This past year was one to remember for a variety of different reasons in regards to University of Arizona sports.
Our Daily Wildcat sports staff shared their favorite moment in UA sports this past year.
Sean Fagan (@SeanSoCal) - Gymnastics first victory of the season
After starting the season 0-5 with multiple meets canceled, it was tough watching the Arizona gymnastics team lose week after week. I was hoping the next week would be different and they would walk away with a victory, but it was not happening. I did not know if they were ever going to win a meet.
Then, the GymCats finally had their day atop the podium. On Sunday, Feb. 28, the GymCats were in Colorado for a Tri-Meet against Air Force and Texas Woman’s University. The GymCats finished with an overall score of 194.350.
Jordan White (@Jordan_white13) - Women's basketball NCAA Tournament win over UConn
My favorite moment for Wildcat sports this year, as is a lot of people’s, is when the women’s basketball team beat UConn. Though it is a very mainstream moment for me to choose, it is the most meaningful. Women’s basketball is one of the most disrespected sports whether it be professional, collegiate, high school, etc. However, this year I saw more hype and attention around the sports than in my entire life.
I was more invested while watching the game against UConn than when I went to watch the men’s basketball team play at USC in person. That game was simply historic for the program and the school and I am glad that I was able to be a student and member of the Daily Wildcat when it happened. This is a game that Wildcat fans and women’s basketball fans will be talking about for many years to come. Oh, and not to mention Aari McDonald! I am now a fan of hers for life. I am definitely going to miss watching her play for Arizona, but I will be following her career in the WNBA. Thanks to her and head coach Adia Barnes, many more stars will go through Tucson on their path to the WNBA.
Devin Homer (@DevinHomer) - Women's basketball Pac-12 tournament game vs. UCLA
My favorite Arizona sports moment from this past season has to be from the Pac-12 tournament against UCLA. Even though Arizona lost this game and were knocked out of the tournament. This was the first time I encountered a good size crowd in over a year. Arizona had their section rocking. This game was back and forth between the teams and UCLA’s and Arizona’s fans started to heckle with each other. This game had everything that was missing throughout the past year. It was great seeing passionate fans back in a arena cheering for their program.
Bryan Savic (@bryan_savic) - Arizona soccer's first win over Arizona State
There have been a lot of exciting moments in the realm of University of Arizona athletics this year. The most memorable and thrilling moment for me personally was when I got to cover Arizona soccer’s first match against Arizona State back in mid-March. This was the first time that I have been a part of the Territorial Cup rivalry since I have been a student at UA. When I arrived at Mulcahy Stadium, I could immediately feel that this game was going to be different than all the other games I had covered for the soccer team in the past.
There was this certain electricity and ambiance from the crowd. Arizona would go on to win 1-0 and secure their fourth clean sheet of the season.
What made this game even more enjoyable for me is that I got to observe the match with Arizona State’s data analyst. It was fun picking his brain about soccer and hearing each other’s critiques as the game developed. What was also interesting that night was how four members of the Arizona men’s basketball team just so happened to be sitting two rows in front of me. It was hilarious because one of them was giving the head referee a hard time and gave the fans in attendance some hilarious antidotes. He made it tough on me because I was trying so hard to hold in my laughter while hiding behind my laptop. It was a memorable night indeed and one that I will never forget.
Seth Litwin (@seth_litwin) - Covering Arizona men's golf at the Omni Tucson National
My favorite moment covering Arizona sports was when I was able to go to Omni Tucson National to cover the men's golf team this spring. They were participating in the National Invitational Tournament which is one of the better college golf tournaments so the level of play was stellar. Omni Tucson National is also a beautiful golf course so getting the opportunity to walk it and watch some amazing golf was an amazing experience. It was great getting to be able to see the guys who I have talked to through Zoom screens in person doing what they do best.
Jake Faigus (@jake_faigus) - Covering the women's basketball team
My favorite moment of the year has been covering the women’s basketball team on their historical run. Being the beat writer for the team this year, I never would have guessed what would end up happening with the team. The team was very talented all year, and only stumbled a few times which left people wondering if the team is going to meet their expectations in the postseason. Once the postseason hit, the legend of McDonald took off, and the Wildcats accomplished the unthinkable.
It was amazing watching not just McDonald in the NCAA tournament, but also Barnes at work. I loved covering this run because of how special it was, and it seems to be the start of a dominant run for Barnes’ program, and now the ground-work has been laid for the future.
CJ Lala (@cjlala43) - Covering Arizona softball exhibition against Team Mexico
Covering live sporting events was an interesting challenge in the year 2021. Early on this year, we had no access to the games in person and had to use livestream or other ways to cover the games. Then we moved into the phase where the only people allowed in the stadium were the media personnel, eventually they allowed friends and family and now a limited number of fans are allowed to attend the games.
My favorite memory from an Arizona game this season was the softball team’s exhibition game against Mexico. This game was played as the last game in the Wildcat Fiesta, the thing that made this game great was there were three former Wildcats returning to Tucson as part of Mexico’s Olympic roster. Brigette Del Ponte (2009-13) Danielle O’Toole (2016-17) and Taylor McQuillin (2016-19) all made their return to Hillenbrand Stadium in front of a limited capacity crowd, but if your eye were closed and you could not see the size of the crowd, you would have thought the game was full. Unfortunately for the Wildcats they did end up on the losing end 3-2 but the atmosphere that was created by the fans was incredible for an exhibition game.