DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Golfers Song, Hauptman honored by azcentral

 A pair of Xavier Prep golfers who helped the Gators earn the 37th Division I state championship this fall have been honored by the media outlet.

Junior Ivy Song and freshman Kate Hauptman were among the final eight players chosen for the All-Arizona Team as well as candidates for Player of the Year.

And XCP Co-Head Coach Tui Selvaratnam was under consideration for the Coach of the Year honor that went to Phoenix Pinnacle’s Charlie Wilde for the second straight year.

After finishing as state runner-up to Pinnacle in the 2019 state tournament, the Gators battled back to reverse that finish in 2020, defeating the Pioneers by three shots at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort.

Hauptman finished third among individuals at the 2020 state tournament and Song was sixth.

Song was a four-time medalist in Xavier’s 10-match regular season, and tied for medalist honors in three matches. She had a scoring average of 34.8.She had a scoring average of 34.8. Hauptman had a 37.1 scoring average.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Check out the latest basketball, soccer schedules

 The Xavier Prep basketball and soccer seasons have been pushed back to the week of Jan. 18, 2021, by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

The latest schedules are listed below, soccer beginning on Jan. 19 and basketball on Jan. 20.


(Third revision from AIA)

All games, 7 p.m.

Jan. 20 – vs. Surprise Valley Vista

Jan. 22 -- @ Chandler Hamilton

Jan. 26 -- @ Chandler Basha

Jan. 28 – vs. Chandler High

Feb. 2 -- @ Gilbert Perry

Feb. 5 – vs. Tucson High

Feb. 9 – vs. Chandler Hamilton

Feb. 10 -- @ Phoenix North

Feb. 11 – vs. Phoenix Pinnacle

Feb. 12 – vs. Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor

Feb. 16 -- @ Scottsdale Chaparral

Feb. 23 -- @ Anthem Boulder Creek

Feb. 26 – vs. Chandler Basha

March 2 -- @ Chandler High

March 5 – vs. Gilbert Perry


(Third revision from AIA)

All games, 6 p.m.

Jan. 19 – vs. Phoenix South Mountain

Jan. 26 -- @ Gilbert Perry

Jan. 29 -- @ Chandler Basha

Feb. 1 – vs. Chandler High

Feb. 8 – vs. Chandler Hamilton

Feb. 10 -- @ Phoenix North

Feb. 19 -- @ Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor

Feb. 23 – vs. Glendale Mountain Ridge

March 1 – vs. Phoenix Desert Vista

March 2 – vs. Phoenix Pinnacle

March 4 -- @ Phoenix Mountain Pointe

Basketball or golf, freshman Doss on top of her game

 When girls decide to play more than one sport in high school, it can create a lot of interesting scenarios.

One of the most noteworthy situations belongs to Xavier Prep freshman Kalyn Doss.

She plays golf in the fall and basketball in the winter. That is a pairing not often seen.

Doss played with her sister, senior Mary Beth Doss, on the Xavier golf team that won the Division I state championship in late October.  Mary Beth has signed a letter of intent to study and play golf at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo.

Not long after the golf season ended, Kalyn was participating in basketball tryouts. Hoops coach Jennifer Gillom informed her that she had made the varsity team. In addition, another freshman golfer, Kayla Layman, earned a spot on the junior varsity basketball team.

Kalyn Doss (Xavier photo).

Gillom had watched Kalyn in summer league action and in a few camps when Kalyn attended middle school in Glendale. When Gillom discovered that Kalyn was planning to join her sister at Xavier, “I was hoping she would try out with us,’’ Gillom said.

Kalyn did not disappoint. Despite her youth, inexperience at this level and the fact that she stands just 5-feet-1, she has held her own at the point guard position as varsity practice zooms full throttle in preparation for the team’s delayed season opener on Jan. 20 against Surprise Valley Vista.

“I love her decision-making,’’ Gillom said. “She has very good court awareness. She can beat you off the dribble and she can shoot “threes’ (three-point shots). She knows how to pass and she has good patience. I think she has a bright future.’’

