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Editor’s Note: Due to Spring Break, this will be the final copy of The Battalion for the week. Regular production will resume Monday, March 19. FEATURE



Mayra Yundt-Pacheco — THE BATTALION

Veritas Wine and Bistro has won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator four times.

Aggies kick off the weekend with rematch against Alabama

Aggie-managed restaurant offers eclectic menu

By Ryan MacDonald @Ryan_MacDonald2

Veritas Wine and Bistro provides B-CS with international cuisine By Diana Paredes @paredesaguilera Located on University Drive, Veritas Wine and Bistro is a small and elegant restaurant managed and run by Aggies. Whether it is lunch or dinner, the dining experience is sure to be unique and filling for parties celebrating special occasions or looking for a nice meal out. For seven years, the restaurant has created a romantic fine dining experience and exposed guests to an eclectic menu complete with Asian, French and American tastes made with fresh ingredients. Decorated with an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator from 2007-2011, Veritas Wine and Bistro also offers a vast selection of wines to pair with each internationally inspired meal. Tai Lee, executive chef and Class of 2002, said the restaurant has been a popular place for anyone who appreciates a diverse palate of flavors.

Junior DJ Hogg, who is third on the team in scoring, averages 11.4 points per game.

After finishing the regular season with a 68-66 victory over Alabama on Saturday, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team (20-11, 9-9 SEC) will play Alabama (17-14, 8-10 SEC) again on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Saturday’s match-up wasn’t pretty by any means, as both teams combined to shoot 38 percent from the field and commit 25 turnovers. The game also included some tension with the two teams combining to commit 45 fouls. The tipping point of the tension came when A&M freshman guard TJ Starks pushed Alabama guard Collin Sexton in the head after the two exchanged words. Starks was ejected for the hit to Sexton’s face and Sexton was issued a technical foul for taunting. A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said he hopes Starks will be able to handle any on-court distractions better this time around. “We can’t say enough to him, we told him last week that was possible and when you look back on it, both of them were at it the whole game,” Kennedy said. “I think the officials will get on top

of it early in the game.” Though Kennedy has emphasized the importance of not paying attention to Sexton’s antics, A&M will need to keep a keen eye on him every time he is around the ball, as the guard can score at will. Sexton, who is averaging 18.3 points per game, netted 16 and 23 points in his two games against A&M. “Collin’s got a big mouth but he’s a really good player. It’s just his love for the game, that’s his energy, that’s just how he is,” A&M center Tyler Davis said. Alabama beat A&M in Tuscaloosa 79-57 in the first match-up this season. However, the Aggies were without Admon Gilder due to injury and D.J. Hogg, who was suspended. Following Saturday’s game, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said the duo of Gilder and Hogg made all the difference in the rematch. Hogg and Gilder scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. Getting Hogg in a rhythm early will be a point of emphasis for the Aggies, as they are 13-1 on the season when Hogg makes two or more three-pointers. Gilder, who is still recovering from a lingering knee injury, looks to be back to almost full strength. However, Kennedy said he is a bit concerned at the BASKETBALL ON PG. 4


Respect the coast on spring break Rip currents and marine debris can harm visitors By Savannah Mehrtens @SJMehrtens Spring break in Texas means many tourists will be hitting the sandy shores for vacation, but there are risks that come along with this reward. Lifeguards, beach directors and informational programs are in place during spring break to prepare for the swarm of tourists and inform beachgoers of the risks associated with the water. Rip currents are one of the biggest dangers that can be avoided with the right knowledge, and land-based marine debris can stack up on the beachfront without responsible visitors. Pamela Plotkin, director of Texas Sea Grant, said it is important to be aware of your surroundings when you are swimming, so you can be aware of present dangers such as rip currents. She said she recommends visitors know their limits when it comes to swimming in the ocean. “Every year, it seems like we lose one or two spring breakers to rip currents and that’s one or two too many lives,” Plotkin said. Christian Brannstrom, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Geosciences, has an expertise in rip currents. He defined rip currents as a volume of water in the surf zone of the beach that is moving away from shore, sometimes at fast


Jeff George, executive director of Sea Turtle Inc., captured this photo in front of a beach venue during Texas Week 2017 in South Padre Island. According to George, the city closed the beach for one hour to clean it for the evening crowds.

