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 30, 2022

Perry badminton rolls, but XCP wants strong finish

 It has been a remarkable season for the Xavier Prep badminton team The Gators won seven of their first eight matches, with five shutouts.

That, however, might have been the Gators’ apogee. The regular season is nearing its end and the Gators are doing their best to maintain a good orbit, but an 8-1 setback to a strong Chandler Hamilton team and a 9-0 domination by five-time defending state Division I champion Gilbert Perry on Thursday (Sept. 29) have had an effect.

There are a handful of regular season matches remaining, followed by the playoffs.

“Our record (8-3) has been fantastic, and we want to do the best we can to have a decent finish,’’ said Xavier coach Brian McNerney.

Xavier's seniors, from left, Riley Dowdall, Lexi Garman, Sarah Castlen, Ava Hilsabeck and Gigi Riviere, are pleased by the badminton team's good showing this season (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

Despite the recent scoring discrepancy, the coach has seen good signs from his players as far as maturity and skill development are concerned.

“When you have a certain mindset against one of those teams, you can think that a loss is just OK,’’ he said. “That’s not what we’re looking at. I think we were better than the last time we played them. So we will be working on our next opponent and beyond that.

“We take a lot of pride in what we have done, especially since our players did not have much varsity experience coming in.’’

Xavier has three regular-season matches remaining – on Monday (Oct. 3) at Phoenix Sunnyslope, on Tuesday (Oct. 4) at home against Chandler Basha, and on Oct. 13 at home against Chandler High. The contest against Basha is a postponement from Sept. 22.

Thursday’s result

Gilbert Perry 9, Xavier Prep 0


Emma James, P, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-16, 21-9; Amiya Hernandez, P, def. Maggie Henry, X, 21-1, 21-16; Vienna Morley, P, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 21-14, 21-13; Oanh Le, P, def. Ava Hilsabeck, X, 21-12, 21-19; Robin Bui, P, def. Lexi Garman, X, 21-13, 21-19; Talisa Chafey, P, def. Sarah Castlen, X, 21-14, 21-16.


Le-Morley, P, def. Riviere-Henry, X, 22-20, 21-12; James-Hernandez, P, def. Dowdall-Castlen, X, 21-5, 21-7; Chafey-Bui, P, def. Hilsabeck-Garman, X, 21-12, 21-6.




Xavier finds Toros are tough in the pool again

 Based on what occurred in the recent Xavier-Brophy Invitational, the Xavier Prep swimming and diving team knew it would have a tough meet at Brophy on Thursday (Sept. 29) against visiting Mesa Mountain View.

Mountain View had finished third and Xavier fourth in the invitational, and Mountain View came back for a 102-84 victory on Thursday.

Standouts for Xavier, according to coach Glen Coy . . .

200-yard medley relay, 1st (Geni George, Ava Gill, Carter Cook and Lainey Weiland).

100-yard butterfly, 1st, George.

100-yard backstroke, 2nd, Cook.

50-yard freestyle, 2nd, Dylan Miller; 3rd, Weiland.

500-yard freestyle, 2nd, Krista Tymkiw; 3rd, Audrey McEwen.

100-yard breaststroke, 2nd, Gill; 3rd, Bella Guerra.

Xavier will be back in action on Oct. 13 against Mesa Desert Ridge at the Mesa Skyline Aquatic Complex, recent home of the state Division I meet.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Torch burns bright for Xavier Prep golfers

 The rite of passing the torch from older golfers to younger ones is a yearly occurrence at Xavier Prep, one of the main reasons why the program is where it is.

It happened on Wednesday (Sept. 28) when the top two teams from last season, champion Peoria Liberty and runner-up Xavier, dueled on an overcast day at the Phoenix Country Club.

Xavier emerged as the winner, 149-160, while senior Annie Dawson earned medalist honors with an even-par 36 and passed the torch to freshman Isabella (Izzy) Piazza, who also shot 36.

The other two golfers contributing to the team score for Xavier were junior Kate Hauptman at 2-over 38 and junior Lena Durette at 3-over 39. A fifth golfer on the team list, Junior Grace Rubelsky, was at 5-over 41.

Xavier co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam was a bit concerned in the early part of the girls’ rounds and hoped that trend would not continue.

By the end of the afternoon, she was feeling much better.

The Xavier Prep golf team paid tribute to its two seniors, Annie Dawson, left, and Sophie Stamatis after its victory over Peoria Liberty on Wednesday at Phoenix Country Club (Photo by Don Ketchum).

“We settled down after the first couple of holes,’’ she said.

Dawson said she had mixed emotions. It was her final home match at Phoenix CC, with one more home match on Oct. 13 at Camelback Golf Course in Scottsdale against Glendale Mountain Ridge. In the meantime, on Friday (Sept. 30), a group of Gators will head to Tucson for the third time to get used to the state championship course at the Tucson National Omni Golf Resort.

“Things will probably be a little slow because they are overseeding right before the tournament and our first day is when they will open back up,’’ Dawson said.

“I think I was pretty consistent the whole round. As a team, we push each other to play better, and we support each other.

“I was able to control my emotions – not too excited when I did something good and not too sad if I didn’t.’’

She has received a great deal of support from her family and friends, and against Liberty had a supporter playing alongside her – Brooke McGlasson. The two girls were teammates at the U.S. Women’s amateur Four-Ball championship earlier in September at the Wigwam Golf Course in Litchfield Park. They finished seventh, and the No. 1 team was XCP juniors Jayden Jevnick and Hauptman.

Dawson said the win over the defending state champion “gives us a big confidence boost, shows that we are capable of winning the state tournament.’’

Dawson and fellow senior Sophie Stamatis were honored after the match when they received flower bouquets and the team munched on their customary sweet treats.

Xavier golf scores vs. Liberty

Annie Dawson, Sr., even-par 36; Isabella Piazza, Fr., even-par 36; Madalyn Gubernick, Fr., 1-over 37; Kate Hauptman, Jr., 2-over 38; Kalyn Doss, Jr., 2-over 38; Lena Durette, Jr., 3-over 39; Kyla Layman, Jr., 3-over 39; Sophie Stamatis, Sr., 4-over 40; Natalie Lamadrid, Fr., 4-over; Grace Rubelsky, Jr., 5-over 41.

Also, Reimi Bleyl, Jr., 6-over 42; Alanna Karuru, Fr., 7-over 43; Jayden Jevnick, Jr., 7-over 43; Sophie Pe Benito-Brooks, Fr., 8-over 44; Karter Nannen, Jr., 8-over 44; Lauren Campbell, Jr., 8-over 44; Ellie von Kolen, Fr., 12-over 48; Aanvi Goel, So., 12-over 48.

After two 3-2 losses, Gators need to find way to win

 Two five-set losses on back-to-back nights can be very difficult to deal with.

But Xavier Prep’s Gators will have to find a way after a five-set loss at home to Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Sept. 27) and a five-set loss to host Phoenix Sunnyslope on Wednesday night (Sept. 28).

Xavier (10-8) now moves on to the annual Nike Tournament of Champions at Bell Bank Park in east Mesa on Friday (Sept. 30) and Saturday (Oct. 1). The Gators will play approximately six or seven games in that event.

Xavier struggled in its first game against Sunnyslope, falling 25-12. The team then rebounded with a 25-20 win in Game 2 and a nail-biting 29-27 win in Game 3. Sunnyslope then battled back to take Game 4, 25-19, and the decisive Game 5, 15-.11.

