Training staff honored for work that helped save Hayden

After his quick thinking helped save former defensive back D.J. Hayden’s life, UH’s head athletics trainer will be recognized by the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association at its annual meeting and clinical symposia in mid-July.

Mike O’Shea will receive the Excellence in Athletic Training Award on July 19 in Houston. O’Shea grabbed the national spotlight after Hayden tore his inferior vena cava — the main vein that carries blood to the heart — in a practice collision. The injury is 95 percent fatal and has never been recorded as a sports injury.

Other members of the training staff, Linda Bobo, Anthony Salinas, Brett Waldon and Monica Jackson, join O’Shea in receiving the SWATA award.

Three Cougars sign MLB deals

Four Cougars were selected in the MLB draft, and three UH pitchers have signed professional contracts.

Senior Austin Pruitt, who was taken in the ninth round, inked a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Senior Matt Hernandez signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after his selection in the 23rd round. Junior Daniel Poncedeleon, the Cougars’ only underclassman who signed a professional deal so far, accepted a deal with the Chicago Cubs after a 14th round selection.

The three pitchers combined for a 21-11 record and were a big part of the baseball team’s 18-game turnaround in 2012.

All will report too soon to low-A baseball. Pruitt is expected to report to Wappingers, N.Y., where he will play with the Hudson Valley Renegades for the A-Short Season. Hernandez and Poncedeleon will both play in the Arizona League for their respective teams.

Top mid-major recruiting class

UH’s sixth-ranked recruiting class — the highest-rated tennis class in Conference USA history — was also named the top haul among mid-major programs by

“Bringing in a great recruiting class is a long way from winning a championship, but it’s a great start,” said head coach Patrick Sullivan. “Last season we had a team that was nationally ranked early in the year but lacked the depth to sustain that ranking. We return five of six starters from that team and with the addition of this very solid incoming class to the mix, we have reason to be very excited about the future of Houston Tennis.”

The class, which includes Despoina Vogasari  from Athens and Rocio Martin Fernandez of Madrid was labeled the nation’s sixth overall class in the early signing period in January.

Vogasari — the highest-ranked player to sign with the Houston women’s tennis program in the last 20 years — will join the Cougars after signing a National Letter of Intent in November for the 2013-14 season. She holds the highest ranking of any junior player in Greece.

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