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, September 30, 2021

Senior golfers have emotional home farewell

 Xavier Prep’s golf team reached an emotional conclusion to the home portion of its 2021 schedule at Phoenix Country Club on Wednesday (Sept. 29), defeating Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Chandler High.

It was the last home match for four seniors – Ava Mayberger, Kate Ryan, Audrey Sanchez and Ivy Song. And it was fitting that a senior – Song – was the medalist with a 1-under par 35. Those four and their teammates gathered as dusk was arriving for tears, hugs, jokes and a slice of cake.

Xavier finished with a team score of 163, with O’Connor at 187 and Chandler at 218.

The match started a bit late after a water-pipe malfunction on the sixth hole forced the golfers to abandon that hole and use 1,2,3,4,5,7,8 and 10.

“It was a different day and we had our ups and downs, but we were able to come together and get it done,’’ said Tui Selvaratnam, the team’s co-head coach along with Sr. Lynn Winsor.

“It was emotional, but good. For our seniors, it has been a great four years. They all have developed into wonderful leaders.’’

After a win over Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday (Sept. 28) at Phoenix Country Club, the Gators came right back on Wednesday.

Xavier Prep 163, Sandra Day O’Connor 187, Chandler High 218

Xavier scores

Pre-determined top 5 (*counts toward team score)

*Ivy Song, Sr., 1-under 35; *Lena Durette, So., 1-over 37; *Ava Mayberger, Sr., 9-over 45; *Jayden Jevnick, So., 10-over 46; Audrey Sanchez, Sr., 12-over 48.

Additional players

Annie Dawson, Jr., 2-under 34; Grace Rubelsky, So., 2-over 38; Kate Hauptman, So., 2-over 38; Lauren Campbell, So., 3-over 39; Reimi Bleyl, So., 4-over 40; Karter Nannen, So., 5-over 41; Carrie Doss, Fr., 6-over 42; Kalyn Doss, So., 7-over 43; Kate Ryan, Sr., 7-over 43; Kyla Layman, So., 8-over 44; Sophie Stamatis, Jr., 15-over 51; Aanvi Goel, Fr., 22-over 58.

Tuesday scores

Xavier Prep 157, Corona del Sol 217

(Pre-determined top 5 (*counts toward team score)

*Jayden Jevnick, So., 1-over 37; *Kate Hauptman, So., 3-over 39; *Annie Dawson, Jr., 4-over 40; *Kate Ryan, Sr., 5-over 41; Karter Nannen, So., 6-over 42.

Additional players

Lena Durette, So., 1-over 37; Ivy Song, Sr., 2-over 38; Kyla Layman, So., 3-over 39; Grace Rubelsky, So., 4-over 40; Kalyn Doss, So., 5-over 41; Carrie Doss, Fr., 5-over 41; Ava Mayberger, Sr., 8-over 44; Sophie Stamatis, Jr., 8-over 44; Reimi Bleyl, So., 8-over 44; Audrey Sanchez, Sr., 10-over 46; Lauren Campbell, So., 11-over 47; Aanvi Goel, Fr., 18-over 54.


Badminton enjoys the feeling of winning again

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team got back on the winning track on Wednesday (Sept. 29) with an 8-1 road victory over Mesa Skyline.

Xavier (6-6-1) will have a home match against Chandler Hamilton on Thursday (Sept. 30).

Wednesday’s results

Xavier Prep 8, Skyline 1

Singles

Gigi Riviere, X, def. Emily Muir, S, 21-17, 21-19; Jasmine Leyva, X, def. Shadyn Russo, S, 21-17, 21-6; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Amber Sultan, S, 21-15, 21-17; Sophia Bonilla, X, def. Ilaney Conway, S, 21-11, 21-6; Lexi Garman, X, def. Natalie Teran, S, 21-14, 21-7; Caroline Cobb, X, def. Audrey Alvarez, S, 21-16, 21-12.

Doubles

Russo-Muir, S, def. Leyva-Riviere, X, 21-12, 21-16; Dowdall-Bonilla, X, def. Teran-Conway, S, 21-10, 21-11; Garman-Cobb, X, def. Sultan-Alvarez, S, 21-11, 21-11.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Volleyball chances turn dim against Perry

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team is facing the toughest stretch of its schedule this week, with contests against Gilbert Perry and Chandler Hamilton and its participation in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix and Tempe.

The first step, against Perry at Xavier on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) proved to be treacherous.

The Gators dropped the first two against the powerhouse Pumas, then looked as if they might get back into it with a lopsided win in Game 3. But Perry regained its composure with a decisive win in Game 4 to capture the match 3-1.

Scores were 25-15, 25-18, 14-25 and 25-14. Xavier’s overall record is 13-3, Perry’s is 19-4 entering a match against defending state champion Hamilton on Wednesday night (Sept. 29).

Perry is No. 2 in the most recent Arizona Interscholastic Power Points rankings released on Wednesday. Hamilton is No. 3, while the loss to Perry caused Xavier to slip from No. 6 to No. 7.

Xavier’s tough schedule continues on Thursday night (Sept. 30) with a match at Hamilton, then moves forward into the weekend to the Nike TOC, which features some of the top teams in the nation. Xavier has three games on Friday (Oct. 1) and will play again on Saturday (Oct. 2).

Sites for that tournament include the KROC Center in south central Phoenix and the Arizona State Student Fitness Center in Tempe.

In the first set against Perry, Xavier had a 13-11 lead, then saw that advantage evaporate when Perry scored eight straight points. After Xavier scored a point, Perry scored seven more in a row.

The second set had many similarities as the first, and Perry overcame a deficit for the win.

Xavier awakened in the third set, scoring the final six points. In the fourth set, Perry was in control most of the way. In the final point, Xavier attempted to return serve, but the initial contact by the Gators went in the  opposite direction from where it was supposed to go and clanked off the electronic scoreboard.

Lights out.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Frosh tennis players, coaches go the extra mile

 From the players to the coaches to the athletic trainers to athletic department staff members, the freshman tennis program has been truly a hard-working collective effort at Xavier Prep this season.

There are a little more than 60 players involved in the no-cut endeavor, and there are very few idle moments.

That is because of the status of the Stark Tennis Center, which has been completely demolished and is being rebuilt and upgraded on its former space at the west end of campus. The project has been transformed for several months, with a target completion date in mid-November.

In the meantime, everybody adjusts.

The three groups of teams – the Blue and the Green (competitive with more experienced players) and the Beginners (little or no experience and a primary learning level), have been practicing and playing home matches graciously provided by Central High, Xavier’s neighbor to the south, across the Grand Canal.

The location is within walking distance, but that can be a problem when you are carrying numerous equipment/clothing bags, so Xavier head coach Judy Hernandez and her assistants usually drive two buses over, one for the players and one to carry all the equipment.

Hernandez also chauffeurs the two competitive teams to their away matches. The Blue and Green teams usually have one road match per week and one home match per week. And the Beginners are out in full force for practice on Fridays.

“The situation is kind of nice,’’ Hernandez said. “We’ve got great girls this year. They’re freshmen, and they don’t really know anything different, having not played on the old courts. They know that in life, you are going to have to make adjustments.’’

Athletic department administrative assistant Ronna Layne does a lot of the legwork as far as scheduling/changes and setting up transportation are concerned. And Certified Head Athletic Trainer Laurie White and Assistant Trainer Hannah Duszynski shuttle fresh water and emergency ice over to the courts and are on hand in case of injuries. They communicate by walkie-talkie.

The beginning players work on hand-eye coordination, learn how to hold the racket, using the proper footwork and playing with lower-compression tennis balls to allow them to get used to the speed.

“Whatever the level the girls are at, we are hopeful they will continue to play after we are done here, whether its learning more through lessons or maybe having a chance to play at the junior varsity level (in the spring),’’ Hernandez said.

