Matt Araiza Announces Plans to Enter 2022 NFL Draft

Matt Araiza is entering the draft…

The 21-year-old Mexican American college football star, a punter for San Diego State and Ray Guy Award winner, has announced that he’ll be entering the 2022 NFL Draft after putting together one of the best punting seasons in college football history.

Matt Araiza“These past four years have been a blessing,” Araiza wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to my family and friends for all the years of support. With gratitude, I am announcing my decision to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Araiza, who had one year left of eligibility, set the record for punting average in a season with 51.19 yards per punt. He holds the NCAA record of punts of 50 yards or more with 39 and the record for punts of 60 yards or more with 18. He also had two punts of 80 yards or more this season, including an 86-yarder.

Matt AraizaAraiza is a former soccer player-turned kicker from San Diego who made the switch to football early in high school.

“When I made that transition, from soccer to football, it was because I wanted to be in the NFL,” Araiza told ESPN in November.

He said that he studies NFL kickers and models some of his approach after Jake Bailey, who currently kicks for the New England Patriots and has a similar background and body type to Araiza.

 

Araiza also was selected as a first-team All-American, which triggered bonuses for coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn Claims Gold in Women’s 100-Meter Hurdles at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn has passed a major hurdle and earned a place in Puerto Rican sports history.

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican track and field athlete raced to gold in the women’s 100-meter hurdles race on Monday morning at the 2020 Tokyo Games, giving Puerto Rico its first medal of this Olympics.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Camacho-Quinn won coveted medal, just the second gold medal in Puerto Rican history, clocking in at 12.37 seconds. In a photo finish for the second and third place spots, American Keni Harrison claimed silver in 12.52 seconds and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper took home the bronze in 12.55.

“It really means a lot. This year I trained really hard; I don’t have a training partner, I’m by myself, so every time I stepped out there I gave it all I had,” Camacho-Quinn said. “This was what I wanted for this year, I wanted to be a gold medalist, and I manifested that. I spoke it into existence.”

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

 

In 2016, Camacho-Quinn was a 19-year-old University of Kentucky student coming off an NCAA championship when she came to her first Olympics.

She fell in her semifinal, her trail leg clipping the top of the eighth of the 10 hurdles, and she couldn’t regain her form before the ninth, stumbling and falling to the track.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

The daughter of a father born in South Carolina and a mother born in Puerto Rico, Camacho-Quinn chose to represent her mother’s island; even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, the IOC recognizes it as its own country for the purposes of Olympic competition and laws. Tennis player Monica Puig won Puerto Rico’s first gold medal in 2016.

Asked how long that Rio stumble stayed with her, Camacho-Quinn said it’s basically been inescapable over the last five years.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

“I’m constantly reminded; somebody’s always messaging me and like, ‘Oh I’m sorry for what happened’ and I’m like I need y’all to let that go, please,” she said, laughing. “I need y’all to let it go.

“But yesterday before semis I kind of had a breakdown because I don’t want the same thing to happen again, but I knew how I’d been racing all season, just do that and I’ll be OK.”

She may have allowed that memory to cause her momentary pause, but clearly it didn’t linger: Camacho-Quinn set an Olympic record in the semis on Sunday, running 12.26. It ties her for the fourth-fastest performance of all time.

Camacho-Quinn, whose older brother Robert currently plays for the Chicago Bears, had the three fastest times in the world this season coming into Tokyo, which gave her confidence for the Games.

“This year, when I opened up and seeing where I was” — she ran 12.47 seconds in her opener on April 10 and 12.32 a week later — “I was like, wow, I might have a really fast year this year. From that moment I’m like, ‘OK I know what I can do, and let’s work towards that’,” she said.

Catarina Macario Signs Two-and-a-Half Year Deal with Lyon

Catarina Macario is future Lyon queen

The 21-year-old Brazilian soccer player and USWNT prospect, who recently announced plans to leave Stanford and go pro, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Lyon, the club has announced.

Catarina Macario

Macario announced on Friday that she’d forego the final year with Stanford in favor of turning professional.

ESPN reported on Monday that Lyon were leading the race for Macario with a contract on the table but that both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were also still interested in the midfielder.

“It’s an honor to have signed with such a fantastic club,” Macario said in a tweet.

“I can’t wait to get started and to continue to build on its legacy of success. Allez l’OL!”

Sources told ESPN that Macario was attracted to Europe rather than the National Women’s Soccer League as she wants to win the Champions League while competing in the Olympics and World Cup.

Macario scored 63 goals in 68 games for Stanford and contributed 47 assists.

She won the MAC Hermann Trophy twice and an NCAA College Cup in her three seasons at Stanford.

She became a United States citizen in October and has joined every USWNT camp since, including their ongoing January camp.

However, Macario is still waiting on approval from FIFA to allow her to play games with the national side.

