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Thursday, June 1, 2006
New staff, players aim to uplift basketball from current lull By Nathan Brooks The University Star
The frustration and embarrassment from a dismal 3-24 record last season still rings in the minds of almost everyone involved with Texas State basketball. It is pretty easy to understand why. Not since the 1943-1944 season was cancelled because of World War II has the basketball program been so low. The three wins were the fewest the program has had since 1945, the .111 win percentage was second lowest in school history and 24 losses marked the most in school history. However, the 2005-06 season is exactly that — history. The past cannot be changed, but the future can. On April 3, a new era of Texas State basketball began under the guidance and leadership of new head coach, Doug Davalos. “Everything needs to be evaluated in our program,” Davalos said. “Either you’re part of the problem or part of the solution.” The problem is easy to ﬁgure. Texas State has had just one winning season and won only two conference tournament games since 1999, and the last time the Bobcats advanced to the NCAA tournament was nearly one decade ago, in 1997. “There are no quick ﬁxes and we didn’t want kids to come in here and not want to work hard or plan on not graduating,” said Russell Vanlandingham, new assistant coach. “We are moving in the right direction, and we want to be at a Southland Con-
ference championship level by year three. You can put that on the front page or the back — it doesn’t matter; we truly believe that.” Another alarming problem is the number of players — or lack thereof — that the Texas State basketball program has graduated in recent years. Since 2003, nine players have left the program, transferring to other institutions to ﬁnish their collegiate careers. So what is the solution? “We have to get to know our recruits better,” Davalos said. “I think that is something that the previous staff struggled to do. However, to be fair to them, it’s not an exact science.” Another part of the solution is the process of changing the attitude and culture among a program that hit rock bottom last season. “I’m looking for well-rounded student athletes to change the atmosphere,” Davalos said. “There are three criteria that we look for in potential student athletes: They need to be good players, good students and good people.” Davalos and an almost completely new staff at Texas State have been extremely busy doing just that since arriving in early April. The Bobcats have had a large recruiting overhaul the past few months, including new members of the staff: Assistant coaches Jamon Copeland and Vanlandingham, as well as a new director of Basketball Operations in Mike Mayberry. All the new additions signify a change not only in culture and atmosphere, but in philosophy as well.
David Racino/Star feature photo A FRESH LINEUP: From left to right, assistant coaches Jamon Copeland and Russell Vanlandingham stand next to head coach Doug Davalos, assistant coach Manny Flores and Director of Basketball Operations Mike Mayberry. The new coaching staff looks forward to giving the Texas State basketball team a fresh start.
“In our system we want versatile players,” Davalos said. “We want an up-tempo system with a strength-in-numbers mentality. The more versatile players we have the better we’ll be.” The Bobcats’ lone signee during the 2005 fall signing period, Antoine Sam, ﬁts the mold the staff is looking for when he joins the Bobcats this fall. This spring, Sam led the Cypress Community Christian School to its second of back-to-back TAAPS Class 4A State Championship. Sam was named ﬁrst-team allstate and will play in the TAAPS All-Star Game on June 3 in San Antonio after averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game as a senior at the Houston private school. “One thing I liked about him is his versatility,” Davalos said. “He’s a 6-foot-5 combination
guard, but we look at him as a point guard. There may be times when he needs to slide over to the two spot, but he’s more than capable of handling that.” The Bobcats announced the signing of Collin County Community College sophomore forward Matt Fullenwider on April 26. The Flower Mound native was an all-region selection after averaging 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Cougars last season. Two weeks later, Davalos added guard Brent Holder from Blinn College, who led the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIV in three-point shooting percentage — 46 percent. The Freeport, Ill. native averaged 11.3 points and 2.3 rebounds for the Buccaneers last season. “We want character student athletes, and we feel we accomplished that goal,” Davalos said. “Brent and Matt never had anything handed to them. They are overachievers and really good players who had to work their tails off to get where they are.” Texas State landed NJCAA Division III Player of the Year and National Tournament MVP, Chris Agwumaro, on May 16. Agwumaro averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the North Lake College last season, and in addition to his other
accolades was named ﬁrst team all-America, all-region and the Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year. “Chris is the complete package. At 6-foot-5-inches, he’s a powerful three player who is very versatile, can put the ball on the ﬂoor, score and is a physical defender,” Davalos said. “He’s a wonderful addition and tremendous young man from a great family. Most importantly, he’s going to school to get a degree and wants to be a Bobcat.” Texas State announced on May 17 the signing of guard Brian Hill, a ﬁrst-team selection and the mvp of NJAAC Region IX. At Hamilton College, the sophomore averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals, ranking among the top 25 in every individual statistical category in NJAAC Division II. “Brian Hill is a really big-time pickup,” Vanlandingham said. “This is no slight to the other signees, but I feel he is the most talented of all the recruits. He’s an older and more mature player and can really play the 1, 2 or 3 spots on the ﬂoor.” Texas State’s ﬁnal pickup at press time was Antwon Williams of Connally High School. As a two-sport star at Pﬂugerville, he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds a game en route to a district mvp nod.
