January 30, 2014
W W W. v S U S P e c TAT O r . c O m
Inside This Issue
vOLUme 86 iSSUe 2
“Copper Cloud Picnic wins art competition” is on the web!
- OPiniOnS: “Students say bye to smoking” - FeATUreS: “pharrell’s cap outshines Lamar’s rap”
On the Web w w w. v s u s p e c ta t o r. c o m
Check out Joe Adgie’s story on last Monday’s SGA meeting!
- SPOrTS: “blazer baseball back on the field”
VSU still shuns fall break
due to recent weather conditions all classes and events have been cancelled for today, thursday, January 30. For information regarding future events please see the upcoming events section located on pg. 2 of the paper.
Joe Adgie SoCiAL MEdiA Editor
This Day in History Gandhi assanated January 30, 1948 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated in New delhi by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s policies of peace. Gandhi is most notably known for his peaceful protests against the british occupation of india. He also led extended fasts to protest Hindu-Muslim violence. Gandhi got his political start in South Africa when he began a satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience, to protest the treatment of indian citizens in the country. Source: History.com
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Will Lewis / The SPeCTaTor
Yori Ko, senior ﬁnance major, walks to Odum library despite the frigid Wednesday weather.
VSU axes classes again John Preer WEb Editor email@example.com
For the second consecutive day VSU will close its doors as winter weather storm Leon continues to paralyze many southern states in the country. However, Valdosta seems to be catching a break from the really severe weather. besides the occasional gust of flurries and freezing rain, the city hasn’t fully experienced the kinds of conditions that have many civilians stranded and in need of rescue. Contrary to earlier reports from VSU administration, the university will not be open for operations on thursday Jan. 30. All classes and administrative offices will be closed. However “there will be police and essential personnel on call to keep the university
operating,” said thressea dents had to spend the night boyd, director of Communiin cold gymnasiums. Major cations. highways have become icy Some students may have parking lots full of comconcerns about possible muters who have run out of mandatory make gas, stalled up days because out, or just There is no such couldn’t naviof the shutdown, thing as a 'make up gate the slipbut rest assured no extra class day' and I leave the pery roaddays are in the ways. means of making up Many states foreseeable future. instructional time in that have been “there is no by the the hands of each affected such thing as a weather don’t 'make up day' and individual faculty have adequate i leave the means member. equipment to of making up inproperly deal - William mckinney structional time with these in the hands of kinds of condieach individual faculty mem- tions. the hopes of seeing ber," said president William some reprieve from the icy J. McKinney. roads slowly fades as temperStranded motorists atures across the region aren’t throughout the region have expected to get above freezbeen forced to take shelter in ing for very long if at all. stores, churches, and fire stabecause of these projected tions while hundreds of stuconditions VSU administra-
tion is erring on the side of caution and closing down in order to keep students and faculty from having to commute to campus and risk the hazards of slick roads. during moments of severe weather, communication is crucial and VSU has a system in place to provide quick and accurate updates. Students and faculty will be contacted through campus alert, which sends notifications via email and text message, concerning any developments in the weather and operation status of the university. Students are urged to avoid driving if at all possible and monitor the local weather stations and VSU media outlets to stay informed about developing conditions and notifications from the university.
the Academic Scheduling Committee has approved a four-day exam schedule and kept dead day in place but voted down an SGA-suggested return of Fall break. that was announced at Monday night's SGA meeting by Sen. Nick buford, who sat in on the Academic Scheduling Committee meeting with Comptroller Erica Adams. the decisions were met with disapproval from the legislative body and were questioned by some senators. “How can they do that?” Sen. Edgar James asked. “We tried,” buford said in response. “We went off votes that we had that were in favor of the fall break and the five-day exam schedule, but it was voted down.” these votes were cast in November, when over 3,000 students took part in an SGA survey that indicated that the student body was in favor of bringing Fall break back. “i guess i'm afraid that that proves the point of most students,” James said. “When we talked to them while we were doing the polling, they were like, 'they're not going to listen to us,' so how do we proceed from there?” buford explained the committee's reasoning for voting down Fall break. “they complained about the days, but we told them that the days would work out, even though students were saying that they didn't mind coming to school three days earlier if they could have the fall break and the thanksgiving break.” Adams also explained See Fall Break, Page 2
Obama tackles low minimum wage John Stephen Copy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
president obama’s annual State of the Union (SotU) address tuesday night focused on numerous, wideranging issues, including the president’s desire to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. obama acknowledged that many Americans who work minimum-wage jobs are struggling to meet all their expenses, and he implored Congress to raise the federal minimum wage as a way to alleviate financial stress for millions of Americans. during the speech, obama announced that in the coming weeks he will issue an executive order that will raise the minimum wage for all federal contract workers to $10.10. However, in order to set all minimum-wage jobs at that same amount, obama must gain the approval of Congress.
