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TUESDAY APRIL 20, 2021 VOLUME 110 ISSUE 11

www.UniversityStar.com

DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911

Opinion: Young Life members should pressure their organization to be stewards of the environment

New university initiative hopes to bring former students back to finish degrees

Up and coming alternative band rocks San Marcos with eclectic indie-inspired music

Softball slump continues against Louisiana

SEE PAGE 6

SEE PAGE 2

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MEMORIAL

THEATER

The cast of "Spring Awakening" celebrates its return to the stage at a "Spring Awakening" rehearsal, Monday, April 12, 2021, at the Patty StrickelHarrison. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKKIE LAMAS

'Spring Awakening' musical weathers storm after positive COVID-19 test Community members place flowers on fallen San Marcos Police Department officer Justin Putnam's '442' wreath, a tribute to his badge number, Sunday, April 18, 2021, at Five Mile Dam Parks Complex. PHOTO BY JADEN EDISON

San Marcos remembers officer killed in line of duty one year later By Jaden Edison Editor-in-Chief During the early hours of Dec. 4, 2017, Justin Putnam was finishing his shift at the San Marcos Police Department when Kenneth Copeland entered the briefing room he was in. In preparation for his day shift, Copeland, a veteran of the department, asked Justin Putnam to change the battery in his radio. Copeland proceeded to firmly shake Justin Putnam's hand, as he always did when the two crossed paths, and asked him how he was doing. "I gave [Copeland] the standardized reply of 'great but tired,'" Justin Putnam later types in a Microsoft Word document discovered by his loved ones. "We laughed and went our separate ways with his police radio fully charged. Ken shook my hand with sincerity; I shook his hand out of routine." "Had I known that the last time I would see Ken Copeland alive was December 4, 2017, I would have given

The U.S. and Texas flags sit at half-staff during a memorial service for fallen San Marcos Police Department officer Justin Putnam, Sunday, April 18, 2021, at Five Mile Dam Parks Complex. Putnam was killed one year earlier while responding to a domestic disturbance call in San Marcos. PHOTO BY JADEN EDISON

him a hug; I would have thanked him for the many sticky situations he pulled me out of," Justin Putnam types about his at-work fatherly figure. "I would have squeezed his hand so hard that his fingers lost color. I wish I could have a day like that back." Justin Putnam used his experiences

with Copeland, who was killed while serving an arrest warrant, as a grieving reminder to never take people for granted. He would spread the same love and lessons he received from Copeland to many he encountered. On April 18, 2021, hundreds of people in the San Marcos community gathered on a chilly, sunny evening at the Five Mile Dam Parks Complex to celebrate the life of Justin Putnam, who was killed one year earlier while responding to a domestic disturbance call, and share stories like the one about his last encounter with his mentor. The event consisted of remarks from SMPD Chief Stan Standridge, Chaplain Mike Hollifield, Mayor Jane Hughson, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp, SMPD officers and family members of Justin Putnam. Officers Franco Stewart and Justin Mueller, both of whom were wounded in the ambush at the Twin Lakes Villas apartments that left Justin Putnam dead and led to the shooting suspect's suicide, received purple hearts for their sacrifices a year earlier.

SEE MEMORIAL PAGE 3 VACCINE PROCESS

Explaining local COVID-19 vaccine registration, distribution By Timia Cobb Assistant News Editor From registration to getting a shot, Hays County residents and local distributors are finding the process for getting a COVID-19 vaccine easier compared to previous weeks as doses become more accessible throughout the state. As of March 29, all adults in Texas are eligible to receive a vaccine for free, with the federal government paying manufacturers to provide and distribute vaccines. As a result, local private practices, grocery store pharmacies

and Texas State have ramped up their efforts to provide residents with shots. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), 45% of Hays County residents 16 or older have received an initial dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 29% of residents 16 or older are fully vaccinated. At Texas State, all students, faculty and staff are eligible to receive a vaccine. The university's vaccination site is located at the LBJ Student Center, and anyone with a Texas State email can sign up through a registration link sent from the university.

