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weekly notes 3-25-08
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/25/2008
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Cats Face ? Marshall , Then Begin Pac-10 Play

Up Next: ? No. 10 Arizona plays a final non-conference series at home with a doubleheader against Marshall on Wednesday, and then gets right down to business with a Pac-10 trip to the Bay Area for games at Stanford and California. Half way through the 2008 season, the real portion begins this week. The Cats are defending Pac-10 champions, having won their 10th title last year.

Wednesday, March 26 --? ? vs. Marshall (DH), 5 p.m.

Friday, March 28 ?C at No. 5 (NFCA) Stanford, 7 p.m. (PDT/MST)

Saturday, March 29 ?C at No. 24 (ESPN) California, 1 p.m. (PDT/MST)

Sunday, March 30 ? ?C at No. 24 California, 12 noon (PDT/MST)

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Possible Arizona Lineup:

Brittany Lastrapes ?C lf

Lauren Schutzler-cf

Jenae Leles ?C 3b

Stacie Chambers ?C dp

Laine Roth -1b

Callista Balko ?C c

Sam Banister or Sarah Akamine ?C 2b

Kˇ?Lee Arredondo ?C ss

Cyndi Duran or Adrienne Acton ?C rf

Taryne Mowatt/Lindsey Sisk - p

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Noting the Opponents: ?Marshall : ? The Thundering Herd (12-16) captured a

Conference USA series at UTEP last weekend, winning two of three where Arizona had split a few days earlier. Kelly Nielsonˇ?s grand slam helped lift the Herd to a 7-4 victory in the finale. MU is 4-4 in conference play and has played only three games at home in Huntington, W. Va., this year. Marshall plays two at ASU on Tuesday before coming to Tucson.? Rachel Folden (.424) and Rachael Sofie (.400) lead MU at the plate.??Stanford: The No. 5-ranked (NFCA) Cardinal are 31-2 entering a pair against UC Davis on Wednesday. Pitchers Missy Penna (20-2) and Ashley Chinn (10-0) have helped the club throw 15 shutouts. The wo losses were to Texas and Florida. Rosey Neill (.415) and Alissa Haber (.408) lead Stanford with the bat.??California : The Bears have won 21 of 24 since Feb. 23 and are 29-10 overall. Notably of late is a split with Northwestern in Hawaii last weekend. Cal plays UC Riverside Tuesday and Pacific on Wednesday before playing host to the Arizona schools.? Sanoe Kekahuna (.391) has seven home runs and 41 RBI, while pitcher Marissa Drewrey checks in at 17-5 with 177 strikeouts.

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night ball
Marshall will be a twi-night doubleheader at Hillenbrand Stadium
Last Week: ? Arizona had a 4-3 week with a split at UTEP, and a 3-2 mark in the Judi Garman Classic at Fullerton, Calif. At UTEP, a quick lead by the Miners proved enough as UTEP won the opener, 9-6, with five- (3rd) and four-run (4th) innings. In the nightcap, the Cats jumped out early and earned the split with an 8-2 victory fueled by Laine Rothˇ?s first-inning three-run home run. In California, the Cats beat No. 14 DePaul in a romp, 11-0, with a huge seventh inning and more homers, beat Florida State in six innings with another barrage of the long ball for a 13-2 win, and then ran into tough pitching and a loss to No. 6 Michigan. UA came back with a tough victory behind Taryne Mowatt one-hit pitching for a 2-0 victory over No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette, but then appeared to hit a wall with a listless loss to host Cal State Fullerton, 2-1. ?Overall in the seven games, UA managed to hit only .245, well under its season rate of .304, despite knocking 11 home runs and scoring 41 runs. A telling statistic: the weekˇ?s 2.49 ERA by Wildcat pitchers, despite allowing the fewest runs (six) of anyone in the field. Mowatt pitched both games in El Paso, took the Michigan narrow loss behind three hits by her teammates, and beat ranked DePaul and ULL.? Lindsey Sisk saw her 10-game winning streak (decisions) stopped against Fullerton, again with only three hits by the Cats to back her.? Laine Roth hit five home runs in the seven games to make a bid for everyday duty at first base. Sam Banister played second (platoon with Sarah Akamine) while normal first baseman Victoria Kemp was sidelined after taking a ball to the face in the second UTEP game. She missed all five games in Fullerton and her status is questionableˇ? Arizona was designated the visiting team for all five games in Fullerton, which made for some road trip flair to the contestsˇ? The UA dropped three spots in the NFCA poll and stayed at 10th in ESPN/USA Softballˇ?s poll.

