October 12, 2021

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POOR AIR QUALITY HALTS SOME CLASSES Fresno State’s Award-Winning Newspaper

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021



ASI approved a $50,000 initiative to expand incentives to more vaccinated students. Page 2






ASI approves $50,000 incentive, discusses COVID-19 enforcement By Edward Lopez Reporter Students will soon receive incentives for being vaccinated before the start of the fall semester after Associated Students Inc. approved an initiative at its Oct. 6 senate meeting. ASI senate members approved a $50,000 initiative to give students who were vaccinated prior to Aug. 16 a $50 gift card. The initiative is done in collaboration with the office of the president and student involvement. ASI President D’Aungillique Jackson said the initiative began as a result of student complaints regarding the rollout of the current vaccine initiative for students who have not received the vaccine prior to Aug. 16. “A lot of students felt a little upset that our current incentive program is only for those who have vaccinated after or [on] August 16 thereafter … As of August 15, we had 11,518 students who were fully vaccinated, and we have 567 who were partially vaccinated,” Jackson said. According to Jackson, roughly 50% of the student population would have been ineligible for the current vaccination incentive program. ASI, student involvement and the office of the president will contribute a maximum of $50,000 to the incentive for a total of $150,000. This will provide 3,000 $50 gift cards for eligible students and can be used at either the Kennel Bookstore or dining services on campus. The gift card will be distributed on a firstcome, first-served basis. Vice President of Finance Julia Larralde noted the funds ASI plans to give for the student initiative would be pulled from the planning future operations reserve (PFO).

Currently, there is $269,447 within the PFO reserve, according to Larralde. While the entities plan to allocate a total of $150,000, the university plans to pay the initial gift cards until Dec. 15 to see how many students actually redeem the gift card incentive. Once the final tally is submitted, then the three campus entities will split the cost of the incentive in thirds. Jackson addressed concerns amongst senators regarding the availability of 3,000 gift cards as there are roughly 12,000 students who are eligible under the proposed initiative. “I think it’s important for us to start smaller, see how many we can get to utilize that 3,000, and then from there build out… I know that a few of you may be like, ‘Well, why can’t we do more?’ And the reason is because we want to make sure that this is a program that students will utilize,” Jackson said. Similar to the current student incentive for unvaccinated students, vaccinated students must show proof of vaccination at the Student Health and Counseling Center to receive a gift card. Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Debbie Adishian-Astone said the initiative can begin as early as Oct. 11. The administration is waiting on the directive of the ASI senate prior to moving forward with the rollout. “We recognize that it’s a considerable amount of investment, but at the same time we do feel it is something that would provide equity amongst our students who were vaccinated prior to August 16,” Astone said. In continuation of the previous senate meeting, the senate further discussed the current vaccination efforts on the university campus.

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

ASI senators discuss a $50,000 incentive for vaccinated students in a recent meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

ASI President D’Aungillique Jackson spoke about the initiative and the low weekly testing rate on Oct. 6, 2021. Jackson highlighted the concerns amongst officials regarding the weekly testing of unvaccinated individuals. Any student or employee who is unvaccinated and has a medical or religious exemption is required to undergo weekly testing at the university. According to Jackson, of the roughly 3,800 exempt individuals on the university campuses that are required to do weekly testing, only about 1,300 people received their weekly testing as of Oct. 1. “We have a total of roughly 3,000 students who should be getting tested weekly. With our employees, there’s roughly 900... You’re looking at roughly 3,800 people on our campus who should be getting tested, and right now we only have, as of last week, as of October 1, we only have roughly 1,300 people who have gotten tested,” Jackson said. According to the latest data provided by ASI, 1,274 weekly tests have been conducted through Oct. 1 at the Satellite Student Union, but 3,896 individuals need to be tested. This means only about 33% of individuals are getting tested right now. However, it’s not clear whether that data reflects testing done by unvaccinated individuals. Senator of Sustainability Kristine Kemmer questioned that and noted that the testing done in the Satellite Student Union (SSU) is currently open to all on the university campus. Jackson said the third-party organization responsible for the weekly COVID-19 testing is currently not able to separate the data collected due to the relative time at which they were hired.

