie Stelnik, Sr., 8th, 19:33.4; Ansley Burns, Jr., 9th, 19:46.1; Tatum Goforth, Jr., 10th, 19:49.4; Reyna Silva, So., 11th, 20:22.8; Macarthy Mahoney, Jr., 12th, 20:25.4; Hannah Wheeling, Jr., 14th, 20:27.0; Holland Carey, So., 16th, 20:42.5.


Freshman tennis doing things the right way

 Start them early, finish strong.

That just might be the main reason for the success of the Xavier Prep tennis program.

The Gators have been one of the most successful teams in Arizona, not by pure chance or being an overnight sensation, but by the work ethic instilled in the players beginning with their freshman year.

The process is moving right along at XCP’s Stark Tennis Center and at opposing courts around the Valley.

Judy Hernandez is the head coach of this year’s group. She is in her third season at Xavier and takes over the program after Laurie Martin, who led both the varsity and freshman teams, cut back on her schedule for family reasons. Martin will continue to lead the varsity.

The frosh program is no-cut, which it has been for quite some time. This year signaled the arrival of 84 fresh faces, who have been assigned to various color groups, from those with experience to those who are at the beginner’s level.

The top competitive team consists of players who have the most experience, and a second team also plays against other schools. Both of these groups have matches about twice a week. When one team plays at home, the other usually is on the road.

The third group, the beginners, does the bulk of its work on Fridays. When they are not playing matches, the A and B groups alternate practice days. Hernandez and her assistant coaches cover the large groups in their practices, most of the time working with the same players in order to familiarize themselves with the players’ skill levels.

“And the beginners basically have never picked up a racquet,’’ Hernandez said. “They are in a seven-week program. By the end, we want them to be able to play doubles, with a smaller court marked off and lower-impact tennis balls. We want them to be able to move and score and work with their teammates.’’

There was a two-week delay to the start of the workouts due to the Covid virus, but when it got up and running, the girls came in ready to learn.

The coach and her assistants have been energized by the support they have received from the athletic department, and Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor in particular.

“When the girls come here, they already know about the Xavier tennis program and how good it is,’’ Hernandez said. “They all want to be a part of tennis, keeping it going.’’

Coaches are practicing safety protocols with the players, taking temperatures at the start of the sessions and emphasizing the use of masks.

“We want to keep everybody healthy,’’ Hernandez said.

One of the players with the most experience is Megan Wheeler. She has received instruction at various locations around the Valley and has played in USTA events. She comes from an athletic family – her sister, Hannah, is a junior at XCP and is a member of the cross-country team.

Megan Wheeler has done some distance running, but felt like she could be more successful in tennis.

“The running helped me with endurance,’’ she said.

She enjoys all aspects of the game, including the strategy.

“It’s really fun to be out there and practice together,’’ she said. “I like tennis because no match is really the same. You are constantly solving problems, what to do next and I find it stimulating to try and figure it all out.’’

Another important aspect is getting to know her teammates and having everyone support each other.

“This is a game that you will be able to play forever and ever,’’ she said.

Xavier Prep freshman tennis roster – 2020

Head coach – Judy Hernandez. Assistants – Ann Coover, Emily Even, Amy Gallo, Lara Murphy, Ford Oliver, Joy Rodey.

(Players listed alphabetically)

Alison Adams, Emily Alaimo, Zeara Arora, Brett Arthur, Itzel Atienzo, Emily Bartlett, Daniela Barrera Adame, Lily Beaver, Eva Berastegui, Shefali Bhakta, Isabel Bobis, Briella Boubek, McKenna Boyer, Katelin Brecheisen, Lucy Brink, Natalie Brooks, Carla Bueno, Lucy Bullington, Capri Cadwell, Lunden Carlson.

Emily Carrillo, Elizabeth Church, Olivia Clennan, Jeannie Cobb, Sonya Colattur, Gabriella Conti, Kaytlyn Cooper, Isabelle Cordell, Emma DelGhiaccio, Emerson Dominguez, Chloe Fox, Lily Frakes, Cecilia Goldberg, Valentina Gomez del Campo, Nancy Govea, Morgan Greenwood, Asiana Guang, Taylor Herget, Taylor Hillebrand, Harper Hipps, Monserrat Huelitl, Lucy Jackman.

