WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 25, 2015 VOLUME 104 ISSUE 61 www.UniversityStar.com
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UPD officer ‘one-man team’ in pioneering drunk driving simulator By Alexa Tavarez SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @lexicanaa
JOHNEL ACOSTA STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Interstate Highway 35/Highway 123 intersection exceptionally dangerous By Jon Wilcox NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox
ata from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show the intersection of Interstate Highway 35 (IH-35) and Highway 123 to be the most dangerous in San Marcos. From January 2014 to February, the intersection was the site of 82 total crashes, including two fatal accidents and eight with incapacitating injuries, according to TxDOT data. Two datasets, one from January 2010 to February and the other from January 2014 to February, verified the intersection has the
highest number of deadly and incapacitating collisions in San Marcos. Heavy traffic congestion, wide street clearance and the number of entrances and exits on Highway 123 have likely contributed to the frequency of fatalities and serious injuries, said Ning Zou, San Marcos transportation engineering manager. TxDOT makes a distinction between the South Guadalupe Street side of the intersection and Highway 123. Data from the IH-35 and South Guadalupe Street intersection show zero fatalities and incapaci-
See INTERSECTION, Page 2
By Alexa Tavarez SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @lexicanaa
By Darcy Sprague NEWS REPORTER @darcy_days
Backyard composting piles are increasing in popularity due to educational efforts by the City of San Marcos and nonprofits. A two-week master training course provides composting certification. The program is sponsored by the city, Bobcat Blend at Texas State and the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (S.T.A.R.). “We want to create a program that reflects the values of the city,” said Neil Kaufman, president of Bobcat Blend. “We don’t want to ignore the fact that we’re in a beautiful, ecologically rich city.” City and Bobcat Blend officials have similar goals but answer to different audiences, Kaufman said. Tex-
The Texas State American Marketing Association (AMA) has been selected as one of eight finalists to compete in the Collegiate Case Competition, an international contest in which students work on a real-life marketing campaign. The conference will take place beginning March 19 in New Orleans. Eight teams, including Texas State, will present a marketing campaign created for a client chosen by competition officials. This year’s client is Glacéau, the company that makes Vitaminwater and Vitaminwater Zero. The team will spend five days over spring break in New Orleans for the competition. Funding for the team comes from a grant. The team fundraises for the rest. This is the tenth time in 11 years the team has competed and the ninth finalist-level participation, said Gail Zank, associate marketing professor and AMA adviser. The team consists of 11 marketing students who take a class in the fall devoted to working on a case for the competition, Zank said. The students write a 40-page brief presenting research on the client and product as well as a marketing strategy. Zank picks the five-hardest working students to present the case at the competition. Zank attributes the team’s success to the strength of the marketing program at Texas State and the group’s previous achievements. “Success breeds success,”
Bobcat Blend and city offer composting certification course
“We want to create a program that reflects the values of the city. We don’t want to ignore the fact that we’re in a beautiful, ecologically rich city.” —NEIL KAUFMAN, PRESIDENT OF BOBCAT BLEND
as State students are Bobcat Blend’s audience, while the city primarily serves residents. “That doesn’t say that our constituencies don’t overlap,” Kaufman said. “We would like to work together to accomplish both of our goals.” Amy Kirwin, solid waste program coordinator, said collaborating with
See BOBCAT BLEND, Page 2
I-35 & Highway 123 53 Non-injury crashes 82 Total crashes 2 fatalities
I-35 & Highway 82 73 non-injury crashes 108 Total crashes 0 fatalities
University marketing team finalists in international competition
ANDRES J RODRIGUEZ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Kaitlyn Powell, Yvonne Davila and Madison Stephens, marketing seniors, pose Feb. 19 at McCoy Hall. Zank said. “We have always had hardworking and motivated students on our team.” The Texas State AMA team won the national “Platinum Chapter of the Year” award in 2014. “We have some big shoes to fill,” said Yvonne Davila, marketing senior and AMA president. The point of participating
in the competition is to put students in a unique learning environment, Zank said. Collaborating on the case gives students an idea of how realworld marketing works. Students often take the cases they worked on for the competition to job interviews after graduating, Zank said.
