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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


2010-2011’s top athletes

Derrick Williams

There were the 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, but for men’s basketball forward Derrick Williams, his slew of defining clutch plays put him atop the best of Arizona’s athletes during the 2010-11 school year.

There was the block against Washington in a nationally televised whiteout. The 6-foot-8, 241-pound forward added to that with another game-saving swat against Memphis in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Then, in the third round versus Texas, he made an improbable lay-up And 1, hitting the go-ahead foul shot in a 70-69 victory to upset the No. 5 seed Longhorns.

Finally, in the Sweet 16, Williams dropped 25 of a career-high 32 points in the first half against Duke to solidify himself as an Arizona great despite leaving for the NBA draft after his sophomore season.

Julie Labonte:

A Canadian is taking the U.S. by storm. Julie Labonte is the nation’s leading shot putter as a sophomore, currently leading all her competition with a throw of 58 feet and six inches. The record-grabbing throw has earned her the 11th best throw internationally this season and also tied her for the top throw in Canadian shot put history. Labonte has a current winning streak of nine against collegiate competitors, although she has fallen behind professional athletes.

Juron Criner

2010 was an up and down season for the Arizona football program. Despite the turmoil, the Wildcats found themselves a bona fide star in wide receiver Juron Criner. The junior carried a lagging offense all season, making big play after big play even when the defense knew the ball was going to him. His 82 catches for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns made him one of the best wide receivers in the country.

Brigetta Barrett

Brigetta Barrett is an internationally known high jumper. A sophomore on the No. 9 Arizona women’s track and field team, Barrett has nationally set the bar for her fellow collegiate high jumpers — literally. Recently at the Elite Invite, she jumped 1.90 meters, which is currently the best in the nation for women’s outdoor track and field. Also, her height is currently tied for the best jump in the world for the 2011 outdoor season. Barrett’s outdoor success isn’t too surprising considering she took home the NCAA Indoor title in March. For Barrett’s indoor season, her highest mark doubled as her personal record of 1.92m.

Cory Chitwood

Cory Chitwood, a junior captain on the No. 4 Arizona men’s swimming and diving team, took home his second-consecutive individual championship in the 200-yard backstroke at the men’s 2011 NCAA National Championships. Chitwood’s winning time of 1:38.84 in the event is the sixth fastest time ever in the NCAA. To make his 2011 championships even sweeter, Chitwood also earned All-America honors for the 200y individual medley, 100y backstroke, 800y freestyle relay and 400y medley relay. To cap off his accolades, Arizona Athletics awarded Chitwood with Male Athlete of the Year for the junior class.

Alyssa Anderson

Alyssa Anderson, a junior captain on the No. 5 Arizona women’s swimming and diving team, had an exceptionally strong season. She earned five All-America honors at the women’s 2011 NCAA’s this year. Anderson received her honors in the: 200-yard freestyle, 500y freestyle, 200y butterfly, 400y freestyle relay and 800y freestyle relay. In addition to her honors, she set a school record in the 500y free, taking the title away from former record holder, Emily Mason. Anderson’s time of 4:34.34 in the event placed third in the NCAA’s and beat out Mason’s, 4:37.11. Her many accomplishments earned her Female Athlete of the Year for the junior class.

 Stephen Sambu

Cross-country head coach James Li should look into how much it would cost to get DJ Khaled to come out to cross-country and track meets. That way when Stephen Sambu crosses the finish line Khaled can yell out, “”All I do is win, win, win no matter what, and every time I step up in the building everybody hands go up!”” Ever since Sambu has stepped on campus from junior college, he has rewriten records and captured first place in the 5,000 meter for the NCAA Championships.

Joey Rickard:

After a stellar freshman debut, during which he hit .307 and eight home runs, Arizona baseball center fielder Joey Rickard had no idea how big of an impact he was going to make in his second year with the Wildcats. Throughout the entire season so far, Rickard has been the team leader in both hits, 73, and batting average, .390. He also currently leads all of the Pac-10 everyday starters in hits and batting average. Despite leading the nation in hits at one point this season, Rickard’s team-first attitude is what stands out, saying that all he does is for the team.

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