“this [minimum-wage increase] will help families,” obama said. “it will give businesses customers with more money to spend…So say yes [Congress]. Give America a raise.” A prominent theme of obama’s speech was his plan to create more opportunities and affect progress in America without the aid of Congress. Although obama said he is willing to work with Congress, he will also use his powers as president−which enable him to enact widesweeping executive orders−to further his objectives when Congress proves to be an obstacle. “America does not stand still−and neither will i,” obama said. “So whenever and wherever i can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what i’m going to do.” obama also made a point of asking Congress to stop
fighting over the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as obamacare. this healthcare legislation has bitterly divided republicans and democrats and played a part in soliciting the government shutdown that occurred at the end of last year. throughout the speech, as the focus switched from the economy to gun violence to foreign policy, obama received vigorous applause from the crowd. While most of the cheers came from democrats, there were moments when republicans joined in the standing ovations, such as when obama said women should receive equal pay for equal work and when he confirmed the plan for almost all American troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Sgt. 1st Class Cory remsburg, an Army ranger who was severely wounded during his 10 overseas deployment,
Courtesy of MCT Campus
Presiden Obama gives his State of the Union speech.
was recognized by obama at the end of his speech, causing the crowd to erupt in a prolonged ovation that was shared by Liberals and Conservatives alike. House rep. Cathy McMorris rodgers from Washington delivered the official Gop response to the SotU address, saying that while the president desires to improve the lives of Americans, his ways of trying to reach such a goal are ineffective. “We hope the president will join us in a year of real
action−by empowering people−not making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs,” rodgers said. According to a poll by CNN, 44 percent of viewers responded positively to the speech, with 32 percent responding somewhat positively and 22 percent responding negatively. to watch obama’s SotU address, visit www.whitehouse.gov.
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JANUARY 30, 2014
White House participates in #BigBlockOfCheeseDay Will Lewis EDITOR-IN-CHIEF email@example.com
The Obama Administration borrowed a tactic from history and fiction Wednesday and implemented the first ever virtual Big Block of Cheese Day. The White House has employed dozens of staffers to answer questions online from people around the country. The program is associated with the Twitter signs #AsktheWH and #BigBlock-
Police Briefs Jan. 27 Officers responded to a trouble alarm at the Bailey Science Center. The problem was with the chiller, and Physical Plant responded. Officers responded to a reported dispute between a student and an instructor at the South Georgia College Entry Program. A VSU ID was confiscated at Chick-fil-A at the Student Union when it was found to be in possession of an unauthorized person. Officers investigated a report of ROTC cadets being harassed while at the North Campus intramural field. The offending persons were alleged to be across the street at a N. Ashley Street hotel.
OfCheeseDay, and will also span across Google+ and Facebook. “President Obama has always been dedicated to the idea that the White House is truly ‘The People's House’ and has worked to make 1600 Pennsylvania and his administration open and accessible,” Erin Lindsay said in a White House blog post. Staffers ranging from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
will be answering questions live throughout the day. The move comes in a series of transitions toward integrating the executive branch with social media. Over the past week, the Obama administration has attempted to make the State of the Union address a trending topic on both Twitter and Instagram. The administration has even begun using a “Social Hub” page where all the feeds from all White House accounts are compiled onto one page on the White
House website. The tactic, which was made popular by the ‘90s drama “The West Wing,” was first used by President Andrew Jackson in 1837. The late president brought in a 4 feet by 2 feet thick wheel of cheese into the White House and invited all citizens to join him and other high-ranking officials for a day of questions and mingling.
mentarian of the Faculty Senate, sat in on the SGA meeting. He expressed some frustration at the politics of the move and the committee's ignoring of his wife's proposal for the scheduling that, according to him, would “provide a best-case scenario where we finally find a situation at VSU where we wouldn't have to fight every goddamn single year.” “We would have a fall break and a Thanksgiving
break and four days of finals,” Noll said. “You are killing so many birds with one stone. It's unbelievable, but I do know who was acting behind the scenes. We can make a stink about this.” Noll also explained that he was one of several members of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate that was frustrated with how this occurred. In addition, according to Noll, some members of the committee were absent, and proxies were used in this voting “in a very smart fashion.” This will not come into policy until it is voted on and passed by the Faculty Senate.
