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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sports Briefs

    Men’s track heads to NCAA Indoor Championships

    The No. 15 Arizona men’s track and field team will send four athletes to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships today and tomorrow.

    Senior Jake Arnold returns to the Indoor Championships after setting the school record with his fifth-place finish in the heptathlon last year with a score of 5,640 – a record he broke this season with a score of 5,673.

    “”I’m expecting to beat the school record again, hopefully by over 200 points,”” Arnold said.

    UA head coach Fred Harvey said he feels that Arnold, who will compete in the Indoor Championships for his third time, has not hit his best time yet, a sentiment shared by UA assistant coach Sheldon Blockburger.

    “”If Jake finishes fifth again this year I won’t let him be on the team next year,”” Blockburger said jokingly before remembering that Arnold is a senior. “”He should do no worse than second.””

    Shot put seniors Shawn Best and Adam Kuehl will compete in their first Indoor Championships.

    “”I’m just gonna let the competition take over,”” said Kuehl, who will compete in a shot put event where all the athletes’ qualifying throws are separated by just over a meter.

    Senior Obed Mutanya, who will run in the 3,000-meter event, will also compete in the Indoor Championships for the first time.

    The Wildcats placed 10th in the Indoor Championships in 2006, and Harvey expects his squad, which is currently ranked the highest it has been all season, to finish in the top 10 again this year.

    “”I think our team is going to surprise everyone,”” Arnold said.

    – Justin Adler

    Track teams move outdoors

    Arizona continues its outdoor season when it hosts the Willie Williams Classic March 16-17 at Drachman Stadium.

    “”It’ll be our first major outdoor test,”” Harvey said. “”Any time USC comes here, you can’t train through the meet.””

    In addition to USC, Brigham Young, Iowa and Illinois will participate in the meet, which will not be officially scored, Harvey said.

    – Justin Adler

    N.C. State meet close to home for gymnastics team

    This weekend will be an all-around family reunion for the No. 15 Arizona gymnastics team, which heads to Raleigh, N.C., to take on No. 22 North Carolina State, James Madison and William & Mary today at 5 p.m.

    Several East Coasters, including junior Karin Wurm (Landenburg, Pa.), freshman Brittney Morgan (Charlottesville, Va.) and sophomores Suzanne Alvey (Atlanta) and Alexis Greene (Severn, Md.), will see family at the meet.

    Wurm, who turns 21 tomorrow, is hoping to win a second straight all-around title for Arizona (6-2), which would be her fifth this season. But she’s also looking forward to celebrating her birthday with her family and close friends from home, including former teammate Dru Davis, an N.C. State sophomore.

    The trip will also be a reunion of sorts for Arizona assistant coach Colleen Johnson, who coached at N.C. State (1-8) from 1999-2004 before coming to Arizona.

    “”Of course I have a little bit more of a vested interest in wanting to be competitive with them, because I left that program to come here,”” she said.

    Johnson said she prefers Arizona’s program because there are only 15 athletes on the team, as opposed to N.C. State’s 21-gymnast squad.

    “”I feel that our girls get a lot more one-on-one attention, because the ratio is just that much better,”” she said. “”You don’t have a lot of extra bodies in the gym.””

    The meet signals the end of Arizona’s dual-meet season, but competing against more teams should raise the team’s energy, Ryden said.

    “”Quad meets are actually more fun, I think, for the team,”” he said. “”Our goal, in reality, is just to do everything we did last week, which was just to stay into our team. And it seems like it’s even easier to do the more teams there are in the meet, because you obviously can’t be watching every team, so you end up watching no team.””

    Said Wurm, “”Usually there’s more crowds when there’s more teams, so it actually pumps you up more because it’s not like dead silence.””

    – Nina Conrad

    Women’s tennis uses break to prepare for USC/UCLA

    Spring break came a little early for the No. 36 Arizona women’s tennis team. Now it prepares to face two of the Pacific 10 Conference’s best teams.

    The Wildcats will travel to Southern California to take on No. 19 UCLA (8-4, 2-2 Pac-10) March 15 and No. 11 USC (8-2, 2-2) March 16.

    Arizona (7-5, 2-2) got two days off this week to rest, and although the team will practice every day over the next week, the break from matches is enough, said UA assistant coach Brian Ramirez.

    “”We need to get a little much-needed rest,”” he said. “”We want to make sure the girls are rested and healthy. We can use this week to get everyone healthy if they have any problems at all.””

    Both UCLA and USC are on three-match winning streaks and are undefeated at home.

    “”We can’t waste opportunities,”” said senior Kasia Jakowlew. “”Both of these teams are going to be ready for us, and we need to be too.””

    – Bobby Stover

    No. 1 Prouty leads Wildcats into Vegas

    The Arizona men’s golf team tees off in the Las Vegas Invitational today through Sunday in Las Vegas with redshirt senior Brian Prouty leading the way.

    Golfweek Magazine has ranked Prouty No. 1 in the nation individually.

    “”It’s nice to know that we got a guy who’s going to perform for us,”” said senior Josh Esler. “”Knowing that he’s going to be there every round takes the pressure off the rest of us.””

    Prouty had surgery in September to repair torn cartilage in his wrist suffered during the fall season. He hadn’t competed in any tournament since the U.S. Amateurs Tournament in August until he won the Ping-Arizona Intercollegiate Jan. 30 by shooting a career-best 62 (9-under-par).

    “”What Prouty’s done is pretty amazing,”” said redshirt senior Nathan Tyler. “”He was No. 5 on his high school golf team (at Salpointe Catholic High School) here in Tucson. He’s come a long way, to say the least.

    Prouty should tap into the confidence of being “”the best”” during this tournament, said UA head coach Rick LaRose.

    “”If he plays great this weekend and maintains that position, then it’ll be a good indicator on where he really stands,”” LaRose said.

    Continuing the recent trend of lineup changes, Arizona will boast a different top five than it did during the John Burns Intercollegiate, when it tied for sixth place as a team.

    Prouty and Esler will be joined by junior Creighton Honeck and sophomore Nicholas Park. Freshman Pedro Oriol will take the place of Tyler, who tied for 63rd place at 4-over 220 in the last tournament.

    “”We’re mixing it up again,”” LaRose said. “”We’ve got a lot of guys that are good, but we just have to juggle the lineup until we get the right combination.””

    Finding the right combination now would please the Wildcats considering the conditions in Las Vegas. LaRose dubbed the course “”fast and hilly”” and often windy. And with this being a major tournament featuring “”all of the best teams in the nation,”” he said, it won’t be a stroll in the park.

    “”It will be like the (Arizona men’s) basketball team playing against UCLA, North Carolina, Duke and Ohio State all in the same weekend,”” LaRose said. “”But I think we can do well, I really do.””

    “”It’s always nice to have a leader, and Brian takes the pressure off of the other guys,”” LaRose added. “”If you can get him to pull the wagon, it gets a lot of heat off them.””

    – Lance Madden

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