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Wildcat Wrap: Arizona men’s tennis advances to ITA National Indoors for first time in program history

@ArizonaMTennis / X

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 men’s tennis hosted and won the ITA Kickoff Weekend this past weekend to advance to ITA National Indoor Championships for the first time in school history.

The Wildcats defeated Miami 4-0 on Saturday and Baylor 4-2 on Sunday at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. Arizona broke Baylor’s 13-year streak of qualifying for ITA Nationals.

Arizona breezed through the first match against the Hurricanes, taking doubles point and singles points on courts Nos. 1, 2 and 5.

It took more work to beat Baylor. Arizona got off to an early lead by winning doubles point, then secured a singles point on court No. 2 when Jay Friend took down his opponent in straight sets Baylor rallied back with two points to even the match.

Arizona regained the lead via Colton Smith’s come-from-behind three-set victory over Baylor’s Tadeas Paroulek on the No. 1 court.

Smith, the No. 5 ranked individual player in the nation, earned Pac-12 Player of the Week for his two victories over the weekend.

Smith’s win left two points on the table with the Wildcats needing to win one to advance.

Arizona’s Nick Lagaev delivered the clinching point in a three-set thriller on court No. 4, topping Baylor’s Luc Koenig 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Arizona will be one of 16 programs to compete for ITA Nationals in New York City Feb. 16-19. The tournament bracket has not yet been released.

“This has been something we have been working for since I got here 8 years ago,” said head coach Clancy Shields. “We have knocked off many things as a group, but this accomplishment has eluded us. One of our motto’s this year was to create history, and I’m so proud of our seniors getting to experience this as a group and create this memory in New York! This team is special, they love Arizona, and they would not be denied today. I couldn’t be happier as a coach! New York here we come!”

Arizona, which is 4-0 on the season, will first head to to southern California this weekend where it will play San Diego on Friday and Pepperdine on Sunday.

Men’s golf

Men’s golf hosted the Arizona N.I.T. this week, where it finished runner-up to New Mexico.

The Wildcats shot a 50-under par across the 54-hole tournament played Omni Tucson National Golf Course, one stroke behind UNM. Eighteen teams competed in the event, with all but two shooting under par.

Three Arizona golfers finished in the top 10 of the leaderboard, led by Tiger Christensen at 16-under to place in a tie for third.

“We came up one shot short of defending our title, but our team made history today by shooting 50-under,” said head coach Jim Anderson. “You have to tip your cap to New Mexico for playing some great golf, but I am incredibly proud of how our guys competed in record-breaking fashion.”

Arizona next competes at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Lihue, Hawaii from Feb. 15-17.

Women's tennis

Women's tennis traveled to SEC country last weekend to compete in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Wildcats dropped their opening match against South Carolina 4-1 in Athens, Ga., then defeated South Florida 4-0 in Clemson, S.C.

Tanvi Narendran delivered Arizona (5-2) its lone point against the Gamecocks, taking down her opponent in straight sets.

Arizona fared better against USF, winning doubles point and four singles points in straight sets.

The Wildcats are back in Tucson this weekend to host San Diego State and Maryland.

Track and field

Arizona sent athletes to the River Hawk Invitational in Boston, Mass. over the weekend, where the men won six events. The women secured seven top-three finishes and three wins.

Trayvion Austin-White led the way for the men with victories in the 60m and 200m. Isaac Davis added a win in the 400m, while Ian Sanchez Lopez took home the 3000m.

Arizona finished one-two in the long jump, with Reinaldo Rodgriues winning the event and Pierce LaCoste finishing second. The Wildcats also secured the top two spots in the shot put. Zach Landa won the event, while Tyler Michelini took second.

On the women’s side, Tapenisa Havea earned first in the shot put, McKenna Watson earned first in the 200m and Taylen Wise won the triple jump.

Arizona head coach Fred Harvey commended the program’s progress.

“The number one factor this weekend was to get our potential NCAA Championship qualifiers to the championship site,” said Harvey. “That experience for indoors is very important.”

Arizona returns to action in Albuquerque this weekend for the New Mexico College Classic.