“It’s my understanding right now that we’re not at a place in data collection to be able to separate the data… We’re still waiting for our third party to get to a point to where they’re not really over capacity because we did bring them in on kind of a short notice,” Jackson said. Senator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Karen Carrillo said she didn’t understand why the mandatory COVID-19 testing wasn’t being taken seriously by the vaccine-exempt students. She felt that the university should emphasize the potential repercussions to students as motivation to do their mandatory testing. For those who refuse weekly testing, Jackson noted that, with the current key card verification proposal, those individuals would lose access to campus resources such as printing services and flex cash among other items. Astone informed the senate that individuals who have been required to do the weekly testing have been receiving regular email notifications informing them of their mandatory testing requirements. She also said individuals who have not completed the self-certification form have had an administrative hold on their student portal account in order to prevent registering for classes for the upcoming spring semester. Students who have not conducted their weekly testing at all since the start of the semester will have all ID card privileges revoked until they test at the SSU beginning Oct. 18. “The Bulldog ID privileges, which are things like your pay for print, reflect cash access to the Student Rec Center. Wherever kind of your ID card is required to buy, you know discount tickets here at the Student Union,” Astone said.




Companies flock to Ag Career Fair Hazardous By Adam Solis Reporter The Jordan College “Welcome Back Social and Career Fair” at O’Neill Park last week brought 28 companies across the agriculture industry to Fresno State sharing career and internship opportunities with students. The importance of having face-to-face interactions between the students and the employers was emphasized throughout the evening as last year’s career fair was affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Event organizers moved it online, and only 10 companies attended. Dennis Nef, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (JCAST), said students that put themselves out there at socials like the one last week are setting themselves up for career opportunities and advantages in the workforce after college. “The things that we find in agriculture is that those connections are crucial,” Nef said. “One of the things our industry partners asked for is an opportunity to meet with students and this is a perfect venue for that.” Nef said with the previous career fair being online, he hopes students who go to events like this recognize the opportunities and different career paths offered and use them to help guide themselves to finding a career that fits them. With the “Welcome Back” also serving as a social event, Nef hoped faculty would have a chance to meet students after spending last year online and not having the chance to mingle with students of different majors. “It gives us, as faculty members, an opportunity to see students from across the college. If I’m an ag business faculty member then I see a lot of ag business students but I don’t always see plant science or animal science majors,” Nef said. Ashleigh Sorensen, the Associated Students Inc. senator for JCAST, said she is glad that this social and career fair was able to happen after last year’s having to go virtual and understands the difficulties of having a career fair online. “Having a virtual career fair last year I know isn’t as encouraging to students because it’s not as engaging and so I think being able to have an event that was in person made students want to be more engaged and get more involved within our college,” Sorensen said. Sorensen said she hopes that this “Welcome Back” event makes students eager to explore the career, club, and internship opportunities that are out there. Logan Real, a second-year graduate student, is the president of the dairy club on campus and

graduate student manager at the dairy. She said that the impact of the pandemic on students has caused issues with networking and getting to that face-to-face contact with people in the industry. Without this year’s “Welcome Back” being offered in person, students would have been discouraged, she added. “I think a lot of what I’ve noticed is that it’s been discouraging to a lot of students, especially because those who graduate are really excited to go out into the industry,” Real said. “If we don’t offer the career fairs, it’s very discouraging because they kind of just sit back down and are like well I have this degree but I can’t utilize it.” Sorensen said her greatest hope from the event is that students are able to talk with other students and have the chance to start building a sense of community on campus. “Overall I saw a lot of diversity within the majors of the Jordan College, and a lot of eagerness to get involved with internship opportunities and to get involved with knowing more about the jobs that are out there and getting to know peers and getting involved with clubs within our college,” Sorensen said. Having the chance to be in-person, the companies wanted to remind students that internships are still available for them and that taking that extra step to introduce themselves at the career fair was something they noticed Fresno State students do especially well. Palmira Licon, the recruitment specialist for O’Neill Vintners and Distillers said that Fresno