Iliana Kockinis, Annamaria La Sota, Stephanie Lee, Kate Lum Lung, CC Lunt, Paige Maher, Ashley Mansour, Aliana Manzur, Makayla Marshall, Marlee McCloskey, Lilly Mederos, Gizelle Medina, Bryce Mueller, Neva Nemanic, Annabel Ohman, Elayna Pennell, Ellie Pompay, Mia Ponce, Francesca Raffa, Francesca Ricci, Marlys Rimmer.

Reagan Ryan, Amelia Sabatino, Aleksia Sandvig, Anna Santos, Cara Schillinger, Ella Schuster, Ella Seaman, Lucy Shanahan, Sofia Singh, Jenna Stegman, Kristina Stender, Ashley Valdivia, Chloe Vaughn, Katherine Warren, Megan Wheeling, Kate Willcoxson, Pierson Wilson, Ava Woodhead, Bella Woods, Megan Wubker, Kiera Young.


Badminton foe doesn't cower, it has power

 The new kids on the Division I badminton block are not cowering in the corner. They are a force to be reckoned with.

Phoenix Sunnyslope climbed up from Division II and appears to be a legitimate state championship contender.

The Vikings were methodically dominant in virtually every aspect of the game on Wednesday (Oct. 7), rolling to an 8-1 victory over host Xavier Prep at the Activity Center.

Sunnyslope, which won three D-II titles from 2016-18, raised its record to 8-1, losing only to powerful Gilbert Perry. Xavier, which dropped its second straight, stands at 3-3 entering an early 2 p.m. match against visiting Peoria Liberty on Thursday (Oct. 8).

“You can see why they (Sunnyslope) will be a factor at the top level,’’ said Xavier coach Laura Forbes. “They are tall, have good racquet discipline and their strategy is tough to go against.

“It was a good learning match for our team. That type of play is something we would like to work toward.’’

Xavier extended three of the singles matches to three games but could not break through.

The Gators’ top effort of the day was a 27-25, 21-19 victory by No. 5 singles player Malindi Kilb.

Sunnyslope 8, Xavier Prep 1

Singles

Sofia Lovesy, S, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-18, 21-17. Maddie Schlesinger, S, def. Sophie Riviere, X, 12-21, 21-14, 21-18. Allison Rodriquez, S, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 17-21, 21-12, 21-14. Rebecca Rodriquez, S, def. Mia Velasco, X, 19-21, 21-16, 21-14. Malindi Kilb, X, def. Maggie Bacon, S, 27-25, 21-19. Amber Coleman, S, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-12, 21-5.

Doubles

Bacon-Lovesy, S, def. S. Riviere-Vanderwey, 21-14, 21-17. A. Rodriquez-Schlesinger, S, def. Etsitty-Velasco, X, 21-15, 21-13. Coleman-R. Rodriquez, S, def. Barton-Kilb, X, 21-9, 21-13.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Volleyball lets potential match win slip away

 With two victories over Mesa Mountain View in their pocket, including a 15-point win in the second game of Tuesday night’s (Oct. 6) match, a third win should not have been much of a problem.

Except that the visiting Toros had other ideas.

They awoke from their slumber while Xavier could not get out of its own way.

Yes, believe it or not, Mountain View remained unbeaten by rallying in three straight games to take the non-region match 3-2. Mountain View is 6-0, Xavier 4-3.

Scores were (Mountain View listed first) 21-25, 10-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-8.

Xavier seemed to quit doing all the things that allowed it to build its 2-0 advantage. Passive, to say the least.

“Cutting corners,’’ is what Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant called it.

“When you’re playing against yourselves as well as your opponent, that makes it difficult to win.’’

Bryant also has concerns about a lack of leadership.

“We need to have somebody step up,’’ she said.

Xavier had a 22-19 lead in the third game but was shut out the rest of the way.

The unraveling had begun, and there was no way to stop it.

Mountain View had a comfortable lead in the fourth game and Xavier ended whatever hopes it had for a comeback with a net serve and trailing by four points.

In the decisive fifth game, Xavier held an early 4-3 lead, only to have the Toros run off eight straight points.

When a Xavier serve sailed wide and the comeback was complete, Mountain View players rushed from the bench to join their teammates on the court to celebrate.

So where do the Gators go from here?

To Peoria on Thursday (Oct. 8), when they face Liberty. From there, it will be a day-to-day proposition.


Gator badminton oh so close before loss

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team has been very competitive this season, so close that their two 5-4 losses could have been wins.

