It was a week of new beginnings on the Hill.
For the men’s and women’s basketball teams, ground broke on the $36M Huntsman Basketball Center that, head coach Larry Krystkowiak said, will leave “no excuses” for the Utes not to be continue their upward trend. U. President David Pershing established a committee that will weigh “modest changes” to the school’s fight song. Former Ute C.J. Cron hit his first Major League Baseball home run with the Los Angeles Angels. And for a handful of Utah football players, the NFL draft and subsequent free agency added weeks, months or years to their playing careers.
But other Utes were very much focused on the present ...
BASEBALL » They needed this. Between injuries and plain-old hard luck, the Pingin’ Utes have had a rough go of it this season, but a dramatic midweek victory against BYU and a 13th-inning road win against Washington State showed that they haven’t lost hope of finishing on a high note. Now, the Utes (15-29 overall, 4-19 Pac-12 heading into Sunday’s game against Wazzu) have just six Pac-12 games left and one shot to knot the season series with BYU at two-apiece.
ON DECK: vs BYU (7 p.m. Tuesday at Smith’s Ballpark); at Arizona State (Friday through Sunday in Tempe, Ariz.)
SOFTBALL » The Utes (31-24, 8-15 Pac-12) rolled to their eighth straight victory Saturday against Grand Canyon to close out the regular season. Junior Kate Dickman went 10-for-16 in five games last week and finished the regular season ranked seventh in the conference with a .415 average and second in runs scored with 59 and hits with 80. Also this week, The Tribune’s Kyle Goon took a broader look at the program’s recruiting wins in California and how a trio of young freshman have them feeling good about the future.
ON DECK: NCAA Regional, times, teams and location TBA, Thursday through Sunday
MEN’S BASKETBALL • In addition to the groundbreaking (which you can read Kurt Kragthorpe’s analysis of here), the Runnin’ Utes also saw a change to their roster. Serbian big man Marko Kovacevic, who played in 14 games after transferring from Western Nebraska Community College, decided to remain in his homeland to address unspecified family issues. That leaves the Utes with a scholarship that they could award to a player not currently on the roster, if they so choose.
ON DECK: Season over
FOOTBALL » The Oakland Raiders selected Utah cornerback Keith McGill in the fourth round, and the New York Jets took outside linebacker Trevor Reilly in the seventh. Both were expected by some to go sooner, but expressed appreciation for getting a chance to prove themselves on Sundays. Six other Utes made arrangements with NFL teams in the frantic recruiting that follows the draft, including defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi and tight end Jake Murphy.
ON DECK: Spring ball over
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD » Weber State canceled its midweek Twilight Meet invitational, which will not be rescheduled.
ON DECK: Pac-12 Championships, Saturday and Sunday in Pullman, Wash.
Results available at utahutes.com.
— Matthew Piper