Both the Blue and the Green teams each won their first two matches. They were due to play again on Tuesday (Sept. 28) and Thursday (Sept. 30). The season will continue through October.

 

XAVIER PREP FRESHMAN TENNIS ROSTERS

Fall 2021

Competitive (more experience)

XCP Green

Abby Alcock, Logan Basten, Juliet Chrostowski, Gabrielle (Elle) Dinan, Payton Farley, Kenzie Scott, Emilie Strecker, Lauren Strong Albers, Maya Superfon.

XCP Blue

Chayse Clingan, Julia Ganem, Gabi Hayden, Savannah LaBerge, Sydni Mackey, Malina McKenzie, Nitya Reddymasu, Lara Shennib.

Beginning Group 1

Milani Alvarez, Olivia Aramian, Kelsi Carter, Alondra Castaneda, Daniella Cecere, Samantha Colonna, Maya Dolasinski, Emma Doyle, Kalani Hernandez, Erika Kraseman, Brooke LaRocco, Roberta Lobo, Adelina Marquina, Addelyn Pederson, Lexie Polachek, Isabella Reinhart, Lollie Schubert, Sadie Sebald, Rachel Shprecher, Eva Turner, Phebe Urrea, Chloe Yoon.

Beginning Group 2

Rocio Aguilera, Alondra Babonoyaba, Madison Ballecer, Kelsey Ballecer, Aku Baral, Ana Bramlett, Winona Chu, Brishen Ehmann, Mary Endredy, Alexandra Estrada, Ingrid Garcia, Abril Gutierrez, Laila Mullady, Denisse Nieto Valentin, Rowan Ostendorf, Aliah Perez, Angelique Ramirez, Rachel Reynoso, Monae Saia, Liliana Solorio, Deborah Toscano.

Coaches

Head coach – Judy Hernandez. Assistant coaches – Barbara Holcomb, Amy Gallo, Ford Oliver, Lara Murphy.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Xavier Prep riders are fueled by consistency

 Xavier Prep’s consistency on the mountain bike trails for the second straight race allowed the Xavier-Brophy Prep club team to finish second in the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League’s second race of the season on Sunday (Sept. 26) at the Arizona Nordic Village in Flagstaff.

Xavier-Brophy finished in second place on the day in the AICL’s South Conference team standings, behind No. 1 Queen Creek Casteel. Those two teams finished in the same order in the circuit’s first race, also in Flagstaff, on Sept.12.

The Gators had two riders in the top individual category, the Varsity. Mary Hill was fifth with a time of 1:23:10.62 in the 3-loop route (5.1 miles each loop). Aria Tseffos was close behind with a time of 1:40:14.3.

Grace Morgan came up with a fifth-place finish in the JV-1 race, covering the 3-loop course in 1:33:55.03.

There were three Xavier riders finishing in the JV-2 race, which went 2 laps. They were Bailey Finch, 8th place at 1:03:32.03, Chloe Lindeback, 17th place at 1:23:10.42, and Gabriela Evans,18th at 1:44:25.75.

Prescott’s Pioneer Park will be the site of the third race of the season, on Oct. 10.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Multitude of Gators show their running strength

 There were so many Xavier Prep runners competing in the annual Desert Twilight Festival at The Links Golf Club in Queen Creek on Friday (Sept. 24) that you probably could have called it The Desert Sunrise Festival.

It seemed as though every runner was wearing a blue Xavier shirt – 44 in all.

The Gators competed in three different divisions – the Girls’ Large School Open, the Girls’ Large School Freshman and the Girls’ Sweepstakes.

Xavier finished 15th in the Sweepstakes (the top division), second in the Freshman and third in the Large School Open. All races went 5,000 meters.

The top Xavier finisher in each category:

Girls’ Large School Open – Reyna Silva, Jr., 8th, 20:48.00.

Girls’ Large School Freshman – Maggie Mostoller, 17th, 23:50.00.

Girls’ Sweepstakes – Tatum Goforth, Sr., 52nd, 18:50.90.

The remainder of the Gator Multitude:

Large School Open (367 total runners) – Karime Morales, Sr., 12th, 21:01.00; Summer Goodman, So., 14th, 21:05.00; Erika Germinario, Sr., 19th, 21:16.00.

Holland Carey, Jr., 21st, 21:21.00; Bella Gomez, So., 22nd, 21:22.00; Nora Hinkle, Jr., 23rd, 21:25.00; Cassara Ryan, Jr., 25th, 21:29.00.

Sarai Arkeveld, Jr., 31st, 21:44.00; Sophia Maroufkani, So., 35th, 21:48.00.

Abby Macaluso, Sr., 41st, 22:05.00; Kylie Graf, Jr., 44th, 22:08.00; Emily Manuelito, Jr., 47th, 22:16.00.

Barbara Paez, Jr., 55th, 22:29.00.

Marissa Mansour, Sr., 70th, 22:49.0; Briony Campisi, Sr., 22:55.00; Alma Melendez, Jr., 22:58.00.

Bella Titus, Jr., 83rd, 23:05.00; Maya Nagaraj, So., 86th, 23:08.00; Calista Flick, Jr., 89th, 23:13.00.

Susan Findlay, So., 91st, 23:20.00.

Adelaide Luna, So., 102nd, 23:33.00; Olivia Charles, Jr., 109th, 23:40.00.

Charlotte McClelland, Sr., 130th, 24:22.00.

Arianna Thompson-Bueno, Jr., 140th, 22:44.00.

Ashley Stelnik, Jr., 150th, 24:58.00.

Maia Weingard, Sr., 182nd, 25:50.00.

Jimena Gutierrez, So., 190th, 26:01.00.

Grace Teevan, Sr., 218th, 27:03.00.

Zoe Lopez, So., 254th, 28:11.00.

Girls’ Freshman Large School (160 total runners) – Maggie Mostoller, 17th, 23:50.00.

Caroline Vietor, 27th, 24:43.00; Ellie Hilsabeck, 29th, 24:58:00.

Elle Houle, 31st, 25:04.00; Karina Zaveri, 33rd, 25:09.00.

Lily Bourque, 43rd, 26:01.00.

Girls’ Sweepstakes (187 total runners) – Tatum Goforth, Sr., 52nd, 18:50.90.

Hannah Wheeling, Sr., 92nd, 19:44.50; Catherine Alaimo, Sr., 19:48.00; Macarthy Mahoney, Sr., 99th, 19:53.30.

Ansley Burns, Sr., 100th, 19:54.40.

Reese Brown, Jr., 110th, 20:08.70; Lily Beaver, So., 114th, 20:15.30.

Naomi Young, Jr., 132nd, 20:34.79.

**The girls will lace up their running shoes next for the Thunderbird Invitational on Saturday (Oct. 2) at Mountain View Park in Phoenix.


Friday, September 24, 2021

Swimmers, divers near front of the pack

 Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team finished in third place, within a few points of Mesa Mountain View in the recent Xavier-Brophy Invitational, and when the teams met again for a dual meet on Thursday at Brophy Prep, the result was similar.

Mountain View finished with 95 points, while Xavier had 91.

Here is a look at the Xavier results . . .

200-yard medley relay – XCP 1st, 1:54.75 (Claire Douglas, Ashleigh Baros, Hope Nolan, Dylan Miller). XCP 3rd, 1:57.58 (Krista Tymkiw, Bella Guerra, Carter Cook, Lainey Wieland).

200-yard freestyle – Hope Nolan, X, 2nd, 1:59.94; Grace Hull, X, 5th, 2:06.51.

200-yard individual medley – Daisy Maldonado, X, 3rd, 2:22.72; Krista Tymkiw, C, 2:27.46.

50-yard freestyle – Lainey Wieland, X, 1st, 26.10; Dylan Miller, X, 2nd, 26.12; Ashleigh Baros, X, 4th, 26.55.

