Wildcat Sports

UA student-athletes set academic record

The 2013-14 Arizona senior class had six student-athletes named as the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the year in their respective sports, breaking the school record.

Women’s tennis player Lacey Smyth, softball player Kelsey Rodriguez, swimmers Giles Smith and Margo Greer and runners Elvin Kibet and Lawi Lalang earned the award for the 2013-14 season.

The previous record was set during the 2007-08 season when four Wildcats were honored with the award.

Austin Hill named to Biletnikoff watch list

The Tallahassee Quarterback Club announced on Tuesday that Arizona football senior receiver Austin Hill is on the watch list for the 2014 Biletnikoff Award.

The Biletnikoff Award is given to the “outstanding receiver” in college football.

Hill missed the 2013 with a knee injury but led the Wildcats in receiving in 2012.

In 2012, Hill was a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, All-Pac-12 Second-Team and Phil Steele Fourth-Team All-America.

In addition, Hill caught 81 balls for 1,364 yards and had 11 touchdowns. He was second in the Pac-12 in total receiving yards (1,364) and yards per game (104.9) and had at least 100 yards in five games.

In his UA career he has 102 catches for 1,675 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Austin Hill named to Maxwell Award watch list

The Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday that Arizona football senior receiver Austin Hill is on the watch list of the Maxwell Award, given annually to the college player of the year.

Hill missed the 2013 season with a knee injury, but in 2012 led the Wildcats in receiving with 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2012, he was a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, All-Pac-12 Second-Team and Phil Steele Fourth-Team All-America.

In 2012, Hill was also second in the Pac-12 in total receiving yards (1,364) and yards per game (104.9). He had a career-high 11 catches for 165 yards at Stanford and tallied 259 yards on 10 catches in the 39-36 win over No. 10 USC.

The Maxwell award is named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell and has been given to the best college football player since 1937.

Arizona football to face SDSU in future series

It was announced Tuesday that Arizona football will face San Diego State in a future home-and-home series.

The teams will play at Arizona Stadium in 2021 before heading to San Diego to face off in Qualcomm Stadium in 2022.

The announcement comes on the heels of a future home-and-home series against Mississippi State announced for 2022 and 2023.

For more news on the 2014 Arizona football schedule, click here.

Arizona football to face familiar foe

On Thursday the UA announced that Arizona football will play a home-and-home series against a familiar foe.

In 2022, the Wildcats will host Mississippi State and in 2023 Arizona will travel to Starkville, Miss. to face the Bulldogs. UA athletics director Greg Byrne was the AD for MSU from 2008 to 2010, when he left for Arizona.

This is Arizona’s first game against an SEC opponent since they lost 45-3 at LSU in 2006.

“We’re excited to announce this competitive series for our future football schedules,” Byrne said in a press release. “The opportunity to play an SEC opponent will be a great addition to our schedule for our program and our fans.”

According to fbschedules.com, Mississippi State is the only school from one of the five power conferences Arizona has scheduled in the future.

In 2015, the Wildcats will host UTSA and travel to Nevada. In 2016, the UA will play BYU in Glendale, Ariz. at the Arizona Cardinals’ Stadium and host Grambling State.

Then in 2017 the Wildcats have a home game against Houston and a trip to UTEP. In 2018 the UA will play BYU and UTEP at home and Houston on the road.

Then in 2019 the Wildcats will travel to Hawaii and in 2020 will host UH and play at BYU.

The details of Arizona’s 2014 non-conference schedule was announced last week. They can be found here.

Kelsey Rodriguez named Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year

Arizona softball senior Kelsey Rodriguez has been named the 2014 Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year for the sport of softball, according to a press release.

Rodriguez is the first Arizona softball player to receive the award since the award’s implementation in 2007-08.

Off the field, Rodriguez had a 3.92 GPA, majored in Psychology and was a 2014 first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honoree.

On the field, Rodriguez led Arizona in batting average (.419) and doubles (20) during her final year of eligibility for the Wildcats.

Arizona Hockey head coach Sean Hogan resigns

Arizona hockey is in need of a new head coach after Sean Hogan resigned and decided to accept the hockey head coaching job with Ohio University.

“I have decided to start a new chapter in my life and move closer to my family,” Hogan said in a press release. “The opportunity at Ohio University allows me to do that and I look forward to the new challenges in Athens, Ohio.”