State students came prepared with resumes and handshakes that made her want to come to more events on campus to possibly recruit. “I think it’s important because the interaction of being able to meet people face-to-face again is something that really makes everyones morale better and then just to see everyone coming out here and being supportive I think helps everyone get back to normal,” Licon said. With sponsorship donations of $500 to be a “Champion Sponsor” and $250 for “Partner Sponsor” status, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Fowler Packing contributed to the “Champion Sponsor” donations and eight others donated to be “Partner Sponsor.” With changes from the pandemic affecting the agriculture industry, Imelda Dudley, coordinator of internships and professional experiences for the Jordan College advising center, said that there is a need for workers in the agriculture industry and the fact that many companies showed up says a lot and that they are in need of workers. Dudley hopes that students learned something that they didn’t know before and hopes that students will follow up with the vendors they interacted with. “I hope that they learned that we are trying to connect them to the industry so that when they’re here at Fresno State they’re not just getting their degree,” Dudley said. “They’re also getting these additional resources that we provide them so that they can be equipped to go out into the real world after they get their degrees.”

Courtesy of Geoff Thurner

Twenty eight companies across the agriculture industry came to the Jordan College “Welcome Back Social and Career Fair” on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

air quality cancels classes

By Zaeem Shaikh Editor-in-Chief Due to hazardous air quality, outdoor classes and activities will be canceled Tuesday at Fresno State, according to a campus-wide email from President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. Officials with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District forecast an air quality index reading of 99 for Tuesday. Despite that, Jiménez-Sandoval said the university is canceling outdoor classes and activities as a precaution. On Monday afternoon, the university previously canceled outdoor functions the remainder due to hazardous air quality. At 2 p.m., the air quality index reached 375 due to dust, specifically PM 10, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality data. The buildup in dust is indicative of California’s ongoing drought which has gripped almost 88% of the state, and water levels have dropped well below averages due to a lack of precipitation. Air quality is measured on a scale of 0 to 500. When the AQI reading exceeds 100, the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and later for everyone as it gets higher. Any reading below 100 is thought of as acceptable. The national weather service’s Hanford office said high wind gusts kicked up a dust storm across the San Joaquin Valley. Officials issued a high wind warning Monday and told residents to expect northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph. On Monday, the storm caused multiple trees to come down across the valley along with power outages. The weather service’s wind warning expired at 11 p.m. as winds remaining above 45 mph gusts are confined to the Tehachapi mountains. Officials are advising employees who work primarily outdoors to work indoors and are encouraging all campus members to limit outdoor exposure. “To the extent possible, stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed,” Jiménez-Sandoval said in the email.





WWE lays the smackdown at Save Mart Center By Jesús Cano Managing Editor

When David Emmett was 7 years old, his grandfather invited him over to his house to watch pro wrestling. He was instantly hooked. Little did Emmett know that watching that one hour of pro wrestling with his grandfather would turn into a passion that has lasted 43 years. Emmett, now 50, has been to almost every WWE event held in the Central Valley over that span. His favorites include the 1996 Royal Rumble, which was held in downtown Fresno’s Selland Arena, and the 2005 Royal Rumble, which has been the only major pay-per-view event held by WWE at the Save Mart Center. So, of course he and his family were on hand to watch WWE make its return to the Save Mart Center on Saturday night for the first time since February 2020. “If you watch it on TV, it’s one thing, but when you get a chance to actually be there in person, it’s a whole ‘nother level,” Emmett said. Unlike most other sports or performances with live crowds, WWE never stopped producing weekly episodes of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown. WWE was relegated to filming in its performance center based in Orlando, Florida. Its four-day California tour began Friday Oct. 8 in San Jose for Friday Night Smackdown before making a stop in Fresno, where a seven-match card took place.