100-yard butterfly – Hope Nolan, X, 2nd, 1:00.62; Carter Cook, X, 4th, 1:04.15.

100-yard freestyle – Dylan Miller, X, 1st, 56.90; Ginger Mago, X, 3rd, 57.71; Bella Guerra, X, 5th, 1:01.23.

500-yard freestyle – Grace Hull, X, 3rd, 5:38.70; Lola Lysak, X, 4th, 6:08.97; Maddie Siordian, X, 5th, 6:13.83.

200-yard freestyle relay – XCP 2nd, 1:41.69 (Lainey Wieland, Ginger Mago, Ashleigh Baros, Daisy Maldonado).

100-yard backstroke – Krista Tymkiw, X, 3rd, 1:04.49; Cassie Werth, X, 4th, 1:10.03.

100-yard breaststroke – Ashleigh Baros, X, 2nd, 1:12.37; Ava Gill,X, 4th, 1:13.99; Daisy Maldonado, X, 5th, 1:16.00.

400-yard freestyle relay – XCP 1st, 3:43.49 (Ginger Mago, Hope Nolan, Lainey Wieland, Dylan Miller). XCP 3rd, 4:03.00 (Carter Cook, Cassie Werth, Claire Douglas, Grace Hull).

1-meter diving – Claira Chong, X, 3rd, 181.87; Michelle Mierzwa, X, 4th, 175.65.


Badminton makes progress in the wake of defeat

 Members of Xavier Prep’s badminton team knew what was in front of them when they faced four-time defending state champion Gilbert Perry on Thursday (Sept. 23) at the Activity Center.

Perry was 9-0 and the top team in the first Arizona Interscholastic Association team rankings of the season.

It was a tough task for the Gators, who entered the season with very little experience at the varsity level.

They did their best to withstand the storm, but Perry scored a 9-0 sweep to raise its record to10-0. Xavier fell to 5-6-1.

Xavier coach Brian McNerney said he tried to maintain a sense of calm when talking to the players before the match.

“You are letting them know (about Perry’s strength), but they probably already know,’’ McNerney said. “You can’t go into it with a defeatist attitude. You have to go into it with the idea you are going to make progress, progress each shot, each point, each match . . .’’

Of the Xavier singles players, No. 1 Gigi Riviere played with consistency against Perry’s Nikhita Jayaraj. It appeared that Riviere, a junior, might have Jayaraj, a senior, on the ropes on a few occasions in the first game, but Jayaraj escaped.

Senior Caroline Cobb also took her first game in the No. 5 spot opposite the Pumas’ Emma Cross nearly to the limit.

McNerney was encouraged by the effort of the junior varsity and what those players might be capable of in the future, with only a 5-4 setback to Perry.

Xavier goes back on the road on Wednesday (Sept. 29) with a match at Mesa Skyline.

Gilbert Perry 9, Xavier Prep 0

Singles

Nikhita Jayaraj, P, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-18, 21-11; Kaylee Ross, P, def. Jasmine Leyva, X, 21-9, 21-13; Jayden Montano, P, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-4, 21-11; Lauren Faust, P, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 21-10, 21-9; Emma Cross, P, def. Caroline Cobb, X, 21-18, 21-10; Emma James, P, def. Lexi Garman, X, 23-21, 21-7.

Doubles

Cross-Montano, P, def. Riviere-Bonilla, X, 21-14, 21-13; Amiyah Hernandez-Faust, P, def. Leyva-Dowdall, X, 21-6, 21-13; Yeojung Yoo-Morgan Vogt, P, def. Garman-Cobb, X, 21-14, 21-8.


V-ball defeats Chandler, heads into tough week

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team raised its record to 13-2 on Thursday night (Sept. 23) with a 3-1 victory over host Chandler High.

Scores were 25-15, 25-19, 23-25 and 25-14.

The Gators now enter perhaps one of their toughest weeks of the regular season.

They will face Gilbert Perry at home on Tuesday night (Sept. 28) and travel to meet defending state champion Chandler Hamilton on Thursday night (Sept. 30). Those two Premier Region foes had a combined record of 37-7 entering Friday’s (Sept. 24) play.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Gators survive their own obstacles on golf course

 Xavier Prep’s record in golf speaks for itself. The Gators have won 37 state championships, far and away the best of any team in Arizona.

But it’s not as if the Gators can roll the ball across the green and have it automatically roll into the cup. There are times when the ball doesn’t go where it is supposed to, such as straying into unmarked territory off the tee, burying itself in a bunker or plunking  into the water.

That’s the way it was on Wednesday (Sept. 22), when the Gators faced a tough Chandler Hamilton team at Phoenix Country Club.

At least at the beginning.

Xavier could not find the flag. The pin seemed like a million miles away.

Yet somehow the Gators managed to stand their ground and rallied from their six-stroke deficit after two holes for a nine-stroke victory over the Huskies (149-158), who have finished as the No. 3 team in the state the last three years and were the state runner-up two years before that.

Shortly after the shotgun start, Xavier co-head coaches Tui Selvaratnam and Sr. Lynn Winsor rolled up in their cart next to the clubhouse to check on a possible ruling.

The normally affable coaches had Mount Rushmore faces. That told you something right there.

“Things not going so good?’’ one observer asked Selvaratnam.

The answer was brief. “No, not good,’’ she said.

It seemed like it was one of those rare occasions when everything caved in at once. With most matches, one or two golfers might slide, but their teammates will pick them up.

What was necessary was everyone picking themselves up.

“We finally settled down and brought it back. It was tough,’’ Selvaratnam said afterward.

“The main lesson for us is that we are not invincible. We have six weeks to go before the state tournament. We’re going to have to make sure we are prepared, and we have to start preparing now.’’

Hamilton junior Jennifer Seo was the round’s medalist, with a quality round of 3-under 33.

Three 1-over-par rounds of 37 figured into the bulk of the Xavier scoring. Those were shot by sophomores Jayden Jevnick and Kate Hauptman and the third was by junior Annie Dawson. The fourth score was by senior Ivy Song, a 2-over 38. The extra player was sophomore Lena Durette, who had a 4-over 40.

Other Xavier scores:

Sophomore Karter Nannen (1-over 37), freshman Carrie Doss (2-over 38), sophomore Grace Rubelski (2-over 38), sophomore Kyla Layman (4-over 40), sophomore Kalyn Doss (5-over 41), sophomore Lauren Campbell (5-over 41), senior Ava Mayberger (5-over 41), senior Audrey Sanchez (8-over 44), junior Sophie Stamatis (8-over 44), sophomore Jorden Weinberg (19-over 55) and freshman Aanvi Goel (19-over 55).

Xavier returns to Phoenix Country Club on Tuesday (Sept. 28) for a match against Tempe Corona del Sol.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Quick start puts Gator v-ball on triumphant path

 In the first set of their 3-set match against visiting Chandler Basha on Tuesday night (Sept. 21), Xavier Prep’s Gators got off to a quick 12-0 start.

There was not much need to look in the rear-view mirror after that, as the Gators went on to post a 3-set sweep at the Activity Center, 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Basha recovered somewhat in the second set and even led midway through. Xavier, however, got four kills from senior Tiffany Tellez to stay close or move back in front. Tellez finished with 14 kills and 14 digs.

The Bears tried to dig themselves out of a hole, and were close in the early stages of the third set. But a block by the Gators allowed them to re-take the lead, and they began to pull away.

Senior Emma Soderstrom also had a strong game with 11 kills and 16 digs. Senior setter Alexa Shiner had 34 assists and freshman libero Olivia Lenz had 14 digs. Senior middle blocker Bella Sinacori had 3 blocks and senior Hannah Ulisch had a pair of service aces.

Xavier and Basha will have a rematch at Basha on Oct. 13.

It will be part of a tough stretch against Premier Region opponents, with home-and-home series on the schedule.