Some Xavier numbers vs. Sunnyslope . . .

Sophomore Courtney Snopko, 15 kills; freshman Vivian Hickman, 12 kills; sophomore Olivia Lenz, 7 service aces and 31 digs; junior Camilla Cornejo-Farmer, 6 blocks; senior Ava Larkin, 13 digs and 38 assists (the team had 41); and junior Mia Accomazzo, 12 digs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Golfers survive challenge from Millennium

 Xavier Prep’s golf team survived a close challenge from Goodyear Millennium on Tuesday (Sept. 27) at Phoenix Country Club, winning by six shots, 162-168.

Junior Lena Durette was the medalist with a 1-over-par 37. The other three golfers who contributed to the team score were junior Kyla Layman (5-over 41), junior Jayden Jevnick (5-over 41) and junior Reimi Bleyl (7-over 43). Freshman Madalyn Gubernick (9-over 45) had a 9-over 45) to finish out the Gators’ top five.

Xavier was due to battle Peoria Liberty on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at Phoenix CC. It is somewhat of a “rematch’’ of the top two teams at last year’s Division I state tournament. Liberty took the title, while the Gators finished second.

“We didn’t play as well as I would have expected, so now we are going to have to regroup against the defending state champion,’’ said Xavier co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam.

Xavier scores vs. Millennium

Lena Durette, Jr., 1-over 73; Isabella Piazza, Fr., 1-over 73; Kate Hauptman, Jr., 2-over 38; Annie Dawson, Sr., 2-over 38; Natalia Lamadrid, Fr., 3-over 39; Grace Rubelsky, Jr., 3-over 39; Karter Nannen, Jr., 4-over 40; Lauren Campbell, Jr., 4-over 40; Jayden Jevnick, Jr., 5-over 41; Kyla Layman, Jr., 5-over 41; Reimi Bleyl, Jr., 5-over 41.

Also, Kalyn Doss, Jr., 7-over 43; Sophie Stamatis, Sr., 9-over 45; Madalyn Gubernick, Fr., 9-over 45; Sophie Pe Benito-Brooks, Fr., 10-over 46; Alana Karuru, Fr., 14-over 50; Aanvi Goel, So., 16-over 52.

Volleyball takes Perry to 5 games, falls short

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team had a chance to rise in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power points rankings and elevate its contending status with a victory over Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Sept. 27) at Xavier, but the Gators could not come up with the big plays they needed on a consistent basis.

The contest was very competitive to be sure, going to a full five sets. However, Perry’s size and athleticism took over for a 3-2 victory.

Scores were 19-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18 and 15-8 in the decisive Game 5. Perry is rated No. 4 and Xavier No. 9.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant seemed to be a bit disappointed in the fact that her team (10-7) took Perry (15-7) to the limit but could not finish the deal.

“We need our leadership to be doing more,’’ Bryant said.

Some noteworthy numbers for the Gators . . .

Camilla Cornejo-Farmer, 9 kills and 3 blocks; Vivian Hickman, 11 kills; Finley Workman, 10 kills; Olivia Lenz, 3 service aces; Mia Accomazzo, 14 digs; Ava Larkin, 13 digs and 27 assists; Maddie MacDonald, 14 assists.

Xavier has a quick turnaround and will travel to face Phoenix Sunnyslope on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) in a match that had been postponed earlier in the season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Effort in swim-dive invite indicator Gators are ready

 It won’t be long before the Division I state swimming and diving meet is upon us, and the teams are gearing up through participation in some of the bigger meets.

Such was the case on Saturday (Sept. 24), when Xavier Prep was one of 27 girls teams churning through the pool at nearby Brophy Prep and turning in a very respectable effort in the Brophy-Xavier Swim Invitational.

The Gators finished in fourth place with 214.33 points, behind winner Mesa Red Mountain (307), No. 2 Gilbert Perry (279.50) and No. 3 Mesa Mountain View (244.50).

Best finish by a Xavier relay team or individual was the No.3 by the 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Genevieve George, freshman Adriana Lauterborn, sophomore Carter Cook and senior Dylan Miller.

Here are Xavier’s top efforts in the meet . . .

200-yard medley relay -- XCP 3rd, 1:52.91 (So. Genevieve George, Fr. Adriana Lauterborn, So. Carter Cook and Sr. Dylan Miller).

200-yard freestyle – Sophie Dumanski, Fr., 14th, 2:07.77; Audrey McEwen, Fr., 15th, 2:08.26.

200-yard individual medley – Genevieve George, So., 6th, 2:16.92; Krista Tymkiw, So., 10th, 2:19.45.

 50-yard freestyle – Lainey Weiland, Sr., 6th, 25.62; Dylan Miller, Sr., Tie-11th, 25.75.

100-yard butterfly – Carter Cook, So., 6th, 1:01.44.

100-yard freestyle – Dylan Miller, Sr., Tie-9th, 55.92; Lainey Weiland, Sr., 13th, 56.95.

500-yard freestyle – Sophie Dumanski, Fr., 12th, 5:39.90; Audrey McEwen, 15th, 5:42.28.

200-yard freestyle relay – XCP 4th, 1:43.00 (Sr. Dylan Miller, Sr. Cassie Worth, Sr. Lainey Weiland and So. Genevieve George).

100-yard backstroke – Genevieve George, So., 4th, 59.43; Krista Tymkiw, So., 8th, 1:01.47; Carter Cook, So., 13th, 1:03.51.

100-yard breaststroke – Ava Gill, Jr., 7th, 1:11.80; Adriana Lauterborn, Fr., Tie-11th, 1:12.75.

400-yard freestyle relay – XCP 5th, 3:48.61 (Sr. Lainey Weiland, Sr. Cassie Worth, So. Carter Cook and So. Krista Tymkiw).

Diving – Claira Chong, Sr.

**Mountain View will return to Brophy pool on Thursday (Sept. 29) to face the Gators in a dual meet at 4 p.m.


Brophy-Xavier Invitational

Girls’ team scores

Mesa Red Mountain 307, Gilbert Perry 259.50, Mesa Mountain View 244.50, Xavier Prep 214.33, Phoenix Pinnacle 204.33, Buckeye Verrado 180, Gilbert High 109.33, Peoria Sunrise Mountain 108, Scottsdale Saguaro 102, Chandler Basha 92.50, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 57.50, Chandler High 54, Mesa High 53, Phoenix Sunnyslope 48.50, Peoria Liberty 43, Glendale Mountain Ridge 40, Flagstaff High 38, Surprise Willow Canyon 33.50, Phoenix Country Day School 28, Phoenix Paradise Valley 17, Glendale Ironwood 16, Surprise Valley Vista 14, Peoria Centennial 12, Scottsdale Prep 11, Mesa Desert Ridge 9, Surprise Shadow Ridge 8, Glendale Raymond S. Kellis 1.

Boys’ team scores

Brophy Prep 425, Phoenix Pinnacle 399, Mesa Mountain View 293, Chandler High 136, Chandler Basha 120, Buckeye Verrado 118, Gilbert High 115, Cave Creek Cactus Shadows 111, Peoria Liberty 109, Mesa Red Mountain 90, Phoenix Sunnyslope 72, Gilbert Perry 58, Scottsdale Prep 47, Peoria Sunrise Mountain 44, Flagstaff High 35, Mesa High 33, Surprise Shadow Ridge 28, Phoenix Country Day 20, Phoenix Paradise Valley 17, Glendale Mountain Ridge 16, Cottonwood Mingus 14, Avondale St. John Paul II Catholic 6, Glendale Raymond S. Kellis 4, Scottsdale Saguaro 4.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Gator, Bronco riders in top spot after 2 races

Way to go, ladies from Xavier and bros from Brophy!!