“It feels great to be back,” said Rey Garza, who cosplayed as WWE hall of famer Macho Man Randy Savage. “I’m a huge wrestling fan. I think I was here for the last one, so it feels good. My family are here and we have also been big wrestling fans since we were little kids.” The show started with United States Champion Damien Priest, issuing a U.S. Open challenge to anyone in the locker room. Former United States champion Kevin Owens responded to the challenge but so did Seth Rollins, a former United States champion as well. It turned into a triple-threat match where Priest retained his title. Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley successfully retained the WWE women’s tag team championship in the following match. In the third match, the fans got the opportunity to watch Karrion Kross, who was recently called up from WWE’s developmental brand NXT. He took care of veteran John Morrison quickly. Right before the intermission, the crowd saw its third championship title on the line when the Raw tag-team champions RKBro, consisting of Riddle and 13-time world champion Randy Orton, defeated Omos and AJ Styles. In the first match after intermission, intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura, accompanied by his personal guitarist, Rick Boogs, defended his title against Happy Corbin, who brought along his right-hand man Madcap Moss. Originally scheduled as a singles match between Corbin and Nakamura, the match

Marc Anthony Lopez • The Collegian

A father and child watches wrestler Finn Bálor in WWE’s first time back in Fresno since February 2020.

shifted into a tag-team match when Moss interfered with the match, forcing Boogs to back up Nakamura. They ended up taking home the victory. Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair stole the show in the Smackdown women’s championship match, but ultimately snagged the victory over Belair to remain as champion. The main event had the crowd roaring. Fan favorites Finn Bálor and the Street Profits teamed up in a six-man tag-team match against the Samoan bloodline, which included Smackdown tag-team champions the Usos and Universal champion Roman Reigns, considered to be the biggest name in pro wrestling at the moment. After the bloodline’s victory, Reigns took the microphone and had some words to say to the fans at the Save Mart Center. “We said we was going to go out and wreck everyone and that’s what we did,” Reigns said in his promo. “But before we go, I’m going to give you guys one last chance. Fresno, acknowledge me.” WWE Supershow was also one of the first events held at the Save Mart Center to fall under the California’s mandate for events over 1,000 people, which requires fans to show proof of

COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the event. On-site COVID-19 testing cost $75. Fans who met these requirements received a stamp with the Save Mart Center logo to enter the venue.

Marc Anthony Lopez • The Collegian

Wrestler AJ Styles poses in front of a crowd during the WWE event.




First ArtHop of fall showcases Fresno State student and staff art Miranda Adams Reporter Local artists, live entertainment and valley residents took over downtown Fresno last Thursday to celebrate self-expression during Tower District’s first ArtHop of the 2021 fall season. “When ArtHop started it was very much focused on visual art galleries,” said Lilia

Miranda Adams • The Collegian

Fresno State student Adeline Garcia displays her wire-wrapped jewelry.

Gonzáles-Chávez, executive director of the Arts Council. “We still promote that activity, but it has since evolved into a street fair. The atmosphere is very eclectic, and you just never know what you’re going to find.” Although ArtHop does not have a set theme, many local artists drew inspiration from the month of October. Some dressed up early for Halloween, while others gave a nod to the season through their artwork. October is also LGBTQ+ History Month. The Economic Opportunities Commission’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center reflected on both of these October motifs in their exhibit, “The Costumes we Wear.” “In the queer community, we can’t always be who we want to be even in family and school settings,” said Jennifer Cruz, the LGBTQ+ resource center manager. “A lot of what I hear described from the youth is not being able to be fully themselves. [This contest asks them to] express that through their paintings.” Marina Ortega, who is pursuing her liberal studies degree at Fresno State, also began to focus on her art during the pandemic. This was her first show. “I’m a big fan of pop-art and surrealism and their alternate realities,” Ortega said. “During

the pandemic I started painting and I really tried to bring that to my work. It was a really great outlet and helped me to escape everything that was going on.” Ortega’s colorful Dali-inspired pieces will be available at the next ArtHop and can currently be seen on Instagram @autumnsolartistry. Sarah Pech, a library service specialist at Fresno State and creative contributor to Claybon jewelry, also takes solace in painting. Pech finds inspiration in emotion, and said much of that emotion is drawn from engaging with people and the surrounding environment. “I love learning about how people express themselves,” Pech said. “Social media is a platform where you can have your stuff shared globally, but there’s something special about connecting with people locally, and that’s what I really appreciate about ArtHop.” The pandemic prevented this fraternization for over a year, but when ArtHop reopened in July, Fresno State student Adeline Garcia jumped at the opportunity to become involved. “Selling in person I get to meet everyone that buys from me. Getting to see them again at the next ArtHop wearing the pieces that they bought is such a good feeling,” Garcia said. “It really encourages me to keep growing and to

