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, October 25, 2021

Grueling badminton season was learning process

Xavier Prep’s trip to the Division I team badminton tournament was short-lived on Monday (Oct. 25), falling to four-time defending state champion Gilbert Perry in the opening round, 5-0. But the Gators can take some solace in what they overcame to make a go of it.

The team began the season with not a lot of experience at the varsity level after its previous group of seniors graduated.

The “new’’ seniors took their lumps, but they played well at times, including at a tournament early in the season.

As the season moved along, some of the underclassmen began to show some promise, and it was enough to land the Gators the No. 15 seeding (out of 16) and set up the meeting with Perry.

First-year coach Brian McNerney now can look ahead to next season, knowing the cupboard will not be completely bare.

Division I first round

Monday, at Perry

No. 2 Gilbert Perry 5, No. 15 Xavier Prep 0


Kaylee Ross, P, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-9, 21-16; Jayden Montano, P, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-12, 21-8; Lauren Faust, P, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 21-9, 21-8; Emma Cross, P, def. Lexi Garman, X, 21-15, 21-12; Emma James, P, def. Caroline Cobb, X, 21-6, 21-8.

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