Continued from Page 1 more of the reasoning behind this vote. “The thing that they were trying to prove to us is that students are going to take a week off if we do the twoday fall break,” Adams said. “They don't like that, and they're tired of it. That's why we've got the week off at Thanksgiving.” Dr. Michael Noll, parlia-
Read the rest of Will Lewis’ story on the web at w w w. v s u s p e c ta t o r. c o m !
Upcoming Events Jan. 31 The Society of International Students will feature Mexico at its Cultural Hour at the Center for International Programs at 2 p.m.
will hold its introductory/interest meeting at 1 p.m. The nighttime group will meet Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. For more info, email Maureen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 5 Learn about the 'really cool' student organizations, Greek chapters and departments at VSU at the Student Organization fair on the Pedestrian Mall from 11a.m.2 p.m. Club Odum Book Club
Feb. 7 The percussion faculty of VSU will host a masterclass presented by Mark Yancich, principal timpanist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 3-5 p.m. in Whitehead Auditorium.
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Jan. 26 Officers issued a criminal trespass warning to a suspicious person in the Sustella Parking Deck. Officers responded to a fire alarm at Palms Dining Hall. The alarm was found to be faulty, and no further action was necessary. The oncall electrician stated that it would be repaired on Monday morning. A VSU student reported the theft of his backpack from the Student Recreation Center. Jan. 25 Officers responded to a fire alarm at Langdale Hall. All was in order. Officers performed a welfare check on a VSU student. The student was contacted and was fine. Officers confiscated a VSU One Card at the Student Union after a subject attempted to purchase food with it. The card did not belong to this person, who departed prior to officer arrival. A contractor reported the theft of a lawnmower valued at $10,000 from outside the Health Sciences Building at North Campus. Officers responded to Brown Hall to assist a student who fell out of a chair. She was checked by EMS but declined to be transported. Jan. 24 A VSU student was charged with simple battery in connection with two separate incidents. Officers checked on a reported suspicious person at Nevins Hall. The subject turned out to be a faculty member. A VSU student reported that items were stolen from her vehicle which was parked in the Sustella Parking Deck.
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JaNuarY 30, 2014
vsuspecTaTor.com | page 3
Our point of view...
Smoking policy over the line N
ext month, the Board of regents will vote on a proposal that would completely outlaw tobacco products on any and all University system campus grounds, regardless of what it is, or where you are. this includes inside automobiles, regardless of if the UsG owns them or not. think about that for a second, the UsG plans to dictate what you can or can’t do with a legal product in your own property. the spectator believes that this policy is absurdly heavy-handed and draconian; a policy that won’t work if passed. for starters, the UsG has no right to tell us what we can and can’t do with a presently legal product in our own property, a
product not prohibited from use in machinery by law in the state of Georgia. we have doubts as to how this policy will actually be enforced, if it becomes official. why? well, when was the last time you saw our current smoking policy enforced? More to the point, have you ever even seen our smoking policy enforced? the answer is most likely never. students openly light up anywhere outdoors on campus, regardless of how close or how far they are from doors, or vents, or windows, instead of the current policy of 20 feet from doors, vents, or windows. Here at the spectator, we have no problems with that current policy. for the most part, people here at VsU are actually not bombarded with
smoke unless you walk over to the smoking oasis at Hopper or the trees in front of the Odum Library, or if you’re walking right behind a smoker at the pedestrian mall. Here’s an idea then: If you’re that bothered by smoke, avoid those areas. avoid walking right behind a smoker. You won’t get secondhand smoke by just walking around outside. If this new policy comes into place, who’s to say VsU will be able to enforce it? How do you think someone will react if they’re smoking a cigarette away from everybody, but they’re told to put it out anyway? and how do you think someone will react if they’re told that they have to put out a cigarette in a car that they
own? Here at the spectator, we
think that the UsG have no right to dictate the policy of
property that isn’t theirs.
This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and it expresses the general opinion of the Spectator.
