Commencement: Senior sports standouts
In an era of “one-and-done’s” in college basketball, Solomon Hill bucked the trend. He stuck it out for Arizona and for head coach Sean Miller and stayed with the program for all four years. He played in 139 games — tying an Arizona record — and helped Arizona along to Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen appearances. He was never a superstar by any means, but Hill was the Wildcats’ fearless leader, an all-around good basketball player — and a well-spoken, intelligent one at that. He might not be a first-round draft pick, but Hill has a solid NBA future ahead of him.
– Zack Rosenblatt
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat Women's basketball lose eigth straight against Colorado
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Briana Sanchez / Arizona Daily Wildcat Gym Cats place first over ASU on Saturday at McKale.
There’s no question senior Aubree Cristello deserves to be known as one of the top athletes at Arizona. She earned first-team all-conference four years in a row, the first Arizona gymnast to do so. Only eight other athletes in school history have received this honor. Cristello was an all-around competitor for the team, and in her senior season she never scored below a 39.100. She qualified for the NCAA National Championships in her junior and senior seasons. Her consistency in every meet put her in the record books as the second gymnast in program history to score more than 2,000 total career points. Gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden always described Cristello as a perfectionist with a tireless work ethic. These traits are what have made her so successful these past four years. She will be remembered at Arizona for her great contributions to the gymnastics program.
– Kendra Kautz
As far as track and field careers go, senior high jumper Brigetta Barrett has had one of the best. She’s taken Pac-12 indoor and outdoor titles, NCAA indoor and outdoor titles and indoor and outdoor All-American Honors, not to mention a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Currently, Barrett is on a 22-meet win streak, and her high jump mark of 6-4.25, which she achieved at the Stanford Invitational earlier this year, is the best in the world. But Barrett didn’t only share her talents on the field — she also shared them with the community. On several occasions, Barrett opened events by singing the National Anthem, one of them including at the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.
– Scarlett McCourt
Ever since Davellyn Whyte stepped onto the McKale Center floor in 2009, she was the straw that stirred the drink. Four years later, Whyte was rewarded for her hard work by being drafted 16th overall by the San Antonio Stars in the WNBA draft.
Whyte started every game in her Arizona career and is second all-time in Arizona women’s basketball history with 2,059 career points. On Feb. 19, she became the first women’s basketball player in the program’s history to record a triple-double.
– Luke Della
Quarterback Matt Scott didn’t enter his senior season in the most desirable of circumstances. He was replacing the Wildcats’ most decorated passer ever in Nick Foles, taking leadership of an entirely new offense under head coach Rich Rodriguez and he had no true backup to offer a safety net.
Not only did Scott survive the unfavorable circumstances, he thrived in them. Now Scott will go down as an Arizona great (at least at the quarterback position) after completing one of the strangest careers in school history.
After losing the starting job as a sophomore, Scott then redshirted his would-be senior year to finally get one more shot.
As Rodriguez said several times, Scott was a true blessing for the new coaching staff. He not only brought toughness and leadership, but his scrambling nature fit perfectly in the new read-option coaching scheme.
Scott did it with his feet — he ran for 100 yards on 15 carries against USC. He did it with his arm — he had a school-record 45 completions for 491 yards against Stanford, the third-most in a single game. And, ultimately, he willed the team to a winning record and a New Mexico Bowl victory against Nevada.
The senior had his low points as well, mainly the four-turnover game against ASU and the debacle against UCLA where he suffered a concussion. The NFL Draft, where Scott went undrafted, won’t help his legacy either.
Still, Scott somehow kept the quarterback play on par with the Foles’ years and actually did something his predecessor never did — Scott was selected second-team All-Pac-12.
– Kyle Johnson