The Gators’ latest came on Tuesday (Oct. 6), 5-4 at Glendale Mountain Ridge. XCP won three singles matches and one doubles match.

The Gators (3-2) will play two home matches against Phoenix Sunnyslope and Peoria Liberty on Wednesday (Oct. 7) and Thursday (Oct. 8), respectively.

Mountain Ridge 5, Xavier Prep 4

Singles

Ali Roskelley, MR, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 22-20. 21-17. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Samantha Rawson, MR, 21-16, 15-21, 21-13. Ali Pedersen, MR, def. Lauren Etsitty, X, 21-16, 21-14. Mia Velasco, X, def. Jenna Dickson, MR, 21-19, 21-16. Malindi Kilb, X, def. Crystal Bellew, MR, 17-21, 21-12, 21-15. Cassidy Korman, MR, def. Zoe Barton, X, 21-10, 14-21, 21-18.

Doubles

S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X, def. Roskelley-Rawson, MR, 16-21, 21-17, 21-19.. Pedersen-Dickson, MR, def. Velasco-Etsitty, 21-14, 21-16. Korman-Bellew, MR, def. Kilb-Barton, X, 21-17, 23-21.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Gators refuse to fade in badminton spotlight

 It was a great day on Saturday (Oct. 3) – Xavier girls got a bit of exercise and went home with some items that can be put in a treasure chest for safekeeping and remind them of their excellence in badminton.

Senior Sophie Riviere was the big winner of the day for the Gators. She earned a first-place medal, going unbeaten in the flight of No. 2 players.

Riviere also was a factor in doubles, along with senior Lina Vanderwey. They finished second in the flight of No. 1 teams.

The Gators will have a busy week this week with three matches – on Tuesday (Oct. 6) at Glendale Mountain Ridge, on Wednesday (Oct. 7) at home against Sunnyslope and on Thursday (Oct. 8) at home against Peoria Liberty.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Runners look good in Twilight, set sights on state

 When you are trying to build a championship resume in cross country, it certainly helps if you have depth.

Xavier Prep’s Gators appear to have plenty of that, as they showed in the annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival on Friday (Oct. 2) at the Links Golf Course in the southeast Valley community of Queen Creek.

The Gators had 21 runners compete in three divisions, seven in each.

The races were the Large School Open (165 runners total), the Large School Frosh (93) and the High School Sweepstakes (117). Length of the races was 5,000 meters.

The most successful race was the Large School Open, where Xavier had five runners finish in the top 10 and won the team title with 23 points. Xavier was led by sophomore winner Holland Carey, junior Karime Morales in second, junior Maria Benitez in fifth, junior Erika Germinario in sixth and sophomore Naomi Young in ninth.

In the Large School Frosh, Madison Gould was the top finisher, in ninth place as the Gators finished second among teams behind winner Gilbert Highland.  In the High School Sweepstakes, juniors Tatum Goforth and Ansley Burns finished back to back in 32nd and 33rd place, respectively, as Xavier finished sixth with 184 points.

“It went well. All the girls ran hard,’’ said XCP Coach Dave Van Sickle. “We have six weeks until state and we will get better.’’

Dates and locations for the sectional races that figure into state seeding and the actual state meet (likely in November) have not been determined by the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The AIA is trying to figure out which of the various possible locations will best fit the safety protocols that will keep the Covid virus in check.

Many of Xavier’s runners will be competing next in the Titan Invite on Thursday morning (Oct. 8) at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

Xavier results

High School Sweepstakes

Tatum Goforth, Jr., 32nd (19:37.03), Ansley Burns, Jr., 33rd (19:37.12), Jamie Stelnik, Sr., 43rd (19:53.39), Hannah Wheeling , Jr., 45th (20:00.42), Reyna Silva, So., 46th (20:01.43), Macarthy Mahoney, Jr., 61st (20:22.52), Catherine Alaimo, So., 78th (20:53.25).

Team scores – IMG Academy (Fla.) 87, Phoenix Desert Vista 98, Gilbert Highland 113, Gilbert Perry 122, Flagstaff High 156, Xavier Prep 184, Chandler Hamilton 210, Queen Creek Casteel 213, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 261, Chandler High 261.