The Bobcats could also add Coastal Georgia Community College guard Brent Benson. Benson averaged 22.7 points per game on 40.4 percent shooting from three-point range. He led the conference with 157 threepointers made and was named to the NJCAA all-region team in 2004-05 and 2005-06. “Brent is a tremendous player and young man, but right now we are waiting to see if he will be eligible because there are some eligibility issues,” Davalos said. Changes are abundant with the Texas State basketball program as there usually are, coming off a disappointing season and a coaching move, but one thing is certain: The new coaching staff is up to the task. “It’s a challenge, but our goal is to have a team — not a group of individuals,” Davalos said. “We want players who will work together, accept roles and put in the effort and consistency that will be the staple of this program.” The one mainstay from the previous staff and former Texas State guard, Manny Flores, summed up the new look of the Bobcat program. “We are just trying to ﬁt all the pieces of the puzzle together, but the tone is different and the allaround excitement is different (under Davalos),” Flores said.
Thursday, June 1, 2006 By Chris Boehm Sports Editor
en Kvanli has taken his act on the road — or river, to be accurate. The local San Marcos kayaker and former Olympian set off for Athens on May 22, meeting up with C-2 teammate and longtime friend Shaun Smith for the ﬁrst of three stops in Europe that comprise the World Cup. Currently, Kvanli is in Munich and will also race at the Olympic course in Barcelona. “It’s inspirational and a lot of fun. These courses they’ve built are beautiful,” Kvanli said. “Athens will be new to me. I was in school (at Texas State) in 2003 when it was open, but I’ve competed on the others.” Kvanli, who works at the local Power Olympic Outdoor Center off Interstate 35, recently competed in the National Team Trials, held this year in Southbend, Ind. Kvanli and Smith, as C-2 tandem canoe competitors, ﬁnished ﬁrst in two of the three days of racing to qualify for the World Cup. “This is kind of a new team,” Kvanli said. “Shaun and I don’t have any international competition, but he’s a better partner than I’ve ever had.” Kvanli and wife Michelle Clements had recently been raising money to fund his trip to Europe, which cost an estimated $3,000. “We do a lot of programs here, and all proceeds go to supporting athletes in training,” Clements said. “This year we knew about (the World Cup) ahead of time, so we tried to get something together.” The USA Canoe and Kayak committee cut funding for C-2 racing following Kvanli’s failure to compete in the World Cup last year, something Kvanli hopes will resolve itself with his participation this summer. “USACK tries to do as much as they can, but they’re going to fund their highest-ranking boats,” Clements said. “Last year, they saw that they didn’t send a C-2, so they didn’t pay for one.” Clements, who also runs the OOC, said funding is usually split in half between the committee and the team itself — in this case Red River Racing, which Kvanli and others race under in various events. “When they travel, they of course are under USA. That trumps anything else,” Clements said. “But Red River is what we race under for nationals, as well as with our junior Olympians.”
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The team has also been helped by photographer Patrick Brown and graphic designer David Mouring, who are friends of Kvanli. Brown has traveled with Kvanly and Clements to Mexico on occasion, while Mouring has made efforts to land corporate sponsors. “They’ve made it their mission to get me over there,” Kvanli said. “Between them and my wife, I feel like I’m on the wings of eagles. I want to do this for myself ,but for them as well.” Kvanli hopes this year’s World Cup marks the beginning of the road back to the Summer Olympics, where he raced men’s kayak during the 1996 games in Atlanta. “It’s funny because in ’96, I was the second-youngest kayaker, but now I’d probably be one of the oldest,” Kvanli said. “But the fact is, in this sport, the water is more powerful than you; it equalizes everyone. If you know the water, you can be the best, regardless of body type or anything else.” Both he and Clements, who missed qualifying for this year’s World Cup by one place, have their sights set on the 2008 games in Beijing. “Back then, my family was surprised I was going. My mom had only seen one race before that, and the next thing you know she’s watching me from the Olympics,” Kvanli said. “I was about 20 years old at the time and living alone in the mountains, but now I’m just glad to share my experience with the family and community.” The Texas State graduate Photo Courtesy of Patrick Cavan Brown moved to C-2 following a changing of the guard within the divi- WORLDLY PLANS: Texas State graduate Ben Kvanli recently left for Europe on May 22 to compete in the World Cup Kayaking competitions. Kvanli, a former Olympian, hopes to pull out a victory for himself as well as his close supporters that helped him get there. sion. “(Kvanli and Smith) trained individually in slalom racing at ﬁrst, and they had a lot of the same trainers,” Clements said. “Then some C-2 teams retired, so they thought, ‘why not.’” Smith can, in part, lay claim to his partner’s interest and success in the sport. It was his dad who, years ago, ﬁrst introduced a young Kvanli to canoeing. “Shaun’s father knew someone from Scotland, and we all paddled the Comal River in New Braunfels,” Kvanli said. “A week later, I bought a boat, and I’ve been unstoppable since.”
Local athlete kayaks through Europe in World Cup
For more info on Kvanli or the OOC, go to redriverracing. org. Clements said she also hopes to have Kvanli document his trip via blog, linked to the team’s Web site.
Aaron Smith/Star photo AN EARLY START: San Marcos resident Ben Kvanli, seen in front, leads by example during his kayaking class on Sunday morning. Kvanli, an instructor at the San Marcos Olympic Outdoor Center, will be competing in the World Cup Kayaking races in Europe over the next few weeks.