See MARKETING, Page 2
A university police officer is working to show the effects of drinking by building a drunken driving simulator. Otto Glenewinkel, University Police Department (UPD) crime prevention specialist and executive director of Driving While Intoxicated Pod (DWI) Corporation, narrowly escaped a fatal car crash as a high school student. Gelnewinkel planned to meet up with some friends and drive from Gruene to San Antonio. Glenewinkel and a peer were late to the meeting, and the five others went on to San Antonio without them. A drunk driver collided with the vehicle that night, leaving two dead, two paralyzed and one brain-dead. “I looked at this and thought, ‘There’s got to be a different way to try and combat this problem and educate people on how bad of an idea it is to drink and drive,’” Glenewinkel said. In 2008, Glenewinkel started working toward creating an appealing and effective method of educating the public on the dangers and consequences of drunken driving. “I had a driving wheel at the house, and I used the big projector in the training room and ran a bunch of cables and wires and put together a makeshift simulator,” Glenewinkel said. Glenewinkel applied for $3000 grants from the Texas State Family Association to build a prototype after his improvised simulator received positive responses and support from his fellow officers at UPD. Glenewinkel is working on a simulator for the university, which is projected to be finished by March. The simulator will be showcased at student events around the university, Glenewinkel said. “With the prototype, we used it here at the university for about a year,” Glenewinkel said. “It worked really well, and (we) had it up in the Quad.” Glenewinkel saved his money to start the DWI Pod Corporation non-profit he now runs. He marketed the prototype to organizations across the state. Glenewinkel received a phone call from City of New Braunfels officials after a year of unsuccessful marketing. Officials wanted to purchase one of his simulators. “I took it out there, and they loved it,” Glenewinkel said. “Now there are 11 simulators around the state.” Glenewinkel’s other customers include the Watch UR BAC Organization running under the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Budweiser Distribution Center in Lubbock, as well as schools, churches and hospitals across the state. All of the simulators are paid for by grants from the Texas Highway Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Glenewinkel said. Glenewinkel used the “Need For Speed” racing game as the foundation for the simulator and altered the controls to create the sensation of driving inebriated. “We try to target the people that are most at risk,” Glenewinkel said. “Those are males from the ages of 16 to 24.” Beverly Kellner, program manager for the Passenger Safety Project at AgriLife Extension, thinks DWI Pods are an effective tool for creating a lifelike experience without the dangers of consequences. “It’s an experience that attracts someone to sit down,” Kellner said. “Having the experience for themselves in a safe environment makes more of an impression versus listening to a presentation.” Lecturing isn’t as effective as it once was, said Laura Dean-Mooney, program coordinator of Watch UR BAC. Handson engagement is critical to a student’s learning, she said. “In a real-life situation, there isn’t a restart button for them,” Dean-Mooney said. “After the simulation, they return to their class with zero consequences, but they must face the consequences in real life.”
2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, February 25, 2015
INTERSECTION, from front tating injuries and four crashes from January 2010 to February. Zou believes Highway 123 may be the key factor in the number of fatalities and serious injuries at the intersection. Traffic congestion on Highway 123 has likely influenced the number of accidents. “During peak hours and because the capacity of the road is limited with a huge demand (created by rush hour traffic), people can lose their patience,” Zou said. Drivers can use simple practices to travel more safely in high-traffic areas, said Thomas Perez, instructor at the San Marcos Driving School. Maintaining a safe distance between cars, following the speed limit and paying attention to one’s surroundings can prevent crashes,
he said. Perez said San Marcos officials have not passed an ordinance prohibiting texting while driving, which may contribute to traffic-related injuries. The intersection at IH-35 and Highway 82 (Aquarena Springs Drive) had the highest number of crashes but fewer fatalities and incapacitating injuries from January 2010 to February, according to TxDot data. The narrow width of Aquarena Springs Drive may prevent motorists from speeding, leading to a lower likelihood of death and serious injury, Zou said. Bushes, curbs and small shoulders on the side of Aquarena Springs Drive make the road feel
BOBCAT BLEND, from front Bobcat Blend does not cost the city anything. Officials with the city’s solid waste department increase landfill diversion by encouraging citizens to start backyard composting piles, recycle and use bulk pickup of leaves and other yard litter, Kirwin said.