Large School Open

Holland Carey, So., 1st (20:44.03), Karime Morales, Jr., 2nd (21:08.76), Maria Benitez, Jr., 5th (21:17.17(, Erika Germinario, Jr., 6th (21:22.37), Naomi Young, So., 9th (21:32.24), Calista Flick, So., 15th (22:16.75), Olivia Charles, So., 45th (23.57.35).

Team scores – Xavier Prep 23, Gilbert Highland 36, Gilbert Perry 116, Mesa Mountain View 135, Gilbert Campo Verde 165, El Paso Eastwood 184, Phoenix Desert Vista 209, Surprise Shadow Ridge 216, Chandler Hamilton 217, Phoenix Pinnacle 282.

Large School Frosh

Madison Gould, 9th (23:05.41), Summer Goodman, 14th (23:11.18), Sejal Patel, 27th (24:20.39), Julietta Tavizon Heredia, 34th (24:49.17), Maya Nagaraj, 48th (25:36.05), Susan Findlay, 49th (25:37.60), Sophia Corona, 72nd (29:09.22).

Team scores – Gilbert Highland 46, Xavier Prep 95, Phoenix Horizon 110, Mesa Mountain View 121, Tempe Corona del Sol 125, Surprise Shadow Ridge 127, Peoria Liberty 127, Phoenix Desert Vista 135, Phoenix Pinnacle 238.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Smiling emoji says it all for XCP badminton

 Accompanied by a smiling emoji, Laura Forbes relayed a welcome text message on Thursday (Oct. 1).

“A good day for badminton,’’ said the Xavier Prep coach.

It was all the way around for the Gators’ traveling party to Chandler Hamilton, where the varsity defeated the host Huskies 8-1 and the junior varsity prevailed 9-0.

On Saturday (Oct. 3), Xavier will play in its second tournament in as many weekends with an appearance in the annual Forner Invitational at Phoenix Sunnyslope. Unfortunately, due to health and safety restrictions, spectators will not be allowed.

Xavier’s next match will be on Tuesday (Oct. 6), a road encounter at Glendale Mountain Ridge.

Xavier Prep 8, Chandler Hamilton 1                                      

Singles

Neha Shakir, H, def. Lina Vanderwey, X, 21-8, 21-13. Sophie Riviere, X, def. Nidhi Pulicherla, H, 21-19, 14-21, 21-12. Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Emma Skaggs, H, 19-21, 21-18, 21-17. Mia Velasco, X, def. Isabella Angelo, H, 21-16, 21-8. Zoe Barton, X, def. Kendall Tacey, H, 21-11, 21-5. Grace Riviere, X, def. Harli Noriega, 21-10, 21-11.

Doubles

S. Riviere-Vanderwey, X, def. Shakir-Pulicherla, H, 21-16, 18-21, 21-17. Velasco-Etsitty, X, def. Skaggs-Noriega, H, 21-10, 21-17. G. Riviere-Barton, X, def. Tacey-Angelo, H, 21-17, 21-9.


Gators enter volleyball obstacle course

 Ouch.

The Xavier Prep volleyball team was coasting along before this week’s matches, but all of that came to a screeching halt with opponents sweeping the Gators in two of their three contests, most recently to Chandler Hamilton in the Activity Center on Thursday night (Oct. 1).

The Gators had sandwiched a sweep of their own against Mesa Skyline in between the setbacks to Gilbert Perry and Hamilton, but that did not offer much consolation.

Scores against Hamilton were 21-25, 19-25 and 16-25. As the dwindling numbers might indicate over the course of the contest, Xavier could not match the size, strength and power of the Huskies.

Playing in perhaps the state’s toughest 6A region, the Premier, is a difficult task. The defending state champion, Chandler Basha, also is in the region, but is a bit down this season after losing several key players to graduation. Xavier, which swept the Bears in the season opener, will battle it out with Hamilton, Perry and Chandler High.

Hamilton had lost a tough five-set match against Perry on Wednesday night (Sept. 30) and did not want another disappointment against Xavier.

The Huskies seemed to be focused from the start.

Jordan Middleton, a 6-foot-2 junior outside hitter, provided the biggest impact with 16 kills on the heels of a her 27 kills against Perry. Setter Diana Ethridge set things up with 30 assists.

“Perry and Hamilton were clicking this week, and we showed that we have a lot more work to do,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “They have bigger people and I think we were a little scared. That is not Xavier volleyball.’’

