Wildcat Wednesday – Fulfilling Lifelong Dreams

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FULFILLING LIFELONG DREAMS

Thursday’s Student-Athlete Commencement at McKale Center showed why it is one of our marquee events as we honored 91 current and former Wildcats who achieved their dreams and became graduates of this tremendous institution.

A half dozen of our graduates were earning their degrees as part of our CATS Forever program, which allows student-athletes to continue working towards their degree after they leave campus. Shawn Parnell, who came to Arizona to play football for the legendary Coach Dick Tomey in 1993, was our CATS Forever speaker who delivered a powerful message. Arizona Football’s Kyle Ostendorp was this year’s valedictorian with impressive academic credentials as an aeronautical engineering major.

Graduation is the fulfillment of our Wildcat Way mission at its highest level as our athletics department continues to provide opportunities for our student-athletes to become academic, athletic and life champions. It is a reminder of the power of our student-athlete experience, and how we can all change the lives of Wildcats from around the world. Thank you to all the family, friends and supporters who attended the event or tuned in to the live stream.

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S SPORTS AND ITS CONTINUED GROWTH

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Arizona Athletics continues its ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX leading up to our special on-campus event on Thursday, June 23. As part of our year-long celebration, we are excited to share with Wildcat Wednesday readers that our athletics department is nearing a special announcement regarding the addition of a new women’s sport at Arizona. A comprehensive review and plan were being developed prior to the global pandemic and the work resumed this last year. We have continuously evaluated our entire 21-sport model and look towards expanding our department in alignment with the growing participation of women in sports. The department will be concluding its process in the weeks to come and will be prepared to announce the selected sport.

Our entire athletics department would like to extend an invite to the Wildcat Family to join us for our Title IX 50th Anniversary celebration on Thursday, June 23. This momentous recognition of the landmark date will include a Field Day of sports activities for youngsters in the morning before an outstanding panel at lunch time of Arizona trail blazers and icons including Rocky LaRose, Adia BarnesJenny Dalton-Hill, Tanya Hughes and Lacey John.

The entire day of festivities will be held inside the Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center, and you can reserve a ticket for free by clicking here. A complimentary meal will be provided to those who reserve a ticket to the lunchtime panel.

THE STREAK CONTINUES

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For a 35th consecutive season, Arizona Softball is in the NCAA Tournament. This is the longest NCAA postseason streak in the history of college softball. The Wildcats are part of the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Missouri alongside Missouri, Illinois and Missouri State. Coach Lowe and the Wildcats will open the postseason with a match-up versus Illinois at 1:30 pm (MST) on Friday, May 20 on ESPN+.

Arizona Softball continues its legacy of championship excellence and adds new chapters to its storied history. The team added to its awards list with four Wildcats earning All-Pac-12 honors last week, headlined by Sharlize Palacio’s First Team All-Pac-12 selection.

I know the Wildcat Family in the Missouri area will be loud and proud at Friday’s game with many others tuning in to Bear Down with the Wildcats!

MEN’S GOLF ADVANCES TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Our athletics department continues to earn championships this year, and Men’s Golf is the most recent team to add a title. Coach Anderson and the team are the NCAA Bryan Regional champions, clinching the title by five strokes. The team’s first NCAA Regionals championship since 2006 advances them to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2011. Chase Sienkiewicz nearly gave the Wildcats the championship sweep in Texas, finishing tied for second on the player leaderboard by one stroke.

Congratulations to our student-athletes, Coach Anderson and Coach Vargas on the excellent performance in Texas and for proudly representing the Block A on the biggest of stages of postseason competition.

Scottsdale, Arizona will become Wildcat Country next week when Men’s Golf tees off at NCAA Championships on Friday, May 27 at Grayhawk Golf Club just days after Arizona Baseball begins play in the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament at Scottsdale Stadium. Admission is free for the Men’s Golf Championships, so make your plans to come watch the Wildcats in action. More information on tee times and men’s golf details will be available on ArizonaWildcats.com.

SUPPORTER PROFILES

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Arizona Athletics has eight sports that you can purchase season tickets for: Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Baseball and Softball. We would like to highlight and recognize a pair of special supporters of Arizona Athletics in this week’s Wildcat Wednesday. Ed and Tatia Morrison are tremendously generous members of the Wildcat Family who are the only supporters for the 2021-22 seasons who had season tickets for all these sports.

Ed and Tatia retired in Arizona and both of them completed their college degrees and post-graduate work at other universities. They started out attending a few random events and not really rooting for anyone in particular. They were quickly hooked and purchased season tickets for football. The next step was to branch out into more than just the headline sports of football and basketball. They kept adding season tickets over the years for other sports until they had the full set.