“Composting is a way to develop a set of ethics.” —REBECCA PUGH, SAN MARCOS RESIDENT “We have a limited number of landfills in the area,” Kirwin said. “(Encouraging) people to divert waste from going to the landfill will save landfill air space.” Composting addresses local, state and international environmental conservation problems, Kaufman said. Lawn watering and municipal activities account for a significant percentage of county usage. Compost retains moisture, and an active composter can curtail municipal water use in gardens. Composting is not a “silver bullet” for environmental concerns, but Bobcat Blend officials are spreading awareness throughout the community, Kaufman said.
621 and Highway 123 intersection experienced two fatalities from January 2010 to February, according to TxDOT data. Some complaints about the area are related to drivers trying to enter and exit the Squinta Caporeos
grocery store on Highway 123, Zou said. The Squinta Caporeos grocery store is adjacent to the FM 621 and Highway 123 intersection. The surplus of exits and entrances from parking lots and businesses has likely contributed to dangerous driving conditions along Highway 123 near the grocery store, Zou said. He said the wide shoulders at that portion of the highway encourage drivers to speed, which increases danger. “You can turn left, turn right, turn left in, turn right in, turn right out, turn right in, and the accidents could be caused by the driveway traffic,” Zou said. “I suspect that’s the main reason.”
Zank said her goal is to get to the final round of the competition. “Once you get to the finals, you can never be sure what exactly the client is looking for,” Zank said. “But to make it to the finals means we put together a solid case.” A rivalry exists between Texas State and its biggest competition— the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wisconsin is always in the finals, Davila said. “They told us when they visited the campus that if they won, we would have to suck it up and con-
gratulate them,” Davila said. Davila said the hardest part of competing is time management. “We were here two weeks after finals—locked in McCoy, working on the case brief,” Davila said. The team agreed to put in at least 40 hours a week toward the end of the project. Powell said preparing for the competition is like a parttime job. “The best moment was that beautiful moment when we looked at (the case) and it said ‘submit’ on the form,” Davila said.
“You can turn left, turn right, turn left in, turn right in, and the accidents could be caused by the driveway traffic. I suspect that’s the main reason.” —NING ZOU, SAN MARCOS TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING MANAGER smaller, he said. Drivers are less inclined to speed, which creates safer road conditions. Zou pointed out another intersection to demonstrate the dangers along Highway 123. The nearby Farm to Market Road
MARKETING, from front Rebecca Pugh, San Marcos resident, earned her Master Composter Certification during the October 2014 course. She is in charge of composting for the Dunbar Community Garden. Pugh said she was surprised at the passion and commitment displayed by those involved in the course. Pugh cautions those interested in composting to avoid categorizing it as a trend. She believes the collaborative efforts of city officials and Bobcat Blend have contributed to the rise of backyard composting. “‘Trend’ is a dangerous word to use,” Pugh said. “Maybe there are people that compost to seem cool, but every effort counts (regardless of) their intentions.” Pugh said composting isn’t a new idea. Younger generations are responsive to conservation efforts and realize they need to preserve what is left. Pugh proposed starting a city compost pile or providing trucks for Bobcat Blend’s site. Kirwin said city officials must consider the costs of Pugh’s proposals and what part of the budget the funding would come from. Kirwin coordinates with graduate students from Bobcat Blend to host community events on composting and other environmental initiatives. “Composting is a way to develop a set of ethics,” Pugh said. “Before we were just food wasters, but now we’re trying to consider where it goes.”