State of the Union address:
Obama talks opportunities Stephen Cavallaro s ta f f w r I t e r firstname.lastname@example.org
President Obama had a lot to say in his annual state of the Union address tuesday night. Obama's speech has received considerable criticism since its delivery. this outcome isn’t much of a surprise considering the speech was riddled with fabrications, and while many americans may like the President's course of action, several of his plans will do anything but ensure our liberties and freedom. I will analyze just a few topics loosely discussed in the address, but I encourage everyone to review the following articles to receive a broader dismantling of the President’s speech: "facts of the Union" published by factCheck.org, and "state of the Union 2014 fact Check" published by Politico. Obama said that "In the year...I asked this Congress to
raise the minimum wage." His plan is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Obama claims families will be better off if businesses are forced to pay employees a large wage. Instead, you’ll see a rise in consumer goods and, even worse, a rise in required qualifications for job seekers. raising the minimum wage hurts unskilled workers. People who have little to no job experience will have an even tougher fight finding a job than they do now. these unskilled workers include people who benefit from the availability of lowwage jobs that don’t demand much prior experience. students pursuing a college degree are already in fear of not being able to find a job after graduation; now they have even more reason to fear. and after all, as stated in the address, “more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.” according to CNN, 36.7
These “opportunities” hold drastic, long-term effects that will undoubtedly affect the future workforce. percent of college graduates are forced to work in jobs that don’t require the use of their degree. But don’t worry about finding a good job after graduation to pay off your astronomical student loans because Obama plans to reinstate unemployment cuts. Obama also claimed that his administration “has made more loans to small business owners than any other.” this development is great because these businesses are going to need to take out loans in order to payout Obamacare benefits. according to a Gallup poll conducted in November, 50 percent of small business
owners were against raising the minimum wage. furthermore, a Gallup poll conducted this past summer showed that 48 percent of small business owners felt that Obamacare would be bad for their business, with 39 percent assuming no impact and only 9 percent favoring the plan. throughout his speech, Obama referred to opportunity, either as a justification for more Middle eastern invasion or as a benefit that the government has to offer. Instead, these “opportunities” hold drastic, long-term effects that will undoubtedly affect the future workforce (aspiring students and entrepreneurs) in the coming years. feel strongly about Obama’s state of the Union address ? express your opinion by sending the staff a tweet @vsuspectator.com
People Poll Do you think that VSU should be a smoke free campus? Kia Street junior dance major “.It shouldn’t be prohibited but I do think we need to enforce the designated areas rule.””
Devon Williams freshman political science major “It should be because I hate the smell of smoke”
Want more opinions? Check out the Video People Poll online at: youtube.com/ValdostaSpectator
Same-sex ban gets booted in Oklahoma Taylor Stone s ta f f w r I t e r
Injustice occurs when the federal government tries to take away a state’s constitutional right to determine legislation on certain issues, such as same-sex marriage. recently, federal Judge terece C. Kern ruled that the ban against same-sex marriage in Oklahoma is unconstitutional. the 10th amendment of our Constitution states that “the powers not delegated to the United states by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
so why has Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage become so controversial? a decade ago, not even one state allowed legal same-sex marriages. since then, 17 states have legalized it in an ongoing movement for “equality.” the Oklahoma amendment in question states that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” sounds simple enough, right? according to Kern, the Oklahoma amendment to prevent gay marriage is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental
benefit.” Kern further ruled that the constitutional amendment of the state of Oklahoma prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the U.s. constitution. the right to determine
to outlaw gay marriage is, in fact, the only true violation of the Constitution. state supreme Courts in states like New Mexico and New Jersey have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage un-
whether or not a state will legalize same-sex marriage belongs to each state individually, which is exactly why there is such a divide across the country. In reality, the ruling prohibiting Oklahoma’s right
der the guise that discrimination is illegal under state constitutions. this isn’t about if you support same-sex marriages or not. It’s about the fact that the right to decide such issues
Spectator Staff Editor-in-Chief: will Lewis Managing Editor: Olivia McLean Business Manager: Kristen Varney Advertising Manager: aimee Napier Circulation Manager: sara turner Opinions Editor: elan waite Features Editor: Hillary straba
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lies in the hands of lawmakers within each individual state. Is it immoral to deny certain citizens the right to legally marry? Most people would argue yes. Is it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry? absolutely not. we simply cannot convolute this issue to such an extent as to retract the rights of each state, which are reserved by the constitution. right now, states like Oklahoma and Indiana are being met with resistance, while states that have legalized these marriages are permitted to keep their rights by doing so. If lawmakers within a state
decide to legalize same-sex marriage, then by all means, go for it. But if lawmakers within another state simultaneously decide to outlaw same-sex marriage, they are perfectly within their constitutional power to do so and should be extended the same courtesy of not having their rights revoked on the grounds of “hurting feelings” or “doing the right thing.” as we all know, right and wrong means is different for everyone. feel strongly about this issue? express your opinion by sending the staff a tweet @vsuspectator.com
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Pharrell’s cap outshines Lamar’s rap O
scars and Grammys and snubs, oh my! With the release of the awards nominations, the Oscar buzz has begun. this year, the Oscars will honor the 75th anniversary of “the Wizard of Oz,” which was nominated for Best Picture in 1939. there are nine nominations for the coveted Best Picture category: “american Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave” and “the Wolf of Wall Street.” these same movies pretty much lead the biggest night in film by also being included in most of the accompanying categories. in the Best actress in a Leading role category, San-
Pop Addict Isaiah Smart
dra Bullock (“Gravity”) goes up against veteran actress Meryl Streep (“august: Osage County”), amy adams (“american Hustle”), Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) and Judi Dench (“Philomena”). Meanwhile, Chiwetel ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“the Wolf of Wall Street”), Christian Bale (“american Hustle”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”) battle it out in the Best actor in a Leading role category.
