Editor’s note: With so many sports going on this winter and spring, we are re-introducing the Wildcat Wrap, a weekly recap that will focus on the Arizona programs that we do not have the time to cover on a regular basis but are certainly worthy of recognition.
Despite winning its first-ever Pac-12 regular-season championship, Arizona men’s tennis didn’t do enough to host the NCAA Championships.
The Wildcats will travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to face Princeton in the opening round of tournament Friday at 11 a.m. PT. If Arizona advances, it will likely face No. 15 seed North Carolina in the second round.
Arizona (20-6) entered the Pac-12 Championships expecting to host the NCAAs, but a quarterfinals loss to Washington doomed the UA’s chances. The NCAA selection committee gave No. 16 seed Middle Tennessee the final host bid.
Arizona’s first round opponent, Princeton, went 18-8 in the regular season. The Tigers beat ASU 4-1 in Tempe back in March.
If Arizona gets past the Ivy League foe, it would face the winner of UNC/Navy. The winners of the first two matches will play Saturday at 1 p.m. PT.
The Tar Heels boast the nation’s No. 31 ranked individual player, Brian Cernoch. Arizona’s top ranked player is Jonas Ziverts at No. 49.
The Wildcats are coming off a program-best Sweet 16 appearance last year and would like to advance farther this postseason. That will be tough, as Arizona would likely face No. 2 seed Florida if it advances out of the Chapel Hill pod.
Ziverts and teammate Gustaf Strom were selected for the NCAA Singles Championship. Ziverts started almost every match for Arizona at the No. 1 singles position while Strom, ranked No. 54 nationally, usually started at the No. 2 singles spot.
The NCAA Singles Championship will be held right after the team championship concludes in late May.
Arizona qualified for its 29th-consecutive NCAA Regional, and the Wildcats won’t have to travel too far this year.
The UA was named the No. 4 seed of the Albuquerque Regional, which begins May 9. Arizona is joined by top-three seeds Oregon, Florida and Texas along with Georgia, TCU, Louisville, North Texas, Oklahoma, Sam Houston State, Northern Arizona and New Mexico State.
Arizona has experience competing at Albuquerque’s Championship Course. Last year the Wildcats played at New Mexico’s Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Ya Chun Chang, Gile Bite Starkute and Maya Benita all competed in the event.
The Wildcats earned the No. 6 seed of the Bryan Regional, played at Traditions Club outside College Station, Texas. Pepperdine, Texas &M, Georgia, Tennessee and Kansas make up the top five seeds. Michigan State, SMU, Boise State, Oregon State, Colorado State, Southeastern Louisiana and Texas Southern round out the regional.
Arizona is coming off a poor showing at the Pac-12 Championship, where it placed 11th of 12 schools. The Wildcats are led by All-Pac-12 First Team selection Christian Banke and All-Pac-12 Second Team pick Chase Sienkiewicz.
Arizona hosted the Pac-12 Tournament last week but it wasn’t enough of a home court advantage to overcome a loaded conference field. The No. 17 Wildcats won their first match in come-from-behind fashion, topping No. 12 California 3-2.
Hope Shannon and Annie Kost delivered the clinching point on court No. 5.
In the second match of the tournament, Arizona fell to No. 1 ranked USC 3-0. That put the Wildcats in the elimination side of the bracket. The UA lost to ASU 3-1, ending its run at a Pac-12 championship. USC ultimately won the tournament.
Track and Field
Arizona hosted the Desert Heat Classic last weekend, where the Wildcats earned a pair of event wins.
Alexa Porpaczy won the women’s high jump with a 1.78m jump. Shannon Meisberger won the women’s 400m hurdles with a time of 57.15. Several other athletes earned top-five finishes in their events.
Arizona next competes at the Pac-12 Championships in Eugene from May 12-14.