“One girl who was on the winning team last year took the case with her to her interview,” Zank said. “She thinks that’s why she got her internship, which later led to a job.” Kaitlyn Powell, marketing senior, said she took the class to get life experience. “We recommend it to anyone who wants more than just a theorybased class,” Powell said. Davila is on the presentation team for the competition and is both nervous and excited for March.
Members of the Zuzu African Acrobats perform a stunt Feb. 24 in the LBJ Ballroom. MADELYNNE SCALES PHOTO EDITOR
The University Star | Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | 3
ALUMNUS TURNS PASSION INTO BUSINESS PROGRAM By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise Recent graduate Koy McDermott is helping millennials pursue their entrepreneurial dreams through the Leaders Inspire Leaders program. Leaders Inspire Leaders consists of a weekly podcast featuring interviews with successful forerunners in entrepreneurship, McDermott said. The podcast can be found on iTunes and will soon be available on SoundCloud. “The premise of the show is to speak with intellectual entrepreneurial leaders all across the globe to help get tips, tools, techniques and insights for individuals who either already own their business or are aspiring entrepreneurs,” McDermott said. The program offers motivational one-on-one coaching sessions directed toward aspiring entrepreneurs’ goals, he said. “I think the interesting thing
about all of us is that we all know what we should be doing, and we just don’t do it, and that is where the coaching comes in to play,” McDermott said. “The coaching adds that push that we need to say, ‘Hey, go ahead and take that next step.’” McDermott said he climbed the corporate ladder at Apple to become channel account executive after graduating in 2009. He was making six figures a year and had expenses paid along with a company car. However, McDermott said he was still not satisfied. “I was just not fulfilled,” McDermott said. “It was something that was still nagging at me on the inside.” McDermott discovered his friends shared his dissatisfaction with their employment. “I wanted to show my peers that you can do what you love and make money out of it,” McDermott said. “There is an alternative to just going out and working for somebody else and going after the goals that they deem are im-
portant.” McDermott said being an entrepreneur is a challenging task at times, but the benefits make it worth the effort. “The difference between working for yourself and working for someone else is that you’re still putting in long hours and you’re still investing,” McDermott said. “But the difference is that I’m investing in my dreams and my company and the things that are important to me as opposed to the things that have been placed on me.” McDermott had the opportunity to network with several people while designing his website. An old co-worker helped take the photographs, and two fraternity brothers helped McDermott edit and design the site. “Relationships really matter,” McDermott said. “It’s really about developing a network of true relationships.” McDermott had reservations about leaving Apple. McDermott had no income for
LARA DIETRICH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Koy McDermott, program coordinator, poses Feb. 24 at the LBJ Student Center. some time after deciding to start his own business, and he made mistakes. However, he didn’t let these challenges hinder him. Instead, he looked at them as opportunities to learn what was working and what needed to be changed. “There were so many times when I thought to myself, ‘Did
I make the right decision? Did I make the right move? Should I go back?’” McDermott said. “And I couldn’t see myself going back and working for anyone else. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, investing in myself is one of the safest bets, period,’ because I know that I’m not going to stop.”
Longtime barbecue cook turns businessman
Track and field athlete exercises musical talents
By Adriana Ruiz LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Adreezzy
By Jonathan Hamilton LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Jonodashham1
AJ’s Ranch Road Grill is cooking up a name for itself with lunchtime and late-night favorites like Texas Tots and the Texas Philly, a southern take on the classic cheesesteak. Andrew Napoles, owner and Texas State alumnus, said the idea of opening a restaurant came to him after graduation when he was struggling to find work. “There wasn’t a lot of options in this area, and I had a hard time looking for a job,” Napoles said. “I always joked that I was going to open up a restaurant.” The eatery, which is located a fiveminute walk from campus, serves traditional barbeque staples like brisket, ribs and pulled pork as well as TexMex favorites like fajitas, tacos and quesadillas. Mark Chavez, animal science sophomore, said he frequents the restaurant.