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Arizona Week By Week in the Polls

NFCA/USA Today

Preseason -1; Feb. 12 ?C 1; Feb. 19 -9; Feb. 26 ?C 8; March 4 ?C 7; March 11 ?C 8; March 18 - 7. March 25 ?C 10.? April 1 ?C TBA.

ESPN/USA Softball

Preseason -1; Feb. 12 -1; Feb. 19 -10; Feb. 26 ?C10;? March 4 ?C 10; March 11 - 10; March 18 -8. March 25 ?C 10. ?April 1 ?C TBA.

Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea: ? Mike Candrea is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program.? He boasts a 1,131-228-2 (.832) record in 21 seasons in the dugout.? This year, he is taking an eight-month partial leave of absence from January onward to serve as head coach for the U.S. Womenˇ?s National Team.? He was named a finalist for USOC Coach of the Year on March 19. His USA squad beat Arizona 16-0 in Tucson Feb. 19. Candrea has earned 19 coach-of-the-year honors, including 10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year citations.? Last year, the Pac-10 tabbed Candrea as its coach of the year, and the NFCA named Candrea and his assistants its national staff of the year.? Similar to this season, Candrea took a leave of absence in 2004 to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens.? Candrea also was awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committeeˇ?s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history the award was given to an Olympic coach.? He has led Arizona to eight national championships, 10 Pac-10 titles and is one of just five Division I coaches to have won over 1,100 career games. Despite his leave of absence he will be on hand periodically to infuse the leadership that has taken the UA softball program to the top of the game. He crossed paths at tournaments in Tempe and Palm Springs, for example, already and was in Tucson for games last week ?C of about 17 games heˇ?ll witness home and away.

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Interim Head Coach Larry Ray: With head coach Mike Candrea on leave, 17-year assistant coach Larry Ray has taken the reins of the Arizona softball program and assumes the historical record in 2008.? Ray has a 245-120 (.671) career record as a head coach, and five NCAA Championships as an assistant.? Ray possesses a powerful combination of head coaching experience and familiarity with Arizona softball.? Ray spent five years as Floridaˇ?s first head coach, and in 1998 he was named the SEC Coach of the Year after leading the Gators to an SEC Eastern Division title and a trip to the NCAA Regional Championships.? He returned to Arizona in 2002, and in 2004 he led the Wildcats to a 55-6 record and a Pacific-10 Championship. Ray is assisted by Dave Feinberg and volunteer pitching coach Gale Bundrick.

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batter's eye
Arizona will have to do what the fence says from here on out...
Yard Balls: ? Arizona has 54 home runs in 29 games, with punch throughout the lineup ?C seven players have four or more, four have seven or more.? A dozen players have gone long. The Cats have hit a homer in 14 of the last 15 games. Catcher Callista Balko leads the way with 10, three shy of her season best of 13 as a sophomore in 2006. The 1.93 per game clip would lead the country at the end of most years. The Catsˇ? juggernaut team in 2001 hit 126 for the NCAA-record of 1.83. UA hit 100 four-baggers only one other time (1995). Balko, Kˇ?Lee ??Arredondo, Laine Roth and Stacie Chambers have grand slams. Balko, Stacie Chambers, Leles and Kemp each have two in a game. Balko hit two in one inning vs. La Salle, when pinch-hitter Corinna Gonzalez also joined in to make it three in one frameˇ? UA has hit three or more home runs in 10 games and six ?C within one of the school record ?C against UICˇ? UA has inning leadoff homers by Brittany Lastrapes (3), Chambers and Sarah Akamineˇ? Corinna Gonzalez got her first career hit against La Salle March 7 ?C a pinch-hit three-run bombˇ? Roth had a three-run pinch-hit blast in the loss at UTEP, and then had a three-run homer in the top of the first in UAˇ?s victory in Game 2 on March 18ˇ?

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Long Balls ?C Oops : When opponents hit a home run this year, they won four of the six games it happened. Northwestern hit a pair in the season opener, Creighton had a long ball in its victory, UTEP hit one in its victory and Michigan, ditto. Illinois-Chicago and UTEP (2nd game of DH) hit an inconsequential yard ball each. Taryne Mowatt (5) and Lindsey Sisk (2) have given up only a combined seven home runs to opponents this season.