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Senior softball players take awards on and off the field By Carl Harper The University Star The College Sports Information Directors of America recognized seniors Amy Hromadka and Katie Ann Trahan from the Texas State softball team as part of the 2006 Academic All-District team on May 11. Texas State was the only school in the Southland Conference to earn district honors. Not only was Trahan named the Southland Conference 2006 Player and Pitcher of the year, but this was also her second time in her collegiate career to be named to the CoSIDA AllDistrict team. Her ﬁrst time came after her sophomore season. “Earning this honor capped things off for my career. It’s an additional honor that I could give back to the program,” Trahan said. “It’s also a big deal to me because not many people can play a collegiate sport and keep their grades up. My parents have always stressed it as an important part of my life.” Trahan said that she plans on staying at Texas State for another year to ﬁnish her teaching certiﬁcate and work with the Bobcat pitching staff next season. The senior had a remarkable season on the mound for the Bobcats, as she led the SLC in ERA at 1.45 and in strikeouts with 270, ﬁnishing with 21 wins. She ended her Texas State career
with two school records: Her 29 home runs easily knocked off the previous record of 18, and her 353 strikeouts last year also sits atop the all-time list. As her offensive threats in the batters’ box and her dominant pitching style on the mound give her fame in the athletic program, she currently has a 3.80 cumulative GPA as an English major and was a recipient of the Oak Farm Dairy “Cream of the Crop” award for maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA as a senior. “She had a great four years academically. Anyone who can ﬁnish with that strong of a GPA and compete well on the ﬁeld will be successful in anything she decides to do,” Coach Ricci Woodard said. “It is going to be huge to lose her leadership from this program.” Hromadka kept up with Trahan during the academic year, joining her as a “Cream of the Crop” recipient and held onto a 3.82 GPA as Biology major. “I am very excited about achieving this honor. I wanted to be the best I could as a senior and wanted to show myself that I could handle both,” Hromadka said. “Transferring from a junior college, I had hopes of proving myself to the school that I could perform well on and off the ﬁeld. My expectations for myself were high and I just recently found out that I made a 4.0 GPA this semester so I’m even happier now.”
arning this honor capped things off for my career. It’s an additional honor that I could give back to the program.” — Katie Ann Trahan, Bobcat pitcher
In a Bobcat uniform, she ranked second on the team in batting average at .347 and ﬁnished ﬁrst in hits and runs with 61 and 38, respectively. The ﬁrst-team all-conference selection also reached base safely in 42 of 56 games. “Coming from Temple Junior College, she has done a great job for us,” Woodard said. “She has the ability to be a great leader while taking care of business on and off the ﬁeld.” The All-District VI team consists of Division 1-A and Division 1-AA student-athletes from schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. As a ﬁrst-team selection in 2006, both Trahan and Hromadka will be placed on the ballot for academic allAmerica honors.
Monty Marion/Star ﬁle photos PLAYING TWO FIELDS: Bobcat softball seniors Katie Ann Trahan, left, and Amy Hrmodka, seen here during last season, were recently named to the 2006 Academic All-District team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Trahan held the most strikeouts in the Southland Conference while maintaining a 3.80 GPA along with Hromadka, who led the team in hits and runs while maintaining a 3.82 GPA.
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Danny Rodriguez/Star ﬁle photo WELL PLAYED: Sophomore shortstop Alex Newton, seen during the Bobcats’ 15-1 win over College of Charleston on March 3, was recently named to the Southland Conference all-tournament team for her exemplary performance in the tournament.
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2006 season ranks high in Texas State history By Carl Harper The University Star With the end of the semester came the conclusion of Bobcat softball, which bowed out of the Southland Conference tournament following a 3-1 loss to Texas-Arlington on championship day. After being swept in a twogame series at Louisiana-Monroe to end the regular season, the Bobcats traveled back to Texas and revealed no signs of weakness as they beat Northwestern State 3-1 in the ﬁrst game of the tournament, held in Natchitoches, La., May 5 through 7. Senior pitcher Katie Ann Trahan had a season-high 14 strikeouts in the circle to lead the Bobcats to victory. Freshman shortstop Alex Newton drew ﬁrst blood against the Demons by sending a solo shot to left ﬁeld in the second inning. Newton hit .500 for the tournament with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. “I felt that I was really focused in the tournament,” Newton said. “My hitting came along and I was just having fun and letting things happen.” The Bobcats tacked on runs in the third and fourth innings with an RBI double from Kristin Gunter and a double steal by Jill Kloesel and Newton. In the second game of the
Monty Marion/Star ﬁle photo FULL CONTACT: Senior ﬁrst baseman Kristin Gunter, seen during the Bobcats’ 1-1 series against Houston on April 5, helped the bobcats to a 34-22 overall season while leading the team in homeruns with 11. Gunter was recently named to the Southland Conference all-tournament team along with fellow Bobcats Alex Newton and Amy Hromadka.