She’ll travel to France after the USWNT training ends on January 22.

Catarina Macario Announces Plans to Turn Pro

Catarina Macario is ready to go pro…

The Brazilian-born Stanford midfielder and promising prospect for the United States women’s national soccer team, has announced she’ll forgo her senior season for a professional career.

Catarina Macario

Macario is currently on the roster for the national team’s January camp, which started this weekend in Florida.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Macario said it is time for her to start a “new phase in life.”

While Macario has been linked to European club teams, she could opt to stay in the United States and play for the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL draft is set for Wednesday.

Macario became a U.S. citizen in October, but she hasn’t yet received approval from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, to play in a match for the national team. The U.S. has a pair of games against Colombia scheduled for later this month.

The two-time winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best college player, Macario had a Stanford single-season record of 32 goals and 23 assists last season. She was called up to her first national team camp the same day she became a citizen.

Macario is one of three college players on the 27-player camp roster, along with North Carolina‘s Emily Lloyd and Florida State‘s Jaelin Howell. Lloyd and Howell also could be eligible for next week’s NWSL draft because of a waiver from the NCAA that allows drafted players to remain with their college teams this spring and join the NWSL following the season.

Nick Gonzales: The Top Latino Pick in This Year’s MLB Draft

Life’s the Pitts for Nick Gonzales

The 21-year-old Latino baseball shortstop and second baseman for the New Mexico State Aggies was the No. 7 pick during the 2020 MLB draft.

Nick Gonzales

Gonzalez, the first Latino pick in this year’s draft, was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates

“It’s just awesome,” Gonzales said. “I can’t explain it. This is something that I’ve put a lot of work into and I’m super fortunate it came.”

As a freshman at New Mexico State in 2018, Gonzales hit .347/.425/.596 with nine home runs and 36 RBI over 57 games. As a sophomore in 2019, he led the nation with a .432 batting average.He finished the season hitting .432/.532/.773 with 16 home runs and 80 RBI. 

After the season, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League, where was named the MVP of the league.

Gonzales entered his junior year in 2020 as a top prospect for the 2020 Major League Baseball draft.

The 5-foot-11-inch Gonzales, an NCAA batting champion and unanimous All-American, will reportedly earn  $5,432,400.

NCAA’s ‘March Madness’ Promo Features Selena Gomez’s “Dance Again” Track

Selena Gomezis feelin’ the March Madness

The 27-year-old Mexican American singer/actress is giving at assist to the NCAA by offering her party-ready song “Dance Again” for a new promo for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.

Selena Gomez

“I kick-start the rhythm,” she sings before segueing right into the chorus of the single from her chart-topping new album Rare. “Feels so, feels so, feels so good to dance again.”

The clip, which Gomez shared on social media over the weekend, intersperses her dance moves with celebratory game footage ahead of the 2020 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, which begins on March 17.

Zoe Saldana to Star in the Olympic-Themed Drama “Fencer”

Zoe Saldana is en garde for her next project…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress is set to star in writer-director Jasmine McGlade’s drama Fencer, which

Zoe Saldaña

HanWay Films will sell at the European Film Market (EFM).

Set in the competitive world of fencing, Saldana is attached to play Mae, an ambitious female athlete facing personal demons and childhood rivals as she vies for a spot on the U.S. Olympicteam. 

The film is inspired by McGlade’s own experiences as a national champion fencer. McGlade capped her tenure at Harvardby leading her team to the school’s first-ever NCAA Championshiptitle.

Casey Affleck is producing with Whitaker Lader

Imagine Entertainmentwill executive produce. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA Media Financeare co-repping the U.S.

McGlade commented, “As a writer and filmmaker I seek to tell brazen, character-driven stories about people who are flawed, and thus real. Especially women. Characters who are their own worst enemies and yet incredibly resilient. Fencer is a celebration of perseverance and sacrifice, while also a cautionary tale about the dangers of getting one’s sense of worth and security solely through achievement and external validation. Fencer will provide one of the screen’s first realistic glimpses into the thrilling world of fencing, much more demanding and diverse than stereotypes may suggest, and an intimate and intense look into the minds and lives of female athletes. It is a dream come true to get to work with Zoe on Fencer, and to marry my two greatest passions: filmmaking and fencing.”

Saldana’s credits include the Star Trek franchise, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Avatar and its upcoming sequels, and Colombiana.

Anthony Robles’ Inspiring Story to Be Made Into Film

Anthony Robles’ life story is headed to the big screen…

Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions has teamed up with 101 Studios on Unstoppable, a film that tells the inspiring story of the 31-year-old Latino wrestler.

Anthony Robles

Despite being born with only one leg to a single-parent family living on the wrong side of the tracks, Robles overcame every obstacle to become an undefeated collegiate wrestling star, three-time All-American, 2011 NCAA National Champion, two-time ESPY Award winner and a National Wrestling Hall of Famei nductee.