“Basketball and football may garner the most attention, but the student-athletes in every sport put their heart and soul into excellent,” the Morrisons noted. “We wanted to support all of the other student-athletes that don’t get the same amount of attention”.

As Ed and Tatia became acquainted with some of the student-athletes, and they were even more impressed. Many students were the first in their family to attend college, and their athletic scholarship was giving them a shot at securing a world-class education. By purchasing season tickets to all sports, the Morrison’s feel like they are supporting more student athletes.

“The toughest part about having tickets to all sports is selecting which event to attend when there are scheduling conflicts. Soccer may have a match at the same time the volleyball team is in action, but we know “our kids” will make us proud regardless of which event we attend. Bear Down and Go Cats!”

Thank you again, Ed and Tatia, for your generosity and support of our athletics department and our Wildcat Way mission of developing academic, athletic and life champions. If you would like to support Arizona Athletics and our 500 student-athletes who proudly represent the University of Arizona, you can purchase season tickets by clicking here or dialing 520-621-2287 (CATS).

TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

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It was a weekend of championship performances for Arizona Track & Field at the Pac-12 Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The accolades began with Samantha Noennig being named the Pac-12 Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She became the sixth Wildcat to win the conference’s highest individual academic honor as she finishes her master’s degree with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. The seven-time All-American added to her impressive list of accomplishments with yet another podium finish, posting a runner-up mark in the shotput.

We saw a slew of podium finishes with two Wildcats winning individual Pac-12 championships. Talie Bonds won the Pac-12 title in the high jump, and Shannon Meisberger is the Pac-12 champion in the 400-meter hurdles.
The program continues its season of excellence with the Tucson Elite Classic this week before the NCAA Championships begin next week with the first round in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Congrats to Coach Harvey and the entire program on a terrific season thus far, and we look forward to seeing more championship performances later this month.

WELCOME COACH MARTIN

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We would like to congratulate new beach volleyball assistant coach Makenna Martin on her promotion. Makenna spent last season as a volunteer assistant for Coach Walker and the Wildcats after her four-year career as a student-athlete on our indoor and beach volleyball teams. She played a large part in the program’s outstanding 2022 season that ended with a top-20 ranking in the final AVCA poll.

Our athletics department prides itself in developing Wildcats for Life. It is a point of pride to see student-athlete graduate from this world-class institution and then return to campus to begin their coaching careers. Bear Down Makenna, and we will be cheering you on in your newest chapter of your Wildcat journey.

BASEBALL CLOSES OUT REGULAR SEASON

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Coach Hale and the Wildcats had a fantastic final home series versus No. 2 Oregon State, taking two out of three from the Beavers at Hi Corbett. The exciting weekend also saw the program reach a total home attendance of 100,226 for the year, which is a testament to the unwavering support of the Wildcat Family who turn out to cheer on our student-athletes and coaches. Hats off to all our fans who made this milestone possible and who make Hi Corbett Field one of the elite atmospheres in college baseball.

The series win over the Beavers earned the program additional Pac-12 weekly awards. Mac Bingham was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performances against Oregon State and became the fourth Wildcat to earn weekly awards from the conference this season. Mac batted .429 on 14 at bats with one home run and five RBI to go along with a pair of doubles.

The team closes out the regular season at Oregon this week with a three-game series that begins at 6 pm (MST) on Thursday, May 19 on Pac-12 Networks. The Wildcats will head off to the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament next week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Arizona’s first game of the conference tournament will be on Wednesday, May 25. If you would like to purchase tickets to cheer on the Wildcats, please click here.

WEAR THE COLORS – SHARE THE PHOTOS

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Dave & Janice Shelton wearing the colors at the peak of the Alps above Innsbruck, Austria.

Send us your photos of you wearing the colors!

Thank you for wearing the colors and sharing your Arizona pride! Make sure to take a picture the next time you are wearing the colors and send it to us, we just might include it in next week’s Wildcat Wednesday! And even if your photo submission doesn’t make next week’s edition, please check our “Wear the Colors” album at facebook.com/ArizonaAthletics on Fridays.

NOTE: Please submit photos for Wildcat Wednesday with an original email to uofaad@arizona.edu using the subject line ‘Wildcat Wednesday photo.’ Also, please ensure all submissions are clear and properly lit. We also ask that you identify everyone in the photo so we can highlight them accordingly.

Bear Down and Go Cats!

Dave Heeke
Vice President and Director of Athletics
University of Arizona
uofaad@arizona.edu

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