Senior Sports Highlights of the 2018 – 2019 Seasons


Pictured is the entire varsity soccer team from this season on senior night. The parents of the seniors and the coaches are also in the picture. Photo Courtesy of Megan Onofrei ’20.

Megan Onofrei, Sports and Fitness Editor

Xavier College Prep has a variety of aspects that make up its excellence and success across the board, one of those elements being the presence of a competitive athletic environment. Athletes are given the opportunity to strive in the classroom and on the field/court due to the passion that Xavier has for its athletics. Throughout the 2018-2019 sports season, there have been countless victories, grasping onto 4 state champions, and still competing for more as the spring sports season begins to wrap up. For the seniors that are graduating on May 11, Xavier’s athletic programs have been an instrumental part of their high school experience. From playing in state championships, to getting hyped up in the locker room, to watching fellow classmates achieve victories, the memories revolving around sports at Xavier will last a lifetime.

Xavier opened up the year with the fall sports of badminton, crew, cross country, gatorline, golf, mountain biking, spiritline, swim and dive, hotshots and volleyball. The Gators achieved great success through winning 4 state championships in the sports of cross country, golf, spiritline and volleyball. The cross country team rose to a state victory as 8 runners received first and second team and honorable mention awards; with Coach Van Sickle being rewarded with Coach of the Year. Senior Helen Innes comments about her experience of being a Xavier cross country runner,  “I’ve been on the cross country team for 4 years, and one of the best memories that I have of it is going to Nike Nationals my freshman year. It was such a neat experience since the meet was really hard to qualify for and it was only the second time the team had been.” The Gator golf team has always been a force to be reckoned with, as they have won 36 state titles total after winning another one this fall. Individuals on the golf team received several awards including Coach Tui as she won Coach of the Year at the Premier Region End of the Year Golf Awards and seniors, Emily Cons and Eve Worden, who received Honorable Mention Awards for their commitment to and victories within Xavier’s legendary golf program.

Xavier’s badminton team put up a strong fight this year in the state tournament, making it to the quarterfinals and continuing the program’s competitiveness from previous years. Senior Misaal Irfan was a member of the competitive badminton team and said that, “One of my favorite memories of my 4 years at Xavier was winning a badminton state championship my sophomore year with the seniors that year, who were all my close friends that gave me a lot of love and inspiration.” Xavier’s mountain biking team often partners with the Brophy mountain biking team for practices and races. The mountain biking team competes in 5 races throughout the year and they finished their season on a strong note on their race on Nov. 4, with a fourth place finish and a great conclusion for the seniors due to their dedication to the program throughout 4 years. The Xavier Swim and Dive team had another successful season finishing second in the state championship competition. The seniors remember Coach Rankin who was an excellent coach and played a very important role in their experience as a swimmer, as their class won a state championship their junior year out of commemoration and love for Coach Rankin. Gators were meant to swim and dive!

Crew, hotshots, spiritline and gatorline are year around sports with their primary activity happening in the fall sports season but certain events such as nationals and qualifying events occuring in the winter and spring sports seasons. Xavier’s Crew team had first places finishes at the Long Beach Christmas Regatta in December and the Desert Springs Regatta in March. The Varsity 4+ Crew team took 2nd place at the West Coast Scholastic Championships in Southern California on April 14, marking a memorable end for their seniors! The Xavier Hotshots overall finished 5th out of 7 teams at the State Archery Championship. Senior Ava Koehler de Celaya had an outstanding competition, finishing as the 5th overall shooter out of 104 girls and was awarded 1st place for her class. Gatorline is centered around the basketball season whereas spiritline is centered around the football season; however, Xavier’s spiritline continues to perform for school functions throughout the year and competes in state and nationals. Spiritline performed at a very high level at the AIA All-Girl Cheer State Championships on Feb. 9 bringing home another victory!

The following winter sports season consists of the very competitive soccer and basketball teams. Xavier soccer persevered through challenges this season caused by rule changes and injuries, but were still able to have a successful season through their presence in the state tournament. Senior captain Katie McGee reflects on her experience with being on varsity soccer, saying that, “I am going to remember all of the amazing friendships that I have made through Xavier soccer. Also, our pre-game traditions and winning a state a championship!” Xavier’s basketball team also had a commemorative season as they were runner-ups in the state tournament this year, achieving additional history for the Gator basketball program. Senior captain Leilani McIntosh had a lot of personal success this season in achieving a school record; saying that,  “A highlight of playing basketball here was getting my 1k points and being one of the only people to do that at Xavier means a lot to me.”

