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.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Badminton players try to learn while they earn

 Xavier Prep’s young badminton team is getting its share of on-the-job training this season.

The Gators lost numerous seniors from last season, and their returning group had little or no experience at the varsity level.

They finished in the top four of the Flying Feathers Invitational in Gilbert, but faced their share of challenges this week in dual matches against Mesa Mountain View on Tuesday (Aug. 31) and Glendale Mountain Ridge on Thursday (Sept. 2).

Xavier fell to Mountain View 7-2 and 9-0 to Mountain Ridge.

Senior Caroline Cobb figured in both Xavier victories against Mountain View, defeating Kyndal Foster 21-17, 21-7 and teaming with senior Dani Rivera to win their doubles match against the Toros’ Analee Mooney and Foster. The Xavier duo was down 0-1 after dropping the first game, but recovered for a pair of 21-17 wins.

Also on Tuesday, the Xavier junior-varsity squad posted an 8-1 victory. The win was highlighted by singles wins from Kasia Smigielski, Lexi Garman, Lila Williams, Maggie Henry and Corinne Ladha.

Against Mountain Ridge, the Gators were closer than the score might have indicated, with two singles matches and a doubles match getting stretched out to three games.

Xavier is back for more action with two matches this week, both on the road. The Gators will face Mesa High on Tuesday (Sept. 7) and Thursday (Sept. 9) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee.

Thursday’s result

Glendale Mountain Ridge 9, Xavier Prep 0

@ Mountain Ridge


Ali Roskelley, MR, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-14, 21-13; Sam Rawson, MR, def. Jasmine Leyva, X, 21-15, 21-9; Stella Wesson, MR, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-17, 23-21; Maranda Rogers, MR, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 21-16, 16-21, 21-18; Kate Williams, MR, def. Dani Rivera, X, 21-10, 21-9; Teagan Pereira, MR, def. Caroline Cobb, X, 21-18, 21-10.


Wesson-Rawson, MR, def. Bonilla-Riviere, X, 21-10, 21-12; Roskelley-Rogers, MR, def. Leyva-Dowdall, X, 19-21, 21-12, 21-13; Williams-Pereira, MR, def. Rivera-Cobb, 21-16, 18-21, 21-12.

Tuesday’s result

Mesa Mountain View 7, Xavier Prep 2

@ Xavier Prep


Ellie Bawden, MV, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-16, 21-16; Elle Downey, MV, def. Jasmine Leyva, X, 21-16, 21-17; Leah Markovic, MV, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-23, 21-15, 21-14; Lexie Powell, MV, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 21-17, 20-22, 21-14; Analee Mooney, MV, def. Dani Rivera, X, 21-18, 21-12; Caroline Cobb, X, def. Kyndal Foster, MV, 21-17, 21-7.

Downey-Markovic, MV, def. Riviere-Bonilla, X, 18-21, 21-18, 21-15; Powell-Bawden, MV, def. Leyva-Dowdall, X, 21-19, 21-19; Rivera-Cobb, X, def. Mooney-Foster, MV, 18-21, 21-17, 21-17.

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