Sports Briefs

By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Grieving men's golf team finishes third

Playing with heavy hearts and without one of their own at last week's NCAA championships, just finishing the tournament would have been a feat in itself.

But the Wildcats had other plans, battling to a third place finish while playing the NCAA championships without junior Nathan Lashley. Lashley's parents, Rod and Charlene, and girlfriend, Leslie Hofmeister, died in plane crash in the Wyoming mountains after watching Lashley play for Arizona in the NCAA West Regionals.

Junior Nick Juszczak, who filled in for Lashley, finished 68th individually.

Arizona moved up the standings each day after finding themselves in 18th place after the first day of competition. The Wildcats finished the tournament at 28 over par, 14 strokes back of national champion California and eight back of second place UCLA.

"It's a really good finish, especially under the circumstances with the tragedy of Nathan and his parents," said UA head coach Rick LaRose. "Also, playing really with four guys who had never played in any big tournament before, I thought they really did themselves proud under all the conditions."

Senior Chris Nallen named a first-team All-American for the second consecutive season tied for second place with Bill Haas of Wake Forest, six shots back of UNLV's Ryan Moore. Nallen, who shot a 7 under total of 273, was the only one of those three players whose team was also competing.

"Chris played great," LaRose said. "Obviously every shot had more riding on it. He always thought of the team first so he played a little more conservatively than the guys who had no team there and their coach walking around with them on every shot. He played great and he had a great year."

Freshmen Mark Lamb, who tied for 24th place with a total of 287 (7 over) and Henry Liaw, who shot a 14 over par total of 294, joined Nallen on the All-American team as honorable mentions. Freshmen Josh Esler was the other Wildcat on the NCAA team, finishing tied for 77th, at 27 over par.

The championships were in Hot Springs, Va. at The Homestead Resort's Cascades Golf Course, a par 70, 6,679-yard course. The mark was also the Wildcats' fifth top-three finish at the NCAA Championships.

"It is a great achievement for this group," LaRose said.

Divers eye spots on US Olympic team

With two having already punched their ticket to Athens, members of the Arizona squad will seek two more spots in the Olympics this week.

Senior Josh Anderson and freshman Mary Yarrison are set to compete at the USA Diving Olympic trials this week. Anderson will compete in the 10-meter platform and Yarrison in 10-meter platform and 10-meter synchronized.

This is the second Olympic trial attempt for Anderson, who finished fourth in the NCAA championships this spring. Yarrison was the Pac-10 newcomer of the year.

Senior Claire Febvav has already qualified to compete for France, as she did for the 2000 Sydney games. Febvav redshirted in 2003-04 to prepare for Athens.

Angelique Rodriguez, who graduated from the UA in 2000, won a spot on the 3-meter springboard for Puerto Rico.

Track and field sends 10 athletes to NCAAs

Beginning today, 10 Arizona track and field athletes will compete in 13 events at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas.

Sophomore Robert Cheseret, the top qualifier in the 5,000 meters and second highest in the 10,000 meters will lead the way for the UA. Joining Cheseret in both the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter events is senior Kyle Goklish.

On the women's side, junior Sharifa Jones will be competing in the 100 meter hurdles and in the long jump. Jones had a disappointing NCAA West Regional but earned the hurdle berth as an at large selection.

Sophomore Angel Perkins earned an automatic berth in the 400 meters with a third place finish at the Regionals.

Senior Connie Jerz earned an automatic bid in the pole vault at the Pac-10 championships in Tucson, where the men finished fifth and the women ninth. Fellow pole vaulter junior Kevin Opalka will also be going.

At the Pac-10s, senior Jevon Mason qualified in the 400 meters with a personal best 45.82, two hundredths of a second short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

The Wildcats throwers that will compete in the championships are sophomore Rachel Varner (discus), freshman Adam Kuehl (discus) and senior Matt Wagner (javelin).