Xavier’s concluding spring season incorporates the beach volleyball, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track and field teams, that are  still currently competing for state titles. Xavier’s beach volleyball team defended their 6 state championship titles by winning a 7th state title on Thursday, May 2 against Perry. Senior Trinity Cavanaugh reflects on her experience of playing Xavier volleyball, saying that “My favorite memory from playing volleyball and beach volleyball is the friendships on the team that I will always remember. I will also remember winning state and the pre-game traditions, which are secret and I can’t tell you! But also the memories that I have had with my teammates on and off the court.” Xavier track has achieved a lot of success this season collectively and many personal and school records have been attained. Xavier record holder, senior Jada Simms, shares “What I will take away from Xavier track is how much I love my team and how we all work together.” The Xavier track team is also currently competing in the state tournament, with hopes of bringing home victories in the hurdle events, 400m event, and 4×400 m relay race! 

The Xavier lacrosse team had a rebuilding year this year with an addition of a new coaching staff as well as many new players being added to the roster. Despite these changes, Xavier’s lacrosse team won many games this year and grew super close as a group, setting up the stage for success in the years to come. Xavier lacrosse had a memorable senior night and senior captain, Sarah Minton ‘19, comments on how wonderful of an experience senior night was: “Senior night was everything imagined and more! I was so filled with love by my teammates, my friends, and my family! Though the game did not end in our favor, I sure won the night with my girls! Once a gator laxer always a gator laxer!” The Gator softballers are currently in their 2nd round of state, with the hope of competing for their program’s first state title! They were ranked a 4 seed in the state rankings before playoffs and are looking forward to creating special memories through victories in the state tournament before their seniors go off to college. The Xavier tennis team is also in the midst of the state tournament, as Tristanne Dechoux ’19 will be competing to win the singles bracket and a strong doubles team consisting of Junior Erica Stutz and Freshman Ryan Kershner as the gators enter into the state semis on Friday, May 3. Good luck to the Tennis Gators as they enter the final matches of the state tournament, with the hope of ending on a high note for the seniors!

This senior class consists of a variety of outstanding students and athletes that have achieved team and personal success. Senior Shannon Shields was named Gatorade Arizona Volleyball Player of the Year this past year due to her excellence in her volleyball career here. Senior Kyla Ferry was also named the Gatorade Arizona Soccer Player of the Year last year as she played an integral role in the Gator’s 2 soccer state championship victories while she was on the team, scoring 19 goals and having 12 assists. Kyla shares that, “My favorite sports memory here at Xavier was winning back to back state championships my sophomore and junior years. Also, in my junior year, I was named the Gatorade Player of the Year which was a really fun experience and I couldn’t have done it without my team here who I love very much!”

Thank you to all of the seniors who have been a part of Xavier sports teams throughout their last 4 years here and to all of those that have come out and support athletic events! It has been amazing to see how successful the seniors have been on and off the athletic stage and we wish them the best in the future! Go Gators!

Xavier’s varsity volleyball team for the 2018-2019 season. Pictured before they won their 2nd consecutive state championship.
Photo Courtesy of Kristin Hayward & Robertson Family.


Xavier’s sprint team for the 2018-2019 Track and Field season. Pictured from left to right: Kolbe Pierce ‘19, Jhonnie Mitchell ‘19, Leila Grant ‘19, Jada Simms ‘19, Amaka Alilonu ‘20, Taylor Brown ‘20, Alessandra Galasso ‘20, and Sophie Brohard ‘20. Photo Courtesy of Taylor Brown ‘20.


Pictured is Xavier’s golf team winning the Division 1 Girls Golf Championships. Congrats to the golf program on their 36th state title! Photo courtesy of Eve Worden ‘19.


Xavier’s Lacrosse team after practice, huddling around each other. Photo Courtesy of Kit Blouin ‘20.


Xavier’s Varsity Basketball team with the senior captains Leilani McIntosh, Addie Putnam, and Paris Rasheed-Moore featured in the front row. Photo courtesy of Duke Photography.


Xavier Spiritline at their Nationals competition in Anaheim, California. The Cheer team finished 2nd and the Pom team finished 6th. Photo courtesy of Jackie Hessel ‘20.