i’m picking Bullock to take the women’s category. the Best Picture category is tough, but i’m sure it will be either “12 Years a Slave” or “the Wolf of Wall Street.” i’m a big fan of DiCaprio and ejiofor, but i think DiCaprio might finally get his due because he’s been getting snubbed from some great roles in the recent years. Speaking of snubs, let’s talk about the Grammys. the 56th annual Grammy awards took place on Sunday and brought a lot of surprises and social media commentary. from Pharrell’s arby’s, Smokey the Bear hat to Lorde’s performance twitch to hip-hop’s power couple opening, the show was full of things to talk about.
Courtesy of MCT Campus Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk duo and Nile Rogers accept the award for Record of the Year at the 56th annual Grammy Awards.
the night’s best performance came from Kendrick Lamar, an artist who was nominated seven times and somehow left without receiving one award. the Compton rapper performed a mash up of “radioactive (remix)” with
imagine Dragons and “m.a.a.d. City” from his debut album that excited many viewers with the surprise collaboration. Macklemore and ryan Lewis dethroned “King Kendrick” by winning in the category of Best rap album.
Pharrell Williams took home the Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) award and record of the Year alongside everyone’s favorite electro/alternative robots, Daft Punk. Of course Jay Z didn’t leave empty-handed, as he and Justin timberlake won in the Best rap/Sung Collaboration. rihanna also won Best Urban Contemporary album for “Unapologetic.” i’ve always wondered who makes up the recording academy that decides the winners and how they got there because i would like to have a word with them. Nonetheless, congrats to all the Grammy winners, and hopefully the Oscars will be less controversial.
Folklore meets psychology Odum ‘On Skua Island’ for debut of book club Jessica Ingram S ta f f W r i t e r
Get psyched—and live to tell about it. VSU’s James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of education and Human Services will be hosting a weekend lecture and workshop series titled “Our Stories, Our Selves” on feb. 21-22. the series features Dr. Jonathan Young, a Jungian psychologist and founding curator of the Joseph Campbell archives and Library. Beginning at 7 p.m. on friday, feb. 21, in the University Center theater, Dr. Young will host a lecture titled “Claiming Our Stories.” He will discuss mythology and folklore, as well as the mythic imagination and how it connects to the lives of attendees. the lecture is free and
open to the public. the series will conclude with a workshop titled “Guides to Discovery: Uses of Stories and archetypal Dimensions of Counseling and Psychotherapy.” this session will take place in the University Center Cypress room from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on feb. 22. the cost of the all-day workshop is $50 for professionals and $20 for students. the fee includes breakfast and lunch. “this clinical training seminar looks at tales collected by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault as illustrations of finding resilience and developing inner resources,” an event coordinator said. “(the) discussion will focus on how to analyze the structure of classical adventures for key metaphors and for parallels with dreams. We
will discuss how a strong sense of life story can aid with adult developmental transitions.” Sponsored by the Georgia chapter of the National association of Social Work and the Georgia Psychological association, the workshop is for mental health and social science professionals, undergraduate and graduate students, members of the community with a working knowledge of the Jungian tradition, and those with a general interest in folklore. Young is a psychologist, storyteller and writer. He has taught Jungian psychology at several universities. for more information about Young, visit www.folkstory.com. for event registration and more information on this event, visit www.valdosta.edu/psychology.
