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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Senior Spotlight

Brooks Reed

Being an All-Pacific 10 Conference selection and second-round pick of the NFL Draft was a fitting end to a career defined by hard work and dedication for Tucson-native Brooks Reed.

An unheralded recruit out of Sabino High School, Reed walked on the the UA campus as a fullback with little hope of seeing the field anytime soon. However, after countless hours spent in the weight room to get bigger, Reed moved to the defensive side of the ball to help fill a team need. The move not only helped the Wildcats, but it created the super hero-like figure that Reed became throughout his career — all the way down to the long blond hair.

That fan favorite was a force at the defensive end spot almost instantly, but the hard work and desire was never more necessary than during his junior year when he battled constant injuries. Reed finished his Wildcat career with 17 sacks, and impressed NFL scouts during offseason workouts enough to give them confidence that he could transition to a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the NFL.

Ify Ibekwe

Ify Ibekwe tops the list of the greatest female athletes of the year thanks in large part to her 22-point, 22-rebound performance against ASU — Arizona’s first victory over the Sun Devils since Jan. 26, 2005.

On top of that performance, which drastically changed the direction Arizona’s season was headed, Ibekwe — the team’s MVP and an All Pac-10 selection — led the team in scoring (16.1 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 per game), and was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

Ibekwe can deservedly be credited with being a leader in the revitalization of Arizona women’s basketball. Her arrival, along with head coach Niya Butts’, marked the end of an otherwise tumultuous decade.

Ibekwe was awarded for her hard work and accomplishments last April when she was drafted 24th overall by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, making her the highest draftee in UA’s history.

Brittany Lastrapes

Left fielder Brittany Lastrapes currently leads the Arizona Wildcats softball team with a .439 batting average.

This season, she set the Arizona career record for doubles. Lastrapes, a four-year starter, was named Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week for the week when she set the Arizona record.

Lastrapes has never shied away from the moment. She started all 66 games in 2010 and batted first in the order each time. She was later named to the All Women’s College World Series team after going 13-for-17 in the series.

The senior has earned back-to-back All-American awards and is on the ballot for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award and the finalist list for the USA Player of the Year Award.

Ricky Elmore

Like Brooks Reed, few people embodied the work ethic and dedication that coaches covet like defensive end Ricky Elmore. Another lightly recruited high school prospect, Elmore started his career with the Wildcats as an undersized and athletically suspect prospect. But again, like Reed, Elmore’s newfound love for the weight room catapulted him into one of the best defensive ends in Wildcat history.

As Elmore got bigger, his playing time grew. So, too, did the stats.

After recording four sacks in 2008, Elmore led the Pacific 10 Conference with 10 sacks in 2009. But while critics claimed that Elmore’s stats were a product of team’s double-teaming fellow

defensive end Reed, Elmore shed the double-teams of his own in 2010 to lead the Pac-10 in sacks yet again with 11.

Elmore’s against-the-world mentality was tested yet again in April when he slipped all the way to the sixth round of the NFL Draft. But as the Green Bay Packers, his new team, will soon find out, Elmore has beaten the odds before.

 

 

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