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On & off the court

From Jared Tevis to T.J. McConnell, these six seniors stood out for their contributions

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona volleyball outside hitter Madi Kingdon (9) spikes the ball past BYU opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson (19) during Arizona's close 3-1 loss to BYU in the second round of the NCAA Division I Champsionship Tournament in McKale Center on Dec. 5, 2014. Kingdon led both the indoor and sand volleyball teams to impressive records.

Elvin Kibet 

by Brandon James 

Elvin Kibet, originally from Eldoret, Kenya, has had a season full of breakout performances and record-setting times.

At the Jim Click Shootout, the final home meet of her career, Kibet won the 1,500-meter race and the 3,000-meter race. Even though the 1,500-meter race is an event Kibet rarely competes in, she was still able to come out on top and set a personal-best time of 4:23.61.

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Her best performance was at the Mt. SAC Relays in California, where Kibet clocked in at a time of 15:36.08 in the 5K run, setting a personal-best time and a new school record. That time was also the fourth fastest in the country this year.

“I had always wanted to break the school record,” Kibet said. “It’s always been in the back of my mind.”

She has made contributions to the program as an athlete, but Fred Harvey, the Arizona director of cross country, track and field, also commended her ability to be a team leader and perform well academically.

“She has brought so much to our program,” Harvey said.

Kibet has accomplished a lot this season, but there is still more left to do. She will compete in the Pac-12 Championships, and then the NCAA West Regionals and Outdoor Championships.


Jared Tevis

by James Kelley

College careers don’t always have storybook endings, but safety Jared Tevis’ stint at the UA was still memorable.

Tevis’ UA career ended prematurely in the Fiesta Bowl after a 38-30 loss to Boise State.

However, Tevis, who is from Tucson, had a career to remember as he went from walk-on to All-Pac-12.

Tevis was a 2014 team captain, two-time All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, three-time Pac-12 First-Team All-Academic and was named to the 2015 National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.

He graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and is pursuing a master’s degree from the Eller College of Management.

This season, he was fourth in the Pac-12 Conference in tackles (8.6 per game).

Tevis helped lead the Wildcats to the Fiesta Bowl, a 10-4 record, a win at No. 2 Oregon and the Pac-12 South championship, Arizona’s first conference title since 1993.

In Tevis’ career, the Wildcats went to three bowl games, winning the New Mexico and AdvoCare V100 Texas bowls.

Tevis didn’t get the chance to lead the Wildcats to victory against Boise State, but he left a lasting impact as Arizona transitioned from the Mike Stoops era to Rich Rodriguez.


Madi Kingdon

by Jordan Owen 

Madi Kingdon has been a dominant figure in Arizona’s volleyball and sand volleyball programs during her time at Arizona.

As a freshman, she was named to the All Pac-12 Freshman Team. She also led the indoor team in kills in over half the matches she played. In her sophomore season, Kingdon saw even more recognition as she earned Pac-12 Honorable Mention All-Conference honors.

Junior year, Kingdon was named to the All-Pac-12 Team, earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region honors and was an AVCA All-American honorable mention.

As a senior, Kingdon led the nation in attacks, was named third-team AVCA All-American and helped the team achieve its best record in almost a decade (24-10).

Kingdon did not just succeed in indoor volleyball but exerted her dominance on the sand as well.

In the program’s first season, Arizona relied on many indoor volleyball athletes to fill the roster, and Kingdon was one of those athletes.

Kingdon returned to the sand in her senior year and helped the Wildcats earn their 18-3 overall record. Kingdon and her partner, Kaitlyn Leary, were named the 2015 AVCA Sand Volleyball All-Americans after making it into the final four of the AVCA Sand Volleyball Championships.


Manon Gidali 

by Justin Spears

Arizona women’s golf had one of the most successful seasons in the Laura Ianello era, capturing its first Pac-12 Conference title since 2010.

Manon Gidali would be the veteran of a 2015 team that had no clear-cut leader this season and would be the only Wildcat to earn a title in the spring.

Gidali’s performance throughout her career in Tucson has definitely progressed since she came to the program in 2011.

In that first season, the then-freshman earned a top spot on the leader board at the Wildcat Invitational, posting an overall score of 12-under-par 206.

In her sophomore season, Gidali would be placed on the All-Pac-12 Second-Team and was named as Women’s Golf Coaches Association Honorable Mention.

Gidali’s junior season took a step back in the regular season where her first top-20 finish didn’t come until the end of the season in the Pac-12 Championship. She would bloom in the postseason, advancing to the NCAA Championships and finishing in a tie for seventh place.

Gidali would eventually snag another title in her final season at Arizona by earning the top spot at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational after shooting a 5-over-par 215.

Gidali earning all-conference was just the exclamation point to her final season in the Old Pueblo.


Hallie Wilson

by Elise McClain 

It is quite possible the only senior from Arizona Athletics to get drafted this year will be softball first baseman Hallie Wilson.

Wilson was picked 28th overall in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft by the two-time defending USSSA Pride. The Pride are located in Kissimmee, Fla.

For Wilson, the draft selection ensures that she will continue playing softball at the professional level after leaving Arizona with a standout career.

The Santa Ana, Calif., native was a first-team All-American in 2014 and is likely to receive more accolades after a senior season in which she ranks second on the team with a .381 batting average.

Wilson also upped her power numbers as a senior, hitting 11 home runs and driving in over 40 RBIs.

While Wilson was selected in the 2015 NPF Draft, she will not actually play professional softball until next year. She is taking the summer off to intern for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Wilson will try to lead Arizona back to the Women’s College World Series, which takes place at the end of May in Oklahoma City. It would be the Wildcats’ first WCWS appearance since 2010.


T.J. McConnell 

by James Kelley 

Arizona men’s basketball point guard T.J. McConnell came to Tucson as an enemy, but left as one of the most beloved players in recent memory.

In 2011, McConnell played against Arizona as a Duquesne player, in a 67-59 loss to the Wildcats. After, he transferred to Arizona and played his last two seasons as a Wildcat.

In those two seasons, McConnell went 33-5 and 34-4, went to two Elite Eights, won two Pac-12 Conference Championships and never lost a game in McKale Center.

He also rewrote the school record books, reestablishing the UA’s “Point Guard U” moniker. This season, he had 238 assists, the second most in school history and most since 1979.

Last season, he had 202 assists, which is sixth all-time in UA history, and his 83 steals this season is the third most in school history.

His Wildcat teams were always in the top 10 and were ranked No. 1 for eight weeks.

McConnell ended the season sixth in the country in steals (83) and 11th in assists per game (6.3).

McConnell became so loved in Tucson, fans chanted “MVP” for him in both Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.


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