Xavier’s next match will be Thursday (Sept. 23) at Premier foe Chandler High.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gator golfers on target, record another victory

 Xavier Prep’s golf team ventured across the Valley on Monday (Sept. 20) for a match against Goodyear Millennium and Tempe Corona del Sol at the Sun City Country Club.

The Gators returned home with another victory in their back pocket. They finished with a 4-over-par 148 on the par-72 course. Millennium had a 12-over 160 and Corona del Sol had a 45-over 189.

Sophomore Jayden Jevnick was medalist for the match, the only player to shoot below par with a 2-under 34 for the 9-hole round.

Other golfers figuring in the Xavier team score were junior Annie Dawson (1-over 37), senior Ivy Song (2-over 38) and sophomore Lena Durette (3-over 39). Sophomore Kate Hauptman, the team’s extra player for the day, finished with a 7-over 43.

The remainder of Xavier’s large contingent:

Sophomore Kyla Layman (3-over 39), sophomore Grace Rubelsky (5-over 41), freshman Carrie Doss (6-over 42), sophomore Kalyn Doss (7-over 43), senior Kate Ryan (7-over 43), sophomore Lauren Campbell (7-over 43), sophomore Karter Nannen (9-over 45), senior Ava Mayberger (12-over 48), senior Audrey Sanchez (13-over 49), sophomore Jorden Weinberg (14-over 50), junior Sophie Stamatis (15-over 51) and freshman Aanvi Goel (15-over 51).

Xavier returns to its home course at Phoenix Country Club on Wednesday (Sept. 22) for a match against Chandler Hamilton, which in the last five years of the Division I state tournament has finished as runner-up twice and in third place three times.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Runners work and have fun on business trip

Who says that you can’t have a little fun while working on a business trip?

Xavier Prep’s cross-country team took care of its business and enjoyed itself in the process with a strong performance in the 40th annual Woodbridge Classic in Norco, Calif. (near Irvine) on Saturday (Sept. 18).

Xavier won the JV Gold Division, finished second in the Sophomore Gold Division and was 18th in the Rated Category, with 20 of its runners attempting to make the best of their opportunity.

Junior Reese Brown covered the 3-mile distance to win the JV Gold individual race, 19:29.3. The race featured 218 runners. Junior Naomi Young also had a good effort with a third-place finish, in 19:36.8.

In the Sophomore Gold Division, Xavier scored 62 points to finish second, just three points off the winning total of Ventura, Calif. Sophomore Lily Beaver was second for 3 miles in 19:43.4. There were 100 runners competing in that category.

The Rated Category featured some of the top runners in the West and beyond. The list here featured 181 runners.

The Gators’ top runner was senior Tatum Goforth, who was 24th with a time of 18:06.1.

Xavier will compete in another big meet this Friday (Sept. 24), the annual Desert Twilight at the Links Golf Club at 445 E. Ocotillo Road in San Tan Valley.

Races, including 10 for the girls, will run from 3:15 p.m. through 9:50. The course will be 3 miles in length.

Xavier Prep results in Woodbridge Classic

JV Gold Division (218 runners)

Reese Brown, Jr., 1st, 19:29.3; Naomi Young, Jr., 3rd, 19:36.8; Reyna Silva, Jr., 4th, 19:48.9; Emily Manuelito, Jr., 10th, 20:37.4; Cassara Ryan, Jr., 13th, 20:39.7; Sarai Arkveld, Jr., 18th, 20:53.7; Kylie Graf, Jr., 26th, 21:10.4.

Sophomore Gold Division (100 runners)

Lily Beaver, So., 2nd, 19:43.4; Summer Goodman, So., 8th, 20:08.2; Sophia Maroufkani, So., 17th, 20:44.9; Bella Gomez, So., 21st, 21:03.4; Maya Nagaraj, So., 30th, 21:49.4; Susan Findlay, So., 43rd, 22:20.9.

“Rated’’ Category (181 runners)

Tatum Goforth, Sr., 24th, 18:06.1; Hannah Wheeling, Sr., 21st, 18:46.1; Macarthy Mahoney, Sr., 87th, 18:55.7; Catherine Alaimo, Sr., 90th, 18:56.9; Karime Morales, Sr., 145th, 19:53.2; Abby Macaluso, Sr., 158th, 20:13.3; Erika Germinario, Sr., 159th, 20:13.9. 

Swimmers in top 3 of invite, nearly get 2nd

 Xavier Prep’s swim-dive team had a strong effort in its own invitational meet (with Brophy Prep) on Saturday (Sept. 18), finishing third, just two points out of second place.

As expected, Scottsdale Chaparral dominated the proceedings with 475 points, followed by Mesa Mountain View at 253 and Xavier at 251. Xavier and Mountain View will meet again on Thursday (Sept. 23) with a dual meet at Brophy.

Xavier’s top individual performance came by Gracie Munk, who won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.11 seconds. She also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.06.

Hope Nolan also had a strong swim in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing third with a time of 54.29.

Xavier also has been proficient in the relay events over the years, and showed that again with a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:39.74). The Gators’ swimmers were Munk, Dylan Miller, Ashleigh Baros and Nolan.

The Gators also finished third in the 400-yard freestyle relay, with a time of 3:37.67. The four XCP swimmers were Nolan, Munk, Lainey Weiland and Ginger Mago.

Xavier results

*Denotes finish toward team score.

200-yard medley relay – *XCP 5th, 1:55.67 (Claire Douglas, Daisy Maldonado, Grace Hull, Dylan Miller).

200-yard freestyle – *Ashleigh Baros, 11th, 2:01.57; Claire Douglas, 20th, 2:09.22; Ava Gill, 25th, 2:11.13; Madison Siordian, 34th, 2:16.12.

200-yard individual medley -- *Grace Hull, 11th, 2:17.76; *Ginger Mago, 16th, 2:20.42; Vivian Edwards, 35th, 2:33.63.

50-yard freestyle -- *Hope Nolan, 6th, 25.12; *Dylan Miller, 8th, 25.64; *Daisy Maldonado, 13th, 25.86; Bella Guerra, 40th, 27.82.

100-yard butterfly -- *Gracie Munk, 2nd, 57.06; *Grace Hull, 11th, 1:00.51; *Ginger Mago, 12th, 1:00.82; *Carter Cook, 16th, 1:02.13.

100-yard freestyle -- *Hope Nolan, 3rd, 54.29; *Dylan Miller, 7th, 55.26; *Lainey Weiland, 12th, 55.65; *Daisy Maldonado, 16th, 56.74.

500-yard freestyle -- *Ashleigh Baros, 8th, 5:18.84; Elle Edwards, 28th, 5:23.99; Lola Lysak, 30th, 5:27.82; Madison Siordian , 32nd, 6:13.62.

200-yard freestyle relay -- *XCP 3rd, 1:39.74 (Gracie Munk, Dylan Miller, Ashleigh Baros, Hope Nolan.

100-yard backstroke -- *Gracie Munk, 1st, 57.11; *Krista Tymkiv, 9th, 1:02.07; *Claire Douglas, 11th, 1:02.33; *Carter Cook, 16th, 1:03.71.

100-yard breaststroke -- *Ava Gill, 12th, 1:13.10; *Bella Guerra, 16th, 1:15.18; Lola Lysak, 25th, 1:17.90; Meredeth Scott, 32nd, 1:21.21.

400-yard freestyle relay -- *XCP 3rd, 3:37.67 (Hope Nolan, Gracie Munk, Lainey Weiland, Ginger Mago.