Their combined club mountain biking team had another strong showing in the Arizona Cycling Association’s second race of the season on Saturday (Sept. 24) in the Snowflake-Taylor community in north central Arizona.

The Gators/Broncos finished second in this most recent race, but they are at the top of the overall standings in the Southern Conference.

Junior Mary Hill led the way for XCP in the Girls Varsity 15-mile race (3 5-mile laps), finishing third in the Saturday race and is fourth overall.

There were more solid efforts in the 10-mile JV-2 race, with Margaret (Maggie) Meaney taking the No. 3 spot, with Alyssa Isaac close behind in fourth.

Ella Schuster was sixth in JV-2, Grace Morgan fifth in JV-1 and Clara Findlay 7th in the Frosh group.

The team’s next race in the five-race season (counting the state championship event) is Oct. 9 at Pioneer Park in Prescott.

Strong, competitive effort for XCP in badminton event

 There were 68 teams competing in Saturday’s (Sept. 24) Chaparral Firebirds Badminton Tournament at Scottsdale Chaparral, and Xavier Prep players held their own against some of the top individual singles and doubles players.

Xavier’s top individual was sophomore Maggie Henry, who finished with a 3-1 record and was fifth overall.

Seniors Riley Dowdall and Sarah Castlen and sophomore Corinne Ladha all were 2-1 and finished in the top 16.

There was a “B” portion of the tournament, which featured players mostly from the JV level.

In that competition, Xavier had two doubles representing.

The team of sophomores Ella Wilson and Reagan Perez went 3-2 to finish third out of 32 teams, and sophomores Abby Alcock and Sam Riggle were 3-2 and finished fourth.

The Gators have two dual matches at home this week, on Wednesday (Sept. 28) against Glendale Mountain Ridge and on Thursday (Sept. 29) against Gilbert Perry.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Volleyball Gators are in charge against Chandler

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team earned a lighter schedule for a few days after a long trip to the Durango Classic in Las Vegas last weekend, followed by Tuesday-Thursday 3-0 match sweeps over Anthem Boulder Creek, Chandler Basha and the latest, over host Chandler High on Thursday (Sept. 22).

Xavier is now 10-6 and will play again at their Activity Center home on Tuesday (Sept. 27) against a powerful Gilbert Perry team (7-1) that is the defending Division I state champion.

The Gators used a 7-0 run in the first game to propel them to victory and give them momentum the rest of the way.

Xavier pounded out 35 kills against the Wolves, including 11 by freshman Vivian Hickman and eight by junior Finley Workman.

The team also was aggressive on defense, recording 74 digs, including 14 by senior Maddie MacDonald and 13 each by junior Mia Accomazzo and sophomore Olivia Lenz. Senior Ava Larkin had18 assists and MacDonald had three service aces.

Swimmers, divers even their dual record at 2-2

 Xavier Prep’s swimmers and divers evened their dual-meet record at 2-2 on Thursday (Sept. 22) with a 107-77 defeat of Gilbert Highland at Greenfield Junior High.

XCP Coach Glen Coy reported at least a dozen athletes who made significant contributions.

They were:

*Sophomore Krista Tymkiw in the medley relay, the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

*Freshman Adrianna Lauterborn in the medley relay.

*Sophomore Geni George in the medley relay, the 100-yard freestyle and the 400 relay.

*Senior Lainey Weiland in the medley relay, the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

*Senior Dylan Miller in the 200-yard relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

*Junior Brooke Person in the 200-yard individual medley.

*Sophomore Carter Cook in the 500-yard freestyle and the 400 relay.

*Freshman Raleigh Kaul in the 500-yard freestyle.

*Senior Cassie Worth in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

*Freshman Corbin Smiley in the 100-yard backstroke.

*Sophomore Malena Lebedeff in the 400 relay.

*Freshman Audrey McEwen in the 400 relay.

Xavier now will compete in one of the biggest meets of the year outside of the Division I state meet, the Brophy/Xavier Swim-Dive Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 24) at Brophy Pool.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Region volleyball starts, and Gators move ahead

 Chandler Basha’s volleyball team walked into Xavier Prep’s Activity Center on Wednesday night (Sept. 21) as the first opponent of the 6A Conference Premier Region schedule for Xavier Prep.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant was well aware that the match would be the first of eight in the region (four teams, two matches each).

She called the Premier “one of the toughest regions in the state, and you can take nothing for granted. You have to make that big effort.’’

The Gators did just that, rolling to a 3-0 sweep over the Bears. Scores: 25-16, 25-21 and 25-5. Xavier raised its record to 9-6 while Basha slipped to 7-9.

Xavier moves on to face region rival Chandler High (9-9) on Thursday (Sept. 22) at Chandler (6 p.m.). Because of renovations to the main gym at the school (particularly the floor), the match has been moved to a gym annex at the middle of campus.

One of the most impressive things in this match was the Gators’ service. They were consistent and accurate, something they rarely have shown (one or the other but probably not both).

The team had 12 aces, five by junior Mia Accomazzo, four by senior Ava Larkin, two by sophomore Olivia Lenz and one by junior Camilla Cornejo-Farmer.

Bryant said “the bottom drops out of Mia’s serves,’’ making them more difficult to judge. And due to a few adjustments in Larkin’s serve that started in the recent Durango Classic tournament in Las Vegas, that aspect became more of a factor, particularly with accuracy.

Larkin’s accuracy also figured into her effort as a setter, when she recorded 17 assists.

Farmer had nine kills and junior Finley Workman had eight. Sophomore middle blocker Elle McCreery had four blocks. Freshman Vivian Hickman had 13 digs and Lenz had nine.

Damp conditions don't faze Gators' golfing style

 Rain clouds didn't seem to faze Xavier Prep's golf team at its Phoenix Country Club home on Wednesday (Sept. 21), earning a 157-218 victory over Tempe Corona del Sol.

Of those listed as contributors to Xavier’s team score over nine holes, the first three all were at 3-under-par 39: junior Jayden Jevnick, freshman Isabella Piazza and freshman Natalia Lamadrid, followed by junior Kyla Layman (4-over 40). A fifth golfer, senior Sophie Stamatis, came in at 7-over 43.

Other Xavier scores:

Junior Lauren Campbell (2-under 34), senior Annie Dawson (1-under 35), junior Kate Hauptman (1-over 37), junior Grace Rubelsky (2-over 38), junior Karter Nannen (4-over 40), freshman Madalyn Gubernick (4-over 40), freshman Alanna Karuru (7-over 43).

Also, sophomore Carrie Doss (8-over 44), junior Kalyn Doss (9-over 45), freshman Giulianna Bulkley (11-over 47), junior Reimi Bleyl (12-over 48), freshman Sophie Pe Benito-Brooks (14-over 50) and freshman Ellie von Kolen (15-over 51).

Xavier’s next match is on Tuesday (Sept. 27) against Goodyear Millennium at Phoenix CC. Millennium finished fourth in the Division II state tournament last season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Badminton "can compete at a higher level"

 Win or lose, every athletic competition has its share of stories to tell.

Xavier Prep’s badminton team had a few interesting tales that unfolded during its 8-1 setback to visiting Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday (Sept. 20).