Jonathan Hill is living proof that true talent is multidimensional. The business freshman is a member of the Texas State track and field team, where he competes in the 60-, 100- and 200-meter sprints. Hill is also a skilled musician and vocalist. He said music is a craft he has been perfecting since he was around 5 years old. Hill’s love for music began to take form after his parents introduced him to a piano instructor. Hill was frustrated while learning to play, but stuck with the instrument. Hill played percussion in his middle school’s band. He couldn’t read sheet music, which meant he had to sing notes aloud in order to play them on the drums. This method of practicing led his mother to discover her son had a knack for singing. Hill said this was a breakthrough that led him to join choir in eighth grade. Over the years Hill has continued to expand his musical range. He can now play the guitar, bass, mandolin and ukulele in addition to the piano and drums. Hill finds time for music despite his busy schedule. He often practices for up to two hours a day despite being involved with track and having a full course load of classes. Hill enjoys making music with his peers as well. He said he often participates in “Piano Night” at Sayers Hall, staying up into the early morning hours to play with friends. Hill loves to compete in track and field, but music gives him joy that cannot be found anywhere else, he said. “It is like an endless canvas,” Hill said. “You always have the ability to create something new.” Scott Williams, exploratory professional freshman, has been best friends with Hill since they were in fifth grade. Williams said Hill’s ability to balance school while maintaining his track career and music is remarkable. “He is just a great guy,” Williams said. “If you tell him something, he actually cares about what you said.” Hill plans to change his major to music to better prepare for a professional career. John Mata, music freshman, has been a close friend of Hill since they participated in school choir together in eighth grade. “The dude can do anything,” Mata said. “He is a track star and he can sing.” The two friends harmonize together, often doing renditions of songs from artists such as Sam Smith and John Legend, Mata said. Mata recalls watching Hill pick up a violin, an instrument he had never used, and learn to play it in a matter of minutes. Mata said Hill’s versatility has inspired him to go farther with his own music. “He is a jack of all trades,” Mata said. “He is also a very nice guy. He has a very outgoing personality, and he is a very special person.”
“I like the chopped brisket sandwich,” Chavez said. “It’s soft, and it has a smoky flavor.” Trace McNeil, business management freshman, first tried the restaurant after hearing great reviews. “I had gone to a friend’s house and then decided I wanted to get some food, and my friend said AJ’s is the place to go,” McNeil said. “The brisket was pretty good, and I really liked the sweet tea. It was perfectly sweet.” AJ’s is open from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. The restaurant does not have a bar, but customers are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages, Napoles said. Mark Gabriel DeLeon, AJ’s manager and business junior, said the restaurant’s location and the quality of the food make it one of a kind. “We are extremely close to campus, and our prices are fair,” De Leon said. “It’s not a sit-down restaurant, but you get the quality of a sit-down restaurant.” DeLeon said the restaurant has a seating capacity of about 20 people. As a result, AJ’s managers work hard
The Student Publications Board of the Texas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication is conducting an all-campus open petitioning process to select a student as Editor-in-Chief of The University Star. Term begins one week following the final issue of 2015 Spring Semester publication schedule. Applicants must be available to serve the entire term of the appointment. Each applicant is asked to complete a written petition, which is subsequently screened by members of the student publications board. The board will interview qualified candidates for the position. The student publications board includes the journalism sequence coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the assistant director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a member of the print medium who is selected by the director of student publications. The director of student publications and the current editor-in-chief serve as ex officio members for the committee.
Minimum Qualifications To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in at least nine hours each semester during the term of office. Students graduating in the final semester of the appointment (Spring Semester 2016) may be enrolled in fewer hours as long as they meet graduation requirements. Applicants must have worked in a professional editorial environment, or have served as a section editor at a university student newspaper. Students of all majors and classifications, including graduate students, may petition for the position. Applicants must be in good academic standing with the university when submitting an application. An overall minimum 2.5 grade-point average is required for application consideration.
to keep the steady flow of customers happy by serving food quickly. De Leon said nights are the busiest time, with a line that usually goes out the door. Napoles was inspired to serve barbeque because of experiences from his childhood. He often barbequed with his father when he was younger, and the two were even asked to cater events. “I wanted to do barbeque because the other places I didn’t think were that great,” Napoles said. “I knew it was something that would be good.” The first year of business was the most challenging, Napoles said. “Just to get it up to code, there was a lot of plans and money,” Napoles said. “There were definitely times where I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But I’d rather do things myself than have someone else do it.” Napoles has big ideas for the future. He hopes to expand the patio seating area and has plans to open a second location.