At around the age of 8, Kalyn would accompany her father to a park near their home and started to put the ball up toward the basket. It must have seemed like a million miles away. She later played for a club team, but also maintained an interest in golf and followed Mary Beth to Xavier because of it.

Playing point guard at the varsity level is a bit more than Kalyn expected, but she said, “I am adjusting to it. It can be a little hard, but it’s been going good.’’

The job isn’t all offense, of course. Playing good defense is essential. Your instincts have to take over. When guarding an opponent, you don’t want to get too close to allow them to take a quick step and drive right by you, or back off too much and allow them to shoot over you.

On the golf course, Kalyn has received a lot of help from her sister as well as Xavier co-head coaches Sr. Lynn Winsor and Tui Selvaratnam.

“I think I can drive the ball pretty far, especially considering how short I am. I also think that I am a pretty good putter,’’ Kalyn said.

She said she has been a frequent attendee at Xavier basketball games for about three years and has been excited about watching the Gators. Now she is a real Gator herself and admits, “It’s really cool. I enjoy coming to practices and getting to know the girls. They are all pretty nice.’’

Kalyn also has to make sure she makes enough time to study. There are some days when she doesn’t get home until 7 or 8 p.m. One of her favorite classes is Spanish.

Winning a championship in golf remains fresh in her mind. She remembers how good it felt to help the team accomplish its goal, and she wants her basketball teammates to get the same feeling.

“We can win state. We’ve got a good team,’’ she said.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Winter sports temporarily frozen in time

 Xavier Prep’s soccer and basketball teams will have to wait an extra two weeks for their seasons to begin, from the week of Jan. 5 to Jan. 18. The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board decided in a meeting on Friday (Dec. 18) to make that move in the wake of rising Covid virus numbers.

That means the start of the spring sports seasons also will be pushed back to March 1.

With a Jan. 5 start, basketball was due to play 15 games, while soccer was due to play 11. Whether the schedules need to be adjusted again isn’t clear at this point. The goal is to play seven-week seasons, but any schedule changes will need to be put in place by the various conferences, according to a Friday press release by the AIA.

The plan is to still have playoffs/state tournaments at the close of the regular season, around the end of February. Teams had begun preseason practices for about the last two weeks, and will be able to continue that without stoppage. The AIA wants teams to have about 14 days of practice before the regular season begins.

Under the current guidelines, spectators will not be allowed at games, as previously was the case, but that could change if virus numbers improve.

“These measures will allow us to start the season and I hope, that as we see hospitalizations go down, some of the restrictions regarding spectators, be lifted, said AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a press release.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Soccer team wants season to be well worth wait

 The waiting is over for Xavier Prep’s soccer team.

It’s been a long time for the Gators to get back onto the field. They had to wait close to a year as the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc on everyone and continues to do so. And there was the drought that brought no rain for 110 days before a cool rain drifted in on Thursday (Dec. 10).

There also was the elimination of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in April. That enabled players that previously had been prevented from playing for their high school teams to return to their high schools.

So now it’s the job of Xavier head coach Barb Chura and assistant Rafael Rios to put all the pieces back together and field a competitive team.

The pandemic also caused a reduction of the schedule and pushed it back to January, signaling more of a wait.

From the looks of things, the Gators appear to be on their way to making the most of their opportunity. The team lost eight players to graduation but will have 11 players returning along with 12 “new’’ players, many of them having played for the Gators in the past and a pair of promising freshmen.

After winning a “play-in game’’ to reach last season’s state tournament and falling in the first round, the Gators will be “much improved. Our level of play has jumped significantly. We have some good players,’’ Chura said.

While the Gators’ skill set creates optimism, the team’s success will ride on another important factor -- team bonding.

“That’s really the No. 1 thing,’’ Chura said. “There are a number of things we used to do that we are not able to for now and we have to find ways of getting the players to know and support each other.’’

Two of the holdovers from last year are senior middle backer Emmie Paulson and sophomore forward Eva Allen.