come up with new ideas.” Garcia is pursuing her arts degree and specializes in making wire-wrapped jewelry. Follow her on Instagram @fairyquartzgirl for a chance to win one of her latest creations. ArtHop is held in downtown Fresno every first Thursday of the month and starts at 5 p.m. During the event, museums and studios are open until 8 p.m. and free of charge.

Miranda Adams • The Collegian

Fresno State student Marina Ortega displays her art at her first ArtHop.




Is Fresno really the worst place to be single?

By Ashley Flowers A&E Editor

A study from the dating app Bumble made local headlines last month when it declared Fresno one of the worst places in the U.S. to be single. In honor of “National Singles Week,” Bumble evaluated 100 US cities based on dating satisfaction, social satisfaction, dating affordability and percentage of singles in order to rank them from one to 100 “best cities for singles.” Fresno came in at number 96 on this list, with a dating satisfaction score of 14.94 out of 100 and a social satisfaction score of 7.31 out of 100. We at The Collegian couldn’t help but be a little taken back by the data, because while we’re at Fresno State, many of us will be trying to build and maintain romantic relationships here in Fresno. It’s not encouraging to hear that 50% of Fresno is single when you find out they’re single because dating here is so awful. So we’ve identified the perfect places to take someone out on a date here in Fresno, be it with someone new or a longtime partner. Taking your date to check out the Tower District is a great (and affordable) way to spend the day. The one thing Fresno had going for it in Bumble’s study was its dating affordability score of 67.57 out of 100, after all. Tower District is home to various thrift and novelty shops to spend the day exploring, plus artistic cafes like Hi-Top Coffee and The Revue. Have brunch at Irene’s upon arrival, and dinner and drinks at Bobby Salazar’s or Sequoia Brewing Company in the evening. If your date likes dancing, Splash or Fab is the place to go. For something more lowkey, Goldsteins is a local favorite featuring craft beers and ciders that welcomes furry friends. During baseball season you can attend a Fresno Grizzlies game at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno, featuring Fresno’s beloved taco trucks and oftentimes a fireworks finale. Downtown Fresno also hosts ArtHop on the

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Chukchansi Park, home of the Fresno Grizzlies, offers a fun place to take dates during baseball games or during ArtHop. first Thursday of every month, lining the streets with food trucks and local arts and craft vendors and opening businesses up for various arts and music-related events. Fresno is lucky to have unique music venues that have featured indie and mainstream artists alike. Strummer’s Bar and Grill in Tower District and Fulton 55 in downtown Fresno frequently host indie musicians. Save Mart Center is the place to go for major touring artists. A picnic at the park is simple here – either take your date to your favorite spot on campus or to Woodward Park nearby. Five bucks gets your car in Woodward for the day, where you can explore hiking or bike trails and visit the Japanese Friendship Gardens for the views.

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Most born and raised in Fresno have had at least one date in River Park, the nearby shopping center that features a movie theater, brewery and various dining options as well. The River Park Farmer’s Market is also held every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, packing the center with food trucks, craft vendors and more. Campus Pointe at Fresno State similarly offers shopping and restaurant options close to campus. Linger to talk over boba at Sweet Lyfe, coffee at Collect Coffee Bar or ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. Later in the day, we have dinner together at Mad Duck Craft Brewing or Wahoo’s Fish Taco, and then go catch a movie at Maya Cinemas.