speeds. “It’s hard for normal people who don’t have experience as surfers to understand [rip currents] and to identify them,” Brannstrom said. “Surfers often use rip currents as a way to get out to the breaks so that they can surf, so they’ve been doing this for decades … but normal people that visit the beach maybe

once or twice a year, they can have a difficult time identifying what it looks like.” When beach visitors are caught in rip currents, Brannstrom said that is when they start to panic and could be in danger, possibly leading to drownings. Rip currents can occur for a variety of reasons, including man-made structures such as groins,

which are stretches of granite out from the beach to protect against beachfront deterioration. “The structures that we’ve made as a society along the coast can also encourage rip currents to form,” Brannstrom said. Brannstrom said many of the Texas beaches do not have life guards, but those that do are an ex-

cellent source for information about the safety of the ocean. “Lifeguards do a fantastic job of informing the public, but you have to talk to them,” Brannstrom said. “It’s always a really good idea to approach them and ask, ‘Are there any risks or dangers [you] should be aware of [like] rip currents?’” Peter Davis, Chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol and President of the United States Lifesaving Association, said beach safety is the same year round, but rip currents are especially focused on during spring break due to the stronger waters. “In Texas, especially the upper Texas coast, more of our strongest and most prevalent rip currents are near some sort of structure,” Davis said. “That doesn’t mean they don’t exist other places but they’re mostly by the groins or a fishing pier or a walk out cropping of some sort. The nice part about that is that we know where they are and it is just a matter of keeping people away from them.” Brandon Hill, Shoreline Director for the city of South Padre Island and Class of 2016, said the preparation for spring break on South Padre Island begins months in advance, with city staff collectively working together to make sure everything falls in place the way it should, including permits, data crunching, traffic plans and more. “The city of South Padre Island has a beach that is about five miles SAFETY ON PG. 2



The Battalion | 3.7.18

Alternative Spring Break organization spends their week volunteering Forty-four students will take their time off to help U.S. cities in need By Emily Oxford @emilymoxford97 On Saturday, March 10, the student volunteer organization Alternative Spring Break will head to four major cities across the United States for their 20th annual community service outreach program. A record number of 44 students in the program will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Memphis, Tennessee, Little Rock, Arkansas and New Orleans to spend their week off volunteering. The volunteers will be split into four groups of 11 students each and will assist with the Special Olympics, a food bank, a veteran’s hospital and an animal shelter. Since 1999, Alternative Spring Break takes students who have a passion for community service and gives them an opportunity to serve abroad over spring break, according to Chau Dong, biomedical sciences senior and chair of the organization. “When it originally started, students would take trips out of the country,” Dong said. “Now, we just travel around the different states.” Alternative Spring Break has made the United States its main focus because they saw a need in many poverty stricken areas around the country, according to Priya Bandy, Alternative Spring Break trip executive and biomedical sciences junior. “We have not traveled out of the United


Forty-four students will spend their spring break traveling across the southern United States, performing charitable acts at Special Olympics, a food bank, a veteran’s hospital and an animal shelter.

States since 2009 because we find it important to help at home,” Bandy said. “There are many areas in poverty that do need our assistance around the U.S.” Having site leaders and a staff advisor who knows what they are doing is very important, according to Annie Montgomery, site leader, staff advisor trainer and wildlife and fisheries science senior.

“The trained site leaders and staff advisor are responsible for the 11 students on the trip,” Montgomery said. “Their ability to relay information to the group about where to be at what time, money and housing is very important.” Bandy said the Special Olympics in Tulsa needed help making their program run smoothly, so Alternative Spring Break got



Rip currents are among the greatest dangers to spring breakers and take the lines’ of swimmers every year.

long, we maintain that during the off season with about six, full-time beach management staff members, so we’ve got six crew members that are out there every day cleaning and emptying the trash cans and maintaining our beach and our beach access,” Hill said. “During spring break this year, we’re bringing on 12 part-timers in addition to our six full-timers … just to be able to keep up with the demand that we have placed on our island.” To keep the beaches clean and be a responsible visitor, Hill recommends to following the slogan “Treasure it, don’t trash it” by bringing a trash bag and keeping it at your chair or tent and be prepared to take away the garbage. “I encourage everyone to take ownership of your spring break,” Hill said. “Don’t come down to someone else’s island and just expect your mess to get cleaned up. We’re here to facilitate a great time, we’re here to keep the beaches clean, but we all share a responsibility to not trash the resources we’ve been given.”

