Tag Archives: Xavier College Preparatory

Arizona team finishes third in its divison at national girls lacrosse tournament

The Southwest Region team at the Women's Division National Tournament in Stony Brook, N.Y. this past weekend.

An Arizona all star girls lacrosse team finished third in its division this past weekend at the Women’s Division National Tournament at Stony Brook, N.Y.   The team of 20 girls from nine local high school teams comprised the Southwest Region team and finished third out of 10 teams in the Iroquois division, with wins over Missouri and Orlando/Gulf Coast on Saturday and an 18-5 shellacking of Oregon in the third palace game on Sunday.  The Arizonans lost their early morning games on Saturday and Sunday to New Hampshire/Vermont and Georgia, respectively.

“We had rocky morning games both Saturday and Sunday, but we pulled through and came out third in our division,” said Southwest Region head coach Bean Callen, who also coaches at Xavier College Prep. “The girls clicked extremely well, having played together just twice before coming to Long Island for the WDNT tournament. After our first loss to New Hampshire/Vermont, the team really came together and the chemistry prevailed. They made one another look good on the field and the camaraderie among each and every player was amazing. Crisp passes, beautiful goals and strong defense were seen on the field. And lots of laughter encompassed not just the players, but the coaches and parent chaperones as well!”

In addition to playing five games against some of the country’s best talent, the Arizona girls were able attend both NCAA Final Four lacrosse games on Friday featuring Maryland vs. Duke and North Carolina vs. Northwestern. On Saturday, they watched the U19 USA team beat Canada 21-7.

The Arizona team was one of 60 teams from 30 states that took part in the WDNT tournament, which is the oldest girls lacrosse tournament in the country, dating back to 1933.  This year’s tournament featured more than 1,200 of the top high school girls lacrosse players in the country.   — Dan Barr


Girls lacrosse team selected for Women’s Division National Tournament

One of the selections to the WDNT team, Sophie Bucknell of Xavier Prep.

Twenty girls from nine high school lacrosse teams have been named to the Southwest Regional Team that will play in the Women’s Division National Tournament at Stony Brook University in New York during Memorial Day Weekend.  The team, which will play in the Schoolgirls’ Division for grades 9-11, was selected after a full day of tryouts on March 25.  The Women’s Division National Tournament, which began in 1933, is one the oldest and most prestigious women’s lacrosse events in the nation.  The head coach for the WDNT team will be Bean Callen of Xavier Prep.  The assistant coach will be Adrianne Wagner of Phoenix Country Day School.  Of the 20 girls selected, five are from Pinnacle High School, four from Chaparral and three each Corona del Sol and Desert Mountain.

Here are 20 girls names to the 2011 WNDT team:

Vanessa Fernandez, junior, Notre Dame, Attack
Sara Phister, sophomore, Mountain Pointe, Attack
Larissa Breguez, junior, Pinnacle, Midfield
Scarlett Sulliman, sophomore, Chaparral, Midfield
Alex Chamberlain, sophomore, Pinnacle, Attack
Miranda Ross, junior, Corona del Sol, Goalie
Erika Bradley, junior, Horizon, Midfield
Rachelle Mariner, junior, Gilbert, Midfield
Madison Roble, freshman, Pinnacle, Attack
Abby Dierks, junior, Pinnacle, Midfield
Kate Pederson, sophomore, Chaparral, Attack
Kaci Rood, sophomore, Desert Mountain, Midfield
Brittany Brewster, sophomore, Chaparral, Defense
Elise Anaya, junior, Chaparral, Defense
Caitlyn O’Grady, sophomore, Corona del Sol, Attack
Holly Berns, sophomore, Corona del Sol, Midfield
Elena Cuomo, junior, Desert Mountain, Defense
Elizabeth Fishman, junior, Chaparral, Midfield
Sophie Bucknell, junior, Xavier, Attack
Natalie Schellbach, junior, Pinnacle, Midfield

There were four alternates selected as well:

Nadine Bashir, sophomore, Pinnacle, Midfield
Tori Hawk, sophomore, Horizon, Goalie
Jessie Lowy, junior, Chaparral, Midfield
Megan McGuire, sophomore, Corona del Sol, Midfield

Goalie Miranda Ross of Corona del Sol High School.

Xavier sophomore is named Gatorade Arizona Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year

Sarah "takes off for the lead and doesn't look back."

Xavier College Preparatory sophomore Sarah Fakler has been named the 2010-11 Gatorade Arizona Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. The award, made possible by Gatorade in partnership with ESPN RISE Magazine, distinguishes Sarah as Arizona’s best high school girls cross country runner.

“She is an exceptionally talented athlete, but also dedicated to academics and serving her community,” says Sister Lynn Winsor, BVM, CMAA, Xavier’s vice principal for activities and athletics.

In addition to her cross country achievements, Sarah has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is an active member in her church community and has participated in the Xavier Xero Club, promoting environmental sustainability.

Sarah led the Xavier Gators to the team title in the Class 5A Division 1 state championship this past season with a time of 18:26.97. She captured individual titles at the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival, the Sole Sports Running Zone Cross Country Festival and the George Young Invitational. She finished third at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional Championships with a time of 17:49:39.

