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.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Soph Henry keys badminton push to respectability

 Xavier Prep’s effort in the Flying Feathers badminton tournament at Gilbert Highland over the weekend was an indication that the Gators are on the way to becoming one of the most improved teams in the state.

In the two-day tournament, XCP finished a very respectable fifth out of 16 teams and did not lose a match outright. Unfortunately, tournament rules were set up that handed Xavier a setback after it had a 3-3 tie with a strong Scottsdale Chaparral team in the winner’s bracket on Saturday (Aug. 27). The outcome was decided by the number of singles victories.

Friday’s (Aug. 26) opening round saw the Gators defeat Laveen Cesar Chavez 5-1 and Mesa Red Mountain 4-2 and tie Chandler Hamilton.

Junior Gigi Riviere won her singles match against Chaparral. In doubles, the team of sophomores Maggie Henry and Corinne Ladha earned a victory, as well as senior Lexi Garman and junior Kasia Smigielski.

The Gators then went on to defeat host Highland 5-1. They got singles wins from Henry, Ladha and senior Riley Dowdall and doubles triumphs from Garman and Smigielski and senior Sarah Castlen and junior Lila Williams.

Henry played outstanding throughout and was only one of nine players who were selected by the coaches for the All-Tournament Team.

“It was a great showing for the team,’’ said Xavier head coach Brian McNerney.

The Gators will have three matches this coming week, on Tuesday (Aug. 31) at Surprise Shadow Ridge, on Wednesday (Aug. 31) in their home opener against Gilbert High and another home contest on Thursday (Sept. 1) against Mesa Red Mountain. All matches start at 4 p.m.


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