Team scores – Scottsdale Chaparral 475, Mesa Mountain View 253, Xavier Prep 251, Mesa Red Mountain 245, Gilbert Campo Verde 146, Scottsdale Saguaro 118, Queen Creek Casteel 110, Gilbert Higley 100, Peoria Sunrise Mountain 89, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 82, Gilbert High 77, Surprise Willow Canyon 62, Chandler Basha 54, Mesa High 47, Surprise Paradise Honors 39, Gilbert Perry 35, Glendale Mountain Ridge 21, Apache Junction 21, Phoenix Paradise Valley 18, Phoenix Country Day School 18, Phoenix Sunnyslope 18, Surprise Shadow Ridge 15, Flagstaff High 12, Peoria Centennial 10, Phoenix Mountain Pointe4, Surprise Valley Vista 3, Cottonwood Mingus  2, Glendale Raymond S. Kellis 1.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Soph comes up big for Xavier volleyball

 Sophomore outside hitter Finley Workman had some increased playing time and made the most of it with a team-leading eight kills as Xavier Prep picked up a 3-0 sweep of host Phoenix Desert Vista on Thursday night (Sept. 16) in Ahwatukee.

Scores were 25-20, 25-22 and 25-17. Xavier’s record improved to 11-2, while Desert Vista is now at sea level, 6-6.

Workman also was a factor on defense with a pair of blocks. Freshman libero Olivia Lenz had four service aces and 13 digs, senior setter Alexa Shiner had two blocks and 23 assists and senior outside hitter Emma Soderstrom had 13 digs.

Xavier will be back in action for two matches this coming week – at home against Chandler Basha on Tuesday (Sept. 21) and on the road at Chandler High on Thursday (Sept. 23). Start times for both is 6 p.m.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Sometimes, world of athletics can be ama-zing

 Zing went the string.

And it happened at the most inappropriate time, as Xavier Prep senior badminton player Jasmine Leyva was warming up for her singles match against Phoenix Desert Vista’s Aretta Lorenz  at Xavier’s Activity Center on Thursday (Sept. 16).

The shredded string on Leyva’s pink racket forced her to change plans out of necessity.

So she looked through a small group of possible replacements and picked one.

“I tried to go with one that was as close to my own as possible,’’ said Leyva, the Gators’ No. 2 singles player and No. 2 doubles player along with junior Riley Dowdall.

The weight was similar, said Leyva, who said she had the same thing happen to her once a long time ago.

“I still felt pretty good (about her chances),’’ Leyva said. “I studied her during warm-ups and figured out a weakness or two that I might be able to take advantage of.’’

Leyva won the first game 21-18 and had more breathing room in the second, winning 21-11. She and Dowdall could not find their rhythm in doubles, falling 21-11, 21-13.

Dowdall also had won her singles match, but the Gators could not build on that with a 7-2 loss to the Thunder. Xavier’s overall record is 5-5-1 entering its next match, on Thursday (Sept. 23) at home against Gilbert Perry.

“Jasmine didn’t let it (equipment malfunction) faze her,’’ said Xavier Coach Brian McNerney.

“It was definitely a tough day for the team. The girls played hard.’’

The coach inserted junior Lexi Garman into the lineup as the No. 6 singles player, and made her one of the No. 3 doubles players along with senior Caroline Cobb.

“Lexi was thrown into the fire and she did a good job.’’

Garman took Desert Vista’s Katelyn Larney to three sets, winning the middle game 21-19. Larney won the other two, 22-20 and 21-15.

“When you’re learning as you go along as our girls are, that’s pretty tough. But we (coaches) are really proud of them.’’

Desert Vista 7, Xavier Prep 2

Singles

Lekha Shrivastava, DV, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-14, 21-16; Jasmine Leyva, X, def. Aretta Lorenz, DV, 21-18, 21-11; Breanna Larney, DV, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-6, 21-14; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Miranda Martinez, DV, 21-17, 20-22, 21-18; Ainsley Smith, DV, def. Caroline Cobb, X, 21-18, 21-16; Katelyn Larney, DV, def. Lexi Garman, X, 22-20, 19-21, 21-15.

Doubles

B. Larney-Miranda, DV,def. Riviere-Bonilla, X, 21-12, 18-21, 21-12; Shrivastava-Aretta. DV, def. Leyva-Dowdall, X, 21-11, 21-13; Smith-K. Larney, DV, def. Garman-Cobb, X, 21-9, 21-12.


Mountain biker Hill is azcentral's Athlete of the Week

 Congratulations are in order for Xavier Prep sophomore Mary Hill, who was selected as the azcentral.com  Athlete of the Week for Sept. 17.

Hill helped the Xavier-Brophy Prep club mountain biking team finish second in the Arizona Cycling Association’s first race of the season on Sunday (Sept. 12) at the Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff.

Hill finished in third place in the JV1 South Conference race with 521 points.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

XCP v-ball sweeps Boulder Creek, now at 10-2

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team, playing at home for only the second time this season, made quick work of visiting Anthem Boulder Creek with a 3-0 sweep on Wednesday night (Sept. 15). It took just barely more than an hour for the Gators to complete their task.

Scores were 25-14, 25-17 and 25-7. Xavier now is in double figures in victories (10-2), and is ranked No. 6 in The Arizona Republic’s Super 10 (regardless of classification). Boulder Creek slipped to 3-4.

The Gators have another match on Thursday night (Sept. 16), back on the road against Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee.

“It was good to get back home,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “Once we settled in on offense, we became more efficient.’’

Bryant pointed to the play of senior outside hitter Emma Soderstrom, and a pair of defensive specialists/liberos, freshman Olivia Lenz and senior Hannah Ulisch, as among the highlights.

“They all looked really good,’’ Bryant said.

Soderstrom had 15 kills and 16 digs. Lenz had 16 digs. Senior setter Alexa Shiner had 27 assists, and  junior setter Kristy Tom had 4 service aces.


Win over Perry illustrates Gators' golf depth

 One of the goals of the coaching staff for Xavier Prep’s golf team is to allow as many of the team’s talented players to compete in as many dual or triple matches and/or tournaments as possible.

It wouldn’t necessarily be the best five competing each time out.

Wednesday (Sept. 15) was one of those times when some of the younger players got to contribute to the team score in a contest against Gilbert Perry at Phoenix Country Club.

It resulted in a comfortable 35-shot win for the Gators, who were at 12-over-par 156 while Perry was at 47-over 191.

Contributing to Xavier’s team score were sophomore Kyla Layman (1-under-par 35), sophomore Lauren Campbell (3-over 39), sophomore Lena Durette and sophomore Kalyn Doss (both at 5-over 41). Senior Kate Ryan was listed as the “extra’’ – shooting a 6-over 42.

Other Xavier scoreas:

Junior Annie Dawson, (2-under 34), sophomore Kate Hauptman (34), senior Ivy Song (1-under 35), sophomore Grace Rubelsky (even-par 36), sophomore Jayden Jevnick ((1-over 37), sophomore Karter Nannen (2-over 38).

Also, freshman Carrie Doss (7-over 43), sophomore Reimi Bleyl (9-over 45), senior Audrey Sanchez (10-over 46), sophomore Jorden Weinberg (12-over 48), senior Ava Mayberger (14-over 50), junior Sophie Stamatis (15-over 51), and freshman Aanvi Goel (16-over 52).

Xavier will get it going early next week on Monday (Sept. 20) with a match against Goodyear Millennium and Tempe Corona del Sol at the Sun City Country Club. Two days later, on Wednesday (Sept. 22), the Gators will return to Phoenix CC for a match against Chandler Hamilton.

 

 

Sr. Lynn Winsor honored with Title IX recognition

 During the recent fall sports pep assembly at Xavier Prep, a couple of familiar non-students were hovering around, Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Director David Hines and Assistant Executive Director Joe Paddock.

Their visit had an element of surprise to it – to honor XCP Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor with recognition by the National Federation of State High School Associations with the 2021 NFHS Title IX Trailblazer of the Year honor for Arizona.

Winsor told the azcentral.com Web site that the presentation, which included flowers and a plaque, was a shock.