The loss to the unbeaten Huskies (9-0) brought a six-game winning streak to an end, but the Gators ((7-2) still had an optimistic outlook when the lights dimmed at the Activity Center.

“Despite the score, we showed we can compete at a higher level,’’ said Xavier coach Brian McNerney.

To begin, McNerney walked into the gym before the contest, only to find that one of his seniors, Sarah Castlen, would not be playing due to illness.

That forced McNerney to do some juggling with his lineup. Senior Lexi Garman stepped in at No. 6 in singles and No. 3 in doubles, along with senior Riley Dowdall.

Garman took her match to three sets against Hamilton’s Brooklyn Tallman, taking it to the edge of victory before Tallman prevailed 22-20 in the decisive third set.

Senior Ava Hilsabeck was in a similar situation, going three sets before falling 22-20.

‘’If either or both of those goes the other way, the final score could have looked much different,’’ McNerney said.

The Garman-Dowdall doubles pairing brought some excitement to Xavier fans.

The Xavier girls fell in the first game against the Huskies’ Melanie Lee and Sevrina Bunch, 21-15, but showed resolve to come back for 21-19 and 21-17 wins to take the match.

“That was amazing, considering our two girls had not played together,’’ McNerney said.

He gave Hamilton credit where credit was due.

“They are a great team,’’ he said. “I think their top three have been playing together since they were about 5 years old, and they have played club and taken lessons.’’

The Gators are back in the Activity Center on Thursday (Sept. 22) for a match against Chandler Basha.

Tuesday’s Xavier results

Chandler Hamilton 8, Xavier Prep 1


Samiya Bodhankar, H, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-4, 21-7; Saba Shakir, H, def. Maggie Henry, X, 21-7, 21-8; Nihira Sane, H, def. Corinne Ladha, X, 21-9, 21-16; Sahaara Pechetty, H, def. Riley Dowdall, X, 22-20, 21-16; Melanie Lee, H, def. Ava Hilsabeck, X, 13-21, 21-18, 22-20; Brooklyn Tallman, H, def. Lexi Garman, X, 21-18, 16-21, 22-20.


Sane-Shakir, H, def. Ladha-Henry, X, 21-12, 21-14; Pechetty-Bodhankar, H, def. Riviere-Hilsabeck, X, 21-13, 21-9; Garman-Dowdall, X, def. Lee-Sevrina Bunch, H, 15-21, 21-19, 21-17.

Volleyball earns sweep after return from trip

 After a competitive trip to Las Vegas for the Durango Fall Classic over the weekend, Xavier Prep’s volleyball team enjoyed being back in familiar territory on Tuesday (Sept. 20), rolling up a 3-0 sweep of Boulder Creek in Anthem.

Scores were 25-12, 25-11 and 25-17.

The Gators (8-6) got a big effort from junior Finley Workman, who had 14 kills and a pair of service aces.

Other noteworthy numbers:

Sophomore Elle McCreery, 7 blocks; sophomore Olivia Lenz, 20 digs; freshman Vivian Hickman, 9 digs; senior Maddie MacDonald, 16 assists, and senior Ava Larkin, 14 assists.

Xavier’s first home match since the trip will come on Wednesday (Sept. 21) against Chandler Basha.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Golfers defeat Desert Vista to stay unbeaten

 Xavier Prep’s golf team remained unbeaten on Monday (Sept. 19) with a 153-179 victory over host Phoenix Desert Vista at the Foothills Club West in Ahwatukee. Xavier is now 5-0 in dual matches.

Junior Kate Hauptman earned medalist honors with a 1-over-par 37. Other Gators contributing  to  the team total were freshman Madalyn Gubernick (2-over 38), junior Kalyn Doss (3-over 39), senior Annie Dawson (3-over 39) and junior Lauren Campbell (5-over 41).

The Gators will be back at their Phoenix Country Club home course on Wednesday (Sept. 21) when they face Tempe Corona del Sol.

Monday’s Xavier results

Xavier Prep 153, Phoenix Desert Vista 179

Kyla Layman (Jr.) 36, Grace Rubelsky (Jr.) 37, Jayden Jevnick (Jr.) 37, Hauptman, Gubernick, Kalyn Doss 39, Dawson 39, Isabella Piazza (Fr.) 41, Campbell (Jr.) 41, Carrie Doss (So.) 43, Karter Nannen (Jr.) 43, Natalia Lamadrid (Fr.) 43, Alanna Karuru (Fr.) 44.

Also, Sophie Stamatis (Sr.) 45, Reimi Bleyl (Jr.) 45, Giulianna Bulkley (Fr.) 46, Aaanvi Goel (So.) 48, Sophie Pe Benito-Brooks (Fr.) 48, Ellie von Kolen (Fr.) 49.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Gator runners have busy weekend of racing

 From southern California to the Valley of the Sun, Xavier Prep’s cross-country runners were on the move on Friday (Sept. 16) and Saturday (Sept. 17).

Some of the Gators’ top runners competed in the 41st Woodbridge Classic on Friday at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. There were plenty of runners left, most of them juniors, and they raced on Saturday in the Ojo Rojo Invitational at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler.

At the Woodbridge, Xavier had a big finish from Maggie Mostoller in the Sophomore Gold Division. She completed the 3-mile distance for a third-place finish at 19:55.1. Four more runners were in that race (see below).

In the Varsity Girls A race over 3 miles, Xavier had two runners in the top 10. They were senior Reese Brown (5th) and freshman Ella Wadsworth (6th).

In the Varsity Girls B 3-mile race, Xavier had three competitors.

Four XCP runners went through the Ojo Rojo Frosh 5,000-meter Run. Two finished in the top 10 – Clara Findlay (5th) and Sierra Luna (9th).

In the Varsity 5,000-meter Run, Xavier finished 11th as a team, with eight runners.

Xavier will run again in the Thunderbird High School Classic on Saturday (Sept. 24) at Mountain View Park in Phoenix.

Xavier race results

41st Woodbridge Classic

Friday (Sept. 16) @ Orange County Great Park, Irvine, Calif.

Sophomore Gold Division (3 miles)

Maggie Mostoller, 3rd (19:55.1), Ellie Hilsabeck, 14th (21:25.4), Caroline Vietor, 15th (21:25.9), Karina Zaveri, 19th (21:36.8), Lily Bourque, 40th (23:04.8).

Varsity Girls A (3 miles)

Reese Brown, Sr., 5th (18:06.8), Ella Wadsworth, Fr., 6th (18:10.3), Kylie Graf, Sr., 28th (18:54.3), Naomi Young, Sr., 36th (19:06.2), Nora Hinkle, Sr., 37th (19:07.8), Bella Gomez, Jr., 43rd (19:13.4), Lily Beaver, Jr., 89th (20:33.9).

Varsity Girls B (3 miles)

Cassara Ryan, Sr., 66th (20:03.3), Alma Melendez, Sr., 92nd (20:27.4), Reyna Silva, Sr., 144th (21:44.4).

Ojo Rojo Invitational

Saturday (Sept. 17) @ Tumbleweed Park, Chandler

Frosh 5,000-meter run

Clara Findlay, 5th (22.01.00), Sierra Luna, 9th (22:49.80), Amelia Busch, 22nd, (24:21.10), Laney Witman, 36th (27:22.40).