Zaeem Shaikh Jesús Cano Jannah Geraldo Ashley Flowers Manuel Hernandez Kameron Thorn Stacy Hurtado Marc Anthony Lopez Adam Solis Miranda Adams Tyler Van Dyke

Staff Reporter Staff Reporter Staff Photographer General Sales Manager Local Sales Manager Distributor General Manager Financial Manager Advertising Faculty Adviser Editorial Faculty Adviser MCJ Department Chair

Many theaters in Fresno have recently been remodeled, including Edwards Cinema in River Park, Manchester Theatre next to Manchester Mall and Sierra Vista Cinemas near Sierra Vista Mall. The Madera 2 Drive-In, Madera’s drive-in theatre, offers a retro experience less than an hour drive from campus, featuring double features of blockbusters for $10 per person with a snack bar on site to satisfy movie cravings. One way to look at this study from Bumble is that it’s so hard to date in Fresno that 50% of the population is single. Another is that if you’re single, chances are half the people you meet are single too! Take your date to one of these places and prove that dating in Fresno can wind up with a success story – or at least a fun day out.

Edward Lopez Sydney Morgan Melina Kazanjian Lexee Padrick Hannah Hieber Edward Lopez Richard Marshall Kevin Fries Jan Edwards Timothy Drachlis Betsy Hays

The Collegian carries four different ethnic supplements inserted several times throughout each semester into its print publication. Each supplement is produced by its own staff and advisers and is separate from The Collegian. The news stories or opinions in the supplements do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Each member of the campus community is permitted a copy of The Collegian. Subscriptions are available for $25, on a semester basis. Staff positions at The Collegian are open to students of all majors. All content Copyright © 2021 The Collegian. Letters to the Editor (collegian@csufresno.edu): All letters submitted to The Collegian should be between 250-500 words in length, must be type-written, and must be accompanied by a full name and phone number to verify content. The Collegian reserves the right to edit all material for length, content, spelling and grammar, as well as the right to refuse publication of any material submitted. All material submitted to The Collegian becomes property of The Collegian.





Swim and Dive starts season at Chick-Fil-A Invite By Tyler Van Dyke Reporter Fresno State diver Silvia Alessio and swimmer Darina Khisiamova had a strong showing at the Chick-Fil-A Invite season opener. In the 3-meter dive, Alessio won second with a score of 284.45, and placed third in the 1-meter dive with 255.20, and Khisiamova swam second overall in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 17:31.43 – right behind Cal’s Sarah Dimeco’s time of 17:01:43. Fresno State finished fourth as a team after hosting their first meet on Friday and Saturday at the Fresno State Aquatics Center. Senior swimmer Khisiamova wants to utilize her last year to compete nationally. Finishing second in the 1650 freestyle, she said she was satisfied with her performance but needs room for improvement. While there’s physical tolls during her races, there’s no mental toll for Khisiamova because she enjoys the sport. “I would say the [1650 Freestyle] is my favorite. It hurts every time when I swim, but I am always excited for the mile because that’s my baby,” Khisiamova said. “ I’ve always loved that event… Sometimes people say you’re crazy because it is super long but I love it. I enjoy doing it.” Khisiamova also placed 11th in the 500-meter freestyle and 12th in the 400 IM on Friday night. Alessio returned from a successful season,

earning All-Mountain West honors and placing in the top 10 in the Mountain West Championship in the 3-meter and 1-meter dive. She also earned academic All-MW honors and was named Mountain West Scholar-Athlete. In the Bulldog season opener, Fresno State competed against Cal, UCLA, San Diego State, Washington State and San José State. Cal won the meet as a team overall with a score of 1481.5 points. Another Bulldog diver who performed well was Yuliya Tykha as she snagged first place in the 1-meter diving event with a score of 284.50 and sixth place in the 3-meter competition scoring 232.65. Tykha is another transfer student from Zaporozhye, Ukraine, and is in her fourth season at Fresno State. Despite the veteran players performing well in their first meet back, the swim and dive team is a relatively young team. Head coach Jeanne Fleck said the team’s youth influenced their performance. “I think that we have nine freshmen, and you can tell we have nine freshmen,” Fleck said. “So we have a lot of learning curves to go, but we need to race a little better.” Despite the team being young, freshman like Madison Caserio finished seventh overall in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 18:03.03 and 18th overall in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:13.02. Wiktoria Dabrowska also performed well

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

Bulldog Caylynn McEvoy swims the 200 backstroke on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Fresno State Aquatic Center.