tournament, Texas State found itself in a slug match against UTA that consisted of a series of two-run home runs from both teams. The Mavericks, who went on to lose to TexasSan Antonio in the conference ﬁnals, rallied from down 4-2 through three-and-a-half innings of play to win 5-4. The Mavs struck in the ﬁrst frame with a two-run home run from Courtni Anderson, only to be answered by two-run shots by Gunter and Ali McCormack in the third and fourth innings, respectively. In the bottom half of the fourth, UTA’s Autumn Petrino tied the game on a two-run dinger, with Jenna Fortune coming through in the ﬁfth with the game-winning RBI, scoring Laura Jones from third. With the loss to UTA, Texas State was forced to play again that day and came out strong in the elimination game against Nicholls State with a clutch, 92 victory. Gunter hit the ﬁrst grand slam of her career in the second inning to ignite the Bobcats’ offensive performance. The team was on cruise control from there on out as eight different Bobcats came together for 12 hits, including a tworun shot by Karen Taylor in the third inning. Ryan Kos, Jetta Weinheimer, Gunter and Newton each had multi-hit performances. Pitcher Sarah Lancour improved her season record to 13-10, giving up two runs on ﬁve hits and seven strikeouts. “They will get the chance next year and Lancour will rise up to the competition,” Trahan said. “She will continue to get better and better as each game comes.” On championship Sunday, the Bobcats sought revenge against UTA, but the Mavs once again rounded the bases in the ﬁrst inning, as Dee Jay Nelson hit a two-out, solo home run to put them on top 1-0. Texas State had several missed opportunities to score in the game, the biggest coming in the third inning. “We played well the entire week and left everything out on the ﬁeld after each game,” Coach Ricci Woodard said. “We didn’t get key hits, but that’s part of the game.”
The team had the bases juiced with Gunter at the plate, ready to swing away for her second slam of the week, but ended up being one of 11 Bobcats struck out by Jill Garro, ending Texas State’s threat. In the sixth, Amy Hromadka tied the game at one, scoring from second on a Newton single. A scoreless seventh forced an extra inning, as Fortune delivered yet again against the Bobcats, grabbing a 3-1 win for UTA on a two-RBI double to right center. Texas State concluded the 2006 campaign 34-22 and 185 in SLC play. The conference record marks the ﬁfth best in school history while the 34-win ranks seventh all-time. “It was a disappointing end to the year because we had high expectations for the team,” Trahan said. “We believed we were still going to be playing at the end of May and into June.” Gunter, Hromadka and Newton were named to the all-tournament team for their performances. Gunter ﬁnished her ﬁnal season as a collegiate athlete by leading the team with a .352 batting average, 12 doubles, 42 RBIs, 11 home runs and 101 total bases. Hromadka batted .429 in the tournament, tallying seven total bases while going 3-3 in steal attempts. She ﬁnished her senior season fourth in the SLC in hits with 61 and runs with 38, ranking second on the team in batting average at .347. “I power slapped, bunted and hit the ball well this year and that’s why I was successful,” Hromadka said. “Even when I would struggle at the plate, I would go to my slapping game. As long as I could put the ball in play I knew I would be capable of running out the throw.” Newton led the freshman class with a .282 batting average, 49 hits, 26 RBI and 78 total bases. Along with her outstanding offensive numbers came defensive plays that kept the Bobcats energized all season. “She is going to help keep this a dominant program. She’s a competitor and wants to win every time she takes the ﬁeld,” Woodard said of Newton. “That’s what we expect here at Texas State.”
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Bobcat pitcher takes long Outfielder considers pro road to the mound ball over college diploma By Nathan Brooks The University Star At the tender age of eight, the dreams of Bobcats ace Scott Moore began on the youth baseball ﬁelds of Houston, but he never imagined that 14 years later he would be where he is today. “I was a basketball guy when I was younger,” Moore said. “I was always a little bit bigger than the other guys, but I guess I ended up alright.” Moore has been the man on the mound for the Bobcats this season, compiling a 9-4 record with a 3.26 ERA in 15 starts. The senior also earned All-Southland Conference second-team honors — not bad for a someone who preferred jump shots to strikeouts while growing up. Despite his recent success on the hill for Texas State, the road to baseball glory has not been the easiest. It was not until his junior year in high school that Moore received a scholarship offer to Wharton County Junior College after helping lead Sharpstown to a bi-district Championship in 2001. After graduating, Moore headed off to Wharton, a small town in southeast Texas, in hopes of continuing the dreams that began years ago on the sandlots of Houston. At Wharton County, Moore compiled a 21-5 record in two seasons, including a perfect 130 sophomore campaign with a 2.67 ERA and 117 strikeouts, earning him All-American, AllRegion and Conference Pitcher of the Year honors. He then packed up his bags again and headed to San Marcos to join Ty Harrington and the Bobcats at Texas State. After an up-and-down junior season, Moore set his eyes on the record book as a senior, as he ﬁnished the regular season with 110 strikeouts, becoming the ﬁrst Bobcat to top the century mark since Bobby Sawicki in 2002. Blake Williams set the all-time mark in 2000, with 127 strikeouts. “It means a lot anytime you can break a record,” Moore said.