Varsity 5,000-meter run

Julia Russo, Jr., 38th (20:58.50), Susan Findlay, Jr., 66th (22:15.20), Jimena Gutierrez, Jr., 73rd (22:25.30), Sophia Corona, Jr., 81st (22:41.70), Adelaide Luna, Jr., 84th (22:50.70), Maya Nagaraj, Jr., 145th, (24:55.50), Blakely Andereson, Jr., 149th (25:06.40), Riley Meza, Jr., 187th (29:22.30).

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Xavier finishes respectable 4-3 in v-ball tourney

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team didn’t win all of its matches in the Durango Fall Classic over the weekend in Las Vegas, but it didn’t lose all of them, either.

The result probably could be considered by Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant as a growth experience for her young team.

Xavier entered the tournament at 3-3 and went 4-3 during the event to finish at 7-6 overall, battling a couple of bracket title teams along the way. The Gators finished 37th out of 64 teams.

The Gators opened play on Friday (Sept. 16) with a loss in the Classic Division to Cathedral Classic of San Diego and lost to Branson High School of Ross, Calif., before avoiding a three-match sweep to defeat Rancho High of Las Vegas.

Cathedral Classic went on to win the tournament championship on Saturday (Sept. 17).

Xavier, meanwhile, started its Saturday with a win over Leon High of Tallahassee, Fla.

The Gators fell in their second match of the day, against Los Alamitos, Calif., then rebounded with wins over Clovis, Calif., and St. Ignatius of San Francisco.

Xavier returns to Arizona and will travel to face Anthem Boulder Creek on Tuesday (Sept. 20).

Fun with flags: Gators step into a new world

 It was the first clinic for the new girls flag football club program at Xavier Prep, and it was somewhat natural to wonder how many of the players would fare in what was more of a competitive situation, than, say, a picnic in the park.

Mike Patterson, the new team’s first head coach, wasn’t quite sure, either, when the girls reported to the Brophy Sports Campus field on Saturday (Sept. 17).

Patterson, also an assistant coach for Brophy’s football team, welcomed about 30 players into the fold. As many as 130 had expressed interest in playing and Patterson knew he would be getting many of those out at future clinics – many of them were involved with other club sports over the weekend.

Xavier will open its season next spring at XCP’s Petznick Field, which currently is under renovation, hence this Brophy Sports Campus appearance.

With help from another Valley area coach, Matt Finelli, Patterson put the players through passing and pass-catching drills and then had the girls break off into four groups and those teams lined up and played each other for close to an hour in total.

A Xavier flag football player has her eyes and hands set on catching an incoming pass (Photo by Don Ketchum).

“Things went well for the first day,’’ said Patterson. “A lot of these girls are super athletic. They are very coachable and are willing to learn.’’

And it included a lot of laughter. The players appeared to have plenty of fun.

“They were making some catches that certainly were not easy,’’ he said. “We had three or four girls who were throwing the ball well.’’

In one of the drills, the players got a chance to chase down an “opponent’’ – a large tackling dummy whose speed was electronically operated by a control device similar to what you might see with a drone or something in a game.

The dummy had a flag belt around its “waist’’ – just like the players, and they attempted to chase it down to grab the flags. It would speed up and slow down and even change direction at the flip of a switch.

Patterson said the bag was donated to the Brophy program and that a handful of other schools in town have one as well as the NFL’s Cardinals and some colleges across the country.

One of the most impressive athletes was a player who wore black and neon green shoes and a Xavier soccer shirt. She would take pitchouts from the quarterback and head toward the sideline (more narrow than the normal boundary). She would speed up and than change direction and had the defenders grabbing nothing but air. She scored a few TDs and got a third on a pass over the middle. Patterson was impressed to see that, providing the team with potential.

He is looking forward to another similar clinic on Oct. 22, and said there might be a few more between now and then.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Xavier learns that Horizon, too, is swim-dive factor

 Scottsdale Chaparral’s swim and dive team rules the northeast Valley and the entire state, but Phoenix Horizon is an emerging force that isn’t too far behind.

The Huskies put their strength on display on Thursday (Sept. 15) with a 110-60 victory over Xavier Prep at the Brophy Prep Pool in Phoenix.

Horizon kept Xavier out of the win column in the individual events and relays, but the Gators managed to collect points along the way.

Xavier will swim again on Thursday (Sept. 22) in a dual meet against Gilbert Highland at the Greenfield Junior High.

Xavier and Brophy will host a swim-dive invitational on Saturday (Sept. 24) at Brophy.

Here are some of the outstanding Xavier efforts against Horizon . . .

200-yard medley relay – XCP 2nd, 1:54.46 (Genevieve George, Ava Gill, Carter Cook, Dylan Miller); XCP 3rd, 2:04.34 (Cassie Worth, Bella Guerra, Raleigh Kaul, Audrey McEwen).

200-yard individual medley – Genevieve George, 2nd, 2:15.86.

100-yard butterfly – Carter Cook, 2nd, 1:04.62.

100-yard freestyle – Dylan Miller, 3rd, 57.36.

500-yard freestyle – Brooke Person, 2nd, 6:05.55; Bella Guerra, 3rd, 6:07.77.

100-yard backstroke – Genevieve George, 2nd, 1:00.16; Krista Tymkiw, 3rd, 1:05.58.

400-yard freestyle relay – XCP 2nd, 3:55.36 (Lainey Weiland, Audrey McEwen, Carter Cook, Genevieve George); XCP 3rd, 4:08.13 (Bella Guerra, Sophie Dumanski, Raleigh Kaul, Malena Lebedoff).

1-meter diving – Maya Superfon, 2nd, 183 points; Claira Chong, 3rd, 177.75.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

With five shutouts, XCP becomes badminton force

 When the badminton season began, Xavier Prep coach Brian McNerney knew his team had a lot of potential, but even he has to be bit surprised what his team has accomplished thus far.

The Gators defeated host Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 9-0 on Wednesday (Sept. 14) for the team’s seventh win after a close loss to Phoenix Pinnacle in the season opener.

The shutout of Sandra Day O’Connor was Xavier’s fifth of the season. Xavier has outscored opponents, 61-10 thus far.

Xavier will return to action on Tuesday (Sept. 20) with a home match against Chandler Hamilton.

Wednesday’s result

Xavier Prep 9, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 0


Gigi Riviere, X, def. Darshana Sripathi, SDO, 21-14, 21-9; Maggie Henry, X, def. Alyona Bairagoni, SDO, 21-9, 21-8; Corinne Ladha, X, def. Arpana Sripathi, SDO, 21-19, 21-12; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Brook Fleishman, SDO, 21-18, 21-13; Sarah Castlen, X, def. Brynlee Evanson, SDO, 22-24, 23-21, 21-14; Ava Hilsabeck, X, def. Cara Davidson, SDO, 21-10, 21-10.


Henry-Ladha, X, def. A. Sripathi-Bairagoni, 21-14, 15-21, 21-16; Riviere-Hilsabeck, X, def. D. Sripathi-Fleishman, SDO, 21-10, 16-21, 21-15; Dowdall-Castlen, X, def. Evanson-Davidson, SDO, 21-18, 13-21, 21-15.

Gator golfers in perfect rhythm against Basha

 Chalk up another big win for the Xavier Prep golf team.

The Gators rocked and rolled at their Phoenix Country Club home course on Wednesday (Sept. 14), leaving Chandler Basha in their wake, 145-217.

Xavier had two players shoot below par – juniors Kate Hauptman (3-under 33) and Lena Durette (1-under 35).

