Weekend sports preview

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 20, 2006

Icecats look to tune up before brutal road trip

The No. 12 Arizona club hockey team (12-8) hosts Colorado State (9-3-1) for a two-game series this weekend in the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

The puck drops at 7:30 both tonight and tomorrow night.

Although Colorado State is a Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association team, it's had Division I talent for years, said Arizona head coach Leo Golembiewski, adding that the Rams are usually better than about 60 percent of the Division I teams.

"They're always a good team, definitely D-I caliber," Golembiewski said. "We're their only D-I games this season so hopefully we'll bring them back to reality."

After pummeling St. Louis last weekend, the Icecats got their offense back after a sluggish winter break, busting out in a big way with 17 goals in the sweep. Even with some line adjustments, the Icecats got back some of the chemistry that has made them such an exciting team offensively this season.

"That's something we thought when we said this season was a reckoning," Golembiewski said, referring to the team's slogan this season, "A Reckoning."

- Anthony Tarnowski

Eras to clash at baseball Alumni Game

The past, present and future of Arizona baseball will converge Sunday as the Wildcats host the Jim Click Alumni Game at 12:30 p.m. at Sancet Stadium.

Arizona graduate and Angels owner Arte Moreno will manage the alumni, who feature 2005 Arizona baseball stars and Major League Baseball draft picks Trevor Crowe (first round), Nick Hundley (second round), John Meloan (fifth round), White Sox outfielder Brian Anderson, Sidewinders manager Chip Hale, Gil Heredia, Jack Howell and Ron Hassey.

The 1976 and 1986 College World Series Championship teams will be honored before the game.

"I've been blessed to win a national championship, and I know it's not an easy thing, and anybody that has that experience needs to be honored every now and then," Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez said.

Players will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to noon and a home run derby will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m.

- Lindsey Frazier

Ruggers head to L.A. for first Pac-10 tourney

The consensus top team in the country, a hated rival, an unknown foe - opportunities abound for the Arizona men's club rugby team this weekend as it enters the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

The tournament marks the first competition for the Ruggers (3-1) since dropping their sole home match of the fall 25-11 to New Mexico Nov. 19.

Arizona, a member of the SoCal Conference, will compete in four 40-minute pool-round matches tomorrow against each team in its five-squad bracket, which includes UCLA, Stanford, Oregon and Washington State.

If the Ruggers go undefeated, they would face the top team from the opposite bracket - likely California, which has won 21 of the last 26 national titles - in Sunday's championship game.

"We're looking to make finals," junior flanker Chris Dublinski said. "With our bracket, we're looking to win out in the first round and hopefully make the championship on Sunday."

- Tom Knauer

Cats-Devils rivalry resumes in gym

Facing one of your rivals is enough to get any team motivated for competition, especially when you are the only two Division I gymnastics programs in the state.

That will be the case Sunday, when the No. 14 Arizona women's gymnastics team opens the Pacific 10 Conference season against No. 17 ASU at 2 p.m. in Tempe.

The match is always an important one for Arizona head coach Bill Ryden, who competed on the men's gymnastics team for the Sun Devils from 1978 to 1983.

"I am very motivated to be successful against them, almost to the point that I don't share that with the girls," he said.

Still the coach said he wants his team to make sure that they treat this weekend just like any other meet and don't get caught up in the rivalry.

"This meet is just as important but no more important (than others)," Ryden said. "We don't want to get too high because if you get too high for certain people, there is going to be lows."

- Dmitry Rashnitsov

Trio of perfect teams take to the pool

The Arizona swimming and diving teams do not set out on an easy road this weekend as the pool junkies will likely face their toughest competition thus far in the season.

Not only are California and Stanford two of the Wildcats top Pacific 10 Conference rivals, but all three teams are currently undefeated.

Both the men's and the women's teams are currently ranked No. 5, but the Stanford men's team is ranked No. 2, just behind defending champion Auburn. Stanford has not competed since Nov. 19 when they placed first out of 13 teams at the Speedo Cup.

The No. 3 Cal men's team (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10) face ASU today before going up against the Wildcats tomorrow.

"Both of the meets will be very competitive," Arizona head coach Frank Busch said. "The kids are excited to see where they are and eager to compete."

- Allison Hamila

Distance anchors 2006 men's, women's track teams

The Arizona men's and women's track and field teams kick off their 2006 seasons in New Mexico tomorrow at the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational, in a meet that features seven individual national champions.

Arizona head coach Fred Harvey leads a Wildcat men's squad into Albuquerque currently tied for No. 7 with Nebraska according to Trackwire.com, the track and field online ranking system.

The men will rely heavily on the strength of their long distance squad led by senior distance runner Robert Cheseret, who ranks No. 1 individually in the 5,000-meter and No. 9 in the 3,000m races. Cheseret, the Pacific 10 Conference cross country athlete of the year, took home the individual Pac-10 Championship in the 3,000m last year.

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the distance will be a strength of our team," Harvey said.

- Anthony Tarnowski