“We are very happy to get back on the field,’’ said Pauslon, who was injured as a freshman and served as a junior-varsity manager, and played on the JV as a sophomore before moving to the varsity last season.

Said Allen, one of the team’s top scorers a year ago: “With a lot of new players, it will be a big adjustment, a big challenge with the team bonding. But we are doing pretty well with it so far.’’

Supporting each other and holding each other accountable both on and off the field are byproducts of the bonding, according to Paulson.

Also, better communication.

“And it’s important for us to support one another,’’ Allen said. “It’s really important when you’re out on the field to have your teammates cheering for you.’’

Allen would like to at least repeat what she did last year, to add to the momentum.

In the early days of practice thus far, the Gators have been concentrating on conditioning. It may be difficult at times, but it will help in the long run, the players said.

“It will be interesting to watch how the former Xavier players come back and how everyone fits together,’’ Chura said.

Other players to watch are senior goalkeepers Jaden Campbell and Ella Eberhardt, junior midfielder Ansley Burns (a top cross-country runner), senior forward/midfielder Megan McGinty, senior forward Kendall Warner, junior forward Olivia Castrichini and senior forward Ololade “O’’ Adebayo.

Xavier’s 11-match regular season begins with three home contests at Petznick Field – Jan. 5 against Glendale Mountain Ridge, Jan. 11 against Phoenix Desert Vista, and Jan. 12 against Phoenix Pinnacle.



(Players listed alphabetically)

Head coach – Barb Chura. Assistant coach – Rafael Rios.


Ololade Adebayo, F, Sr.

Eva Allen, F, So.

Savannah Angell, MF, So.

Jayme Brown, D, Jr.

Ansley Burns, MF, Jr.

Jaden Campbell, GK, Sr.

Olivia Castrichini, F, Jr.

Talia Coury, MF/D, Fr.

Ella Eberhardt, GK, Sr.

Taea Eberhardt, D, So.

Collins Entz, MF, So.

Bianca Felix, D/MF, Sr.

Mia Felix, D, So.

Tatum Kramer, F, So.

Lourdes Lauterborn, MF, Fr.

Bella Leonard, MF, So.

Megan McGinty, F/MF, Sr.

Tessa Montanile, D, So.

Emmie Paulson, D, Sr.

Hennessy Perez, MF, Jr.

Kendall Warner, F, Sr.

Bailey Wolcott, D, So.

Lizzie Woudenberg, F, Sr.


(Revised from AIA original)

All games, 6 p.m.

Jan. 5 – vs. Glendale Mountain Ridge

Jan. 11 – vs. Phoenix Desert Vista

Jan. 12 – vs. Phoenix Pinnacle

Jan. 14 -- @ Phoenix Mountain Pointe

Jan. 19 – vs. Phoenix South Mountain

Jan. 26 -- @ Gilbert Perry

Jan. 29 -- @ Chandler Basha

Feb. 1 – vs. Chandler High

Feb. 8 – vs. Chandler Hamilton

Feb. 10 -- @ Phoenix North

Feb. 19 -- @ Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

XCP mountain bikers have magic tread in their tires

 With strong finishes in its final races of the season, the Xavier Prep mountain biking club team can look ahead to a bright future in 2021.

The 12 Hours of Fury race on Nov. 21 was a four-person team event. First place in the girls quad was Xavier’s Aria Tseffos, Mary Hill, Chloe Lindeback and Grace Morgan. Second place in the girls quad went to XCP’s Gabriela Evans, Lizbeth Garcia, Kirsten Findlay and Susan Findlay.

The Cactus Cup Juniors race series was a three-race combined team event with Brophy Prep. The event ended on Dec. 5.

Hill was first among freshman girls and was third overall.

As a team, the Xavier-Brophy pairing finished third overall.

Congrats to the Gators and Broncos!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Basketball Gators will have deep roster

 A nice music playlist mix of pop and holiday tunes wafted through the air of the Activity Center on Friday (Dec. 4). Even a few of the varsity and junior-varsity basketball coaches got their groove on, moving and swaying with the music.