Abbie Baggerly S ta f f W r i t e r firstname.lastname@example.org
Mummies and pizza−who could ask for more? Odum Library is kicking off its spring semester book club with a discussion about the short story “On Skua island” by John Langan. the story is available for free at tinyurl.com/on-skua-island. the book club will have two introductory meetings in Odum library, one at 1 p.m. Wednesday and one at 7:30 p.m. thursday. the story discussions will be held at 1 p.m., March 5, and 7:30 p.m., March 6. Pizza will be offered. Odum Library is only offering a discussion once this
semester, but they hope to change that depending on the outcome of the first one. “it’s basically a pilot at this stage, but we hope it develops into something permanent,” Howard Carrier, a reference librarian, said. “‘On Skua island’ is a mysterious, creepy story that deals with an unearthed mummy,” Carrier said. “the story is set during the cold war era, which explains why there are soldiers on a Scottish island.” the story should produce a lot of interesting conversation because of its mysterious and unique nature. “the one thing we wanted to get across is that this isn’t a class; it’s not a professor or a librarian turning up to teach
If You Go: What: Odum Book Club When: First Meeting 1 p.m. Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6. Where: Odum Library Cost: Free you how to read this or suggest that you should read it,” Carrier said. the book club hopes to involve the students any way they can. Organizers said the event is for the students, but it’s not time consuming. for more information, email Maureen at email@example.com.
JANUARY 30, 2014
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Blazer baseball back on the field Alex Tostado A s s t. s p o rt s E d i t o r firstname.lastname@example.org
Valdosta state takes the field for its 2014 campaign as the Blazers host the Comfort suites Classic at Billy Grant Field this weekend. the Blazers play truettMcConnell on saturday at 3 p.m. and Georgia southwestern on sunday at 1 p.m. VsU Head Coach Greg Guilliams is expecting a lot from his players this season, especially coming off of the successes of last season, which include winning the Gulf south Conference tournament Championship for the first time since 2010. Guilliams maintains that it won’t take anything fancy for his group to build upon last season. “My expectation is for our guys to do the same thing we do every day at practice, nothing more and nothing less,” Guilliams said. “if they execute the same things that we do at practice, i think we will have a good day.” the task of moving on after losing four of their top five pitchers from last season is far from easy; Guilliams understands that his pitchers are not quite at full strength for the season. “different guys are at different stages as far as where they are at with their arms,” Guilliams said. “i don’t think
Lia Armistead s p o rt s W r i t E r
VSU Athletics VSU baseball looks to build upon last season after hoisting the GSC tourney title trophy in 2013.
anybody right now is at 100 percent, but most of the guys are from about 80 to 90 per cent.” despite not having a fullstrength pitching staff, Guilliams and his staff have named two familiar players as the starting pitchers for this weekend. Lefty senior Josh Mann will start on saturday, and right-handed junior dom deMasi will start against GsW. “Both [Mann and deMasi] started for us last year (so we know what they can do),” Guilliams said. the Blazers’ offense also lost some key swingers, but there are many returning players and some new faces that Guilliams is hoping to see fit into their roles. Key contributors returning to VsU are junior catcher Bryant Hayman, senior outfielder Matthew Fears and sophomore third baseman Michael Gouge.
Hayman started 52 games last season. He batted .335 with eight home runs and drove in 43 runs, which was good enough to earn a spot on the 2013 All-GsC team. Fears was also selected to the 2013 All-GsC team after batting .407 in 21 starts and tallying 13 doubles and 21 runs batted in. As a freshman, Gouge started in 47 of his 48 appearances. He hit .300 while driving in 27 runs on 45 hits. one of the new faces that Guilliams expects a lot from is Boston College transfer Jimmy dowdell, who should immediately make an impact. Guilliams believes the senior outfielder is “one of the best hitters in the GsC.” the palm Harbor, Fla., native came to VsU to be closer to home. “We have a pretty good squad this year,” dowdell said. “our hitting is pretty solid one through nine. We
should put up a lot of runs and hopefully not give up too many.” Aside from team goals, dowdell has one big personal goal—stay healthy the entire year. “that’s the number one thing. Hopefully i’ll put up some good stats, but the number one thing is winning. if i’m helping the team win, and i bat .260… i’m happy,” dowdell said. Even with this much offensive talent, Guilliams still expects the bats to be rusty for the first few games of the season. “A challenge early in the season is that a hitter’s timing is not going to be as good as it will be a couple of weeks from now,” Guilliams said. “off-speed pitches usually give hitters a lot of trouble so we have been trying to work on that at practice.” read the rest of Alex’s story online at vsuspectator.com
VSU softball set to begin 2014 quest Eric Jackson s p o rt s E d i to r email@example.com