Term of Office Term of office begins following the final publication of the Spring 2015 semester and runs through the Spring 2016 semester. Applicants must be able to serve the entire term of office in order to be considered for the position. A salary is paid during the term of office.
Petitioning Process A written petition is to be completed by each applicant. This petition consists of questions to determine an applicant’s qualifications in journalism academics and management. A letter of interest must be included with the formal application. The letter should address personal characteristics addressing reasons the applicant is qualified for the position. Applicants, certified as qualified by the student publications board, will be interviewed. The board will select the editor-in-chief.
Petitioning Deadlines Applications for the position will be due by noon, Wednesday April 1 to the Director of Student Publications, Trinity Building, Room 107. People interested in petitioning should sign a candidacy list in Trinity, Room 107 and acquire an information package. Qualified applicants will be notified and interviews will be scheduled beginning April 13. Selection of the editor-in-chief will be made shortly after interviews have been completed for the position. Formal assumption of duties will begin one week after the final newspaper of the Spring Semester is published.
The University Star Mission
PACKETS AVAILABLE: March 2, noon; Trinity, Room 107
The editor is the primary student editorial administrator for The University Star and has authority in all personnel matters and makes the final decision regarding news, sports, feature, photo, Web and opinion content. The editor determines daily operation guidelines, provides a role model for professional behavior, delegates operational authority and fulfills policies and procedures as determined by the student publications board and faculty adviser. The editor oversees meetings and handles personnel problems, evaluates all copy and artwork for each publication. The editor-in-chief is responsible for hiring, properly training and supervising all members of the editorial board. The editor-in-chief promotes relations between the publication, the community and campus organizations. The editor-in-chief is also the voice of the publication with the community.
DEADLINE: Wednesday, April 1; noon; Trinity, Room 107 INTERVIEWS: April 13
4 | The University Star | Wednesday, February 25, 2015
RYAN JEANES STAR ILLUSTRATOR
Campus ‘free speech’ policies overly restrictive, unjust T
he free speech zone on campus should be expanded to all areas of the university instead of being restricted. There are currently three spaces designated as free speech zones in the University Policy and Procedure Statement No. 07.04.05 on free speech. They are the Quad from the Fighting Stallions statue to the LBJ statue and the paved area between Alkek Library and the LBJ Student Center as well as Bobcat Trail between the Academic Services Building and the Evans Liberal Arts building. Students, staff and faculty are
permitted to assemble and demonstrate in these areas as long as they are not being violent or disrupting the flow of traffic. Another good way to ensure protests do not disrupt traffic is to open the protest areas up to all parts of campus. The flow of traffic would be eased if demonstrators were permitted to spread their protests all over campus instead of staying in one congested section of the Quad. People should be able to do whatever they please if they are not being outright offensive or disruptive. The purpose of these spaces is to promote an open dialogue and thoughtful discussions.
Students, faculty and staff should be exposed to viewpoints other than their own, and expanding the free speech areas is a good way to make sure that happens. Opening the floor for more discussions will teach Bobcats valuable skills about not taking every disagreement personally. People should be able to disagree on a topic and have a levelheaded discussion without feeling personally victimized. The expansion the editorial board is proposing may take a while to happen, so in the meantime, students should make sure they understand the current rules and the repercussions for breaking them. Conviction of a misdemeanor for disruptive campus activities includes a fine up to $200 or jail confinement for 10 days to six months. Anyone convicted of this offense more than three times is ineligible to attend any college, school or university receiving funds from the state of Texas for two years following the conviction. Currently, students cannot expect to protest anywhere they please without consequences. Rules are in place to protect everyone and keep the campus running smoothly. Bobcats must continue to abide by the rules whether they agree or not. Students, faculty and staff participating in demonstrations must be prepared for people who do not agree with their stance. It is ridiculous for protestors to be upset with people who respond to their rallies negatively. Students wishing to get on their soapboxes and say whatever they
want with no regard for hearing people’s responses can do so somewhere less confrontational, like social media. Twitter and Facebook are good spaces to air grievances and be heard without having to respond to opposing views in person.
