Top five athletes of the 2018-19 year

Sofia Moraga | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Jessie Harper (19) hits a home run during the fourth inning of the Arizona-St. Francis game of the NCAA championship Tournament on Friday May 18 at the Rita Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The run scores the cats the first point of the game.

On every team, there is an athlete that stands out above the rest with their impact on their team’s success. Here are just a few of them that achieved great personal success this season:

Yu-Sang Hou

2019 Augusta National Women's Amateur
Yu-Sang Hou of the Chinese Taipei plays a tee shot during a practice round for the Augusta National Women's Amateur, Monday, April 1, 2019.

Hou is a women’s golfer that had a remarkable sophomore campaign for the Wildcats. The Taiwan native started the season winning the Pac-12 preview in November and finished second overall in the Northrop Grumman Challenge in the Los Angeles area. Hou also competed in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and had a solid placing in the Pac-12 championships, finishing eighth. 


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J.J. Taylor 

J.J. Taylor.jpg
Photo by Beau Leone. Running back JJ on the sidelines during the Spring Football Game

Even though Arizona football didn’t have the season it hoped for, the soon-to-be redshirt junior out of Corona, Calif., had a great sophomore campaign. Taylor finished his sophomore season as an All Pac-12 first team selection. The speedy running back finished the season with 1,434 rushing yards and 2,107 all-purpose yards, gaining 133 yards as a receiver and 540 as a kick returner. Taylor also had six touchdowns on the season and finished second nationally in all purpose yards and sixth in rushing yards on the season. He also earned a spot on the watch list of the 2018 Doak Walker Award, which honors the top running back in the country. 

Carlos Villarreal

Carlos Villarreal
Junior Carlos Villareal during the Dave Murray Invitational on September 14 at Randolph Golf Course, Tucson, AZ.

The redshirt junior out of Rio Rico, Ariz., has had quite the year, competing in both track and field and cross country. His year started with competing and winning in the Dave Murray Invitational, with a time of 19:06.9 in the 6K race. Villarreal also won in the indoor track invitational event at the Last Chance Meet. The distance runner currently ranks No. 2 in the world in the 1500-meter run, breaking the school record. Carlos will compete in the Pac-12 Championship May 11-12.

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Aari McDonald

Women's Basketball
Arizona's sophomore guard, Aari Mcdonald looking for a teammate to pass the ball to in the game against the Pacific Tigers on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The final score of the game was 64-48, a win for the Wildcats.

The Arizona women’s basketball team had an exciting season that ended in winning the WNIT. One of the key contributors on that team was McDonald. The point guard broke the single-season scoring record that was previously held by her head coach, Adia Barnes. She averaged 24.1 points per game, which was the third-highest average in the country. She was voted an All American by the Associated Press and won the Pac-12 Player of the Week three times.

Jessie Harper

Arizona's Jessie Harper hits the incoming ball from Oregon during the third inning of the Arizona-Oregon State game at the Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Sunday, April 29 in Tucson Ariz.

Harper, a junior for UA softball, currently has 23 home runs and 60 RBIs with a batting average of .339. Harper leads the Pac-12 in home runs and RBIs thus far. She has helped the Wildcat softball team get to a record of 40-11, third in the Pac-12. The slugger’s presence, batting third in the lineup, has given the Wildcats one of the top offenses in the country.

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