Hogan became the program’s second head coach after he replaced Leo Golembieski in the summer of 2011. Last season Hogan led Arizona to its first ACHA Division I national tournament appearance since 2006.

The Wildcats finished the 2013-14 season with a 17-24 record and compiled five victories over top-5 opponents, two of which were ranked No. 1 overall.

Wildcat hockey said in a press release a national search has begun for a new head coach.

Arizona Football gets four nationally televised games

On Thursday the Pac-12 announced game times and television networks for five of Arizona football’s games in the 2014 season.

The Wildcats will open the season by hosting UNLV Fri., Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. MST on ESPN. It will mark the second season in a row that Arizona kicked off the season with a Friday game.

The Wildcats will play three more weekday games, including Thurs., Sept. 4 at UTSA at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Arizona will host Nevada on Sat., Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Networks.

On Thursday Oct. 2, the Wildcats play at Oregon at 7:30 p.m. MST on ESPN. Arizona closes out the season by playing ASU on Friday Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. MST on FOX.

The game time and television provider for the rest of the Wildcats’ games will be announced either six or 12 days in advance.

The UA’s non-conference opponents are familiar foes. In 2013, Arizona beat UNLV and UTSA 58-13 and 38-13 respectively and in 2012, beat Nevada 49-48 in the New Mexico Bowl.

2014 Arizona football schedule
Friday Aug. 29 vs. UNLV, 7:30 p.m. MST ESPN
Thursday Sept. 4 at UTSA, 5 p.m. MST FOX Sports 1
Saturday Sept. 13 vs. Nevada, 8 p.m. MST Pac-12 Networks
Saturday Sept. 20 vs. California TBA
Thursday Oct. 2 at Oregon, 7:30 p.m. MST ESPN
Saturday Oct. 11 vs. USC (Family Weekend) TBA
Saturday Oct. 25 at Washington State TBA
Saturday Nov. 1 at UCLA TBA
Saturday Nov. 8 vs. Colorado (Homecoming) TBA
Saturday Nov. 15 vs. Washington TBA
Saturday Nov. 22 at Utah TBA
Friday Nov. 28 vs. ASU, 1:30 p.m. MST FOX
Friday Dec. 5 Pac-12 Championship Game (Santa Clara, Calif.) Fox

Nick Ross named Pac-12 field athlete of the week

Arizona redshirt senior Nick Ross was named the Pac-12 field athlete of the week Tuesday.

The jumper set a new school record on Saturday in the men’s high jump competition with his clearance of 7-6.5 (2.30m) at Arizona’s Double Dual against ASU and NAU.

This is the second time this season Ross has been honored. Previously, he was named the Pac-12 field athlete of the week on April 15.

Ross broke James Frazier’s school record of 7-6 (2.29m). Frazier had held the record since May 10, 1980. Ross’ jump ranks No. 1 in the country and No. 5 in the world this year.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Sand volleyball adds local player

Arizona sand volleyball added another player for 2015, Taylor Lane, who is from Tucson.

Lane, who prepped at Amphi High School, transferred from Point Loma Nazarene University and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“It’s such a thrill to add a Tucson native to the program,” head coach Steve Walker said in a pres release. “Taylor is a very explosive athlete who also has an innate feel for virtually all aspects of the game. She was a standout locally at the high school level on and off the hardwood, and I look for her to be an impact player for us, especially as a defensive player who can transition and score points.”

Lane is a 5-foot-9 hitter/defensive specialist that led Point Loma to a 30-7 record and the NCCAA National Championship in 2013. She had 103 assists, 61 digs, 21 kills and 12 service aces in 2013, and 108 digs and 43 kills in 2012.

Lane was on the PacWest All-Academic Team in 2012 and 2013 and was an NCCAA Scholar-Athlete selection in 2013.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

Arizona women's tennis adds a international recruit

On Wednesday the UA announced that Arizona women’s tennis signed Hanna Sohn, a recruit from Cologne, Germany.

“We are very happy to welcome Hanna to our family,” head coach Vicky Maes said in a press release. “She is a wonderful girl and a tough competitor. What I admire in her is her ability to out-think her opponents, not something you often see in young players nowadays.”

In a press release, Sohn said she chose Arizona because of the opportunity to play in the Pac-12, the players and coaches, as well as the business program.

Arizona will lose four seniors this season, and in 2014-15 the program will have senior Laura Oldham, juniors Inge Hendrikx and Shayne Austin and sophomore Lauren Marker.