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HRBIs : The Cats have driven in 107 runs this year with home runs alone. Whether those 3.7 runs per game will be possible against Pac-10 pitching is the big question entering this week. But, the Cats have gap and deep power when the hitters use the right combination of patience and aggressive focus at bat.

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Moving Up: ? Freshman outfielder Lauren Schutzler wormed her way into the lineup, then higher into the batting order, in recent weeks. Not hard to figure out why. Sheˇ?s the teamˇ?s leading hitter at .403.? Last week she hit .400 with 10 hits in seven games away from home. ?Sheˇ?s currently the two-hole hitter

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Ribbie Race : Four players are contending for the team lead in runs batted in, a stat held by All-American Kristie Fox for the past three seasons (230 in her career). Callista Balko and Laine Roth have 28 apiece, with 27 from Stacie Chambers and 25 by Jenae Leles. Brittany Lastrapes (22) also has more than 20. ?Chambers had the game high with five against LSU on Feb. 24ˇ? Leles has nine multiple-RBI games, Balko and Roth eight eachˇ?

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K List : Taryne Mowatt reached the 1,000 strikeout plateau with her second of nine in a two-hit shutout over DePaul last week. Sheˇ?s the third Arizona pitcher in history to reach 1,000. She now has 1,031 Ks in 704.1 innings pitched for a career 10.2 strikeouts per seven innings. That puts her in the top 15 in NCAA career strikeout ratio at No. 11. This year she has 177 whiffs in 112 innings. Sheˇ?s No. 2 in UA history behind Alicia Hollowell (2003-2006) at No. 1 with 1,768 and just ahead of Jennie Finch (1999-2001) with 1,028. Sheˇ?s no. 7 in UA history with 81 victories (81-24). Her 42 victories as a junior in 2007 are a UA single-season record, as were her 370 innings pitched and 522 Ks. Along with a 20-strikeout game in a victory over Virginia Tech, she has eight other double-digit K games. Sheˇ?s within reach of the NCAA career top 20 in strikeouts.

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Leading Off :? Freshman leadoff hitter Brittany Lastrapesˇ? has four home runs, the highest output for her slot in the batting order since Caitlin Lowe had five in 2005.? Lastrapes had 13 extra-base hits. Lowe had 14 as a freshman and as a junior...? As should be expected, Lastrapes has a team-high 33 runs scoredˇ?

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Streaking : Jenae Leles has the best current hitting streak, five games. A three-hitter thrown against UA by Cal State Fullerton halted any others. DP/catcher Stacie Chambers saw her team-best 12-game streak snapped two weeks ago, and Lastrapes had 10- and seven-game streaks this yearˇ?

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No-Hitters: ? Freshman Lindsey Sisk tossed her first career no-hitter against La Salle March 8, a five-inning effort backed by a bundle of offense. It was the second of the year for Arizona. ?The no-hitter thrown by Taryne Mowatt (4 IP) and Sarah Akamine (1) in the 5-inning game against South Florida Feb. 29 was Arizonaˇ?s first shared no-no since Alicia Hollowell (4) and Wendy Allen (1) did it in five innings April 23, 2004 against Oregon State. Siskˇ?s was the 78th no-hitter in school history.

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Keeping it in the Yard: ? While UAˇ?s bats are clubbing balls out of the yard with regularity, its pitchers are doing just the opposite.? After setting a program record for most home runs allowed in a year in 2007 with 39, the Wildcat pitching staff has allowed just seven home runs on the year. ??

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Turnstiles Turning ?C Again:? ? Including the twin exhibition dates against Teams USA and Canada as paying dates, UA already has drawn 17,055 for 10 home dates. Thatˇ?s an average of 1,706.? In Division I games only Arizona has drawn 12,785 in eight gates, for a 1,598 average. For the second consecutive year in 2007, the Wildcats led the nation in home attendance with an average crowd of 1,534 per date and a total of 44,487 fans.? Hillenbrand Stadium nears 500,000 fans in cumulative attendance dating back to 1993. ?Entering the season, Hillenbrandˇ?s aggregate attendance figure stood at 464,104. ?After 10 home dates itˇ?s up to 481,159. With 1,845 season ticket holders, the goal of a half million fans is in sight if UA keeps averaging 1,700 per date as it is this year. Marketing specialists added ˇ®Candreaˇ?s Cornerˇ? status to the outfield seats and boosted season-ticket sales in that section of the yard. ? Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to arizonaathletics.com for ticket information.