Other Xavier scores . . .

Junior Kyla Layman (even-par 36), junior Grace Rubelsky (1-over 37), junior Jayden Jevnick (1-over 37), freshman Natalia Lamadrid (1-over 37), junior Kalyn Doss (2-over 38), junior Lauren Campbell (2-over 38), freshman Isabella Piazza (3-over 39), freshman Madelyn Gubernick (3-over 39), junior Reimi Bleyl (3-over 39).

Also, senior Annie Dawson (4-over 40), senior Sophie Stamatis (5-over 41), junior Karter Nannen (7-over 43), Giulianna Bulkley (11-over 47), sophomore Aanvi Goel (12-over 48), sophomore Carrie Doss (13-over 49), freshman Sophie PeBenito Brooks (13-over 49) freshman Ellie von Kolen (14-over 50) and freshman Alanna Karuru (14-over 50).

Xavier will return to competition on Monday (Sept. 19) for a match against host Phoenix Desert Vista at the Foothills Club West course in Ahwatukee.

Victory slips away from Gators, tournament next

 The long bus ride to Las Vegas for the annual Durango Invitational volleyball tournament just got a lot longer for Xavier Prep’s Gators.

Playing in their last match on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) before this weekend’s tournament, the Gators held a 2-1 lead over host Mesa Mountain View, but could not close the deal, losing the fourth and fifth games for a 3-2 overall loss.

The Gators might have to simmer a bit longer while trying to figure out what happened.

Xavier is 3-3 entering the Durango. Mountain View is 6-7 (counting tournaments).

Scores were 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 21-25 and 9-15.

Xavier was inconsistent at best. At times, the Gators looked like they would be able to rebound from the Game #1 loss, and at others, not so much. The players seemed uncertain about what they should be doing and where to go.

Frustrating, to say the least.

Mountain View, meanwhile, was unleashing a power game led by senior outside hitters Reese Fischbeck and Olivia Tukuafu.

There was a bit of discrepancy regarding the score entering the final stages of Game #5. Xavier coaches and players thought they should have one, maybe two more points than what appeared on the board.  After a few minutes of mathematical analysis, game officials did not award the extra point that Xavier claimed it was due.

Xavier Head Coach Lamar-Renee Bryant obviously was displeased but decided not to say anything afterward to escalate the situation.

Freshman Vivian Hickman continued her improvement for the Gators, recording 11 kills, while sophomore Courtney Snopko had nine and junior Camila Cornejo-Farmer had eight.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Flag football players to hit the field for clinic

 The excitement continues to build for the Xavier Prep flag club football program that will make its debut in the spring of 2023 at Petznick Field and other locations throughout the Valley.

New head coach Mike Patterson, currently an assistant at nearby Brophy Prep, said that approximately 130 potential players responded when the team held an interest meeting on Aug. 30 at XCP’s Founders Hall.

This coming Saturday (Sept. 17), the process will move along when Patterson holds the first of two football clinics from 10 a.m.-noon at the Brophy Sports Complex, just inside Xavier’s main gate on Seventh Street, which is the practice facility for Brophy football. The goal is to eventually move to Petznick once a field renovation project has been completed. The second clinic will be held Oct. 22.

Attire for the clinic is as follows: T-shirt, short/athletic pants, cleats if possible and water, also a hair tie.

Go Gators!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Jevnick, Hauptman show their golfing grit

 When a big reward is on the line, you can figure that Xavier Prep’s golfers have the motivation and skills to pursue such excellence.

Juniors Jayden Jevnick and Kate Hauptman were on top of their game on Monday (Sept. 13) in the U.S. Golf Association’s U.S. Women’s amateur Four-Ball Championship, finishing as the lone two-golfer qualifying group with a 6-under-par 66 at the Wigwam Golf Course in Litchfield Park.

They will participate in the 8th U.S. Women’s Amateur from May 13-17, 2023 at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

It's deja vu all over again for Xavier golfers Jayden Jevnick, left, and Kate Hauptman, who qualified for the USGA's Womens Amateur Four-Ball Championship Tuesday, repeating this scene from last year (Xavier photo).

Jevnick and Hauptman also qualified for the same event in October of last year as sophomores.

A pair of freshman players, Isabella Piazza and Madalyn Gubernick, finished in fifth place, and XCP senior Annie Dawson was paired with Peoria Liberty’s Brooke McGlasson and finished seventh. Both twosomes finished at 2-under-par 70. McGlasson helped her school team win Arizona’s Division I state championship in the fall of 2021, while Dawson finished in a tie for third as Xavier finished as the runner-up.

Xavier’s Gators will be back on their Phoenix Country Club home course on Wednesday (Sept. 14) when they face Chandler Basha.

Volleyball escapes early struggle, downs Highland

 The night started with a bit of uncertainty for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team on Monday (Sept. 12).

The match against visiting Gilbert Highland was played in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings, at Brophy Prep instead of Xavier. And after falling in the first game, 25-22, Xavier found itself in a 0-1 hole.

Xavier eventually found its footing and went on to win three straight games for a 3-1 triumph in the match. Xavier is now 3-2 overall, Highland 11-7.

Junior Camila Cornejo-Farmer was selected by the coaches as Player of the Match with 13 kills and five blocks.

She received a good deal of help from some of her teammates.

Seniors Ava Larkin and Maddie MacDonald combined to dish out 42 of the team’s 47 assists.

Sophomore Olivia Lenz had five service aces and 12 digs on defense. Freshman Vivian Hickman had 15 kills and 14 digs. And senior defensive specialist/libero Mei Pireto had 23 digs.

The Gators will travel to Mesa Mountain View for a match on Wednesday night (Sept. 14). This weekend (Friday and Saturday), XCP will be back in the high-profile Durango Classic in Las Vegas after not participating for a few years due to the Covid virus.

Badminton wins sixth match in a row

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team won its sixth match in a row on Monday (Sept. 12) by defeating visiting Queen Creek 8-1. Xavier is now 6-1, Queen Creek 3-4.

The Gators won all six of their singles matches and two of three contests in doubles.

Xavier’s next match is on Wednesday (Sept. 14), at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

Monday’s result

Xavier Prep 8, Queen Creek 1


Gigi Riviere, X, def. Makayla Homewood, QC, 21-6, 21-4; Maggie Henry, X, def. Abby Sawyer, QC, 21-11, 21-14; Corinne Ladha, X, def. Lauren Ripley, QC, 21-16, 21-10; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Avriel Durrant, QC, 21-17, 21-17; Sarah Castlen, X, def. Ashley Rosen, QC, 23-21, 21-8; Ava Hilsabeck, X, def. Mykial Miller, QC, 21-16, 13-21, 21-17.


Ladha-Henry, X, def. Durrant-Ripley,  QC, 21-14, 21-16; Riviere-Garman, X, def. Sawyer-Homewood, QC, 21-6, 21-17; Rosen-Hayley Bywater, QC, def. Dowdall-Castlen, X, 21-19, 15-21, 21-17.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Mountain bikers on move with Hill playing key role

 It was the Arizona Cycling Association’s first race of the season, and the combined girls-boys team from Xavier and Brophy showed it had plenty of energy in the South Conference Division I competition on Sunday (Sept. 11) at the Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff.

Fifteen riders from Xavier and 26 more from Brophy made up their club team that finished a very strong second place with 4044 points, just seven points behind leader Sierra Vista Buena. The remaining four teams in Division I (divisions are set up by experience and skillset) were Phoenix Desert Vista, Tucson Canyon del Oro, Chandler Arizona College Prep and Chandler Basha.

