Clear 68° | 7 day forecast

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | Last updated: 5:39am

Wildcat Sports

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

Arizona's Avery Mickens named Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of the Week

The No. 17 Arizona Wildcats’ men’s track and field jumper Avery Mickens was named the Pac-12 Men’s Field Athlete of the Week.

It is the second-straight week a Wildcat has earned the honor. Last week senior Julie Labonté was named the women’s Field Athlete of the Week.

This past weekend Mickens, a freshman, competed in the high jump, long jump, ran the first leg of the men’s 4×100-meter relay race and also ran the third leg of the men’s 4×400-meter relay race at the Pepsi Oregon Dual in Eugene, Ore.

Out of all those events Mickens won the long jump with a mark of 24-feet-11.25. It’s the best jump by a Pac-12 athlete this year.

He took third place in the high jump with a jump of 6-feet-4. It was his first time competing in the high jump.

And he helped the Wildcats take second in the 4×400-meter relay race and win the 4×100-meter relay race.

“[The big long jump] felt amazing; it came out of nowhere and surprised me,” Mickens said in a press release. “I’m super happy with it and I’m hoping to go 25-0 at the next meet.”

Gleason named hockey captain

Wildcat hockey announced that Shane Gleason was voted the 2014-15 team captain on Tuesday.

This is the first unanimous captain vote in the history of Wildcat hockey. The senior-to-be was assistant captain last season.

“Shane encompasses everything we want Wildcat Hockey to be about,” head coach Sean Hogan said in a press release. “He brings a great attitude to the rink every day, out works his opponents, gives back to his community and is a strong performer in the classroom. I’m very pleased the team selected him captain.”

Gleason is a defenseman and has played in 104 games for Arizona, scored eight goals and dished 50 assists for 58 points. He was a Second Team All WCHL selection.

“It’s a great honor when your teammates have faith and trust in you to pick you as their captain,” Gleason said. “I’m excited to help lead this team to new heights.”

Arizona opens the 2014-15 season on Sept. 27 at NAU.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

Mauga sweeps softball national player of the week awards

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball announced that Arizona softball freshman right-fielder Katiyana Mauga has been selected as the national player of the week for the ninth week of the 2014 season. Mauga became the first freshman to win both awards in the same week.

“I want to thank the NFCA and USA Softball for the recognition, I am incredibly honored,” Mauga said in a press release. “I am proud of the way my team competed this weekend against Stanford, and I am happy I was able to help us pick up the sweep in front of our amazing home crowd.”

The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats swept a three-game series against Stanford last weekend, and Mauga was a big reason why. She batted .625 (5-8), scored six runs, hit four home runs and compiled 11 RBIs. Not to mention she hit a walk-off home run to win the final game of the series on Sunday.

Her performance helped Arizona improve to 32-8 on the season and 7-5 in Pac-12 play. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said Mauga has already made an impression, even though she is only a freshman.

“I am very excited for Katiyana to receive recognition as NFCA National Player of the Week,” Candrea said. “Kati has made an immediate impact as a freshman, and her honor is well deserved. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a great career at The University of Arizona.”

—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555

Rhoades and Lewis selected to USA Collegiate National Team

USA volleyball announced on Monday that Arizona middle blocker Rachel Rhoades and libero Ronni Lewis were selected to part of the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team program.

The Wildcats are two of 36 players participating in the training camp, which will be held from June 22 to July 1 in Minneapolis, Minn. along with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.

Lewis and Rhoades, who are both currently juniors for the sand volleyball team, will be seniors for the indoor team next season.

The 36 athletes will be divided in two three teams and compete in a round robin event. A fourth team, composed of international players may be added. The CNT program is considered a tryout for the national team.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

Labonté wins honor for second straight week

Arizona women’s track and field athlete Julie Labonté was named the Pac-12 Women’s Field Athlete of the Week by the conference.

This is the Quebec native’s second-straight week being named to the honor.

On Saturday Labonté came in first place in the shot put at the ASU Invitational. She posted a season-best and national-best 17.24 meters in the shot put.

At the ASU Invitational she also came in first place with a person-best in the discus. Her toss of 56.84 meters is the fourth farthest in the country. She defeated defending NCAA Champion Anna Jelmini of ASU.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

Piñon picked fourth overall in pro softball draft

The Chicago Bandits picked Arizona softball senior pitcher Estela Piñon fourth overall in the National Pro Fast Pitch Draft on Monday.

Piñon is the UA’s highest draft pick since Jackie Coburn was selected second in the 2005 draft. Other Wildcats drafted by the NPF are Taryne Mowatt (2008), Kristie Fox (2007), current UA assistant coach Alicia Hollowell (2006), Mackenzie Vandergeest (2004) and Coburn.

Piñon (10-5) has a 1.51 ERA in 15 appearances this season. She has 76 strikeouts in 79 innings and has held opposing batters to a .178 average.

Piñon can join the Bandits after the Wildcats’ season ends. The NPF season is May to August.

The draft was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

Arizona tennis freshman named Pac-12 Player of the Week

Arizona women’s tennis freshman Lauren Marker was named Pac-12 Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Marker had two singles vicories and three doubles victories in the Wildcats’ sweep over No. 40 Purdue, No. 50 Washington State and Oregon over the weekend.

“Lauren Marker has been instrumental in our success this year,” head tennis coach Vicky Maes said in a press release.

Marker won her two singles events in straight-sets. They came against Oregon and Purdue.

Over the weekend she and teammate Kim Stubbe continued their undefeated doubles streak with three straight victories.

“Her commitment to getting better every day is paying off,” Maes said. “I’m excited the conference has chosen to recongonize her this week.”

Arizona travels to No. 4 Stanford and No. 16 California this coming weekend.

–Follow Luke Della @LukeDella