Plotkin said the main goals are to focus on safety of the visitors for places such as South Padre Island, a popular Texas beach destination for spring break, which can limit the focus on cleaning the beaches. “It was such a disappointment to see, because there are garbage cans out there, people drive their cars out there, so they could easily haul that garbage away,” Plotkin said. “That garbage sticks around it can entangle wildlife, wildlife can eat it and wildlife can be harmed by that debris.” South Padre Island is home to a local population of 2,816 people, and the dramatic increase in population from visitors can often have impacts to the beach, which is an essential aspect to the island’s economy. “In addition to the impacts it can have on wildlife, it also creates quite a cleanup cost for small towns and communities that are then stuck with then having to clear that garbage off the beaches because tourists don’t want to go to the beach when it’s covered in garbage,” Plotkin said. Although Hill said he hopes for every visitor to have a good time when visiting South Padre Island, he also wants it to be a

involved. “Tulsa stood out to me the most because of how responsive they were,” Bandy said. “They were in such a need of assistance and were so happy to hear that we could help with their Special Olympics and their St. Patrick’s Day fun run.” Bandy said the food bank located in Memphis was very excited to have Alternative Spring Break back again to volunteer. “We already took this trip in 2015 and it was a huge success,” Bandy said. “The students that took that trip loved it and the food bank was very responsive and happy to have us again.” It can be difficult to find hospitals which would allow Alternative Spring Break students to volunteer because of the short time period they are able to work, Bandy said. “Many hospitals like their volunteers to stay longer than a week, so it can be hard to find somewhere that would be happy to have us,” Bandy said. “The Veteran’s Hospital in Little Rock was very responsive and was willing to have us with our size and short period of time we would be spending there.” Service projects such as these are important opportunities for students to take advantage of, according to Dong. “Alternative Spring Break is open to a lot of service locally as well,” Dong said. “We like to say, ‘Devote yourself to the community around you.’”

safe and responsible visit. “I want people to know that when they come here to South Padre they can come here and have a good time, but they need to follow the Aggie values when they are having a blast out on the beach,” Hill said. “Too often, people get consumed with having a great time and making memories, and they forget to look out for their friends, they forget to value their health and value their life and they end up making decisions and mistakes they regret.” Plotkin recommends that to help cut down on beach debris, people can bring less single use items that would become garbage and in turn leave less trash. “I’d love to see Aggies clean up the beaches, and I’d like to see everybody do their part by packing out what they bring in and not leaving it on the beach and not leaving it for someone else to clean up their own mess,” Plotkin said. “Bring less disposable items, bring coolers, bring thermoses, bring reusable Yeti cups and then you won’t have any garbage that you need to leave behind.”



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The Battalion | 3.7.18

Q&A: Rollins reflects on being A&M’s first female Student Body President In honor of National Women’s Month, The Battalion news reporter Katherine Garcia sat down with Brooke Rollins, CEO and president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, who served as the first female Student Body President from 1994-95. THE BATTALION: What did it mean to you to be the first female Student Body President? ROLLINS: It was one of the great honors of my life, and now that I am 22 years removed, it seems like yesterday. But now that it’s been ... 24 years almost exactly to the day when I was elected, but really, even then I knew that it would be something that would stay with me forever. Now looking back on it, almost a quarter of a century, I mean there’s really not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it or draw some lesson I learned from it or remember that it was just one of the most wonderful things I think I could have ever done. So, it’s with a lot of fondness to look back on that.

THE BATTALION: Were there any memorable challenges as Student Body President? If so, how did you overcome those challenges? ROLLINS: I think any time that you are put in a position of leadership and you want to affect positive change, whatever that is, that’s always a challenge and not necessarily a negative challenge. It’s just that it’s the easy thing to do, is to go with the status quo, always. Especially in my career, that has certainly been true too, that it would be so much easier sometimes if I could walk away or not worry about A, B or C. And at A&M, there was nothing significant. I mean, it was an awesome year. We didn’t have to deal with the Bonfire tragedy. I didn’t have to deal with any of some of the big questions that other student governments or other student leaders have had to deal with. But we were really, for the first time, trying to do some neat and different things. We were trying to put some scholarship programs in place for kids that really exhibited a lot of leadership skills, and up until that point it really


Brooke Rollins, pictured above on the day she was elected, was the first woman to serve as Student Body President.

had been a lot of academic and athletic focused. We were trying to create more opportunities for students to get involved. We were trying to better integrate the campus, not necessarily racially or ethnically, but integrate all the different student organizations and so they could work more closely together. We just really had a lot of neat and big ideas and worked really hard.