But good things sometimes must come to an end and it was time to wheel the speaker back into the coaches’ office and get down to business.

In the case of the Xavier Prep varsity, it was the second full day of preseason practice after a few days of tryouts, and the Gators were working hard in preparation for a somewhat abbreviated schedule that was pushed by the Covid virus and its safety protocols into the first week of January.

Xavier, which fell to Mesa Westwood in the first round of last year’s state tournament, will play 15 games. That is down three from its original schedule, as well as missing out on a holiday tournament at Phoenix Arcadia.

The roster had been settled, and head coach Jennifer Gillom will oversee a group of 13 that has as much potential as she has seen at XCP for a long time.

“I am super excited,’’ Gillom said. “We are jelling pretty fast. We have had some very good individual players in the past, but I don’t think we have had the same depth as we have with this team.’’

The Gators are young, but they also are good. There are four seniors, one junior, four sophomores and four freshmen. Some of the freshmen play like upperclassmen.

The fact that a few of the players from last year’s team did not return opened things up for this youthful group. Virtually all of the players have had experience playing club ball, and that helps Gillom impart noteworthy aspects of what she wants done and not have to repeat basic instructions as often.

In addition to the club ball, players have been taking a weightlifting class at XCP, usually the final time period of the day, where they can get stronger and build more endurance through running.

“We have a lot of quick learners, and I don’t think you can always say that,’’ Gillom said.

Keep an eye on these players as the season opener at Anthem Boulder Creek approaches on Jan. 5:

*Senior guard Victoria “Tori’’ Saucedo. Gillom said she is playing with a lot more confidence and has improved on her outside shooting.

*Sophomore guard Sienna Cherwinski. She handled the ball most of the time from the point as a freshman, but this season will add to her resume by playing the “2’ and “3’ guards, moving everywhere in the backcourt, according to Gillom.

*Sophomore forward, center and sometime guard Mia Davis. The coach says the 6-foot-1 Davis has worked a lot on her game and now is more of a complete player. “She struggled on defense last season, but now has learned the importance of playing at both ends of the floor,’’ Gillom said.

*Sophomore forward Hannah Young also has improved and should be more effective under the basket, particularly with her rebounding and defense. Junior forward Toni Garcia also fits into this category.

*The depth has improved with the maturity of senior forwards Sophia Alameddin and Rachel Orr and the development of sophomore forward-post Gabi Trbovic as one of the JV squad’s top players last season.

*The four freshmen are guards Dominique “Dom’’ Nesland, Sarah Miller, Maureen Ulrich (guard-forward) and Kalyn Doss. The latter was a member of XCP’s state championship golf team.



(Players listed alphabetically)

Head coach – Jennifer Gillom. Assistant coaches – Patrick Mangosing, Rikki Mulloy.


Sophia Alameddin, Sr., F

Sienna Cherwinski, So., G

Mia Davis, So., F-C

Kalyn Doss, Fr., G

Lauren Etsitty, Sr., G

Toni Garcia, Jr., F

Sarah Miller, Fr., G

Dominique Nesland, Fr., G

Rachel Orr, Sr., F

Tori Saucedo, Sr., G

Gabi Trbovic, So., F-C

Maureen Ulrich, Fr., G-F

Hannah Young, So., F


(Revised from AIA original)

All games, 7 p.m.

Jan. 5 -- @ Anthem Boulder Creek

Jan. 8 – vs. Chandler Basha

Jan. 12 -- @ Chandler High

Jan. 13 -- @ Phoenix South Mountain

Jan. 15 – vs. Gilbert Perry

Jan. 22 -- @ Chandler Hamilton

Jan. 26 -- @ Chandler Basha

Jan. 28 – vs. Chandler High

Feb. 2 -- @ Gilbert Perry

Feb. 5 – vs. Tucson High

Feb. 9 – vs. Chandler Hamilton

Feb. 10 -- @ Phoenix North

Feb. 11 – vs. Phoenix Pinnacle

Feb. 12 – vs. Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor

Feb. 16 -- @ Scottsdale Chaparral