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, March 3, 2022

New court helps Gator tennis claim 1st two matches

 With the famous blue desert sky above and new blue tennis courts below, Xavier Prep’s tennis team is ready to go for the 2022 season, having already won its first two matches against Phoenix Desert Vista and Mesa Mountain View.

“It’s kind of rejuvenating,’’ said senior Ryan Kershner, who had an up and down junior season due to back difficulties but now is back for singles and doubles.

The Gators have another senior who hopes to make an impact, Victoria Chrostowski. She comes from a tennis family, having played with older sister Emilia last season and with freshman Julia this season.

Kershner is eager to play on the new surface on a regular basis.

“I like it a lot better than the last one (older),’’ she said. “I like the color a lot better. The ball sits up better and it’s not as fast,’’ she said, and acknowledged that the slightly slower speed gives her an extra second or two to decide her next move.

Kershner has signed a letter of intent to play for Boise State, which has a blue surface of its own on the football field. Ever since the turf was installed in 1986, rumors began to circulate that birds flying overhead thought it was a body of water and swooped down to grab fish out of it. It turned out to be just a myth.

“The area there is really pretty and I liked it very much,’’ she said.

Her back is considerably better, and what helps picking up certain information, she said, “knowing the signs to help you take care of the problem.’’

She also was helped by a physical therapist.

Chrostowski looks forward to a memorable senior season. It includes a match for the third day in a row, on Thursday (March 3) at Scottsdale Desert Mountain.

“We are all very blessed to have this nice facility. It is a nice ending for the seniors,’’ she said.

She and other players followed the reconstruction, and that there were times when they wondered, “Is it ever going to get done?’’ But it has been well worth the wait.

The ball bounces better on the new courts, she added, which should help the Gators as they play their home matches.

She is not likely to play in college, other than perhaps on the club level. She knows that those who attend school need to make good use of their time as they follow their curriculum.

Chrostowski said she would like to pursue a career in medicine. Arizona State is a possibility, but there also is Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., a smaller Jesuit school with a some of its medical education facilities located in the Phoenix area.

Xavier Prep 9, Mesa Mountain View 0

Wednesday, at Xavier Prep

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Nicole Jones, MV, 6-1, 6-1; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Madeline Riggs, MV, 6-3, 6-4; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Madyson Young, MV, 6-1, 6-0; Lily Gabler, X, def. Alexa Chock, MV, 7-5, 6-3; Belanie Soto, X, def. Hallie Pothier, MV, 6-2, 7-6; Kristina Stender, X, def. Morgan Riggs, MV, 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles

Soto-V. Chrostowski, X, def. Jones-Ma. Riggs, MV, 8-4; Wheeling-Stender, X, def. Young-Chock, MV, 8-0; Kleingartner-Julia Chrostowski def. Mo. Riggs-Pothier, MV, 8-4.

Xavier Prep 6, Phoenix Desert Vista 3

Tuesday, at Xavier Prep

Singles

Sydney Schnell, DV, def. Ryan Kershner, X, 6-3, 6-1; Danielle Dyer, X, def. Natalie Visic, DV, 6-4, 2-6, 10-6; Grace Rooney, DV, def. Victoria Chrostowski, X, 6-3, 6-3; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Emi Ito, DV, 6-2, 6-4; Julia Chrostowski, X, def. Savannah Roth, DV, 6-0, 7-5; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Tahlia Peper, DV, 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles

Kershner-Dyer, X, def. Rooney-Visic, DV, 8-1; Schnell-Ito, DV, def. Soto-V. Chrostowski, 8-2; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Roth-Abigail Jacewicz, DV, 8-2.

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