THE BATTALION: How did your position at A&M reflect your career aspirations? ROLLINS: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew what A&M taught me was what a gift it was to be a part of something bigger than yourself, and I always had a real passion to help people. I had thought about the ministry. I thought about teaching. I just didn’t know, but I knew that I really wanted to work hard and try to make the world a better place, as cliche as that sounds. And so, I thought, ‘I’ll go to law school,’ and there’s not a bunch out there that have helped people more than public policy, and that is based on the law, passing laws. And that’s why

I thought law school [was] a good next step for me. So I went to [the University of] Texas’s law school, which was an awesome experience, and I practiced law for a few years but decided really my heart was in public policy. So really what the direction that A&M really sent me in was, I didn’t think, ‘I’m going to be a head of a think tank,’ or ‘I’m going to go to the White House someday,’ but I walked away saying, ‘I really want to do something that matters and that will live to lead people to a better life, whatever that is.’ So it really did. It really sort of, I wouldn’t say it changed the direction of my life, because I think that’s where I was going anyway. But, it really helped the trajectory of what I wanted to do and helped me kind of figure that out.

THE BATTALION: In reference to National Women’s Month, are there any inspirational women in your life? ROLLINS: First and most important is my sweet mom who was a single mother, raised my sisters and me by herself. ... I think there was some


Mayra Yundt-Pacheco — THE BATTALION

Veritas Wine and Bistro offers a wide selection of wines that can be paired with any of their dishes and is one of the few formal dining restaurants in College Station.

“We offer a seasonal and market-driven menu that has unique flavors and ingredients,” Lee said. “Uniquely designed, it has a glass wine cellar and an open kitchen with a chef’s table where you can be up-close and personal with our culinary team. We have been a local favorite with many foodies and have been one of the go-to places for outof-town guests that are looking for a restaurant that showcases the modern culinary scene here in Aggieland.” Alex Rodriguez, engineering freshman, said he enjoyed the restaurant’s floor plan and location. “There’s something very elegant about the whole thing,” Rodriguez said. “The lighting, large wine display, open kitchen in the back and the pond in front of the entrance gives the whole experience a very fancy air to it. It’s a great place to go on a date with someone.” Natalie Hughes, engineering freshman, said she liked that Veritas Wine and Bistro was one

interest because I was the first female Student Body President, and so [The Battalion] wrote about me a lot, and in almost all of those, at least the bio sketches, I would talk about my mom. [She] was the hardest worker who always taught my sisters and me that anything is possible as long as you worked hard and dream big. And so, even today, National Women’s Month, 24 years later, talking to y’all again, I would say she has definitely been the most impactful and the example that I try to follow everyday. And bigger, more well known, well I didn’t personally know her, was Margaret Thatcher, who was the first female prime minister in the United Kingdom, and I just love her story. I loved her vision. I love her ideas. She really affected change and then at a time when the world was in a different place, facing potential nuclear war, over communism. She never looked back and never let anyone tell her she couldn’t do something because she couldn’t achieve something because of push back. So she’s a real inspiration to me.

THE BATTALION: You will be replacing Reed Cordish in the White House Office of American Innovation. What are your goals for the position? ROLLINS: I would say that first of all, I’m incredibly honored. This is just a continuation of my life’s work to help people, all people, but most importantly those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder and I so strongly believe that what we’ve done in Texas, and what I’ve done leading the Texas Public Policy Foundation for the last 15 years and moving our state in a really pro-growth, pro-free enterprise direction, is the marker by which the White House wishes to move, and so taking the lessons from my days in Aggieland, taking the lessons from my days leading one of the nation’s top think tanks and really working to make Texas better and now being able to take that to the West Wing is one of another great honors of my life. I’m really excited about it, and we’ll see how it goes. of the few places in College Station where she could dress formally. “Besides the great food, I like the fact that I can put on heels and a nice dress to go,” Hughes said. “Not many restaurants in [College Station] are as established as this one or have such a well-developed menu. From sushi to lamb chops, there’s something for everyone on their menu.” For those who are planning to visit Veritas Wine and Bistro, Lee recommends his Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll. He said this dish heightens every palate in the mouth and nose due to its different flavors and textures and is very popular among customers. “[The Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll] is my longest running item on the menu since I created it back in 2002 as a sushi chef,” Lee said. “It combines creamy avocado and sweet and spicy tuna. It is further complemented by smoky seared tuna, crunchy potatoes, a hint of vegetal greens and a salty pop of flying fish roe.”














