Schu Strings: What is chipotle?

We know about Wildcat football. We know the Arizona men's basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight. But what of the other UA athletic endeavors? Here's your quick end of the year review.

Historically, as indicated by the Sears Director's Cup, Arizona ranks favorably in terms of well-rounded success athletically. The 2002-03 campaign was no exception.

Arizona baseball: The UA baseball team finished the year 35-23, but slumped down the stretch. Arizona lost its last six games, but advanced to post-season play for just the second time in a decade.

Women's basketball: The Wildcats closed out the season 22-9 and placed second in the Pac-10. They lost to Notre Dame in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Shawntinice Polk was a first-team freshman all-American.

Cross Country: It was a building year for the men and women. Both teams were bounced after West Regional competition in Palo Alto. Freshman Adrienne Goeller was the top performer for the women. Mark Anderson was the pacesetter for the men.

Men's Golf: The Arizona men's golf team closed out the year with a 17th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Rick Barnes wrapped up his eligibility in stellar fashion. He became the first Wildcat to earn top-20 finishes in four consecutive NCAA Championships. Barnes performed well when he dabbled in the professional ranks.

Women's Golf: The UA carded a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Freshman sensation Erica Blasberg finished third individually and landed a spot as one of four finalists for the Honda Award for women's golf.

Gymnastics: The Wildcat gymnastics team advanced to the post-season for the 17th straight year. Monica Bisordi represented Arizona at the NCAA Championships, where she finished with an all-around score of 38.575.

Soccer: Arizona struggled in Pac-10 play yet again. It won just one conference game in nine outings. The UA was 6-12 overall. Coach Cathy Klein resigned in early June to pursue her doctorate and a career in administration.

Softball: The UA softball team made it to the final three at the NCAA championships before dropping two successive games to California. Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell set a number of Wildcat records. Seven players with UA ties were named to the USA Softball team.

Swimming and Diving: The Wildcat men's team was outstanding at the NCAA Championships in Austin. Arizona averaged 30 points per contestant. Freshman Simon Burnett won the 200y free in 1:33.66, the second fastest time in school history. He was seeded eighth entering the event. Luis Rojas (46.01 in 100 fly), Juan Veloz (1:42.62 in 200y fly) and the 400y free relay team set school records.

The women's team broke three school records and finished in the top 10 for the 12th consecutive year. Emily Mason set two UA standards and garnered three first-team all-American nominations. Beth Botsford turned in a lifetime best in the 100y.

Tennis: The Wildcat men's team lost to Boise State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Maja Mlakar was Arizona's best women's performer. She managed a second-round showing in NCAA tournament play.

Track and Field: Junior Connie Jerz and freshman Robert Cheseret were standout performers. Jerz set a personal best in the pole vault and placed second at the NCAA championships. Cheseret finished third in the 5,000 meters.

Volleyball: The Wildcats struggled through growing pains during the regular season, but put it together come tournament time en route to their third Elite Eight appearance. Kim Glass was named AVCA National Freshman of the Year…

…Moving on…

…Those who study that Chinese calendar stuff undoubtedly know this is the so-called Year of the Rat. Well, I beg to differ. I think it's actually the Year of Chipotle. You know Chipotle, that great, sassy southwestern sauce that's sweeping the world. Or at least sweeping the trendy minds of fast food marketing sorts. If you stumbled across a Jack in the Box or Subways commercial, it's almost as if Cortez discovered the Lost City of Gold. The marketing geniuses in fast food land have bestowed upon us this taste sensation. I've lived in the southwest for the better part of three decades, and I have nary a clue what the hell Chipotle is. [It happens to be smoked jalapeno peppers-Brad] Fortunately, just by hopping down to the nearest fast food locale, my taste buds can explore new, yummy horizons.

At least they're calling it what it is, unlike McDonald's, which has somehow managed to rename the soft taco flatbread. There's some cultural diversity for ya. If that were the model, they'd rename this new sauce du'jour "Sorta Thousand Island."

All hail Chipotle. This is truly your year. You are the sauce of kings. Or spokesperson clowns. Or that irritating Subway quipster teamed with the sidekick who looks like Tiger Woods.

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