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Spring sports waiting on deck
Now that UAB’s fall sports have finally ended for 2012, spring sports teams are preparing for a very promising season in 2013.
The men’s basketball team is a hot topic for the campus as well as for the Birmingham area. The team has won all but one game they have played since the start of the new year, and will hopefully continue their winning streak throughout the rest of the spring. Important games against big rivals like SMU, East Carolina, and UCF are all approaching quickly. UAB will play Memphis, last year’s best ranked basketball team for C-USA, on January 12 for the Bartow Classic as well as on March 9. A portion of all ticket sales on January 12 will benefit the Gene Bartow Fund for Cancer Research at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Blazers play SMU on January 19, February 2, and March 2, after defeating them last year in a 47-28 win and setting outstanding records for their offensive players and strategies. UAB plays East Carolina on January 23 at home and February 13 away and will play UCF on January 9 away and on March 6 at home.
The women’s basketball team has had a successful season thus far, with nine wins and only four losses. After being defeated by Chattanooga last week, the team is ready to bounce back and regain momentum in games against rivals such as Rice University on February 7 and UTEP on January 24. Right now the team is second-ranked in Conference-USA for scoring defense. Amber Jones, a guard for the team, is also ranked second for C-USA’s Active 1000 Point Scorers. Head coach Audra Smith has coached three winning seasons with the women’s basketball team and will hopefully make this 2013 spring season her fourth winning season with UAB.
The women’s bowling team has a very busy season this year with matches every weekend from now until March 3, and they will play all over the southeast and Midwest. This is UAB’s second year to have a bowling team, and Coach Michelle Crews has been dedicated to making the program just as strong and experienced as the other programs at rival schools. The women’s rifle team only has two more competitions in their season, which will be played against Murray State and Tennessee-Martin on January 25 and 26 respectively. The women’s sand volleyball team does not start competing until March 9 when they will play against Tulane and Mercer on the same day.
The men’s golf team begins competing again at the Gator Invitational beginning on February 9. They will then move on to play in the John Hayt Invitational in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida beginning on February 24. The women’s golf team has a slightly busier schedule, starting on February 25 with the USA Women’s Invitational in Mobile, Alabama and having 14 scheduled tournaments.
Tennis gears up for competition again in February when the women’s tennis team will play Kennesaw State at home on February 1. After the women’s team’s great performance in Tuscaloosa at the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championship, they are looking forward to having another successful performance this spring. The men’s tennis team is coached by Derek Tarr and the women’s team is coached by Lisa Jackson.
The track team has done nothing but succeed this year. Rhiannon Johns set a school and personal record for herself last month at the Panther Indoor Icebreaker when she won the 3K race with a time of 9:28:58. A great number of other sprinters on the team set personal best records in their events and have trained over the holiday break to compete even better than they did before. We will see how hard they have worked when they return to the CrossPlex on January 10 and 11.
UAB’s softball team announced their 2013 schedule in late November. This year the softball program will have eight seniors, the largest amount in program history. They kick off the spring season in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 7-9 for the Paradise Softball Classic. Then they will travel to Kennesaw, GA to compete against other regional teams at the Kennesaw State Classic. The home opener will be played on February 19 against the University of Alabama.
UAB’s baseball team also recently announced the schedule for 2013. The opening game against Southern Illinois during the weekend of February 15-17 will be their first starting game at home since 2009. This year the team plans to play Georgia, a strong SEC opponent and possible NCAA regional team, as their “big trip” game. Then they will play the University of Alabama, a long-time instate foe of the Blazers baseball team. After winning the C-USA Tournament Championship in 2012, the first time in program history, the Blazers are hoping to achieve another big win this year.
Keep an eye out for the Blazers in 2013! There is no doubt that all sports programs will accomplish great things this spring after spending so much time training during the fall months.