Serving TexaS a&M UniverSiTy

The IndependenT STudenT VoIce of TexaS a&M SInce 1893

Fall 2018 –Spring 2019

(The fall and spring editor will oversee print and digital editions, and serve Aug. 13, 2018, through May 13, 2019)

Qualifications for editor-in-chief of The Battalion are: REQUIRED • Be a Texas A&M student in good standing with the University and enrolled in at least six credit hours (4 if a graduate student) during the term of office (unless fewer credits are required to graduate); • Have at least a 2.25 cumulative grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) and at least a 2.25 grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) in the semester immediately prior to the appointment, the semester of appointment and semester during the term of office. In order for this provision to be met, at least six hours (4 if a graduate student) must have been taken for that semester. PREFERRED • Have completed JOUR 301 or COMM 307 (Mass Communication, Law, and Society) or equivalent; • Have at least one year experience in a responsible editorial position on The Battalion or comparable daily college newspaper, – OR – Have at least one year editorial experience on a commercial newspaper, – OR – Have completed at least 12 hours in journalism, including JOUR 203 (Media Writing I) and JOUR 303 (Media Writing II) or JOUR 304 (Editing for the Mass Media), or equivalent.

Application forms should be picked up from and returned to Douglas Pils, Student Media General Manager, in Suite L410 of the MSC. Deadline for submitting application: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2018.


Qualifications for editor-in-chief of the Aggieland yearbook are:

REQUIRED • Be a Texas A&M student in good standing with the University and enrolled in at least six credit hours (4 if a graduate student) during the term of office (unless fewer credits are required to graduate); • Have at least a 2.25 cumulative grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) and at least a 2.25 grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) in the semester immediately prior to the appointment, the semester of appointment and semester during the term of office. In order for this provision to be met, at least six hours (4 if a graduate student) must have been taken for that semester; PREFERRED • Have completed JOUR 301 or COMM 307 (Mass Communication, Law, and Society); • Have demonstrated ability in writing, editing and graphic design through university coursework or equivalent experience; • Have at least one year experience in a responsible position on the Aggieland or comparable college yearbook.

Application forms should be picked up from and returned to Douglas Pils, Student Media General Manager, in Suite L410 of the MSC. Deadline for submitting application: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2018.



Summer 2018

(The summer editor will oversee print, digital and special editions, and will serve May 15, 2018, through Aug. 13, 2018)

Qualifications for editor-in-chief of The Battalion are: REQUIRED • Be a Texas A&M student in good standing with the University and enrolled in at least six credit hours (4 if a graduate student) during the term of office (unless fewer credits are required to graduate); • Have at least a 2.25 cumulative grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) and at least a 2.25 grade point ratio (3.25 if a graduate student) in the semester immediately prior to the appointment, the semester of appointment and semester during the term of office. In order for this provision to be met, at least six hours (4 if a graduate student) must have been taken for that semester. PREFERRED • Have completed JOUR 301 or COMM 307 (Mass Communication, Law, and Society) or equivalent; • Have at least one year experience in a responsible editorial position on The Battalion or comparable daily college newspaper, – OR – Have at least one year editorial experience on a commercial newspaper, – OR – Have completed at least 12 hours in journalism, including JOUR 203 (Media Writing I) and JOUR 303 (Media Writing II) or JOUR 304 (Editing for the Mass Media), or equivalent.

Application forms should be picked up from and returned to Douglas Pils, Student Media General Manager, in Suite L410 of the MSC. Deadline for submitting application: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

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The Battalion | 3.7.18

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Over 120 students from AADE went to a Patterson-UTI oil rig that was about 30 minutes away from Texas A&M.

Organization provides engineering experiences outside the classroom By Anthony Pangonas @apangonas


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The American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) Texas A&M student section has spent the year growing and promoting their organization to give students a chance to experience what can’t be taught in a classroom. The A&M section of AADE is part of the Houston chapter. The group works to increase networking and infield experience for students interested in the oil and gas industry. Events such as oil rig and drill factory field trips provide the latest drilling and technology techniques from experts in the field. The leadership team includes Jessica Wang, petroleum engineering senior and president, Nathan Smith, petroleum engineering senior and secretary and Patrick Smith, petroleum engineering senior and treasurer. Patrick Smith said the group’s main goal is to provide experiences which build on the course material a student already receives in their engineering major. “We want to help produce the best drilling engineers coming out of the university,” Patrick Smith said. “We want to bring in first-class, high quality technical training in the area of drilling engineering.” The group has been around campus

