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Leaving the Den: Seniors who gave it their all in their farewell season

USC FINAL (4 of 21)
Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona seniors Dusan Ristic (14) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (0) share final words with head coach Sean Miller late in the Arizona-USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Men's basketball 

Parker Jackson-Cartwright

During his time in Tucson, Parker Jackson-Cartwright established himself as one of the most dependable point guards in the Pac-12. Finishing his career with 110 wins, which is second in Arizona history, displays the underrated nature of P.J.C.’s career as a Wildcat to the fullest. 

The 5-foot-11 guard improved each year, finally taking over the reins as a starter his senior year. He led the Wildcats to a regular season Pac-12 Championship, while also helping Arizona in big moments down the stretch to bring home the Pac-12 Tournament trophy as well, which just so happened to be his third, for both. 

Jackson-Cartwright also finished his career in the top 10 of assists in Arizona history, which places his name among others such as Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Damon Stoudamire and T.J. McConnell — not a bad group to be associated with at Point Guard U.

Related: Jackson-Cartwright puts Aaron Holiday on an island

Arizona's Parker Jackson-Cartwright (0) pushes past Buffalo's Davonta Jordan (4) in the Arizona-Buffalo game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 15 in Boise, Idaho.

Dusan Ristic

Dusan Ristic leaves Tucson, besting all as the winningest player to ever put on an Arizona uniform, with 115 wins.

The 7-footer from Serbia was a steady presence in his last two years, where he was the starting center. Ristic improved year after year, while playing alongside other current and future NBA big men, Lauri Markkanen and Deandre Ayton, during both of their brief stints as Wildcats. 

Ristic was part of a dominant stretch for Arizona basketball, helping win three regular season conference championships, while also winning three conference tournaments. Ristic left an endearing mark on the McKale Center faithful when he took off his jersey as he checked out of the game for the last time. The t-shirt underneath read “Thank You Arizona” and “Dusan Loves Tucson,” which will go down as one of the most memorable senior day moments in recent memory. 

Related Article: The phone call that brought Ristic's top sign to Arizona

Arizona's Dusan Ristic (14) throws up his signature sign as he waves goodbye to the fans and steps of the Arizona court for the last time during the Arizona-California game on Saturday March 3 at McKale Center


Nick Wilson

Former running back Nick Wilson looked to be a budding star in his freshman year at Arizona, racking up 1,375 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. However, a combination of foot, shoulder and knee injuries plagued Wilson over the next three years, and he was never able to see the field consistently as a result.  

Wilson ended his career at Arizona with 3,045 career yards, becoming the seventh player in school history to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark. In his senior year, Wilson started 10 of the 11 games he played in. 

Wilson was signed by the Chicago Bears after the NFL Draft in April as an undrafted free agent and will compete for the third string running back position. 

Related: Wildcats' fate could be in the hands of Nick Wilson

Arizona running back Nick Wilson (28) celebrates with a teammate after a touchdown during the UA-NAU season opener on Sept. 2, 2017.

Beach volleyball

Olivia Macdonald

Spotlight senior Olivia Macdonald had the biggest impact on the team out of all the current seniors. This season, Macdonald and her partner, Natalie Anselmo, posted some impressive victories against Washington, New Mexico and Cal. 

But Macdonald’s impact goes beyond her work done this past season.

As a freshman, she posted a 13-1 record and had wins against Arizona State, Cal Poly and TCU, among other programs, with her ex-partner and current assistant coach Emily Kiser.

As a sophomore, Macdonald posted a 16-8 record and played in the No. 3 position with Sam Manley. That year, she defeated schools such as LMU, Colorado Mesa and Cal to name a few. In addition, she received honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Academic Team.

Last year, as a junior, Macdonald and her ex-partner, Olivia Hallaran, competed in the No. 2 position. Macdonald posted a 15-13 season record, earning victories against Stanford, Washington, No. 1 USC and No. 6 LSU.

Now that Macdonald’s Arizona beach volleyball career is over, she plans to head over to Italy to compete in a pro circuit. She will travel along the Italian coast and compete in a series of beach volleyball matches with the hopes of competing in the Olympics one day.

Related Article: Macdonald brings diversity and energy to Arizona beach program

Arizona’s Olivia Macdonald (5) sets the ball during the Arizona-Utah beach volleyball game at Bear Down Beach, in Tucson Ariz. on Friday April 20.


Robby Medel

Medel’s college career started back in 2014 as he redshirted for the TCU Horned Frogs. He then transferred to Arizona in 2015 and was a member of the starting rotation. He was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA and was moved to the bullpen. 

His last two seasons, he has been coming out of the bullpen and has been a different pitcher than he was as a starter. He had a 2.96 ERA in 15 appearances in 2017.

Medel dabbles in broadcasting UA Athletics and has been a fixture on social media for the school, most notably for lip-sync battles. 

Related: Medel shows confidence in expanding role

 Arizona junior pitcher Robby Medel (23) was the Wildcats' first reliever of the game. Arizona played Sam Houston in game five of the NCAA Lubbock Regional on June 4, 2017, at Dan Law Field.


Cal Stevenson 

Before being Arizona’s leadoff hitter and center fielder, Stevenson began his college career at Nevada in 2015 playing for current Arizona head coach Jay Johnson. He played in every game and had a .359 BA and was named the Mountain West co-freshman of the year. 

When he came to Arizona, he made an immediate impact. He had a .311 BA and led the conference in runs scored (61) and walks (48) on his way to an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mentions selection. 

In 2016, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 36th round of the MLB Draft.

Related: Transfer Cal Stevenson ready to make impact for Arizona

Arizona's Cal Stevenson runs to first in the second inning during the Arizona-Washington State game at Hi Corbett field on Friday March 23 in Tucson Ariz.

Ashleigh Hughes:

The Wildcat softball team is graduating three seniors: Aleah Craighton, Robyn Porter and Ashleigh Hughes. However, of those three, only Hughes has made a lasting impact over multiple seasons.

Hughes has been a productive player for the ‘Cats over the past four seasons. She is a .322 career hitter whose has played multiple positions. As a freshman, Hughes earned the starting job in center field late in the season. However, as a sophomore, Hughes started 52 games at second base. Hughes filled in at second base this year when Reyna Carranco was on the bench with a concussion and facial structure. She played right field primarily as a junior, and her journey came full circle as a senior, starting in center field once again.

Hughes earned a trio of honors after her first three seasons at Arizona. In her sophomore year, she was given a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention. In her junior year, she was named to the All-Pac-12 Second-team and named All-Region in the NCAA Tournament.

Related: The resurgence of Ashleigh Hughes

Arizona's Ashleigh Hughes keeps her eye on the ball during the Arizona- California game at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Saturday March 31 in Tucson Ariz.

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