Sarah with her award.

“Sarah gets in this hypnotic state when the gun goes off. Basically, she takes off for the lead and doesn’t look back,” says Xavier Head Coach Dave Van Sickle. “Usually, she comes home with the win.”

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field. RISE partners with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Do you know a comeback kid?

Now a Xavier College Preparatory High School graduate, 2010 Fan Fave winner Tayler Renshaw returned to her alma mater to present a $1,000 check on behalf of PCH Sports Medicine for Young Athletes to make the inaugural donation for the $1.5 million new sports field.

Do you know a young athlete who was forced to sit on the sidelines because of an injury, illness, or physical limitation? Someone who had to go to physical therapy or treatment while teammates were competing and having fun?

The PCH Sports Medicine Program Comeback Student Athlete of the Year Awards Program is a chance to reward that hard work and dedication to get back in the game.

Nominations are being sought for the 2nd annual Comeback Student Athlete of the Year Awards Program, which recognizes outstanding young athletes who have returned to athletic competition after receiving treatment for an injury, illness, or physical limitation.

Throughout the school year, contest nominees will have the chance of being chosen as the PCH Sports Medicine Comeback Student Athlete of the Week and highlighted on KPNX Channel 12’s Friday Night Fever or 12News Saturday Today. In April 2011, a panel of judges will choose the PCH Sports Medicine Comeback Student Athlete of the Year. An award will also be given for the “Fan Fave” who is selected by online votes. Both winners will be awarded scholarship money to be presented at an end-of-the-year banquet. The winners’ athletic programs will receive cash grants.

Nominations are open to Arizona residents between the ages of 8 and 18 who are currently enrolled in Arizona public, private, charter or home elementary or high schools. Nominees must have participated in organized sports (school, club  or intramurals) and missed part of a season due to injury, illness or physical limitations. You do not have to be a PCH patient to be eligible for the awards program.

Last year, PCH Sports Medicine received more than 100 nominations. From those, 28 comeback student athletes were featured on 12News as weekly winners. Two of those athletes, Brett Butler and Tayler Renshaw, were selected as the PCH Sports Medicine Comeback Student Athlete of the Year and Fan Fave Comeback Student Athlete, respectively.

Brett, who graduated from Corona del Sol High School last June, was diagnosed at the PCH Children’s Neuroscience Institute with a brain tumor that caused debilitating seizures. He underwent surgery to remove the growth, but the procedure resulted in paralysis to the right side of his body. He battled a long road to recovery, but eventually returned to Coronal del Sol’s cross country and varsity baseball teams.

Currently a freshman at Arizona State University, Brett was selected as the Comeback Student Athlete of the Year by a panel of judges.

In August 2008, Tayler began feeling ill and over time her health deteriorated to the point where she could barely run or jump. In February of 2009, her sickness was diagnosed by a team of specialists in the Division of Gastroenterology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Tayler found out she has Crohn’s disease.

In order to treat her illness and regain her strength, Tayler had to stop playing soccer for two months and now receives regular infusions every six weeks. Tayler worked extremely hard to get back into top playing condition during the summer before the start of her senior year at Xavier College Preparatory.

Tayler, now a freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles, was selected by a public online vote as the Fan Fave Comeback Student Athlete. Over the 19 days of voting, close to 34,000 Fan Fave votes were collected.

Nominations will be accepted through February 27, 2011. To nominate someone you know, visit comebackathlete.azcentral.com.

Track and field: It’s all about technique

I left work a little early yesterday to go watch the track meet between Desert Vista High School and Brophy and Xavier at the new Brophy Sports Complex.  The dual meet was the first event ever held at the new, nine-acre facility just north of  Xavier at Seventh Street and Highland.  I went not only to see the opening of the new facility, but also to see Juliann Lieb (daughter of Phoenix realtor Bobby Lieb and Raising Arizona Kids Marketing Director MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb) throw the discus.

Juliann Lieb competes at yesterday's track and field meet. Photo by Daniel Friedman.

Two and a half weeks ago, Juliann won the discus event among 39 competitors at the Chandler Rotary Track Invitational, which attracts top track athletes from around the Southwest and California.

As I watched Juliann practice her graceful, three-step spin and throwing motion (click here for short video of Juliann and teammates throwing the discus), I spoke with one of her coaches, Tim O’Neil.

“Track and field has a tremendous amount of technique; the biggest and fastest [person] doesn’t always win,” said O’Neil, who is also a partner in the HIT Center (High Intensity Training) in Mesa. “All team sports involve gross motor skills, but track and field and other individual sports involve fine motor skills. There can be a big difference in your throws, just with just slight differences in how you hold the discus.”

When I asked O’Neil what attracted girls to throwing the discus, his answer had nothing to do with physical skills. “You find girls who like camaraderie and being outside,” he said.

And that was borne out by watching Juliann. She didn’t have her best day and her best throw was about eight feet less than her winning throw at the Chandler Rotary Invitational. But she was smiling, having fun and enjoying her last month in high school before starting college next fall at ASU’s Barrett Honors College.

