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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Smaller Arizona sports as entertaining as football, basketball

Let me guess. You’re incredibly excited for the start of school, and a big reason is Arizona athletics, right?

The tradition and expectations of men’s basketball, the excitement of not knowing how new head football coach, Rich Rodriguez, will do in his first season, coupled with the women’s basketball team looking to rebound from a 15-17 season and a volleyball team trying to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament makes for a very busy first semester.

That’s a good thing though isn’t it? Half the reason we come to a school like Arizona is to become engulfed in everything that the Wildcats represent.

The Wildcats have an uncanny ability to unite not just students, alumni and faculty, but the entire city of Tucson. That being said, the power the Wildcats hold over Tucson and its citizens during football and basketball season may result in you being unable to attend one of the eight home football games or 18 home basketball starts.

If the situation arises, feel free to explore one of Arizona’s other, less popular sports, guaranteed to show you the same good time as football or basketball in a much more relaxed atmosphere.

For a change of pace, head over to the McKale Center and watch rising sophomore Madi Kingdon, an All Pac-12 freshman selection a season ago, lead the Wildcats in digs and kills as they attempt to move out of the first round of the NCAA tournament.

In November and December, spend a chilly winter night in McKale for the beginning of women’s basketball season. Head coach Niya Butts is an electrifying personality whose creative marketing ploys always make for a good game.

Even if the Wildcats are down, the individual efforts of last season’s leading scorer Davellyn Whyte, who averaged 17 points per game a season ago, never fails to provide fans with SportCenter-worthy plays and games.

Before it’s time to break out the leggings and boots however, fall softball and swimming are two simple ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday.

The tradition of softball arguably outweighs that of any other sport on campus, and Arizona softball is a brand name for high school softball players across the country. In the fall, the competition might not be the best, but Hillenbrand Stadium is one of the biggest and best softball facilities in America and has hosted some of the all-time great softball players in the sport’s history.

Before 2010, the Wildcats had made 24 consecutive trips to the Women’s College World Series, winning eight national titles in the process. The fall slate will give fans a preview of how former All-American Kenzie Fowler has improved heading into her senior year after a disappointing season, as well as the progress of sophomore Shelby Pendley, who led the team in home runs and slugging percentage.

Swimming, cross-country and the indoor track and field seasons may not be regular stops as a college sports fan looking for some entertainment, but 11 of Arizona’s 18 2012 Olympians are swimmers or runners.

Hurdler Georganne Moline, who holds the school record for her event and high jumper Brigetta Barrett, who owns the NCAA record for high jump highlight the representatives from the track team.

All-American swimmer Alyssa Anderson and head of USA swimming and a UA sports Hall of Fame member Frank Busch will help represent the United States in the relays (Anderson) as well as the rest of the competition (Busch).

Attending more than just the football and basketball games can only increase your love and passion for the Wildcats and will expose you to some of the best athletes and coaches at Arizona.
Welcome to Wildcat Country.

— Cameron Moon is the sports editor. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatSports.

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