The recognition is tied to next year’s 50th anniversary of the Title IX, which allowed females to compete in the athletic arena with the same rights as male athletes.

Winsor, who came to Xavier in 1974, told acentral.com that “Arizona does a great job in regards to equity and diversity for women’s sports. I’m grateful to be a part of it.’’


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Firebirds, XCP make noise in state-type swim meet

 Tuesday’s (Sept. 14) dual swimming meet at Brophy Prep between Xavier Prep and Scottsdale Chaparral had all the noise and effervescence of a state meet.

Unfortunately for the Gators, three-time defending Division I state champion Chaparral looked ready to make it four in a row with a 115-71 triumph.

“That was the most excitement I have seen for a meet this season,’’ said Xavier first-year coach Glen Coy. “Cheering each other on makes it much more fun.’’

Xavier last won the state title in 2017, then followed that up with three straight runner-up finishes to the Firebirds.

Xavier has numerous seniors on its roster this year and the majority of them are quality swimmers. So if another title is in the wind for the Gators, they likely will be the ones to do it.

Coy acknowledged that he and his assistants have been pushing their athletes pretty hard during the first part of the season, which features the Brophy-Xavier Invite on Friday (Sept. 16) and Saturday (Sept. 17) at Brophy. Coy said that before too long, he will start to taper off in preparation for state, which will be held Nov. 5-6 at the Skyline Aquatic Center in east Mesa (diving at Brophy).

The senior group is led by Gracie Munk, Grace Hull and Hope Nolan. They carry versatility into their individual events, and are integral pieces in the relays, long a staple of the XCP program.

Nolan won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles against Chaparral, Munk won the 100-yard butterfly. Hull was second in the 100 fly, was fourth in the 200-yard individual medley, was the No.  3 swimmer behind No. 1 Munk and No. 2 Nolan in the second-place 200-yard medley relay, and swam the anchor leg of the third-place 200-yard freestyle relay quartet.

Hull is not certain if she will continue to swim beyond Xavier after graduation, but is thankful of the opportunity she has had with the Gators.

“Days like this make it much more exciting. We want to be motivated for state and are working hard toward that,’’ she said.

“I have been swimming since I was 5. That’s a long time. When I came here to Xavier, it has been like a second family. We talk to each other and rely on each other, let each other know how we feel about things other than swimming, too. We are working on racing faster, and that brings encouragement.’’

Chaparral 115, Xavier Prep 71

Xavier results

200-yard medley relay – Xavier 2nd, 1:52.43 (Gracie Munk, Sr., Hope Nolan, Sr., Grace Hull, Sr., Dylan Miller, Jr.)

200-yard individual medley – Grace Hull, Sr., 4th, 2:21.13; Bella Guerra, So., 5th, 2:25.73.

200-yard freestyle – Ashleigh Baros, Sr., 5th, 2:05.14.

100-yard freestyle – Hope Nolan, Sr., 1st, 54.62; Dylan Miller, Jr., 57.07; Daisy Maldonado, Sr., 4th, 57.17.

50-yard freestyle – Hope Nolan, Sr., 1st, 25.26; Daisy Maldonado, Sr., 2nd, 25.30; Dylan Miller, Jr., 5th, 26.14.

100-yard butterfly – Gracie Munk, Sr., 1st, 58.41; Grace Hull, Sr., 2nd, 1:01.59; Ginger Mago, Fr., 5th, 1:02.71.

500-yard freestyle – Ashleigh Baros, Sr., 4th, 5:33.02.

200-yard freestyle relay – Xavier 3rd, 1:44.16 (Dylan Miller, Jr., Ashleigh Baros, Sr., Daisy Maldonado, Sr., Grace Hull, Sr.)

100-yard backstroke – Gracie Munk, Sr., 1st, 59.76; Claire Douglas, Sr., 3rd, 1:04.47.

100-yard breaststroke – Ava Gill, So., 3rd, 1:14.35; Bella Guerra, So., 4th, 1:15.93.

400-yard freestyle relay – Xavier 2nd, 3:44.60 (Hope Nolan, Sr., Gracie Munk, Sr., Lainey Wieland, Jr., Ashleigh Baros, Sr.)

1-meter diving – Claira Chong, So., 187.95; Michelle Mierzwa, Jr., 185.40; Alicia Jasinski, Sr., 1:44.15.


Monday, September 13, 2021

You can count on Xavier's 47 runners

 Xavier Prep’s cross-country program might have as many runners out this season than it ever has – 47 – and the Gators could almost stage a meet every week among themselves that might rival the depth and quality of a region or invitational.

“It is probably the most ever,’’ admits long-time head coach Dave Van Sickle.

The large roster doesn’t necessarily mean the Gators can unseat defending 6A Conference champion Phoenix Desert Vista, but it least gives Xavier a chance against that Ahwatukee program.

“We’re definitely the deepest in the state. You never know -- anything can happen,’’ Van Sickle said.

Senior Tatum Goforth wants to help Xavier win a cross-country championship (Photos courtesy of Coach Dave Van Sickle).

The roster is not overloaded in any one particular class. Everything appears to be balanced, averaging about 10-12 runners per class.

The Gators’ first two invitational appearances this season – at the Peaks in Flagstaff and the Fountain Hills Invite in Fountain Hills – provided some hints in regard to possibilities.

Xavier appears to have at many as 10 girls who could wind up in the top two dozen, or as close to that as possible. And it never seems to be the same runner stepping forward every time. It depends on the day, and it could happen at any time.

Two of the top runners are seniors Tatum Goforth and Hannah Wheeling. They provide consistency with their performance an leadership ability that shows as an example for the younger ones to follow.

Both are expected to be among the contingent of 21 top XCP runners who will participate in this weekend’s 40th Woodbridge Classic, one of the nation’s top invitationals, in Norco, Calif., on Friday (Sept. 17) and Saturday (Sept. 18).

“We’re off to a pretty good start as a team,’’ Wheeling said.

Senior Hannah Wheeling.

Many of the runners are trying to make up for lost time. Issues with the Covid virus limited their workouts a year ago, but this summer, the program was near full strength as the anticipation was high for the fall of 2021.

“We really couldn’t train all summer,’’ Wheeling said of 2020.

The desert heat won’t allow workouts after school, so the girls show up every day at about 5:30 a.m. to get their work in before showing up on time for their first class of the day.

Wheeling tries to not go beyond 9 or 9:30 p.m. before her head hits the pillow and rarely sleeps past 4:30 a.m.

“I’m used to it by now. It’s almost like I have an alarm system built in,’’ she said.

Proper hydration and nutrition are a must.

She hopes to continue to run in college, and has looked at a few already.

Goforth is excited about the chance to make a push for the state title.

“We have a super deep team,’’ she said. “I think we will have a really good chance to win state.’’

She said she has worked hard to keep her mental state on an even level as she prepares for races beforehand and gets into the action during the race itself.

Goforth has looked forward to the start of the season every year. She knows this will be her last in high school and wants to make sure the time is memorable.

“The team camaraderie. That’s what brings you back,’’ she said. “And having the dedication and the drive to succeed.’’

Xavier Prep 2021 cross-country roster

Abby Macaluso, Sr., Ade Luna, So., Alma Melendez, Jr., Ansley Burns, Sr., Ashley Stelnik, Jr., Ariana Thompson-Bueno, Jr., Barbara Paez, Jr., Bella Gomez, So., Bella Titus., Jr., Briony Campisi, Sr., Calista Flick, Jr., Cassara Ryan, Jr.

Catherine Alaimo, Sr., Caroline Vietor, Fr., Charlotte McClelland, Sr., Elle Honde, Fr., Ellie Hilsabeck, Fr., Emily Manuelito, Jr., Erika Germinario, Sr., Grace Teevan, Sr., Hannah Wheeling, Sr., Holland Carey, Jr., Jimi Gutierrez Marino, So., Karime Morales, Sr.