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Arizona Softball in Historical Perspective : Arizona began play in 1974 and sports an all-time record of 1,451 - 416-2. NCAA Division I Softball play began in 1982 and Arizona is 1,277 - 315 since. The Cats are 355-98-1 in Pac-10 play, which began in 1987.? UA has appeared in 21 NCAA Championships, has won the Womenˇ?s College World Series eight times in 19 trips, and has secured 10 Pac-10 titles.

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Moving Up: ? Freshman outfielder Lauren Schutzler wormed her way into the lineup, then higher into the batting order, in recent weeks. Not hard to figure out why. Sheˇ?s the teamˇ?s leading hitter at .403.? Last week she hit .400 with 10 hits in seven games away from home. ?Sheˇ?s currently the two-hole hitter

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Ribbie Race : Four players are contending for the team lead in runs batted in, a stat held by All-American Kristie Fox for the past three seasons (230 in her career). Callista Balko and Laine Roth have 28 apiece, with 27 from Stacie Chambers and 25 by Jenae Leles. Brittany Lastrapes (22) also has more than 20. ?Chambers had the game high with five against LSU on Feb. 24ˇ? Leles has nine multiple-RBI games, Balko and Roth eight eachˇ?

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K List : Taryne Mowatt reached the 1,000 strikeout plateau with her second of nine in a two-hit shutout over DePaul last week. Sheˇ?s the third Arizona pitcher in history to reach 1,000. She now has 1,031 Ks in 704.1 innings pitched for a career 10.2 strikeouts per seven innings. That puts her in the top 15 in NCAA career strikeout ratio at No. 11. This year she has 177 whiffs in 112 innings. Sheˇ?s No. 2 in UA history behind Alicia Hollowell (2003-2006) at No. 1 with 1,768 and just ahead of Jennie Finch (1999-2001) with 1,028. Sheˇ?s no. 7 in UA history with 81 victories (81-24). Her 42 victories as a junior in 2007 are a UA single-season record, as were her 370 innings pitched and 522 Ks. Along with a 20-strikeout game in a victory over Virginia Tech, she has eight other double-digit K games. Sheˇ?s within reach of the NCAA career top 20 in strikeouts.

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Leading Off :? Freshman leadoff hitter Brittany Lastrapesˇ? has four home runs, the highest output for her slot in the batting order since Caitlin Lowe had five in 2005.? Lastrapes had 13 extra-base hits. Lowe had 14 as a freshman and as a junior...? As should be expected, Lastrapes has a team-high 33 runs scoredˇ?

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Streaking : Jenae Leles has the best current hitting streak, five games. A three-hitter thrown against UA by Cal State Fullerton halted any others. DP/catcher Stacie Chambers saw her team-best 12-game streak snapped two weeks ago, and Lastrapes had 10- and seven-game streaks this yearˇ?

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No-Hitters: ? Freshman Lindsey Sisk tossed her first career no-hitter against La Salle March 8, a five-inning effort backed by a bundle of offense. It was the second of the year for Arizona. ?The no-hitter thrown by Taryne Mowatt (4 IP) and Sarah Akamine (1) in the 5-inning game against South Florida Feb. 29 was Arizonaˇ?s first shared no-no since Alicia Hollowell (4) and Wendy Allen (1) did it in five innings April 23, 2004 against Oregon State. Siskˇ?s was the 78th no-hitter in school history.

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Keeping it in the Yard: ? While UAˇ?s bats are clubbing balls out of the yard with regularity, its pitchers are doing just the opposite.? After setting a program record for most home runs allowed in a year in 2007 with 39, the Wildcat pitching staff has allowed just seven home runs on the year. ??

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Turnstiles Turning ?C Again:? ? Including the twin exhibition dates against Teams USA and Canada as paying dates, UA already has drawn 17,055 for 10 home dates. Thatˇ?s an average of 1,706.? In Division I games only Arizona has drawn 12,785 in eight gates, for a 1,598 average. For the second consecutive year in 2007, the Wildcats led the nation in home attendance with an average crowd of 1,534 per date and a total of 44,487 fans.? Hillenbrand Stadium nears 500,000 fans in cumulative attendance dating back to 1993.? Entering the season, Hillenbrandˇ?s aggregate attendance figure stood at 464,104. ?After 10 home dates itˇ?s up to 481,159. With 1,845 season ticket holders, the goal of a half million fans is in sight if UA keeps averaging 1,700 per date as it is this year. Marketing specialists added ˇ®Candreaˇ?s Cornerˇ? status to the outfield seats and boosted season-ticket sales in that section of the yard. ? Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to arizonaathletics.com for ticket information.