By Chris Boehm The University Star
’m really proud to take the ball every Friday because it’s an important job. I came in with the intent this season to be that guy.” — Scott Moore Bobcat pitcher
“It’s a good achievement to reach. However, if it meant that I didn’t strike anyone else out the rest of the year to be champions, I’d take that any day over an individual record.” This spring’s consistency marks a vastly different way Moore ended the 2005 season. “I started out really well last year, winning my ﬁrst four games out of the bullpen,” Moore said. “But I struggled when I moved into the rotation and ended up losing my last six starts.” At the beginning of the season no one knew who was going to emerge as the “ace” of the staff, only that the Bobcats were returning a slew of veteran pitchers who logged signiﬁcant innings the year before, Moore being one of them. It didn’t take long for Moore to break away as the leader for the coveted Friday starter role after tossing seven shutout innings and striking out eight batters for his ﬁrst win of the season, against New Mexico on Feb. 10. Ever since, the spot has been his. “I’m really proud to take the ball every Friday, because it’s an important job,” Moore said. “I came in with the intent this season to be that guy.” Moore’s ability to anchor the rotation this year has caught the eyes of the coaching staff, including Harrington’s. “Friday night is a big game,” Harrington said. “It gets everything started and Scott gives us a
University Star ﬁle photo chance every single time he takes the mound.” So what has happened from last season to this season, that Moore has gone from not knowing where he ﬁts into the rotation to being the anchor of the Bobcat staff? “Scott has worked really hard and I’m proud of his progress, because he has matured a lot,” Harrington. “He did not have a lot of success last season (as a starter), but he’s been great. He didn’t know how to ﬁght through the rough spots last year, but now he is able to make the pitch that changes the inning.” It’s been a long journey for Moore, but in the end the dream that began 14 years ago is still alive. Right now it is not certain whether Moore is being targeted as a prospect for the upcoming Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, but after an impressive senior season, the Bobcats hurler is on the radar and has opened possibilities of playing at the next level. “That would be the best thing that has ever happened to me, concerning sports,” Moore said. “It’s a lifelong dream to be drafted, but if it happens or if it doesn’t, I know that I gave it my best and that’s all that matters to me.”
Luke Cannon was honored May 11 as a member of the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI second team for baseball, but it may be the senior’s last such award for some time. Cannon, having completed his last year of eligibility for the Bobcats, holds a 3.38 GPA as an exercise and sports science major, but still has about a year of school to graduate. “I lost some hours when I transferred (from North Central Texas College last fall),” Cannon said. “This is an honor. It’s hard to get into the classroom as much, as much as we are on the road. It’s something to be proud of as an athlete.” An outﬁelder for Texas State the past two seasons, Cannon may hold off on his diploma should he be drafted by a Major League ball club later this month, following a regular season where he led the Southland Conference in home runs, with 16. “It’s exciting — being told I have a chance to continue my baseball career in the minors,” Cannon said. “I’ve spoken to a few teams, such as the Blue Jays and Washington, as well as a few other teams through letters, telling me I have a chance, if not with them then with another club.” Cannon’s coach, Ty Harrington, feels extending his career is a realistic option following one quality season at Division I baseball. “He’ll get a chance to play professional ball,” Harrington said. “He’s earned that right. I’d be shocked if it didn’t work out for him, but it will.” Cannon was one of two Bobcats to earn All-Conference ﬁrst-team honors, leading his club in batting average, runs, triples, home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage. The offensive production sits a far cry from the 2005 campaign. “I’m not going to lie. I was down and disappointed with myself last year,” Cannon said. “But I wouldn’t take it back. I learned a lot from the coaches
and it all led up to this year. You just chalk it up to experience.” After coming over from junior college, the left-handed outﬁelder went through a disappointing ﬁrst season in San Marcos, hitting just .228 while battling various injuries. “I saw his efforts last year, but physically, he could just not repeat things,” Harrington said. “You could see him grimacing after every swing, but now he’s healthy. The bat travels freely through the zone and he’s the guy we thought he’d be.” After getting healthy over last summer and reworking his swing, Cannon emerged this season to lead the Bobcat attack after initially watching from the dugout. He registered just one at-bat through the team’s ﬁrst four games. “I just kept working every day in practice, so I could do my best if I got a shot,” Cannon said. “I wasn’t going to be miserable my senior year — my last year.” That chance came in a trip to Houston for the Rice Invitational, where a ninth-inning grand slam in the second game of the tournament, against St. John’s, marked the beginning of an 18-game hitting streak. “At one point, we weren’t playing him against lefties, but he hit that slam in the Rice tournament and I don’t think he’s been out of the lineup since,” Harrington said. “At that point, I decided just to leave him in there, and he’s improved so much.” Not coincidentally, Cannon emerged from the fourspot about the same time Texas State began to solve some of its offensive problems. During the hitting streak, the Bobcats scored at least six runs a game seven times and topped 10 twice. “It absolutely (correlated with the team’s offensive improvement),”
Harrington said. “The guy carried us for a while. When you have a hitter that anchors the middle, the opposing team has to start thinking about him ﬁve hitters ahead of time, because he energizes the whole lineup.” Cannon got his start at Crandall High School, earning team MVP honors in both baseball and football his senior year. Both his mother and father work as teachers — a point Harrington feels helped prepare the outﬁelder for life away from the ballpark. “He comes from an environment of educators,” Harrington said. “It shows what kind of person he wants to become. It’s hard, with the time spent out here, but you know he’s going to have success outside of his baseball career.” Even so, Cannon said, during this time of year a player cannot help but put his athletic career before academics and, if he has his way, will be able to do so for a long time. “I’m probably going to put school on the backburner (if drafted),” Cannon said. “You can always go back to school, but the chance to play baseball doesn’t come that often.”