“[Sohn] will make an immediate impact in our line-up, yet I also know she will get a lot better in college,” Maes said. “Most importantly, I know she will make a loyal, hardworking and positive teammate and that is what we value most.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

Arizona football lands LSU transfer

Arizona football received another transfer Tuesday when LSU defensive end Jordan Allen announced that he is transferring to Arizona, reported the Arizona Daily Star.

The 6-foot-6 254 pound Allen will be a redshirt senior next season, and has already earned his undergraduate degree. As long as he picks a graduate degree that isn’t offered at LSU, he is eligible to play as soon as he lands in Tucson.

Allen lost his starting job early this past season, and finished 2013 with 16 tackles and two sacks. He missed most of 2012 with an injury.

He will compete for the starting job against seniors Reggie Gilbert and Dan Pettinato.

Allen will know at least one player when he joins Arizona. Current Wildcats’ quarterback Jerrard Randall also played at LSU from 2011 to 2012 before he transferred to Northeast Mississippi Community College, then Arizona.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Three Wildcats named to NFF Hampshire Honor Society

Three Arizona football players were named to the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Honor Society.

It was announced Tuesday that Wildcats’ Tevin Hood, Jack Fischer and Brian Chacon, all achieved at least a 3.2 GPA throughout the entire course of their undergraduate studies. They have also met, or are currently meeting, all NCAA-mandated progress toward degree requirements.

Chacon, Arizona’s long snapper, will graduate in May with a degree in engineering management. He currently has a 3.299 GPA, according to a press release by Arizona Athletics.

Fischer, a linebacker, graduated this past December with a degree in marketing. He achieved a 3.382 GPA while attending Arizona. During his time as a Wildcat, Fischer was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic honoree list three times.

Hood also graduated in December. The defensive lineman graduated with a 3.476 GPA and a degree in general studies with a focus on the American experience. Hood is also a 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-District and Pac-12 All-Academic honoree.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Arizona golfer named to All-Pac-12 First Team

Arizona men’s golf received two Pac-12 Conference honors this week.

Senior Erik Oja was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team while junior Alex McMahon received honorable mention selection.

“It feels good to have two players from our conference recognized for individual performance,” head coach Jim Anderson said in a press release. “Erik’s year has been nothing short of phenomenal, especially when you look at the fact he has finished 13th or better in each of the 12 events we played. Alex just kept competing and improving this year, and we are very proud of him.”

Oja is ranked No. 54 in the country. He finished 13th or better in all of the tournaments this season. The Sweden native was also recently named to the Palmer Cup’s European team.

“Erik is very deserving of first team,” Anderson said. “Maybe because our team has had ups and downs, he hasn’t received as much individual attention. But it is very difficult to ignore the body of work he has assembled, especially when you consider the consistency he demonstrated.”

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Hallie Wilson named Pac-12 Player of the Week

Arizona softball junior Hallie Wilson was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week by the conference on Monday.

It is the second time this season she has been honored.

This week through five games, Wilson hit five home runs and had a batting average of .533. The Wildcats won all five of their games.

Currently, Wilson is the Pac-12 leader in runs scored. She scored 11 times this past week as Arizona scored a total of 52 times in the five games. For the entire season, Wilson is hitting .421 with 12 home runs and has driven in 51 runs.

This is the third time this season a Wildcat has been named the softball Player of the Week, and this is the 140th time in its history that an Arizona softball player has been named conference Player of the Week.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Football lands big recruit from Scottsdale

This weekend Arizona football received a verbal commitment from Chaparral High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) offensive lineman Keenan Walker.

As for Walker, the 6-foot-6, 274-pound high school junior is a 4-star recruit and ranked as the No. 2 overall recruit from Arizona by ESPN.

Walker plays offensive tackle for Chaparral, the same high school current Wildcats DaVonte’ Neal, Connor Brewer, Chase Gorham, Cody Ippolito, Brendan Murphy and Carter Wood graduated from.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez appears to have open and secured a pipeline from Chaparral to Tucson. Current Arizona assistant coach Charlie Ragle was the head coach at Chaparral from 2007-11 before being hired with the Wildcats.

Walker’s verbal commitment to Arizona is not official and could easily change his mind between now and his signing day in February of 2015.