for over a decade, but in the past year has grown over 400 percent and provided over $170,000 in technical training for students, according to Wang. “You sit in the classrooms here on campus and you listen to the theories and you take the tests, but we are bringing in certifications like Well Control Level One or Stuck Pipe Prevention Certification to them,” Patrick Smith said. “All of this is designed to take the learning to the next level, help the students and facilitate the ability to get them hired and look different than the other petroleum engineering students at other universities.” The group’s growth is the result of every committee within it actively looking to provide for the students, according to Patrick Smith. “One of my major prerogatives is to help as many students get hired as I can,” Patrick Smith said. “Extreme ownership of our work is a core value we have here in our group and it runs everything. Everyone owns everything and the ball is in your court 100 percent of the time. It should never be a situation where ‘Oh, I got that out of my way it’s your problem now.’ It’s everybody’s focus.” Talks presented at biweekly meetings are meant to be beneficial for students at any level of their college career, according to Nathan Smith. “The talks are more technical than your normal class discussion,” Nathan Smith said. “The classwork that we provide here at A&M, though, lays a foundation for it, that if you pay atten-

tion to the lectures, the speaker will describe the more technical parts that they aim to bring to students, no matter if you are a sophomore or a Ph.D. student.” Wang said without being involved with AADE, going on trips to a factory that creates drill parts and visiting an oil rig wouldn’t have been possible, as those opportunities aren’t provided in the everyday classroom experience. “It’s invaluable to be able to bring someone out there,” Wang said. “You have these drilling professors that have worked in the industry for a good amount of time and they come in with this knowledge, and you can’t translate that experience to a student like that unless you take them out to a rig.” Patrick Smith said the group is all about giving students exposure to the industry and creating a network so every student in AADE who has the drive to work for what they want are helped. “We have a personal success story of a student that was seen in the hallway and he wasn’t even a student here yet when we met him,” Patrick Smith said. “We saw him and we walked up to him and we worked with him for the past couple years, even when he was discouraged in getting into the program. He’s now a student here with scholarships and just about to walk into his first internship. It’s a part of that culture we have and we look out for each other and it’s a family. We are doing our best to get people hired.”

Brad Morse, Editor in Chief Gracie Mock, Managing Editor Sarah East, Social Media Editor Anthony Pangonas, SciTech Editor Angel Franco, Sports Editor Luke Henkhaus, News Editor Megan Rodriguez, News Editor

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Jesse Everett — THE BATTALION

Sophomore Robert Williams and junior Admon Gilder embrace after sealing a five game win streak with a victory over Alabama in their final game of the season.

BASKETBALL CONTINUED potential of Gilder playing four consecutive days in the SEC Tournament. The junior guard played 36 minutes on Saturday. “I don’t worry about his toughness, but that’s something that we haven’t had to do. We’ve always had a day off after a game, so it’ll be new territory for him,” Kennedy said. Tyler Davis, who earned First Team All-SEC honors on Tuesday, has found immense success against the Crimson Tide in their first two meetings, notching 14 points in the first match-up and 20 points in the second, while shooting 70 percent from the field (16-of-23). The Aggies are listed as a No. 7 seed in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. ESPN Bubble Watch also has the Aggies listed as a “lock” to make the NCAA Tournament. Kennedy said he hopes the consensus that the maroon and white will have a spot in the tournament will give his team the confidence needed to loosen up and play more freely. At the same time, Kennedy said he doesn’t want his team to take the predictions for granted. “Winning definitely helps,” Kennedy said. “I don’t understand all that seeding still, we just need to try to win the games that

we have control of and see what happens.” Conversely, Alabama is listed as one of the “Last Four In” by Bubble Watch and will likely need a win over A&M to make it to the tournament. Kennedy said the Tide’s desperation will make the game physical from the first play. “I thought they played with a different level of intensity last game, playing with a different level of urgency and hopefully we’ll come out with a sense of urgency that we played with on Senior Day,” Kennedy said. The winner of Thursday’s game will play No. 16 Auburn on Friday at noon. The Tigers have a 23-6 regular season record, making them a daunting opponent; however, both A&M and Alabama have beaten them. If the Aggies win the SEC Championship, they will have won four consecutive noon games. Davis said the early afternoon tipoff allows him to enter the game with a different mindset. “I like early games so I think it will be fun,” Davis said. “I don’t like waiting all day to play.” A&M and Alabama will play on Thursday in St. Louis, with tip off slated for noon CST. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

The Battalion, March 7, 2018  
The Battalion, March 7, 2018