CATS SALUTE AWARD WINNERS, LOOK AHEAD TO PRESEASON
Rogers returns for his final season in Tucson fresh off an All American season in 2017.
August 22- Arizona heads in to the start of preseason this month but not before recognizing some standouts from the 2017 season, headlined by Kyle Rogers' selection as First Team All American in Sevens by USA Rugby.
As team captain in Fifteens and Sevens, Rogers played a key role in the Wildcats' run to the Final Four, and headlines the team awards with his selection as Team Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season. The Flyhalf/Fullback combo led the team in meters ran and finished second in linebreaks in addition to leading the team once again in try assists. The season also earned Rogers First Team All Conference to conclude the Spring.
In the Forwards, precocious Freshman Bronson Teles caps an impressive season, earning the Josh "Giant" Allen Award as the team's best overall Forward and the Mark Shiveley Award as the team's best Freshman. The Lock from Texas was a key cog in the engine room, leading the team in tackles (118), rucks hit (221), and tackle rate (97%) while chipping in two tries. The performance also earned him 2nd Team All Conference for the PAC season.
In the backline, the Geoff Barnes Award goes to Ben Joseph. The hard-running Outside Center continued his growth since arriving in Tucson from Maryland, leading the team in tries scored (8) including the game winner in the Wildcats' first contest against Air Force in Las Vegas.
An exciting season in which the Wildcats won the West Coast Sevens for the first time saw a number of contenders, with the coaching staff picking Ryan Hudson as the recipient of the Dave Sitton Award for his contributions. The Sevens Prop and Winger brought a new dimension to the team, scoring a number of key tries and contributing greatly in restarts. Hudson, like Joseph, returns for his senior season in 2018.
For his off and on field work, the Coaches' Award goes to Prop Cody Hunt, who along with Center Shane Dempsey moved mountains in their support of the program. In addition to his production in the front row, Hunt took the lead on the Dave Sitton Strong & Tough Golf Tournament, working with his committee in the player-run program event for alumni and supporters that was a resounding success.
The Wildcats' recognition was not limited to team awards, with seven players named first or second team all conference, the second most in the league. In the Forwards, Loosehead Steven Branham and Lock Sean Coleman earn first team nods, while Wing Dante Weeks and Rogers earn recognition in the backs. Weeks also earned a nod from USA Rugby, earning Honorable Mention All American in Fifteens. On the second team in the PAC, Teles is joined by Flanker Ryan Fitzpatrick along with Scrumhalf Matt Rogers.
Head Coach Sean Duffy was thankful to see players recognized for their efforts, particularly at the conference and national level. "Doubly excited, as these guys have all worked hard and were noticed in a very tough conference, and all of them return this coming season which is great."
The Wildcats get their preseason underway this coming month, with their Fall schedule set to be released shortly.