ESPN reports that Walker has offers from nine other universities: ASU, UCLA, USC, Washington, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Texas A&M.

— Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Rich Rod to play in celebrity golf tournament

Arizona football season may be in its off-season but head coach Rich Rodriguez is making his rounds. This week, the soon-to-be third-year Wildcats coach will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge is a golf tournament held at Reynolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee outside of Atlanta from April 27-29.

Rodriguez will be teamed up with Arizona alumnus Jack Wagner, who is famous for being an actor on TV shows such as “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place.” The golf tournament raises money for scholarships and charitable contributions.

Rodriguez will compete against 11 other teams of NCAA head coaches and celebrity alumni. Some of the other coaches competing in this year’s Challenge include South Carolina’s head coach Steve Spurrier and Virginia Tech’s head coach Frank Beamer.

The tournament will be taped by ESPN. Specific dates for when it will air have not been released.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Sand volleyball adds first international recruit

Head coach Steve Walker announced Tuesday that Arizona sand volleyball added two recruits, Olivia Macdonald and Hailey Devlin, for the 2014-15 season.

Macdonald is from Piopio, New Zealand, and is the first international recruit in program history. She is a 6-foot net player that has had a lot of experience in the sand game, and has earned MVP honors twice on the international level.

“Olivia will be a great addition to our ever expanding sand volleyball team,” Walker said in a press release Tuesday. “She’s well-traveled for her age and brings a good deal of international level experience to the roster.

She represented New Zealand at the Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in 2013 in Proto, Portugal.

“She was part of a burgeoning national team program in New Zealand that is very much on the rise and the level of competition she was able to face worldwide will serve her well as she transitions to the collegiate game,” Walker said.

Devlin is 6-foot-2, and she was an All-CIF first-team selection and a first-team all-conference selection as a senior at Scripps Ranch High School. She was second-team All-San Diego Section selection as well.

“Hailey will be a terrific addition to the team as she is a player with the rare blend of both length and skill,” Walker said. “On the hardwood, Hailey plays in what is considered the most competitive region of volleyball in the country and her team relies on her to play every phase of the game.”

Like Macdonald,she has had experience in the sand game as Devlin played for the USA Junior National Beach Team.

“She really started to find her timing and rhythm as a player on the beach this past spring and had outstanding summer of 2013, capping it off with a medal in the gold bracket of the USA High Performance Championships in July,” Walker said.

Both players will add size to the roster, as eight out of Arizona’s 13 players are under 6-feet tall.

—Follow Tyler Keckeisen @tyler_keckeisen

Shana Sangston named to the first team All-Pac-12 gymnastics academic team

Three Arizona gymnasts were honored in the 2014 Pac-12 Conference women’s gymnastics All-Academic teams announced on Monday.

Senior Shana Sangston is on the Pac-12 First-Team All-Academic honors for the conference. Sangston earned a 3.84 GPA and studies family studies and human development.

Also being honored are junior Amber Wobma and sophomore Shelby Edwards, who both earned honorable mentions for the All-Academic team. Wobma has a 3.45 GPA and majors in pre-public health. Edwards made the list with a 3.15 GPA as a journalism major.

In order to be named on the Academic team, student-athletes must have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and be a significant contributor to the team.

“It’s very important to our team,” head coach Bill Ryden said in a press release. “Our academic progress rate (APR) and graduation numbers show how seriously we take it. To be honored by the conference on these academic achievements is an honor.”

—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20

Swimming director of operations Michele Mitchell honored by World Acrobatics Society

The World Acrobatics Society announced that Arizona Director of Operations for Swimming and Diving Michele Mitchell will be inducted into its Gallery of Legends.

Mitchell is one of only two divers that will be honored. She will be inducted at the World Acrobatics Society Congress on Sept. 15 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Mitchell, who was inducted into the state of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame last year, oversees the logistics for the swimming and diving teams as director of operations. She was the Wildcats’ diving coach for 15 years.

Mitchell’s divers earned 27 All-American nods and 11 Pac-10 titles, and she was Pac-10 Men’s Diving Coach of the Year four times. Under her watch, Ben Grado became the first Wildcat diver to ever win an NCAA title in 2012.

Mitchell won medals on the 10-meter platform at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, and the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

As a Wildcat from 1979 to 1983, she was an All-American four times and won nine national championships. She holds the American record for platform diving with 479.40 points for an eight-dive list.

She was inducted into the UA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520