The top individual for Xavier-Brophy, regardless of gender, appears to be junior Mary Hill, who has been riding competitively since middle school.

Hill finished fifth in the Varsity competition, covering the 3-lap course (17.7 miles) in 1:25:00.35, scoring 539 points. By the time she graduates from Xavier in 2024, she could be the school’s most decorated career rider.

The girls’ JV-2 course runs 2 laps for a total of 11.8 miles,. Xavier had three girls in the top five.

They were senior Alyssa Isaac, who was third at 1:02:54.40 (481 points), junior Bailey Finch, who was fourth at 1:03:54.14 (472 points) and junior Margaret Meaney, who was fifth at 1:03:58.32 (464 points).

Xavier also has a freshman who is eager to move up through the various levels. She is Clara Findlay, who was fifth after 2 laps at 59:48.60 (464 points).

Other Xavier finishers:

Grace Morgan, Sr., JV-1, 6th; Megan Wubker, Jr., JV-2, 9th; Ella Schuster, Jr., JV-2, 10th; Lizbeth Sanchez-Garcia, Sr., JV-2, 12th; Morgan Finch, Sr., JV-2, 13th; Suleliddy Quintero, Jr., JV-2, 14th; Lily Foster, Sr., JV-2, 19th; Kaytlyn Cooper, Jr., JV-2, 22nd; Cynthia Vilchris Moran, Jr., JV-2, 23rd and Sophia Hiler, Freshman, 9th.

Xavier-Brophy is back in action on Sept. 24 at the Secret Trails course in the Snowflake-Taylor community. Start time is 11:30 a.m.

XCP golfer Dawson is Academic All-Star of Week

 Xavier Prep senior Annie Dawson is at the front of the pack early in the 2022-23 school year, selected by the media outlet as its first Academic All-Star of the Week.

In addition to her skills on the golf course, she has a full plate of activities in the classroom and out. That intensity has helped her earn a scholarship to Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. She is the primary force from Xavier who helps operate a charity for students with mental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, and is an officer in the National Honor Society.

After finishing third in last year’s Division I state tournament, Dawson came back this season as a team captain. She is in her fourth season with the varsity.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Frosh tennis players embark on new adventure

 Xavier Prep is the name and tennis is the game, and there really is no better way to begin a lifetime of sports and friendships through tennis.

Approximately 80 freshman girls came through XCP’s annual no-cut program at the Stark Tennis Center. The best of them, as evaluated by a seven-member coaching staff, will begin a schedule of competition with two 10-member teams that play against other schools. The remainder of the players are at the basic beginners’ level who work at a more deliberate pace and learn about the equipment and nuances of the game.

The two co-head coaches are Karen Fleissner and Judy Hernandez, along with assistant coaches Barbara Holcomb, Amy Gallo, Ford Oliver Jr., Lara Murphy and Meg Yuan.

Frosh tennis players are fresh and ready to go as they are set to learn the game in Xavier's award-winning no-cut program (Photo by Don Ketchum).

Hernandez had been leading the freshman program for a couple of years after getting suggestions from Laurie Martin, who began the no-cut program many years ago.

Fleissner joined the program to add to her duties as head boys coach at Phoenix Arcadia in the spring, where she has led that program for six years. She met with Martin through the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), telling her she wanted to gain more experience and increase her workload, and the Denver native and Arizona State graduate gained approval shortly before Martin passed away in an accident during the early summer.

“Working with high school players is so fun,’’ Fleissner said.

“The girls here at Xavier have been great. The fact that you have multiple coaches is amazing. The school has got our back and has been very welcoming. The girls have been very receptive. They listen and follow directions.’’

Hernandez said the two teams with more experience will play most of their matches at mid-week, while the newer players work more on Fridays.

The instruction involves both singles and doubles.

“We want them to understand the positioning in doubles and covering the court,’’ Hernandez said.

They also are learning about the ball and all of the spins and angles it can take. The players seem to be getting more and more used to that as time goes along.

One of the players who has had some experience is Victoria Head.

She started playing near the age of 3 and grew up in England before coming to the States. And the place she lived across the pond was near . . . Wimbledon, of course. She has an older sister who has played some tennis.

Head continued her own tennis education when she came to Arizona and worked with a pro at the Village Tennis Club in the Scottsdale area.

Now, as a freshman, she is learning all about what it takes to be a success at XCP, in terms of academics. She admits that part of it is not easy, but she is getting used to it.

“It was kind of scary at first, but I think I have found my way,’’ she said. “I have made some friends, so that helps. That’s the way it is out here with tennis.’’

Xavier Prep Freshman Green (A) roster

(Provided by coaches and listed on team page of Web site)

Ali Blutstein, Ava Coover, Caitlyn McDowell, Claire McCloskey, Kyleigh Carr, Lauren Lum Lung, Layla Vanderhoff, Lucia Sugich, Maddie Carver Triphahn, Nev Herzog, Victoria Head, Barrett Irwin.

Freshman Green (A) schedule

All matches, 3:30 p.m., unless noted.

Sept. 13 -- @ Tempe Corona del Sol

Sept. 16 – Goodyear Millennium, 5 p.m.

Sept. 20 – Gilbert Perry

Sept. 21 -- @ Chandler Hamilton

Sept. 22 – Chandler Basha

Sept. 27 -- @ Queen Creek Casteel

Sept. 29 -- @ Scottsdale Desert Mountain

Oct. 13 – Tempe McClintock

Oct. 18 -- @ Gilbert Highland

Oct, 20 – Arizona College Prep

Oct. 25 -- @ Chandler High

Oct. 26 – Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep

Oct. 27 – Tempe Marcos de Niza

Xavier Prep freshman Blue (B) roster

(Provided by coaches and listed on team page of Web site)

Alexa Coker, Beatrice Blok, Cali Pennell, Chrissy Singh, Hadley Oviatt, Katherine Smith, Meghan Nation, Savoya Guimarin, Shriya Tummala, Nicci Suriel.

Freshman Blue (B) schedule

All matches, 3:30 p.m., unless noted.

Sept. 15 – Gilbert Highland

Sept. 20 -- @ Arizona College Prep, Chandler

Sept. 21 -- @ Chandler Basha

Sept. 22 -- @ Maricopa High

Sept. 27 – Chandler High

Sept. 28 – @ Casa Grande High

Sept. 29 – Tempe Corona del Sol

Oct. 4 – Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep @ Scottsdale Ranch Park

Oct. 6 – Scottsdale Desert Mountain

Oct. 20 -- @ Goodyear Millennium, 5 p.m.

Oct. 25 – Chandler Hamilton

Oct. 26 -- @ Gilbert Perry

XCP swimmers, divers left in Red Mtn.'s wake

 Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team gave it a good effort, but came up short in its second meet of the season on Thursday (Sept. 8), against Mesa Red Mountain at the Skyline Aquatic Complex in east Mesa.

Xavier was outscored 109-77.

Xavier coach Glen Coy reported that two Gators were winners in individual events – sophomore Carter Cook in the 100-yard butterfly and sophomore Geni George in the 100-yard backstroke.

The Gators had a number of second-place individual finishers and three relay teams who touched the ball just behind the winners.