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

Darina Khisiamova swims the 200 butterfly in the Chick-Fil-A Invitational on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Fresno State Aquatic Center. in her first year at Fresno State, finishing 16th overall in the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.87 seconds. Coming from Warsaw, Poland, Dabrowska also was in the top 25 in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.14. Italian freshman Sara Lucchini also placed 14th in the 100-meter butterfly with a finishing time of 56.68 seconds and also finished 30th overall in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 24.70 seconds. Bulldog Julia Matney is another freshman swimmer from Centennial, Colorado. Graduating from Grandview High School, she was a three-time All-American and currently holds school records for swimming. Although she came to Fresno as a promising high school athlete, Matney said she was still nervous as a freshman facing challenging teams. “It’s definitely scary, especially with this being our first meet against Cal, UCLA and San Diego,” Matney said. “I was super excited for this meet… just having all the girls around me; they really like always support me.” The Bulldog swim and dive team are closeknit and encourage everyone on the team, Matney said. Another example of that is with Bulldog sophomore Rylee Gordillo in her first meet back after missing her last season due to an injury. She described this as her “comeback meet” and is excited to race again. Saturday was also a special day for Gordillo and the team because she was celebrating her birthday. Coming from San Diego, California, Gordillo is in her second season with the Bulldogs,

and she wants to perform to her best now that she is healthy. “My goal is definitely just like staying healthy this year and hopefully making it on the conference team,” Gordillo said. “That’s like my biggest goal and being able to swim at conference.” Canadian sophomore Emilie Hingray was second on the team behind Alessio and took third overall in the 3-meter diving competition with a score of 251.95. The Bulldogs swim team also showed out. Freshman Korrie Tengan was first on the team and took 22nd in the 200 IM with a time of 2:09.41, and junior Athena Clayson placed 25th in the 50 Freestyle finishing with a time of 24.40. Clayson was also top five in the 100 Backstroke. Senior Keren Wasserman also finished 27th overall in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.12. In the relays, Fresno State had four different teams for each team relay event. Friday night opened with the 200 medley relay. The best team for the Bulldogs – which included Clayson, Tengan, Lucchini and Samarah Melia – took eighth place with a time of 1:46.31. Fresno State also finished 10th in the 200 freestyle relay and seventh in the 800 freestyle relay. On Saturday, Clayson, Wasserman, Lucchini and Dabrowska took 10th in the 400 medley relay. The Bulldogs were also in the top 10 in the 400 freestyle relay. The ‘Dogs host their next meet against Nevada at the Aquatics Center on Friday, Nov. 5.




New softball coach brings veteran talent to new team By Manuel Hernandez Sports Editor Through winning world cup championships for Team USA and being 2011 USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year, Fresno State’s new softball head coach Stacy May-Johnson has remained humble, setting aside all her accolades and achievements. May-Johnson is focused on the goals she has now for the team and the players. Rather than putting the spotlight on her and what she’s done, the head coach wants her players to know the focus is on them. “Honestly, it’s not about me or my history,” May-Johnson said. “Nobody really cares about my batting average my junior year of college… I want [the team] to see a real-life person that’s just standing right in front of them.” On July 2, May-Johnson was announced as the fifth head coach in Fresno State’s history. Knowing only a couple of days before the announcement, she moved from Utah to Fresno with her husband Nate Johnson, her daughters Corrie and Emma and 16-month-old son J.D. May-Johnson is at the helm of a program that has had many up-and-downs the past couple seasons. The team was on an historic run in the 2020 season before the pandemic cut it short, being ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 24 nationally. Then, the previous head coach Linda Garza was placed on administrative leave on April 19. She stepped down two months later and signed a deal to be the head coach of conference-rival Nevada. The Bulldogs also lost several players who either entered the transfer portal or graduated. Along with 2021 pitcher of the year Hailey Dolcini, at least four other players have transferred out for the season in August. Despite the challenges that come with her arrival, May-Johnson has a successful track record. As an outfielder for the University of Iowa, she received multiple All-Big Ten selections. Professionally, she played for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) for five years. She was the 2006 NPF Rookie of the year, two-time NPF MVP and three-time all-star. May-Johnson led the Bandits to two championships and is one of six players to have her jersey retired for the Bandits. In 2011, she was selected for the USA Softball National team. While she won athlete of the year, she led the team to two gold medals for the World Cup of Softball VII and the 2011

