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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Local outside hitter rounds out ’06-’07 class

    Whitney Dosty will be staying home. And the Arizona volleyball team wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The highly-touted 6-foot-3 outside hitter and soon-to-be graduate of Tucson Salpointe Catholic High School sent her National Letter of Intent to Arizona head coach Dave Rubio yesterday, meaning that she completes his 2006-07 recruiting class that also includes setter Ashley Hamilton of Lone Peak (Utah) High School and Jacy Norton, a middle hitter, of Flour Bluff (Texas) High School.

    “”All three of them together makes an outstanding class for us,”” Rubio said. “”I think the addition of Whitney really kind of gives us some real legitimacy with the class.””

    The announcement of the recruiting class comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that former Wildcat standout Dana Burkholder and Chris Gonzalez, a prominent figure on both the international and college coaching scenes, will fill the vacant roles of assistant coaches.

    Rubio’s assistants last year, Charita Stubbs and Steve Walker, both took head coaching positions at North Carolina State and UC-Davis, respectively.

    Yesterday’s announcement that Dosty had officially signed was met with enthusiasm throughout the program.

    “”It makes a great statement about our program that a local player of her caliber is willing to stay in town,”” Rubio said.

    Added Gonzalez: “”One of the common denominators to all the top programs in the United States is that the programs are so good, they can attract players from their own community.””

    Dosty, who played on Burkholder’s club volleyball team, Club Cactus, is rated as the No. 4 recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com and was a “”Fab 50″” selection by Volleyball Magazine.

    “”It’s certainly not an exact science of who the top recruits are, but athletically she certainly is one of the best recruits I’ve ever recruited, and I think (she) has the potential to be a world-class player one day,”” Rubio said.

    Likely setting for Dosty over the next four years will be Hamilton, who was also a “”Fab 50″” selection by Volleyball Magazine, winning two state championships at Lone Peak.

    “”Ultimately, it comes down to that,”” Rubio said of Hamilton’s background of winning. “”It doesn’t matter how good of an athlete you are. If you’re winning all the time, obviously that’s more important than anything.””

    Rounding out the list is the 6-foot-4 Norton, who Rubio said could step in and contribute right away.

    “”Jacy, she’s got great drive and great competitive spirit about her,”” he said. “”There’s going to be a good chance for her to come in and play immediately because … we’re pretty thin in the middle.””

    Equally new to the program are Rubio’s two assistants, Burkholder and Gonzalez.

    Burkholder, twice named a first-team All-American as a setter, led Arizona to the program’s only Final Four as a senior in 2001. She’s also the only Wildcat to be named Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year, accomplishing the feat in 2000.

    “”It’s very exciting,”” Burkholder said of being back on campus. “”I think it feels very natural for me.

    “”Chris and I, we’re going to help to take this team to a new level.””

    In addition to her experience as Dosty’s club coach, Burkholder was the coach at Tucson Mountain View High School for the 2003-04 season. Her position with Arizona is her first coaching endeavor on the collegiate level.

    “”I think it gives our program credibility,”” Rubio said. “”A player who played here and is willing to come back and coach here I think speaks volumes for her experience here at the U of A.””

    Gonzalez began coaching in 1995, eventually working his way to the collegiate ranks at Long Beach State, where he worked as an assistant. During his five years with the program, the 49ers went 134-6, including the first undefeated season in NCAA volleyball history.

    “”I think Dave, Dana and I have similar goals: We want to win national championships,”” Gonzalez said. “”The best programs and the top programs aren’t the top programs by accident. There’s enough time and energy and motivation behind it to evolve.””

    Gonzalez’s new boss tends to have the same motivation.

    “”I don’t think (Gonzalez) came here with the idea of getting to the Final Four, I think he came here to win a national championship,”” Rubio said. “”I think he’ll add a lot of things to help us get to that championship level.””

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