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Arizona Softball in Historical Perspective : Arizona began play in 1974 and sports an all-time record of 1,451 - 416-2. NCAA Division I Softball play began in 1982 and Arizona is 1,277 - 315 since. The Cats are 355-98-1 in Pac-10 play, which began in 1987.? UA has appeared in 21 NCAA Championships, has won the Womenˇ?s College World Series eight times in 19 trips, and has secured 10 Pac-10 titles.

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WILD NOTES ˇ? 307-34: thatˇ?s Arizonaˇ?s preseason record entering Pac-10 play in the last 10 season preceding this one. The Cats have not opened their Pac-10 with eight losses ever, until now. The Pac-West year in 1987, UA was 14-6 before getting going. The 1999 Pac-10 squad was 27-7 entering league actionˇ? Arizona is 17-0 on the year when scoring in the first inning, indicating focus from the get-go has been important to the Catsˇ?UA batters are averaging 5.7 strikeouts per game; that compares to 5.3 a year ago, so itˇ?s do-ableˇ? Stacie Chambers is the only Wildcat to be issued an intentional base on balls this year. She took the free ride in the Michigan game when she came up in the sixth inning representing the tying run with a runner on second in what turned out to be a 2-0 lossˇ? Arizona has eight triples by seven different players led by Jenae Leles with twoˇ? ?Senior catcher Callista Balko set an Arizona career record for putouts this year, and now has 1,903, passing former catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest at 1,812ˇ? ? Arizona ˇ?s 0-3 start this year was its worst since Mike Candreaˇ?s 1989 team opened 0-2 in a doubleheader against Oregon in Pac-10 play to open the year. His 1987 team also matched the 0-3 start. ? UAˇ?s three-game skid was its first since dropping three in a row April 8-14, 2006, against UCLA (twice) and at Arizona State, in a season when UA later won the NCAA Championshipˇ? ? Arizona continues to have more home runs than stolen bases and that happened only five times in its history ?C 1994 (93 HR/78 SB), 1995 (100/74), 2001 (126/83), 2002 (93/32) and 2003 (70/43). The common denominator in those figures is a lot of home runs, not a dearth of stolen bases...

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Defending the Title: ? Arizona has experienced exceptional success in years following a national title.? The Wildcats have appeared in the national title game after every one of their national championships and average 60-7 record in those seven campaigns.?

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The Rankings: ? Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in the country for at least part of the year every season since 1991.? This year is no different, as the Wildcats have been tabbed the preseason No. 1 team in the country both by the NFCA/USA Today and USA Softball/ESPN.com polls. This week UA is No. 7 in the oldest poll, the NFCAˇ?s, and 10th in the USA Softball poll.

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USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year ˇ?Watch List:ˇ± ? For the second consecutive year Arizona senior pitcher Taryne Mowatt and senior catcher Callista Balko were named to the exclusive 50-name preseason list.? Arizona is scheduled to face 25 of the highly-touted players. ?Balko was also named to the early list of candidates for the Loweˇ?s Senior Class Award.

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More ?Red, White and Blue: This spring, fans across the country can see former Wildcat greats Jennie Finch, Lovie Jung, Alicia Hollowell and Caitlin Lowe suit up for the U.S. Womenˇ?s National Team as it prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.? The defending gold medalists made up of 18 of the nationˇ?s best players are led by UA head coach Mike Candrea and will play 60 games in over 40 cities in the coming months. Current Wildcats Kˇ?Lee Arredondo, Brittany Lastrapes and Lindsey Sisk played for the U.S. Junior Womenˇ?s National Team this past year, and Lastrapes was named the MVP of the ISF Junior Womenˇ?s World Championships in the Netherlands.

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Wildcat Signees: ? The Arizona coaching staff signed three high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during the November early signing period.? Kristen Arriola (INF, Pacifica High School, Garden Grove, Calif.), Perelini Koria (C, San Pedro High School, Gardena, Calif.) and Karissa Buchanan (OF, Sabino High School Tucson, Ariz.) are expected to enroll next fall.

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