John Hindman wrote the script, based on Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion, a 2012 memoir Robles wrote with Austin Murphy

“Words cannot express how honored I am to have my story made into a film. Because I was born missing my leg, my entire life I’ve had to deal with people having low expectations of me,” says Robles. “When I got into wrestling, most people thought it was impossible for me to become even an average wrestler. I’m hopeful that people who see Unstoppable will walk away believing that you should never let your challenges define you. If you have a goal, go after it with everything you’ve got. Nothing is impossible.”

“Our entire Seven Bucks team is passionate about sharing stories that inspire and resonate on a global scale. We’ve had an eye on Anthony’s story for a long time and have been deeply moved by his perseverance that proves nothing is impossible. The powerful themes of redemption and tackling life’s obstacles are very familiar to us, we are excited to bring this triumphant underdog story to life.

“Anthony’s story is really special and reveals the passion, determination and fearlessness needed to overcome challenges,” Seven Bucks’ Hiram Garcia added. “Investing in the right stories with universal appeal is a huge priority for us at Seven Bucks, but more importantly, we want to share stories like Anthony’s that motivate the world.”

David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, said the company was “moved and inspired by Anthony’s triumphs on the mat, but—even more so—his triumphs of spirit and determination in his personal life. Unstoppable embodies the types of films that we want to bring to the screen: films that resonate universally because of their power to connect with audiences.”

The project will follow a fast track to production. 

Larrañaga Wins 600th NCAA Career Game

Jim Larrañaga has joined an elite club in the NCAA…

The University of Miami’s victory over Pittsburgh over the weekend has given the 67-year-old Cuban American head coach of the Miami men’s basketball program 600 career wins.

Jim Larrañaga

Miami’s Davon Reed ended the game with 18 points, Bruce Brown added 17, and the Hurricanes held the Panthers without a field goal for almost 10 minutes in a 72-46 blowout.

Miami (12-4, 2-2 ACC) ended a two-game losing streak by outrebounding Pitt 37-23 and holding the Panthers (12-6, 1-4) to just 34 percent shooting (18-of-53).

The Hurricanes scored 14 straight during a run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second to get all the breathing room they would need, then continued to pour it on to hand the Panthers their worst loss in the 15-year history of the Petersen Events Center.

Miami players celebrated the victory with Larrañaga in the locker room after the game.

Larrañaga’s 600 wins place him at 47th in all-time NCAA victories and 14th among active coaches. Of those 14, five are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, including four from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In his career, Larrañaga has won 27 games at American International, 170 at Bowling Green University, 273 at George Mason University and 130 at Miami. He is one of 15 coaches all-time with 100 or more wins at three D-I schools, four of whom are actively coaching. He is also 11th among active coaches in total games coached (995) and ninth in most seasons coached (33).

Larrañaga has posted 10 20-win seasons over his career, topped by the 29-7 mark at Miami in 2012-13, when the Canes won the ACC regular season Championship, ACC Tournament championship and played in the NCAA Sweet 16.

Active DI coaches by victories (after games on Jan. 12):

  1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 1,057
  2. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 894
  3. Bob Huggins, West Virginia 805
  4. Roy Williams, North Carolina 798
  5. Rick Pitino, Louisville 759
  6. Rick Byrd, Belmont 741
  7. Cliff Ellis, Coastal Caro. 721
  8. Jerry Slocum, Youngstown St. 718
  9. Larry Hunter, Western Caro. 685
  10. John Beilein, Michigan 676
  11. John Calipari, Kentucky 634
  12. Rick Barnes, Tennessee 627
  13. Bill Self, Kansas 607
  14. Jim Larranaga, Miami (FL) 600

Gonzalez Breaks NCAA Record for Career Field Goals

Zane Gonzalez has kicked his way into the annals of college football history…

The Latino kicker for Arizona State University is the new NCAA record holder for field goals in a career.

Zane Gonzalez

Gonzalez hit from 35, 23 and 46 yards in Saturday night’s 23-20 win over UCLA to reach 89 career field goals, passing Florida State‘s Dustin Hopkins, who had 88 from 2009-12.

“Honestly it hasn’t really set in yet,” Gonzalez said afterwards, flanked by holder Matt Haack and snapper Mitchell Fraboni. “Any time you hold a national record it just speaks volumes. It’s a good way to go out senior year.”

The Sun Devils needed all of those 3-point tries after sputtering offensively in the first half and watching backup quarterback Brady White limp off with a right leg injury in the fourth quarter.

In Gonzalez’s career, he has connected on 89 of 111 attempts (80.2 percent).

“You’re talking about a monumental accomplishment there,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said of Gonzalez. “I’m proud of Zane. That’s huge.”

He broke former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath‘s Pac-12 record (85) last week.