University officials should extend the free speech area to all parts of campus and take an even bigger step forward in promoting open dialogue for all. Until they make those changes, Bobcats must continue to fight for their rights in the spaces available.
The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University.
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The University Star | Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | 5
ARIEL ORTIZ FRESHMAN SHORSTOP By Christian Rodriguez SPORTS REPORTER @crod9521 Ariel Ortiz, freshman shortstop, began her softball career on a baseball diamond. Richards Field in Waxahachie, named after Major League Baseball manager Paul Richards, was Ortiz’ home away from home. The future Bobcat spent hours honing her craft at the 100-yearold ballpark each day after her older brother, Chris, was finished with practice. Ortiz spent those hours on the field with her father, Eloy, and brother. “We’re a big baseball family,” said April Ortiz, her mother. “She’s been dragged from field to field since she could walk. When her older brother and his team would finish practicing, my husband would pitch balls to her so she could hit, and her brother and his friends would have to stay around and catch her balls.” Ariel enjoyed watching Chris play and spending countless hours practicing with her father and developing as a player. “I always wanted to be out there with the boys,” Ariel said. “I started in baseball. We really
didn’t know about softball till after coach-pitch, so baseball is what I grew up with.” Ariel has three home runs and 11 runs batted in her first season with Texas State. She regrets not listening to her father more as a child. “My dad would always tell me things when I was younger, and it would end up being the same things one of my coaches would tell me,” Ariel said. “But just because he was my dad, I wouldn’t really take it from him. I was real stubborn. I wish I would have listened to him more and not just my coaches.” Ariel does not feel like she has accomplished anything special despite the awards and recognitions accumulated during her time in Waxahachie. “You have failure all the time in this game,” Ariel said. “When you do have success, it’s just as great as before, but you have to take it with a grain of salt and go on to the next pitch.” Ariel’s former coach, Tracy Beard, said he is not surprised by Ariel’s start. Beard coached her on the Texas Glory Gold Shelton travel team. “Ariel has played the game at its highest level since she was 10 years old,” Beard said. “She has
played in some big games, performed well under high pressure situations, and she has proven to be a great leader by her steadfast attitude and performance on the field.” Beard attributed Ariel’s success to one thing in particular—discipline. “Discipline to respect others, discipline to make good decisions, discipline in the classroom, discipline to be punctual, discipline to take care of her body and her spirit,” Beard said. “These attributes allow her to be a good person, friend, teammate, and a great leader.” Madison Yannetti, Ortiz’s best friend throughout travel ball and Arkansas Razorbacks infielder, said Ariel’s humility distinguishes her from other players. “She is such a good athlete,” Yannetti said. “I think she realizes it, but you never hear her brag about it or talk herself up.” Life at Texas State has treated Ariel well, but she misses home every now and then. She returns home as often as possible. Her mother said seeing her only daughter leave home was difficult. However, the fact she is a three-hour drive away makes it easier. Ariel said San Marcos reminds her of Waxahachie. It is not too small, but it is also not too big. “I love it down here,” Ariel said. “It’s kind of like home. Down by the softball field where the train tracks go behind the
field, that’s how Richards Park is back home, so it always takes me back to when I used to watch my brother play.” Ariel has contemplated life after her playing days are over even though she is a freshman. “When I’m done I want to do something else with my life,” Ariel said. “I’ve done softball my whole life, and I’ve known the game for a while, but I want to do something new.” Ariel wants to make a lasting impression on the softball program. “I want to be remembered as someone who could overcome whatever that obstacle may be,” Ariel said. “I want
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to be thought of as someone who worked hard and as someone who was the best at whatever my role was asked to be on this team.”
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