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Bobcat grass to be SLC soccer stage By Chris Boehm The University Star Bobcat soccer will count on its grass to help “pave” the way to its own championship this year. Just two years removed from a Southland Conference championship, Texas State will host the big stage this season on what defender/midﬁelder Ashley Brown called the best facility in the league. “The thing with our ﬁeld is that we keep our grass very short,” Brown said. “And where other teams may be faster, we play a faster game. So last year we weren’t used to going to all these ﬁelds with long grass. At home, we won’t get slowed down and will be able to keep other teams on their heels.” Texas State released in May its schedule for the upcoming 2006 season, which includes nine regular season home dates, compared to just ﬁve a season ago. “I hope it makes a huge difference,” Coach Kat Conner said. “You have your friends and family out there, so it’s more fun. There’s also a pride factor — you don’t want to lose in front of them, so hopefully we’re more motivated to win.” Texas State has hosted the conference just one other year, in 2001. This season will mark the ﬁrst time the Bobcats secured a bid to host. As in 2001, they were awarded the honor by way of regular season record. “(The SLC) wants to try and spread it around,” Conner said of the eight-team ﬁeld. “It’s a ﬁnancial bid, and we wanted to show we have the talent to win it here.” Texas State ﬁnished third last season in a year hampered by injuries — ending with a 910 overall mark. The Bobcats played much of the schedule without 2004’s freshman and player of the year, Danielle Holloway, who never returned from an ACL tear in a Sept. 2 loss to Texas-El Paso. Holloway will not return to the team this season for reasons beyond her injury.
hese seniors have been through three years together and provided a great backbone for us to succeed. The difference in leadership and maturity is what really excites me.” — Kat Conner Soccer coach
“Dani was obviously pure talent,” Brown said. “But you have to have the drive and motivation as well. That’s why you can have a less-talented player be just as good if they are more motivated. I’m not sure that was the case, but last year the team lacked unity, and that makes it harder to come back.” Conner and company hope this year’s team brings two things to the mix that the 2005 squad lacked: Speed and leadership. After playing with just one senior last season, this group now features 10. “These seniors have been through three years together and provided a great backbone for us to succeed,” Conner said. “The difference in leadership and maturity is what really excites me.” The team hopes seven new recruits will supply the needed speed, led by two freshman forwards from southeast Texas: Lindsay Tippit from Deer Park and La Porte’s Nicole Kinnard. “Lindsay and Nicole are extremely fast and powerful, they can do the same things as Dani,” Conner said. “It will be like having two Danielles.” With only ﬁve home contests in 2005, the Bobcats were on
the road for six weeks at one point, leading some to notice problems with team chemistry. “When we went on the road for six weeks, that was a killer,” Conner said. “That just led to a lot of bickering and people getting on each other’s nerves.” That should not be a problem this year, as the new schedule features 10 home games, including the exhibition opener against St. Mary’s. Counting the exhibition, the Bobcats open with four straight athome games before traveling once again to face perennial soccer giant UTEP. The Miners ﬁnished 20-4-1 in 2005, earning the school’s ﬁrst NCAA berth and advancing to the second round with a 3-2 win over Texas. “Last year deﬁnitely toughened us up and it was good to go through that. I think of it as a bonding experience,” senior midﬁelder Delayna Spivey said. “Two years ago, we were able to beat UTEP at their ﬁeld and I think we should do the same this year.” Texas State also plays Rice and Houston before opening conference in San Antonio to face the UTSA Roadrunners. Spivey said the team is eager to
ﬁnally face the Owls, who beat Texas-El Paso 3-0 last year to win the Conference USA championship. “Playing these tougher (nonconference) teams shows us how much speed is really out there,” Brown said. “That’s what we’ve been lacking, but hopefully some of these newcomers can change that.” THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Finance junior Jerelyn Lemmie, seen during a game on October 16 2005, goes after the ball during one of the Bobcats’ ﬁve home games last season. With the Bobcats’ upcoming season featuring ten games in San Marcos, the team hopes to capitalize on their home ﬁeld advantage.
Monty Marion/Star photo
Thursday, June 1, 2006
The University Star - Page D9
Looking back on Bobcat track
Players receive honors for performance at SLC Championship By Carl Harper The University Star
lot better,” Melin said. “I didn’t practice shot put that much prior to (the championship). The Bobcats put on a show I think the team will do better at the Southland Conference next season. Championship in Arlington, Senior Chris Demerson, who as there were several athletes is coming off his best season, who placed in the top eight of placed fourth in the long jump their events and earned All-SLC with a regional-qualifying mark honors. of 7.76 meters. Texas State qualiﬁed 16 athMay 15 was the last day of letes for the Midwest Regional, the weekend championship, held on May 26 and 27 in Ausand it was when Texas State tin. Leading the way was junior delivered 12 All-SLC perforCamilla Davis, the top point mances. Stultz became the scorer for the entire SLC ﬁeld. ﬁrst Texas State woman’s dis“It was a very rewarding cus champion, with a throw of weekend. I didn’t realize how 49.11 meters. things were unfolding until the Iwuchukwu captured the end of the meet,” Davis said. triple-jump title for the second “I think my performance was time in three years, having won overdue.” the event back in 2004. This The men’s team came in ﬁfth season, she won the event with place with 71 points and the a jump of 12.82 meters. The women ﬁnished second with mark is the longest recorded by Courtesy of UTA Media Relations an SLC athlete this year. 135. Sam Houston State won the titles for both sides, as the OVER LEAPS AND BOUNDS: “It felt like a regular practice men scored 169 points