Karina Zaveri, Fr., Kylie Brown, Jr., Kylie Graf, Jr., Lily Beaver, So., Maia Weingard, Sr., Mk Fairbanks, Sr., Marissa Mansour, Fr., Maggie Mostoller, Fr., Naomi Young, Jr., Nora Hinkle, Jr., Olivia Charles, Jr., Reese Brown, Jr.

Reyna Silva, Jr., Riley Meza, So., Sarai Arkeveld, Jr., Sophia Corona, So., Sophie Maroufkani, So., Summer Goodman, So., Susie Findlay, So., Tatum Goforth, Sr., Zoe Lopez, So.

 

 

 

XCP runners frolic under the fountain

 The fountain in the northeast Valley town of Fountain Hills offers a famous spectacle for all to see, and Xavier Prep’s cross-country team was just as spectacular on Saturday (Sept. 11) withn the Gators competed in the Fountain Hills Invitational meet.

The Gators looked strong in their three divisions, winning the Junior-Senior Girls Open, finishing second in the Freshman-Sophomore Open and seventh in the Varsity race.

Xavier had a combined 32 runners out of the 654 competitors. All races were 5,000 meters.

The top individual finish of the day for XCP was senior Abby Macaluso, who won the Junior-Senior Open with a time of 21:26.07. Junior Emily Manuelito was close on her heels, crossing the finish line in the No. 3 spot at 22:21.24.

In the Frosh-Soph Open, sophomore Bella Gomez was the top Xavier runner, finishing third with a time of 22:14.43.

The Gators had five runners in the Varsity race. Senior Ansley Burns was the team’s top finisher with a time of 20:16.99.

Xavier full results (from azmilesplit.com)

Junior-Senior Girls Open

Abby Macaluso, Sr., 1st, 21:26.07; Emily Manuelito, Jr., 3rd, 22:21.24; Briony Campisi, Sr., 12th, 23:03.33; Alma Melendez, Jr., 23:04.32; Barbara Paez, Jr., 23:16.83; Bella Titus, Jr., 23:27.47; Olivia Charles, Jr., 23:41.05; Calista Flick, Jr., 24:17.30; Arianna Thompson-Bueno, Jr., 25:15.87; Ashley Stelnik, Jr., 25:51. 56; Mk Fairbanks, Sr., 26:08.16; Maia Weingard, Sr., 28:37.70. Top team scores – Xavier Prep 34, Flagstaff High 53.

Frosh-Soph Girls Open

Bella Gomez, So., 3rd, 22:14.43; Maya Nagaraj, So.,16th, 24:01.63; Susan Findlay, So., 17th, 24:02.91; Maggie Mostoller, Fr., 24th, 24:26.49; Ellie Hilsabeck, Fr., 24:27.02; Caroline Vietor, Fr., 25th, 24:27.30; Sophia Corona, So., 36th, 24:56.98; Jimena Gutierrez, So., 45th, 25:22.93; Karina Zaveri, Fr., 56th, 26:00.64; Lily Bourque, Fr., 59th, 26:06.31; Elle Houle, Fr., 61st, 26:08.56; Adelaide Luna, So., 70th, 26:47.21; Zoe Lopez, So., 113th, 28:47.70. Top team scores – Flagstaff High 64, Xavier Prep 69.

Varsity Girls

Ansley Burns, Sr., 26th, 20:16.99; Naomi Young, Jr., 35th, 20:37.31; Erika Germinario, Sr., 70th, 21:26.65; Sophia Maroufkani, So., 84th, 21:37.64; Kylie Graf, Jr., 113th, 22:35.04. Top team scores – Peoria Liberty 58, Flagstaff High 124, Mesa Red Mountain 153, Tucson Salpointe Catholic 175, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 270, Chandler High 279, Xavier Prep 279.


Mountain bikers look strong in 1st race of year

 The Xavier Prep/Brophy Prep club mountain biking team had a strong second-place finish in its first Arizona Cycling Association race of the season at Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff.

Competing in the Division 1 South group, XCP/BCP totaled 4020 points, one spot behind leader Queen Creek Casteel, at 4070 points.

Xavier’s top two riders competed in the JV-1 race. Mary Hill finished third in the 17.7-mile course with a time of 1:20:43.53, and Grace Morgan was 10th at 1:36:29.79.

The remaining seven Xavier riders competed in the JV-2 race, which was 11.8 miles in length.

They were Bailey Finch, 10th at 1:04:30.93, Kirsten Findlay, 14th at 1:10:56.68, Chloe Lindeback, 16th at 1:20:12.47, Alyssa Isaac, 17th at 1:22:39.49, Rachel Reyes, 18th at 1:24:32.59, Lizbeth Sanchez Garcia, 19th at 1:25:16.29, and Gabriela Evans, 20th at 1:41:11.18.

The XCP/BCP team’s next race is Sept. 26, when the team returns to Flagstaff to ride at the Arizona Nordic Village.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Full squad on duty increases volleyball chances

 Will the real Xavier Prep volleyball team please stand up?

The Gators, playing with a full roster for the first time this season, did just that by winning seven of eight games in the Westwood Tournament of Champions at Gilbert Mesquite and Mesa Westwood.

So Xavier is now 9-2 entering this week’s action, on Wednesday (Sept. 15) against Anthem Boulder Creek at home and on Thursday (Sept. 16) at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee.

In the TOC pool play, Xavier defeated Queen Creek Casteel, Phoenix Sunnyslope, Mesa Skyline and Mesquite on Friday, and Phoenix Northwest Christian and Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep on Saturday morning at Mesquite.

That put Xavier at 6-0 in pool play and made them the No. 1 seed from Pool C in the top bracket of the tourney, which shifted to Westwood in the afternoon.

The Gators were taken to three sets by Gilbert High in the first round of bracket play, winning the third and deciding game 15-9 (third games in the abbreviated tournament format only go to 15 points).

That allowed Xavier to advance to the semifinals, where they faced 6A Conference defending state champion Chandler Hamilton. The Huskies also went to three sets in the first round of their bracket before turning away Phoenix Horizon.

It wasn’t that long ago when Xavier was dominated by Hamilton in the annual preseason scrimmage that included Sunnyslope and Chandler Basha. But there was no repeat in store for Xavier, at least in the first semifinal game.

Xavier, in fact, looked like a team that might be capable of making a lengthy playoff run. The Gators, who trailed early, later went on a 12-0 run, doing just about everything right in a 25-16 victory.

As one might expect, that opened a Hamilton hornet’s nest. Yikes . . . the Huskies did not like what had happened, winning 25-8 in Game 2 and 15-3 in the decisive Game 3.

Hamilton went on to win the tournament title with a 25-19, 25-18 victory over Goodyear Millennium.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant saw a few things that Xavier might be able to do to give her team a chance against Hamilton when the 6A Premier Region foes play two more times, once at each school.

“If we stick to our game plan, we are capable,’’ Bryant said.

She called the tournament “a great weekend for us. It was good to have everyone available.’’

Senior outside hitter Emma Soderstrom has blossomed into perhaps the Gators’ best all-around player, and her efforts paid off with a selection to the all-tournament team.

“This weekend might be the best she ever played,’’ Bryant said. “Mentally, physically, she was able to score and was our best (offensive) attacker by far. She has worked extremely hard and is showing in the way she is playing.’’

Other Gators who made valuable contributions included freshman libero Olivia Lenz, senior middle blocker Isabella Sinacori, junior outside hitter Ava Larkin, freshman middle blocker Elle McCreery and senior setter Alexa Shiner.


Friday, September 10, 2021

Mountain bikers hope to ride wheels of fortune

 Some of the best athletes that Xavier Prep has to offer will be on display on Sunday (Sept. 12) when the Xavier/Brophy Prep club mountain biking team competes in its first of four races this season.