The individual runner-ups were sophomore Melena Lebedeff in the 200-yard freestyle, sophomore Krista Tymkiw in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke, George in the 100-yard butterfly and Adrianne Lauterborn in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The relay teams that finished second were:

200-yard medley relay – (Tymkiw, junior Ava Gill, George and senior Lainey Weiland).

200-yard freestyle relay – (senior Dylan Miller, senior Cassie Worth, freshman Audrey McEwen and Weiland).

400-yard freestyle relay – (George, Worth, McEwen and Miller).

Next up for the Gators is a Sept. 15 meet at Brophy Prep against Phoenix Horizon.

Second straight sweep brings Gators even

 Xavier Prep’s Gators are back where they started, which is a good thing.

Xavier recorded its second straight 3-0 volleyball sweep to even its overall record at 2-2. The wins were over Laveen Cesar Chavez on Tuesday (Sept. 6) and over Mesa High on Thursday (Sept. 8), both at the Activity Center.

The Gators defeated Mesa (4-7) by identical 25-18 scores in the first two games, then dominated the clinching third game, 25-14.

Xavier was solid at the net, with freshman Vivian Hickman coming up with eight kills and senior Ava Larkin getting five.

Senior Maddie MacDonald had some strong support for her teammates with 16 assists, and freshman Mattea Saunders had four. Sophomores Olivia Lenz and Elle McCreery were effective on the defensive side, with Lenz getting 11 assists along with three service aces, and McCreery had four blocks to help keep the Jackrabbits under control.

Xavier will attempt to make it three in a row on Monday (Sept. 12) when it faces Gilbert Highland at neighboring Brophy Prep, with a 6 p.m. start.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Gator golfers have great round, defeat Hamilton

 In a perfect world, this was the way a high school golf match should be – some of the state’s best players engaged in a decisive duel.

But this world is not perfect, obviously, and golfers know they must take it upon themselves to earn their way to success. They must be able to read the greens, retrieve their golf balls from the water if possible and sometimes endure the shower of sand from the bunker.

Only the strong survive.

And on this day (Wednesday), Xavier Prep’s Gators found a way to survive against Chandler Hamilton in a battle of wills between the top 2 and 3 finishers in last year’s Division I state tournament.

Xavier covered the par-36 front nine at Phoenix Country Club with a 3-under-par 141, while Hamilton was at 10-over 154. Hamilton had five of its seven-player roster eligible for scoring, while Xavier’s list went far beyond its five – the Gators had 20 participants, most of them tagged as “extras.’’

Xavier’s top three golfers were under par – junior medalist Kate Hauptman (33), senior and No. 2 finisher Annie Dawson (34) and junior and third-place finisher Grace Rubelsky (35). Freshman Madalyn Gubernick was at 3-over 39 – giving the Gators their 141.

Hamilton  always finds a way to be in contention with the presence of senior Jennifer Seo, who was at 1-under 35. Seo was the D-I individual champion in 2021 and over this summer’s July 4 weekend, won the Girls High School Golf National Invitational in Pinehurst, N.C., shooting 14 birdies during the three days at three different courses.

On Wednesday against Xavier, Seo got help from sophomore Angela Chen, who came in with an even-par 36.

Seo might have been farther up the leaderboard were it not for a bogey on No. 9.

Hauptman, paired with Seo, had four birdies and a bogey during her tour of the course.

Xavier co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam said Hauptman was not fazed by competing with the national champion player. Those two also were in the same group at the recent Nighthawk Invitational in Tucson, won by Xavier.

“I’ve told (Hauptman) not to worry what everybody else is doing and play her game and that’s what she did today,’’ Selvaratnam said.

Familiarity with Phoenix CC, the Gators’ home course, also helped them, the coach said.

“If we finished near even par, we figured we could win this,’’ she said.

“In a tougher match like this, anything can happen.’’

In regard to their upcoming schedule, the Gators were supposed to face Glendale Mountain Ridge on Monday (Sept. 12), but the contest was postponed. That would put XCP back at Phoenix CC on Wednesday (Sept. 14) against Chandler Basha.

As the regular season winds to a close, Xavier will meet defending state champion Peoria Liberty in its next-to-last home match on Sept. 28.

Wednesday’s result

Xavier Prep 141, Chandler Hamilton 154

Kate Hauptman, X, 33; Annie Dawson, X, 34; Grace Rubelsky, X, 35; Jennifer Seo, H, 35; Angela Chen, H, 36; Madalyn Gubernick, X, 39; Isabella Piazza, X, 40; Flora Tao, H, 41; Laura Seo, H, 42; Lizzie Walls, H, 51.

Xavier extras

Jayden Jevnick 35; Lyla Layman, 36; Reimi Bleyl, 38; Lena Durette, 39; Natalia Lamadrid, 40; Lauren Campbell, 41; Alanna Kururu, 43; Giulianna Bulkley, 44; Kalyn Doss, 44; Sophia Pe Benito-Brooks, 44; Sophie Stamatis, 44; Karter Nannen, 46; Carrie Doss, 48; Ellie von Kolen, 49; Aanvi Goel, 58.

Don't weep, badminton sweeps -- twice!

 Xavier Prep’s badminton team has been getting a lot of use from its brooms this season.

The Gators ran their record to 5-1 four of those wins by 9-0 shutouts, with wins on the road over Mesa Desert Ridge on Tuesday (Sept. 6) and Phoenix Carl Hayden on Wednesday (Sept. 7).

The match against Carl Hayden was noteworthy in that it hailed the varsity season debut of sophomore Reagan Perez, who won her singles match and teamed with senior Ava Hilsabeck to earn a victory in doubles.

The Gators return home to the Activity Center on Monday (Sept. 12) for a match against Queen Creek.

Tuesday’s result

Xavier Prep 9, Mesa Desert Ridge 0


Gigi Riviere, X, def. Savanna Wenzel, DR, 21-11, 21-19; Maggie Henry, X, def. Haley Louzek, DR, 21-15, 21-16; Corinne Ladha, X, def. Angeline Le, DR, 21-16, 21-5; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Brooke Mayer, DR, 21-12, 21-10; Sarah Castlen, X, def. Zoe Gundran, DR, 22-20, 21-9; Lexi Garman, X, def. Brooke Raymond, DR, 21-18, 21-8.


Henry-Ladha, X, def. Wenzel-Kendall Heredia, DR, 21-16, 21-4; Ava Hilsabeck-Riviere, X, def. Mayer-Le, DR, 21-17, 12-21, 21-11; Dowdall-Castlen, X, def. Raymond-Gundran, DR, 21-10, 21-12.

Wednesday’s result

Xavier Prep 9, Phoenix Carl Hayden 0


Gigi Riviere, X, def. Domitila Gomez Flores, CH, 21-5, 21-11; Maggie Henry, X, def,. Evelyn Olguin Espino, CH, 21-5, 21-9; Corinne Ladha, X, def. Lesley Garcia, CH, 21-2, 21-5; Sarah Castlen, X, def. Jasmin Montoya, CH, 21-12, 21-12; Ava Hilsabeck, X, def. Nathalia Gonzalez Garcia, CH, 21-6, 21-12; Reagan Perez, X, def. Melanie Mendez, CH, 21-7, 21-4.


Henry-Ladha, X, def. Olguin Espino-Gomez Flores, CH, 21-2, 21-6; Riviere-Castlen, X, def. Montoya-Garcia, CH, 21-2, 21-9; Perez-Hilsabeck, X, def. Mendez-Gonzalez Garcia , 21-4, 21-7.