to go Senior Chris Demerson jumped his jump. It actually seemed efwith 164 for the women. fortless and I was surprised at way into fourth place with a distance “We did well this weekend how well it was,” Iwuchukwu of 7.76 meters during the May 13-15 and I am happy and pleased,” said. “I’m getting better and assistant coach Blaine Wiley Southland Conference Champibetter and just need to remain said. “I wanted us to take a step onships held at Texas-Arlington. patient. I believe all the times forward and be fourth or ﬁfth, Sixteen Texas State track members that I scratched have taught me and we ﬁnished ﬁfth, which is qualiﬁed for the Midwest Regional that.” an improvement from last sea- Meet, held May 19 and 20. Along with Iwuchukwu’s son.” ﬁrst place ﬁnish, Tamequa The meet started on May Poole placed third with a jump 13, with senior Sarah Stultz and for the Bobcats by placing ﬁfth of 12.12 meters, while Katya freshman Robert Melin winning in the men’s 10,000-meter, ﬁn- Kostetskaya landed in ﬁfth place the women’s and men’s hammer ishing in 32:54.59. at 12.02 meters. throw on record performances. On the second day, Davis beKostetskaya, later in the day, Stultz, named this year’s Out- gan her breakout performance defended her 2005 title in the standing Field Performer by by winning the women’s long 400 meters by winning it with league coaches, defended her jump with a mark of 6.27 me- a time of 58:05. She also helped 2005 title with a throw of 55.69 ters and qualifying in the 100- the 4x400 meter relay team, meters and Melin won his ﬁrst meter preliminaries with a time consisting of herself, Courtney SLC event with a throw of 54.21 of 11:27. Her jump marked the Baker, Liudmila Litvinova and meters. third-best in school history. Courney Fischer, to a ﬁrst-place “I thought the team fought “I’m so proud of my team; they ﬁnish with a time of 3:41.15. On hard, and we didn’t catch all the have done great,” senior Jacque the men’s side, the 4x400 relay breaks, but the team did great,” Iwuchukwu said. “Camilla did a team of Errol Harris, Jack HigWiley said. “We have laid a good great job to step up in her upper- ginbotham, John Akinloyle and foundation for next season.” classman role.” Robert Gill ﬁnished in second Yuliya Stashkiv posted a secSophomore Kemuel Morales with a time of 3:11.07. ond-place ﬁnish in the women’s won the shot put competition Britni Lawrence jumped 3.80 10,000-meter with a time of with a regional-qualifying throw meters in the women’s pole vault, 37 minutes and 19.97 seconds, of 17.77 meters and Melin placed good for second place. while teammate Tenley Deter- sixth in his second event with a “After I jumped 3.80, my foot man placed fourth at 37:41.97. mark of 16.04. began to hurt again,” Lawrence Chris Vidrine also scored points “I should have performed a said. “I have only jumped once in
the last couple of weeks, so I am pleased that I got second place.” Melin entered his third event during the last day, the discus, and ﬁnished third with a throw of 51.66 meters. “I need to stay calmer while throwing the discus,” Melin said. In running, Stashkiv earned her second All-SLC honor of the meet by ﬁnishing second in the women’s 1,500 meters with a time of 4:38.47. Litvinova qualiﬁed for the Midwest Regional in the women’s 400 meters by ﬁnishing fourth at 54:56, while Harris clocked in at 47:19 for the men’s 400 meters. Davis kept her brilliant weekend going by ﬁnishing second in the 100-meter ﬁnals with a time of 11:61 and fourth-place in the 200 meters at 24:02. “I am very proud of my team for doing great,” Davis said. “I think we have gained conﬁdence for next season.”
Courtesy of UTA Media Relations PULLING AHEAD: Senior sprinter John Akinloye helped the men’s 400-meter relay team to a second place ﬁnish with a time of 3 minutes, 11.07 seconds. Overall, the men’s team placed fourth, while the women’s team placed second.
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Thursday, June 1, 2006
Tons of fun for everyone Parks and Recreation provides entertaining programs from bellydancing to tai chi By Chris Boehm The University Star With the summer heat kicking into high gear, so to is the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department, offering a variety of activities to its residents. Aerobics: The Activity Center offers various forms of exercises throughout the week at all times. Classes are available for indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, body sculpting, cardio workouts and muscle conditioning. Beginner Belly Dancing: Instructor Virginia Davis teaches those who are interested how to shake with the best in classes designated for ages 12 and up. Located at the Activity Center, upcoming dates include Tuesdays from June 6 to Aug. 15. Classes cost $50 for a 10-week session or $5 per class. Summer Volleyball League: Adult volleyball leagues will
be registering for various levels of competition with a June 7 deadline. Leagues include men’s, women’s, co-rec and 35and-older. Located at the Activity Center, entrance fees start at $100. Summer Fun Program: Children ages 6 to 13 are welcome to take part in weekly ﬁeld trips and activities, including bowling, swimming and movies. The program operates Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The SMPARD states this is for recreation only and not a licensed daycare program. San Marcos Nature Center: The nature center is now open daily, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Special events are planned for the summer. For more information call (512) 393-8448. Tai Chi for Senior Citizens: Tai Chi is a low-impact workout that has been practiced for
thousands of years, designed to increase health through stimulation circulation, strength and improved balance. Its features make it beneﬁcial for those with arthritis or other physical limitations. Located at the Activity Center, the program is ongoing on Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Swimming Lessons: Lessons are available for various experience levels, from 6-month-old children to adults, as well as lifeguard certiﬁcation. Classes range from $25 to $35, with the exception of lifeguard certiﬁcations, which cost $120. For more information or a complete list of activities, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (512) 393-8400, or the Activity Center at (512) 393-8280. Spring/summer activity guides can also be picked up at the SMPARD ofﬁce.