This one will be at the Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff, Xavier and Brophy combine to ride in the South Conference. The girls will ride in four groups on Sunday, at 11 a.m., 11:15, 11:40 and 11:45. The JV also will have its own race.

The team is being coached again by Rich Perrott.

The second race will be held on Sept. 26 at the Arizona Nordic Village in Flagstaff, with the third race on Oct. 10 at Pioneer Park in Prescott and the fourth race on Oct. 24 at the White Tank Regional Park in the west Valley community of Waddell.


What's all the racket? It's Xavier Prep

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team scored an impressive 9-0 victory on Thursday (Sept. 9) over Phoenix Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee.

The Gators now have a 5-3-1 record and will play again on Tuesday (Sept. 14) against Scottsdale Chaparral at Xavier.

Thursday’s scores

Xavier Prep 9, Mountain Pointe 0

Singles

Gigi Riviere, X, def. Kaiya Kurley, MP, 19-21, 22-20, 21-15. Jasmine Leyva, X, def. Alyssa Figueroa, MP, 21-11, 21-8. Sophia Bonilla, X, def. Elia Graves, MP, 21-13, 21-4. Riley Dowdall, X, def. Kenadee Terry, MP, 21-7, 21-13. Dani Rivera, X, def. Evita Delgado, MP, 21-16, 21-9. Caroline Cobb, X, def. Elyssa Hernandez, MP, 21-10, 21-12.

Doubles

Bonilla-Riviere, X, def. Kurley-Figueroa, 21-17, 21-16. Leyva-Dowdall, X, def. Terry-Graves, MP, 21-12, 20-22, 21-13. Rivera-Cobb, X, def. Hernandez-Delgado, MP, 21-18, 21-14.


Gators cut through heat to win Aguila Open golf

 A very warm (OK, it was hot) Thursday afternoon did not deter Xavier Prep’s golf team in the Aguila Open tournament in Laveen.

Xavier won the team event with a score of 316, 19 shots better than second-place Phoenix Arcadia.

The Xavier individual scores were . . .

Sophomore Kyla Layman 76 (4-over par), sophomore Grace Rubelsky 78 (6 over), freshman Carrie Doss 79 (7 over), senior Kate Ryan 83 (11 over) and senior Audrey Sanchez 86 (14 over). The top four contributed to the team score.

Scores for Xavier’s extra players . . .

Sophomore Karter Nannen 82 (10 over), junior Sophie Stamatis 85 (13 over), sophomore Reimi Bleyl 86 (14 over) and senior Ava Mayberger 90 (18 over).

“It was a great day of golf!’’ said Xavier co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam.

“The Gators weathered the heat and played very well. Very happy for the girls and the Xavier golf team.’’

Xavier will play again on Wednesday (Sept. 15) with a match against Gilbert Perry at XCP’s home course, the Phoenix Country Club.


Volleyball records sweep in home opener

 It was good to be home for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team on Thursday night (Sept. 9) in their 2021 home opener.

The Gators were dominant against visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe, winning 25-16, 25-8 and 25-18.

Senior Emma Soderstrom had a productive evening, tallying six kills, 12 digs and three service aces. Senior Isabella Sinacori and junior Ava Larkin also had six kills apiece.

Freshman Olivia Lenz had 12 digs and senior Alexa Shiner had 12 assists.

Xavier (3-1) was due to play four matches on Friday (Sept. 10) in the Tournament of Champions hosted by Mesa Westwood. Xavier was in Pool C and played at Gilbert Mesquite.

The Gators faced Queen Creek Casteel, Phoenix Sunnyslope, Mesa Skyline and Mesquite on Friday, and were due to have two more matches on Saturday morning (Sept. 11) against Phoenix Northwest Christian and Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

Bracket playoffs (single elimination) will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, but the site will be determined according to what a team does in the earlier pool play

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Gators triumph in 3-way golf match

Xavier Prep’s golf team picked up another victory on Wednesday (Sept. 8) in a three-way match with host Phoenix Desert Vista and Mesa Desert Ridge at the Foothills Golf Club in Ahwatukee.

The Gators shot a 9-over-par 153, while Desert Vista was at 161 and Desert Ridge was at 242.

Sophomore Kate Hauptman led Xavier individuals with a 1-under-par 35.

Other Gator scores were sophomore Lena Durette (extra) with an even-par 36, sophomore Kalyn Doss and junior Annie Dawson with 3-over 39s, senior Ivy Song at 4-over 40, and sophomore Jayden Jevnick at 5-over 41.


Still on the road, Gator v-ball stumbles vs. Mtn. View

 One night after opening their volleyball season with a victory, Xavier Prep’s Gators returned to earth and dropped a 3-1 decision to host Mesa Mountain View on Wednesday (Sept. 8).

Scores were 25-17, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-18.

Xavier slipped to 1-1, while Mountain View climbed to 7-2, including a 4-2 mark in the recent House of Payne tournament in Chandler.

Xavier will play its home opener in the Activity Center on Thursday night (Sept. 9) against Phoenix Mountain Pointe. It will be the third match in as many nights.

The Gators’ offense struggled a bit, at least numbers-wise, against Mountain View.

XCP only produced 22 kills, seven each by seniors Emma Soderstrom and Isabella Sinacori. Junior Maddie MacDonald and sophomore Mia Accomazzo each had two service aces. Senior setter Alexa Shiner had 21 assists.

On defense, Xavier had just four blocks as a team. Soderstrom and senior Tiffany Tellez had nine digs each.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Opening volleyball win pleases coach: "We got it done'

 This is one of those seasons when the schedule for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team is full to say the least, particularly in the first week.

The jam-packed marathon week includes three matches on back-to-back-to back days (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday), followed by an appearance in the two-day Tournament of Champions at Gilbert Mesquite on Friday and Saturday.

The Gators’ opening match on Tuesday (Sept. 7) was at Scottsdale Chaparral. Xavier took the first two, stumbled a bit in the third before bouncing back to triumph in the fourth for a 3-1 overall win. Scores were 25-21, 25-23, 20-25 and 25-18.

“For the first time out, it was good. We got it done,’’ said XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“There’s always a bit of nerves for the first game, and we were able to get past that.’’

Xavier’s top four seniors – outside hitters Tiffany Tellez and Emma Soderstrom, middle blocker Isabella Sinacori and setter Alexa Shiner – did what they are supposed to do.

Tellez, Soderstrom and Sinacori had 17 kills, 16 kills and 14 kills to combine for 55. Tellez also had three aces and 20 digs along the back row. Soderstrom had18 digs. Sinacori had four blocks. And Shiner had 41 assists.

“Tiffany really stepped it up,’’ Bryant said.

Freshman libero Olivia Lenz didn’t allow anything to faze her, despite her youth.

Both of the first two matches could have finished either way, with both teams hanging onto narrow leads at various points.

Xavier held the early lead in Game 3 and appeared as though it might be headed for a sweep. But Chaparral (5-5, including  4-3 in the House of Payne tournament in Chandler) managed to come back and take the lead, the Firebirds’ aggressiveness perhaps contributing to some Gator fatigue.

Xavier led through most of Game 4 and the lead was such that Chaparral began to fade a bit. Soderstrom finished off the Firebirds with a kill that went just inside the back line.

The Gators move on to Mesa to face Mountain View on Wednesday night (Sept. 8) then play their home opener on Thursday night (Sept. 9) against Phoenix Mountain Pointe.

XCP plays four matches at Mesquite on Friday (Queen Creek Casteel, Phoenix Sunnyslope, Mesa Skyline and Mesquite) and two more on Saturday morning (Phoenix Northwest Christian and Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep).

Bracket playoffs (single elimination) will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, but the site will be determined according to what a team does in the earlier pool play. Xavier will play in Pool C.