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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A A-Z guide to Arizona Athletics

Megan Ewing
Gronkowski takes photos with fans at the Spring Game on Saturday, April 24 in Tucson, Ariz. Gronkowski’s team defeated Bruschi’s team 17-13.

*Editor’s note: This article was produced as part of the Daily Wildcat 2021 Campus Guide — the perfect resource for any incoming Wildcat. Whether you’re trying to find important dates, looking for a club to join or are interested in UA history and traditions, we’ll be there to help you get through your first semester. Welcome to the University of Arizona!

A – Adia Barnes 

The charismatic head coach led the University of Arizona women’s basketball team to their first-ever Final Four and national championship game appearance in program history. Three years prior, Barnes led the program to their first-ever NIT championship.

B – Baseball

The Arizona baseball team had a season for the ages as they finished the 2020-21 season as the sole champions of the Pac-12 conference for the first time in program history and made their first College World Series appearance since 2016. 

C – Chip Hale

“Mr. Wildcat” was hired on Monday, July 5, to become the new head coach of the Arizona baseball team. Hale will be returning to his old stomping grounds as he won a national championship as a player with Arizona back in 1986.

D – Deandre Ayton

Arguably one of the most prolific college basketball players to ever set foot in McKale Center, the former Wildcat has been instrumental in the Phoenix Suns’ exceptional run to the NBA Finals this year. He’s already posted two double-doubles in the first two games of the Finals and is enjoying a career year overall.

E – Excellence

Arizona athletics bred excellence this past year as the women’s basketball team made it to the national championship game while both the softball and baseball programs made it to the College World Series respectively. An unforgettable year that UA sports fans will likely cherish forever.

F – Finch

Jennie Finch is highly touted as the most decorated softball player in UA softball history and the sport in general. The right-handed pitcher helped led Arizona to a national title in 2001 along with capturing the gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.

G – Greatness

No person or sports figure that ever came through Tucson embodied the term greatness like legendary Arizona softball head coach Mike Candrea. The recent retiree led the softball program to a remarkable eight national championships, 24 College World Series appearances and coached under him a whopping 53 All-Americans overall.

H – Hi Corbett Field

Nicknamed “Hi-C” or “The Juice Box,” Hi Corbett Field has been called home by the Arizona baseball team since its inception in 2012. A premier hitter’s park that served as a great home-field advantage for the Wildcats this past season as they finished with a 31-7 home record overall.

I – “It’s Personal”

After going winless and suffering its worst season in recent memory, you better believe it’s personal for the UA football team. After the hiring of Jedd Fisch as head coach, “It’s Personal” is a slogan that was adopted and embraced by the team which serves as a rallying cry to get the football program back into relevance and where it should be after what they went through a year ago.

J – Jaelyn Hodge

Jaelyn Hodge is a key player in head coach Dave Rubio’s volleyball team. After the loss of Paige Whipple at outside hitter Hodges will have to improve her game and help the Wildcats win and seek a Pac-12 title. Last year Hodge finished second on the team in kills and third on the team in blocks. 

K – Kaiser 

Maja Kaiser transferred to the University of Arizona’s beach volleyball team. Before committing to Arizona, Kaiser won a national championship with the USC Trojans in 2021. Last year the Wildcats lost to UCLA in the search for a Pac-12 championship but with this addition, they should have the firepower to win it all. 

L – Lute Olson

When you think of Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball, the first guy you think of is Lute Olson. The former head coach led the Wildcats to their first and only national championship in 1997. Arizona built a statue of the Hall of Famer right outside of McKale Center. 

M – Madison Connor

Coming off of a loss in the national championship game and losing your star player, the women’s basketball team will look for scoring in other places. This is where Conner comes in. In high school Connor was a four-star recruit and averaged 20 points and seven rebounds. She should be a big part of Adia Barnes’s game-plan. 

N – Number 14, Jill Aguilera

Jill Aguilera had herself a season last year scoring nine goals, five assists and 23 points. She broke all of her precious career records. In 2021, she was an NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee and CoSIDA Academic All-District. 

O – Olympics

Delaney Schnell will compete in her first Olympics. She will be competing in the 10m dive and synchronized dive. In the trials in Indianapolis, Indiana, she won both events. She will look for gold in Tokyo as one of the 27 Wildcats competing in this years’ games.

P – Pac-12

The University of Arizona Athletics competes in the Pac-12 with Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Washington State and Arizona State. Men’s golf and men’s baseball were the only University of Arizona teams to win the championship and will look to add more Pac-12 championships into the trophy case. 

Q – Quarterback

The Wildcat football team will have an unbelievable quarterback battle with Gunner Cruz and Will Plummer. Between the two Plummer is the only one with experience in an Arizona uniform but this year with a new system under head coach Jedd Fisch. We saw these two compete against each other in the Spring Game, Cruz outed Plummer with a 17-13 win. 

R – Rita 

While the public knows it as Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, the Arizona softball players simply call it “Rita.” With legendary head coach Mike Candrea retiring, head coach Caitlin Lowe will take over the most storied softball program in the nation. Fresh off a world series appearance last season, Lowe and the Wildcats are determined to go back and win it all.

S – Sand Cats

Before incoming freshmen start sifting through sand for actual cats, know that this is the nickname for the Arizona beach volleyball team. Coming off their best season in four years, Sand Cats Alex Parkhurst, Alana Rennie and Dana Parker will look to fill the void left by eight graduating seniors. 

T – Team USA 

Be on the lookout for Wildcats in Tokyo this summer. Across the Olympic Games, Arizona athletes will compete for a chance at a gold medal. Whether it is former UA catcher Dejah Mulipola in softball or redshirt senior Delaney Schnell diving into the pool, you are sure to find a Wildcat somewhere.

U – Uneven bars

If thrills are what you are seeking, then look no further than the Arizona gymnastics team, or better known as, GymCats. Led by veterans Malia Hargrove and Sirena Linton, the GymCats put on a show like no other. Flips, twists and turns worth thousands of points are part of the daily routine for these amazing athletes. 

V – Volleyball

After checking out the SandCats on the beach, students should make their way to McKale Center to watch the Arizona volleyball team. Pac-12 and AVCA Pacific South Region Freshman of the Year Sofia Maldonado Diaz is tearing up the volleyball scene. After missing the playoffs her freshman year, expect big things from Maldonado Diaz in year two. 

W – Women’s basketball

The story of college basketball last year was about coach Adia Barnes and the women’s basketball team. Students have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch greatness at its finest, especially now that fans will be allowed back to watch this storied team.

X – X’s and O’s 

After an embarrassing 0-5 season last year, the football team has reloaded and is ready for a fresh start. With former New England Patriots QB coach Jedd Fisch now in charge, he and the school are expecting big things for this program. Who knows, maybe Rob Gronkowski will make an appearance in Las Vegas for the season opener against BYU.

Y – Ya Chun Chang

With senior golfer Yu-Sang Hou likely on her way out (unless she returns because of COVID-19 eligibility), Ya Chun Chang will take the reins as the senior leader of the Arizona women’s golf team. With their coach signed to an extension and the team fresh off an NCAA championship appearance, Chang and the Wildcats are ready for next season. 

Z – ZonaZoo

Every school has its student section, and this is ours. Voted the best student section in 2015 and 2018, this year will be the first the ZonaZoo has come together since 2019. With the first game being played in Las Vegas, expect the Zoo to get crazy.

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