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.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Gator runners finish 4th in D-I state meet

 On a damp-ish, overcast Thursday morning (Nov. 12), Xavier Prep’s cross-country team tried to get warmed up, but it did not work out as well as the Gators had hoped in the Division I state meet at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

Xavier’s girls finished a very respectable fourth place, but could not come close to delivering a challenge to Phoenix Desert Vista, which won its second straight title.

It was Gilbert Highland that made a run at Desert Vista, finishing just three points behind the Thunder in the No. 2 spot.

Jamie Stelnik was the top individual in her final senior race for XCP, covering the 5K distance in 19:00.9, landing in 17th place. Given the fact that some of her early season was interrupted by an injury, she gave it a good effort after finishing seventh in 2019.

Desert Vista sophomore Lauren Ping proved that she is well on the way to one of the best careers by a cross-country runner in Arizona history, winning for the second time in as many tries with a time of 17:13.4.

The Thunder also had the No. 2 finisher, but it wasn’t the same as in 2019. Ping’s sister, Grace, was second a year ago but this time finished sixth as a senior. The runner-up finish this time was by junior Katie Sigerud.

“Desert Vista has a very good team, but Highland almost passed them,’’ said long-time Xavier cross-country coach Dave Van Sickle.

“For us, not everybody had their best day. I was still happy with how they ran. Everyone ran as hard as they could.’’

Desert Vista and Highland have some quality underclassmen, but Xavier fits in that category as well and looks forward to a stronger, more improved season in 2021.

“We have only one senior (Stelnik), and we have a herd of girls coming back,’’ Van Sickle said. “They are all really into it (running). Our future looks really promising.’’

Xavier state finishers

Jamie Stelnik, Sr., 17th, 19:00.9. Ansley Burns, Jr., 21st, 19:23.2. Tatum Goforth, Jr., 26th, 19:23.7. Hannah Wheeling, Jr., 35th, 19:48.4. Macarthy Mahoney, Jr., 46th, 20:03.9. Catherine Alaimo, Jr., 53rd, 20:19.2. Reyna Silva, So., 63rd, 20:44.1.

Team scores

Phoenix Desert Vista 41, Gilbert Highland 44, Gilbert Perry 82, Xavier Prep 124, Chandler High 148, Chandler Hamilton 159, Mesa Mountain View 164, Mesa Red Mountain 207, Anthem Boulder Creek 242, Tempe Corona del Sol 247, Surprise Shadow Ridge 300.

 

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