the Blazers open their 2014 softball season this weekend in pensacola, Fla., with their eyes set on reclaiming the national championship title, and the expectations haven’t changed. “i want a good start, a good middle, and a good finish,” nine-year Head Coach thomas Macera said. “We don’t talk about a good start; we talk about winning every game we play. We’re here to win softball games. When we go out there, we approach every game the same.” Macera, like usual, advises his players to focus on one game at a time, starting with saturday’s season opener, which he says should be nothing but the first stepping stone toward their ultimate goal. No.6 VsU begins the season in full swing in the West Florida tournament. the Blazers open against Midwestern state, one of the nation’s top offensive teams (they recorded 86 home runs last season). the second
Blazer tennis ready to serve up new season
game of the doubleheader on sunday is against southern Arkansas. the Blazers comes into this year’s campaign with a chip on their shoulder after falling short to Armstrong Atlantic early in last season’s NCAA division ii softball Championships. With 12 new players on the squad, mastering the learning curve is imperative as the Blazers compete against their toughest opponents of the regular season in the first two weeks, which are followed by a rigorous conference schedule. despite having won a record five straight conference titles, coaches voted that VsU will finish second behind Alabama-Huntsville this season. Before heading back south to Clearwater, Fla., for the Eckerd tournament next weekend, the Blazers face Flager in the home opener Feb. 4 at steel’s diamond field. VsU returns seven key contributors from last season including four seniors: AllGulf south Conference honoree shelby Altman, pitcher Brianna Hancock, and in-
fielders Hannah strickland and Karson King. Also returning is sophomore infielder Kiley rusen, junior outfielder Fran Johnson and twotime player of the Year recipient Courtney Albritton (second baseman). As a sophomore, Albritton led last season’s squad in batting average (.417), home runs (20), and runs batted in (57). Albritton, Altman and Hancock were selected to the 2014 preseason All-GsC team. the departure of pitchers Hanna Lythberg (transferred to Winona state) and Kenzi reed (graduated) this offseason was countered with the acquisition of indian river state transfer rebekah Kiser. the Blazers’ ace, Hancock, and sophomore Caitlyn Calhoun both return to the mound as well. Kiser and freshman infielder Chelsea Canara were tabbed on the GsC top newcomers list as well. While there is still doubt as to who will be starting in left field, the most daunting obstacle for the Blazers is replacing first team Academic All-district catcher Ashley
steinhilber. steinhilber made the AllGsC softball second team last year. Freshman catchers Morgan Butler and Kelly Gordon have been battling for the starting position all offseason. No decision has yet been made as to who will start. “steiny was a great catcher,” Macera said. “the catchers that we got will do well. steiny sat her first year here; it took her a year to learn how to develop. this year we don’t have that luxury; we don’t have an older catcher, so those girls have to learn how to do it now.” Butler is a Forsyth, Ga., native who had an impressive career at Mary persons High. Gordon arrives to VsU from Geneva, ill., where she too had a stellar multi-sport career at Geneva Community High. “We’re ready to go if the game is tomorrow or next week,” Macera said. “You can only practice for so long until you finally have to go out there and produce or not. We’ll see what happens.” Follow Eric on twitter: @epjackson
With the season opener just days away, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at VsU are prepared to serve up their best work for a successful season. Both squads open their seasons at home. the men’s team faces UsC Aiken saturday in a rematch to last season’s finale, and the women’s team takes on Georgia state College. With scheduled matches against some of the top tennis teams in the country, including Barry and rollins next weekend, both teams have been working hard, looking to redeem themselves from their losses last season. the men’s team heads into the 2014 season with nine total players, six of them returning to the group from last season, one of whom is lone senior Mario Navarro Bayo. Mario and company are attempting to improve on last season’s unsatisfying 10-12 record. despite playing well in conference (6-1), the Blaz-
ers couldn’t earn one victory against nationally-ranked opponents (0-8). the women’s team brings back five returning players, and the team will lean on their three seniors: Jessica tuggle, Juliana Boehm, and Michelle Fisher. the ladies ended their season last year by being ousted by three-time Gulf south Conference champs West Florida in the GsC tournament. Like the men, the women competed well in conference (7-1), yet struggled with national contenders. While four new freshmen join the ladies, three new freshmen join the men’s team. 2013 itA All-American Konstantin Kutschenko and Brian rasmussen are graduate assistant coaches this season. in his 40th season coaching at VsU, Head Coach John Hansen hopes to bring his teams back to the national spotlight, where they’ve been absent the last few seasons. Follow Lia on twitter: @tHE_armistead
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JANUARY 30, 2014
VSU golf team tees up in Lakeland Chris Webb s p o rt s w r i t e r
VSU Archives Kenny Alston (32) is one of nine inductees to be honored on Saturday. Alston’s 18.8 points per game average is 3rd best of all-time.