Monty Marion/Star Photo BECOMING BECKHAM: Members of the Pythons and Boas, teams in the Snake League indoor soccer program, chase down the ball during the season’s opening game at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the San Marcos Activity Center. The San Marcos Activity Center provides numerous activities and sports for varied age levels.
Thursday, June 1, 2006
CONTEMPLATING THE Predictions, teams detailed in The Star’s guide to the world-premier soccer match By David Saleh Rauf The University Star Every four years, the world’s most popular sport is showcased on the biggest stage, uniting international diplomats, hooligans and samba-dancing Brazilians as they celebrate one common cause. For one month — June 9 to July 9 — hundreds of millions of fans worldwide will live the emotion and passion of something greater than a game — an event that transcends cultural, ethnic and geographic borders — the 2006 FIFA World Cup. With 32 teams, 64 games and 5, 760 minutes of pure soccer bliss, here a rundown of what to expect: The Behemoths Traditionally, the World Cup has been dominated by a few elite teams. In the 76-year history of the tournament, only seven different nations have ever hoisted the trophy; six of them will be competing in the 2006 tournament. Brazil The ﬁve-time World Cup champions are heavily favored to win their sixth title. Reigning FIFA player of the year, Ronaldinho Gaucho, is considered
among the greatest soccer players of our generation, and Gaucho is motivated to once again silence critics with another “Golden Boot” performance. Brazil will dance circles around its ﬁrstround competition, scoring an ungodly amount of goals in the process. Germany German soccer has been on a steady decline since it ﬁnished second in the 2002 World Cup; the national team was recently thrashed 4-1 by Italy in what is now being dubbed as the Florence Fiasco. The host nation does have two things working in its favor: home-ﬁeld advantage and a relatively easy ﬁrst round group. Capitalizing on its home-ﬁeld advantage, Germany will cruise out of the ﬁrst round like a Volkswagen down the Autobahn.
The English squad will have its hands full in the ﬁrst round — Sweden and Paraguay are tough competition. Manchester United striker and national team leader Wayne Rooney is still recovering from a broken bone in his right foot. If he recovers in time and is able to make an impact, England’s chances of winning its ﬁrst round group will improve dramatically. Argentina
A nation steeped in soccer tradition, the Argentines can be described as supreme technicians of fútbol. However, Argentina’s performance in the 2002 World Cup can be summed up in one word: pitiful. The perennial favorites were ousted in the ﬁrst round, suffering a crushing loss to archrival England in the process. The Argentines ﬁnd themselves, once again, immersed in one of the toughest ﬁrst-round groups and will rely heavily on playmakers
Juan Roman Riquleme and Carlos Tevez. Argentina has enough talent and depth in its roster to go a long way in the tournament. France
The only thing more pitiful than Argentina’s performance in the last World Cup was France’s lack thereof. After winning the title in 1998, les Bleus failed to score a single goal in the 2002 — losing every game. An easy ﬁrst-round draw should propel the French into the next stage with few problems. If the French want to advance beyond the second round, Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry will have to play brilliant soccer, regaining their swagger and poise from 1998. Italy The Italians will be looking to rebound after its stunning second-round loss to South Korea in 2002. Italy’s best player, Francesco Totti, is recovering from an ankle injury just in time for the
The University Star - Page D11 World Cup. The ﬁrst round, however, will prove to be a competitive draw. The Azurri’s offensive ﬁrepower should help them advance well beyond the second round of the tournament. Group(s) of Death
In the ﬁrst round of tournament play, teams are divided into eight groups. Typically, the group with highest level of competition is dubbed the group of death, but this year’s tournament provides two such divisions. Group E: U.S.A. Italy, Czech Republic and Ghana
This is the only group with three teams in the top 12 of the World FIFA rankings; the Czech Republic is No. 2 and Italy ranks 12th. USA Manager Bruce Arena has assembled the ﬁnest squad in the history of American soccer and expectations going into this World Cup are sky-high. The U.S.A. is currently No. 5 in the world, but do not be fooled by the over-inﬂated ranking. Anytime the Americans step on the big stage with the soccer elite, they get put in their place, as demonstrated in March, following a 4-1 pounding from the Germans. Then there is Ghana. The Black Stars have won the CAF/African Cup of National Champions four times and could prove to be the biggest surprise of the tournament.
Who advances: Italy and U.S.A. Group C: Argentina, the Netherlands, Serbia & Montenegro and the Ivory Coast All the elements of a great ﬁrst-round group are present: a South American giant, a European powerhouse and a true African wildcard. Argentina and the Netherlands are both regarded as elite teams. Serbia and Montenegro allowed only one goal in 10 qualifying matches. The strongest of the African nations, the Ivory Coast has already united its country and quelled a four-year civil war by simply qualifying for the tournament. Who advances: The Netherlands and Argentina. Cinderella pick: Paraguay Paraguay has been on the cusp of World Cup greatness in recent tournaments: In 1998, it lost in the second round to eventual winner France on a golden goal and in 2002, it fell 1-0 to runner-up Germany. Although it is a long shot, if Paraguay can emerge ahead of England or Sweden in the ﬁrst stage, they are capable of making it as far as the quarterﬁnals or beyond. Other teams to watch for: Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Predicted World Cup Champions: Argentina In a thrilling World Cup ﬁnals match between the Netherlands and Argentina, the Albicelestes will recapture the glory days of Diego Maradona, winning their third title.
Dylan Ramey/Star graphic
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Thursday, June 1, 2006