Xavier had three players with 5 kills each – seniors Zaira Reyes and Phoebe Lewis and sophomore Kate Tax. Junior setter Alexa Shiner had 25 assists and senior libero Kaori Robertson had 24 digs. But the Gators only managed 3 blocks, not a good sign for the first line of defense.

The Gators stayed close in the first game and led early in the second before a 6-0 run by Hamilton turned things back in its favor.

Xavier was never really in it in the third game.

The Gators (4-2) will play again on Tuesday night (Oct. 6) with a non-region game at home against Mesa Mountain View. The Toros, almost always a competitive opponent, are 5-0.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Badminton rebounds nicely after close loss

 Sometimes, a team’s character can be reflected not necessarily how it handles itself in victory, but how it responds to a narrow defeat.

In the case of Xavier Prep’s badminton team, it battled back from a 5-4 road setback against Mesa Red Mountain on Monday (Sept. 28) for a 7-2 win over visiting Mesa Skyline on Wednesday (Sept. 30) at the Activity Center.

“Our first two matches were close (5-4 win over Phoenix Pinnacle and the loss to Red Mountain), so this was nice for us to respond as we did,’’ said Xavier coach Laura Forbes. “We’re getting there. Even with our JV and exhibition players, you can see the improvement.’’

The Gators chalked up singles wins by Lina Vanderwey, Sophie Riviere, Lauren Etsitty, Malindi Kilb and Zoe Barton. Doubles victories went to the teams of Etsitty and Mia Velasco and Kilb and Barton.

The doubles wins were significant because Xavier and their opponent split their first two games before the Gators decisively took control in Game 3.

Xavier goes back out on the road on Thursday (Oct. 1) with a match against Chandler Hamilton.

Wednesday’s scores

Xavier Prep 7, Mesa Skyline 2

Singles

Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Dylaina Herrera, S, 21-17, 21-14; Sophie Riviere, X, def. Priscilla Mendoza, S, 21-15, 21-10; Lauren Etsitty, X, def. Emily Muir, S, 21-14, 21-19; Whitney Brown, S, def. Mia Velasco, X, 22-20, 20-22, 21-19; Malindi Kilb, X, def. Tore Burton, S, 21-23, 21-8, 21-10; Zoe Barton, X, def. Shadyn Russo, S, 21-19, 21-13.

Doubles

Mendoza-Muir, S, def. Vanderwey-S. Riviere, X, 8-21, 21-15, 22-20; Etsitty-Velasco, X, def. Herrera-Russo, S, 21-19, 26-28, 21-13; Kilb-Barton, X, def. Brown-Burton, S, 21-6, 16-21, 21-11.


Perfecto! Gator golf finishes regular season at 10-0

 It’s a terrific 10 for the Xavier Gators’ golf team!

The girls finished their regular season on Wednesday (Sept. 30) by defeating Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Chandler High at Camelback Golf Club’s Padre Course in Scottsdale.

Scores were XCP 152, Sandra Day O’Connor 171 and Chandler 217.

Xavier was led by its two seniors, Lauren Garcia and Mary Beth Doss. Garcia shot the top score of the day with a 1-under-par 35, and Doss was 2-over at 38.

The other two players figuring into the team scoring were junior Ivy Song (3-over 39) and freshman Kate Hauptman (4-over 40). The extra player was freshman Lena Durette (7-over 43).

The remaining Xavier scores:

Sophomore Annie Dawson (2-over 38), freshman Jayden Jevnick (38), junior Audrey Sanchez (3-over 39), freshman Kyla Layman (39), junior Ava Mayberger (7-over 43), freshman Kalyn Doss (8-over 44), junior Kate Ryan (44), freshman Lauren Campbell (10-over 46), freshman Karter Nannen (11-over 47), freshman Grace Rubelsky (14-over 50) and sophomore Sophie Stamatis (18-over 54).

Xavier will play next in the Aguila “State Preview’’ Tournament on Oct. 20 at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. One week later, the Division I state tournament will be held on Oct. 26-27 at the Omni Tucson National Resort.

 

Volleyball comes back with a roar

 One night after being swept by a tough Gilbert Perry team, Xavier Prep’s volleyball Gators came back with a sweep of their own on Wednesday (Sept. 30).

Xavier, playing on the road for the second straight night, dominated against Mesa Skyline with victories of 25-7, 25-1 and 25-12 to raise its record to 4-1.

The Gators return home to the Activity Center on Thursday night (Oct. 1) with a match against 6A Premier Region rival Chandler Hamilton.