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Wildcat Wrap: Arizona beach volleyball opens season with perfect weekend

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Editor’s note: With several sports going on, Wildcat Wrap serves as a 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 beach volleyball opened its season with a perfect 4-0 start by sweeping the Cactus Classic at Bear Down Beach.

The Wildcats defeated UTEP, Oregon and BYU all by scores of 5-0 and hung on for a 3-2 victory over Colorado Mesa.

Alex Parkhurst and Sarah Blacker went 3-1 on court No. 1, all three wins coming in straight sets. In the Wildcats’ 3-2 win over Colorado Mesa, the UA lost on courts Nos. 1 and 2 but won on the back three courts, highlighted by a come-from-behind victory by Kylee Fitzsimmons and Caroline White on court No. 4 (19-21, 21-16, 15-12).

Arizona returns to action March 4-5 with the Pac-12 South Invitational, where the Wildcats ironically will face three traditional Pac-12 North schools: Washington, Oregon and California.

Swimming and diving

The Wildcats competed last week at the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming Championship and the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Diving Championship.

Diver Delaney Schnell won the 1-meter and 3-meter dives and finished runner-up in the platform.

On the men’s side, Bjorn Markentin finished runner-up in the 3-meter event.

In the water, the Arizona women were led by Julia Heimstead, who placed third in the 100 fly and 10th overall in the 200 fly. Heimstead earned NCAA ‘B’ Cuts in both events.

Heimstead also earned an NCAA qualifying time in the 200 free, while Mady Burt qualified for NCAAs in the 100 fly.

Arizona is competing at the Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Championship March 1-4.

Track and field

Arizona concluded the indoor track and field regular season this past weekend at the Ken Shannon Invitational in Seattle.

Kristjan Sigfinnsson won the men’s high jump to qualify for NCAAs, while Katie Daily qualified with a strong showing in the women’s pole vault.

Zach Landa gave the Wildcats an event in in the men’s shot put.

“I’m super proud of everyone,” said coach Fred Harvey. “If we continue to do that, and with the talent we have, we’re going to get there. This meet has more of a last chance, championship-type feel, and I thought we were able to do some really great things yesterday and today.”

The Wildcats end the indoor season with the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, March 10-11.

Men’s tennis

Arizona went 2-1 at the Blue Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., earning 4-1 wins against Nebraska and No. 41 Oklahoma before dropping the final match to No. 36 Auburn 4-2.

In Arizona’s win over the Sooners, a pair of Wildcats picked up ranked wins. No. 88 Colton Smith beat No. 121 Alex Martinez in straight sets, while No. 117 Herman Hoeyeraal upset No. 84 Justin Schlageter in straight sets.

In its loss to Auburn, Arizona dropped the doubles point, then went 2-3 in singles play.

Arizona returns to action Friday against NAU at home.

Women’s tennis

The Wildcats went 1-2 at the Blue Gray Tennis Classic, earning a 4-2 win over Furman before falling 4-0 to No. 47 Texas Tech and 4-3 to No. 32 Illinois.

The highlight of the weekend came in the tight loss to Illinois, when Reece Carter upset the Illini’s No. 102 Ashley Yeah in straight sets.

Arizona is back home Friday to host No. 53 Oregon.