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Wildcat Wrap: Arizona names Wes Johnson as triathlon coach


Editor’s note: With several sports going on this fall, Wildcat Wrap serves as a weekly recap that focuses on the Arizona programs that we do not have the time to cover on a regular basis but are certainly worthy of recognition.

Arizona athletics director Dave Heeke has made a splash hire for the school’s first-ever triathlon coach.

Arizona announced Friday that USA Triathlon national team coach Wes Johnson will serve as head coach of UA women’s triathlon. Johnson has coached athletes last several top events including the World Championships, Paralympic Games and Pan American Championships.

“Wes is an ideal leader and coach to grow our Women’s Triathlon program,” Heeke said. “We added triathlon as a growing sport of immense popularity locally and across the nation, and I believe Wes has the perfect skillset of coaching and development to build our program into an immediate contender for championships. His vision for the program aligns with our department’s mission to develop Wildcats into academic, athletic and life champions. I am excited to watch Arizona Triathlon grow and become a program of championship excellence under Wes’s leadership.”

Johnson was named the 2021 USA Triathlon Developmental Coach of the Year and was previously recognized by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he coached Grace Norman to a gold medal in the triathlon.

Johnson is a former collegiate swimmer at Utah.

“I would like to thank Dave Heeke and University leadership for the privilege of becoming Arizona’s first triathlon head coach,” said Johnson. “Everything I have done in my career has led to this opportunity to build a world-class triathlon program at the University of Arizona. The community, cycling terrain, endless trails, campus and university resources as well as the culture and values of the university and athletics department align perfectly with my experience and vision for the program. I have been coming to Tucson for winter training for years, and I could not be more excited to call Southern Arizona home and build Arizona Triathlon here.”

Johnson is no stranger to Tucson. He wrote on Instagram that he has come to Tucson in the winters to train.

“Everything about this city, cycling terrain, endless running routes and trails, university, campus resources, facilities, and culture of @azathletics aligns perfectly with my goals as a coach and my career,” he wrote. “

Arizona will begin triathlon during the 2023-24 academic year.

Track and field / cross country

The Arizona track and field and cross country programs announced the signing of eight athletes for the 2022-23 year, a group that coach Fred Harvey said “might be the best incoming class in UA history.”

Among the newcomers are shot put and discuss thrower Haedyn Bambolo, who ranks ninth nationally in the shot, and distance runner Noah Roy, who ranks No. 18 in the U.S. in the 1600m.

Arizona opens the 2022-23 track and field season with the Lumberjack Team Challenge in Flagstaff, Ariz on Jan. 20.

Swimming and diving

Lost in the headlines of men’s basketball escaping any severe punishments from the IARP, the swimming and diving program also faced penalties from the same investigation. As the IARP was investigating infractions committed by the men’s basketball program, the committee discovered a swimming and diving coach conducted impermissible tryouts and provided preferential treatment.

That coach turned out to be Dwight Dumais, the diving coach for Arizona All-American and Olympian Delaney Schnell. Dumais was named the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Diving Coach of the Year for guiding Schnell to conference titles in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

This week Dumais was hit with a one-year show-cause penalty after the IARP determined he committed two Level II and two Level III violations.

Arizona head swimming and diving coach Auggie Busch was cleared of any wrongdoing.

A full description of the IARP penalties on swimming and diving can be found at SwimSwam.

The swimming and diving team returns to the pool on Jan. 20-21 when the Wildcats host Cal and Stanford. The Arizona men are up to No. 17 nationally.

Women’s golf

A pair of former Arizona women’s golfers earned LPGA status for 2023 through Q-Series.

Yu-Sang Hou earned an LPGA card by finishing tied for 12th in Q-Series. Hou made the cut in three LPGA events in 2022 with a career-best finish of tied for 55th at the Greater Toledo LPGA Classic.

Hou was a two-time Second-Team All-American at Arizona (2019-20, 2020-21) and was a member of the 2018 national championship team. Hou’s sister, Vivian, is an LPGA pro.

Ellinor Sudow, a 2021-22 grad transfer from Charlotte, placed tied for 17th in Q-Series. The Swedish native placed second at the 2021 Danish International Ladies Amateur Championship.