VSU Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony to be held Saturday Victoria Johnson s p o rt s w r i t e r
Nine individuals will join the distinguished gallery of Blazer greats saturday during the Valdosta state Athletics Hall of Fame ceremonial luncheon in the student Union. Herb reinhard, director of athletics, is thrilled for the 18th annual event, which features the largest class since the eight inductees in the initial year,1997. “each year, it is interesting because we have different students with different stories and backgrounds that led them to this point in their life," reinhard said. "i'm excited for the inductees; we take a lot of pride in this occasion.” the ceremony will highlight seven former standout student-athletes: Kenny Alston (basketball 1971-1975) , wayne Fugett (baseball 1980-1983), Alex Acosta (softball 2007-2008), tevis Upton (golf 1997-1999) ,
Diedre williams (basketball 1992-1996), Jay penny (1980-1983), and sherard reynolds (football 20052008). Longtime VsU booster shirley McCully and former basketball coach Bobby tucker represent the two non-athletes entering the 2014 class. tickets are available for purchase online and by phone for $25 until saturday. "we are happy to honor these nine people who have represented our university so well, whether it is in their arena of play or as contributors to our program," reinhard said in a release. “we have always prided ourselves in putting only the very best qualified nominees into our Hall of Fame, and as such, have had smaller classes. However, over the last several years, the number of eligible nominees has grown so significantly that we felt it the right time to increase our class size."
with the weather finally warming up, the Blazers are ready to hang up their coats and bring the golf clubs out. Valdosta state’s golf team has recently started getting in gear for the second half of its season. VsU is looking to improve upon its performance the first half of the season that saw the Blazers finishing with only one top five finish. the first test for the Blazers in 2014 will be at the upcoming 33rd annual Matlock Collegiate Classic on Feb.1011, being held at the Lone palm Golf Club in Lakeland, Fla. VsU competed in the same event last year, finishing seventh of 15 teams, shooting a 21- over 885 for the event. there will be plenty of new faces this year, however; junior John Fordham will be the only returning golfer from last year’s participating team. Joining Fordham this season and making up the fiveman team is freshman Florian schmiedel and eastern Michigan transfer Alex Jones. the last two spots will be decided this weekend after the team’s last qualifying round. Hosted by 12-time national champions Florida southern, the Matlock Collegiate Classic has built a reputation of being one of the premier tournaments in NCAA Division ii Golf. And this year’s field does-
Florida State Golf Association Lone Palm Beach Golf Club in Lakeland, Fla., is the setting for the upcoming Matlock Collegiate Classic on Feb. 10.
n’t disappoint, with eight teams listed on the Golf Digest top 25, including the top three teams in the country: defending National Champions, No. 1 Barry, No.2 UsCAiken, and No.3 Gulf south Conference foe west Florida. the Blazers aren’t looking to be fazed by this; instead, they are focused on what they have to do to return to Valdosta with a win. “we are just looking to get off to a good start,” Fordham said. “we know we are as good as all those guys; everyone has been dealing with bad weather and break so we don’t feel anyone has a leg up on us. And since it’s such a good field, it gives us even more incentive to practice harder and to do well.” A good performance will be huge for the Blazers momentum coming into the spring season, which involves five tournaments en route to the Gulf south Conference
Championships in late April and possibly more if they can qualify for the NCAA south/southeastern super regional in May. to qualify, VsU must finish in the top 10 of their region. Currently sitting just outside of the top 10 while coming into regional play, the team still is in a good position to make a top-10 spot. “i feel like we can do well enough this spring and pass some teams,” Fordham said. “At almost every tournament this year, we see every team in our region, so we will have a really good opportunity to get a winning record against them.” the teams are very confident that this spring will be a successful one and possibly bring them their first win since 2010. You could say VsU went through some growing pains in the fall: only one golfer
had any extended previous experience for the Blazers. And half a season later, things are a little different; schmiedel and Jones have settled in nicely, with both averaging scores of 74. this fall was the first year of tournament play for Hall and sophomore Michael Nutter, who rejoined the team after taking a year off. Junior Austin McNeil also spent the fall knocking some rust off his game and readjusting to tournament play. Now with the fall “adjustment period” behind them, team chemistry has improved; nervous jitters have died down, and the team is now ready to get the second half rolling. the Blazers will be hosting the First Federal southeastern Collegiate Classic March 1011 at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.
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