She and many of her teammates had written the initials “RM” on their arms to remember their classmate, Robby Mayasich, who died last month after he was struck by a car on February 27 while he was participating in the Ragnar Del Sol relay race from Prescott to Mesa. It was a beautiful day to be outside and Juliann — and everyone else at the Brophy Sports Complex — were enjoying just being there. — Dan

Xavier badminton team wins state championship


Julia Friedman (left) and Weslie Norris.

All eyes in gym were on them. The focus of state badminton championship between Xavier College Preparatory and Mountain Pointe, which had started an hour earlier with six simultaneous singles matches, was now squarely on the doubles match between each school’s number 3 ranked doubles teams. The first and second ranked doubles teams had just started to play their matches, but not many people were paying attention to them. Even the players for those doubles teams kept glancing over to court number 3, where Xavier’s Weslie Norris and Julia Friedman were playing Mountain Pointe’s Danielle Stewart and Nadya Zolotova.

Julia already had won her singles match, as had her teammates Carissa Pappas, Danielle Dozer and Danielle Mark, to give Xavier a 4-2 lead in the team competition. One more win would give Xavier the title and everyone in the crowd of more than 200 knew it.

Badminton is usually played in a quiet gym before a handful of people. There was nothing quiet about the Shadow Mountain High School gym, especially after Julia and Weslie won their first game 15-3 in just six minutes.

“It definitely made us more nervous,” Julia said, “but we tried really hard to keep our focus.”

“We had never played in front of a crowd like that before,” Weslie added.

Julia and Weslie were able to keep their focus for eight more minutes, which was the time they needed to win the second, and deciding, game 15-6. The shuttlecock had barely hit the net and fallen to the floor, when the Xavier players on the other two courts stopped in the middle of play and rushed over to hug their teammates.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” Weslie said of the moment she and Julia won the deciding match to win the state title.


The Dozer family.

Afterward, parents posed with their daughters around the championship trophy. Danielle Dozer’s dad, Rich, former president of the Arizona Diamondbacks, had posed for similar photos exactly eight years ago to the night, when the Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series. Rich recalled how Danielle, then age 9, ran around the Diamondbacks clubhouse spraying champagne after the dramatic Game 7 win.

“I was much more nervous tonight because it is my own daughter,” Rich said.

The Diamondbacks winning the World Series may be the greatest moment in Arizona sports history, but I have a pretty good feeling that, for Rich Dozer, it now comes in second to his daughter’s team winning the 2009 5A state badminton title. — Dan Barr


Back row: Head Coach Nancy Meyer, Danielle Mark, Danielle Dozer, Cate Welch, Carissa Pappas, Assistant Coach Susie Murphy. Front: Julia Friedman and Weslie Norris.


Xavier College Preparatory's 5A State Championship badminton team.

You’ve got to show up

One of the great lessons that sports can teach is that you have got to get up after you have been knocked down.

Danielle Mark learned that lesson Monday night at the state 5A badminton semifinals at Shadow Mountain High School. Because she did, she and her Xavier College Preparatory Gator teammates will play for the state title this Wednesday night against Mountain Pointe.


Xavier badminton doubles team Carissa Pappas (left) and Danielle Mark.

Three weeks ago, I wrote about Danielle and her doubles partner, Carissa Pappas, when they played a Saturday tournament at Chaparral High School (“What most of us don’t know about badminton”). On that day, I asked Danielle what advice she would give young girls who wanted to play badminton.

“Our coach always says, ‘You’ve got to show up,’” Danielle told me on that day. “Show up both mentally and physically.”

Well, on Monday night, Danielle was nowhere to be seen in her singles match against Chaparral’s Joelle Fang, who displayed a deft touch with drop shots and placement. Danielle was skunked in the first game 11-0 and lost the second game 11-8. The match was over before it began. Danielle was frustrated, flustered and upset with herself.

About 45 minutes later it had all turned around. Now playing doubles with Carissa, who had previously won her singles match, Danielle looked like a different player. She was confident and assertive when only a short while earlier she had looked listless and confused.

With Xavier’s other doubles team losing and Chaparral threatening to pull even in the team match, Danielle and Carissa convincingly won their doubles match in straight games, 15-2 and 15-1, and in doing so propelled their team into the state finals.

“It’s not over yet,” said Carissa after the match, “but this is amazing.”

“We have been wanting this from the get go,” said Danielle of the state title. “And now we are so close.”

Xavier will have its hands full on Wednesday with Mountain Pointe, which beat Millennium 5-3 in a spirited group of matches on the other side of the gym. If nothing else, the Mountain Pointe girls should get the tournament award for “most creative team shirts.” Theirs are black and state on the back “We put the Bad in Badminton.”

The essence of a great teammate is showing up when your team needs you the most. Danielle got up after being knocked down on Monday night and now her team moves on.

The 5A badminton state championship will be at Shadow Mountain High School, 2902 E. Shea Blvd, at 6:30pm Wednesday. Admission is $5. The championship should be highly competitive. From what I saw on Monday, if any of the girls gets knocked down, they won’t stay down for very long. — Dan Barr