Cary Edmondson • Fresno State Athletics

Fresno State announced Stacy May-Johnson as the new softball head coach on July 2, 2021. Pan American Games. She was also selected as defensive MVP in USA’s second-place finish in the 2011 Canada Cup. While May-Johnson was a student, she began coaching in 2007 as a student assistant. She was part of the coaching staff for Iowa and the University of Louisville. She became the head coach at Utah Valley University for the past two seasons and improved its overall winning percentage to .507. She led Utah Valley to 24 wins which were the most for the programs since 2013. May-Johnson said learning from people like Hall of Fame softball coach Gayle Blevins has molded her philosophy and coaching skills. She credited others for her growth throughout her career as a player and coach. “I always tell people everything I do is stolen. Everything is stolen, especially the good stuff,” May-Johnson said. “That’s the great thing about our sport is people are willing to share. They’re willing to help other coaches grow, and so I’ve had a great opportunity to learn under some amazing coaches.” Director of Athletics Terry Tumey and Senior Associate Athletics Director David Hall were the main recruiters to get May-Johnson to Fresno State. She was excited about Hall and Tumey’s leadership and direction for the athletics program. Growing up in Reno, Nevada, May-Johnson always heard about Fresno State and described them as a “powerhouse” on the west coast. Idolizing former Fresno State coaches like Margie

Wright, she is prepared to fill in big shoes for Fresno State. Despite the pressure, May-Johnson said the transition and support from Fresno State have been great. In her introductory press conference at Fresno State, Donna Pickel, one of the first softball coaches for Fresno State, was present to support. Tumey, Hall and her family were some of the many others present to celebrate her new position. “You know, certainly none of us can achieve greatness without great support behind us, and so I’m grateful for that,” May-Johnson said. Her goal as a coach is to develop these players beyond athletes but as young women. “We want to prepare them for the life that’s ahead of them,” May-Johnson said. “Life isn’t all raindrops and lollipops and sunshine. There’s hard moments, and our women are going to be prepared for that.” Working quickly as Fresno State’s head coach, May-Johnson built up the roster by utilizing the transfer portal for players and coaches. On July 28, Shelby Graves joined as the team’s pitching coach and Whitney Arion as the hitting coach. Graves and Arion both coached alongside May-Johnson in Utah Valley. Almost half of the softball team are also new to the program. May-Johnson helped recruit nine players into Fresno State – six transfers and three freshmen. She also coached two of those players at Utah Valley. Having players and coaches from Utah Valley helped with her transition into Fresno.

May-Johnson said it helps build chemistry into this new team. “As far as staff goes, it’s nice not having to train them to know what we do,” May-Johnson said. “It’s just one less step that we have to take to get us going in the right direction.” Arion, Graves and the newly recruited players were picked because they were the right people for the program, May-Johnson said. Having a young team excites May-Johnson because she is trying to set “the foundation for the next 20 years.” She said this is the team that’s able to do that. The softball team is looking to replicate its success that it once had in 2020. Before the season was cut short due to COVID-19, Fresno State was ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 24 nationally. Although the softball season starts in February, the team is working on player development for the fall season. May-Johnson said players like outfielder Keahilele Mattson, last season’s Mountain West player of the year, will be expected to step up another level. Seniors like pitcher Danielle Lung are also expected to be great leaders for the team. But May-Johnson said the priority is on team development. “Nobody’s bigger than the team,” May-Johnson said. “I’m not bigger than the team. None of the players are bigger than the team. We’re all in this together. We’ve assembled a team that we think is capable of winning a championship.”