Nursing instructor Joy Hargraves LVN (right) administers a COVID-19 vaccine to San Marcos Academy Boarding Director Stephanie Ramirez (left), Friday, March 11, 2021, at San Marcos High School. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

SEE VACCINE PROCESS PAGE 2

By Payton Russell Life & Arts Reporter With rising heart rates and sweat sliding down their spines, the cast members of Texas State's spring musical production, "Spring Awakening," is exploring sex and sexuality while singing through masks, dancing across distances and adapting its timeline after a cast member tested positive for COVID-19. Instead of being stilted by the university's COVID-19 regulations, the show's artistic team used masks and distance as part of its design. This shifted the lens of the show, causing what traditionally is a show dripping with on-stage sex and visual intimacy to mold into an exploration of sexual repression and separation.

SEE THEATER PAGE 5 LUPUS

Alumna addresses lupus disparities faced by Black, brown women By Kiana Burks News Contributor Najha Marshall knew early on her passions for social justice and science would have a strong influence on her life. After a lupus diagnosis at the age of 7 and growing up in the grips of a flawed health care system, deciding what she wanted to write her honors thesis about was not a difficult decision. Recounting her own struggles with lupus treatment, Marshall, who graduated from Texas State in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology, approaches the issue of health inequalities through a social justice lens. Her Honors College thesis, “How Lupus Crossed the Color Line: Chronic Illness and the Reproduction of Racism in Health Care,” addresses the treatment and diagnostic disparities faced by women of color with lupus. “I've personally experienced growing up and having to constantly deal with the health care system,” Marshall says.

SEE LUPUS PAGE 3


The University Star

2 | Tuesday, April 20, 2021

NEWS

Brianna Benitez News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

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About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, April 20, 2021. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor-in-chief. Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at universitystar.com

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New university initiative hopes to bring former students back to finish degrees By Tatiana Torres News Contributor Texas State, partnered with ReUp Education, has provided $1.5 million in grant funding to support former students' journeys back to the university to finish their degree plans. Texas State received the grant as part of the Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Education's Education Stabilization Fund Program via the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund. The $46.5 million in funding was established to aid in the continuation of education for students significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will use the award money to support Bring Bobcats Back, a program created in 2018 to encourage students to return to Texas State and complete their degrees. Dr. Todd Sherron, an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Organization, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS) and writer of the grant application, says Bring Bobcats Back is a university-wide incentive available to all former students, from any college at the university, who meet the criteria. “Students may be eligible to receive up to $2,500 per semester for tuition and fees until they graduate,” Sherron says. “This is [an] amazing opportunity for students to complete their degree." To qualify for the financial aid, returning students must: • Be a Texas resident eligible for in-state tuition; • Have filed a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); • Demonstrated financial need; • Be eligible for federal Title IV aid; • Must be within 12 months or 75% or more of completing their degree; • Must confirm they were affected by COVID-19 as determined by the university; In 2020, a record number of 1,773 students withdrew from Texas State — up 13.5% from 2019. This, in large part, was due to COVID-19, which 529 students cited as their reason for dropping out. Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Gary Ray says if they re-enroll, those students are eligible to receive the grant and can begin work toward graduating with a degree. “[Texas State] began to look for those students who enrolled, who've been out at least two semesters or six months. [Texas State] is currently, right now, looking to see who’s eligible within the current enrollment, to award the first reskilling grants to them,” Ray says. Ray adds the program is not exclusive to former Bobcats, and anyone looking to complete their degree, regardless of where they began their post-secondary education, is encouraged to apply. To combat the steep increase of withdrawals and help reach out to former students, Texas State partnered with ReUp

Graduates and photographers take pictures, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, by the Undergraduate Academic Center. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

Education, a college retention organization that focuses on creating a pathway for students who have some college experience but no degree. Mira Fontana, director of partner success at ReUp Education, says the organization reaches out and provides individualized support to every student through personal communication, success coaches and career exploration tools. Coaches are responsible for providing resources and answering questions until the day new graduates cross the stage. Sometimes the process can take much longer due to students having jobs and families to juggle. ReUp Education maintains a connection with those students and offers continued support until they are ready to get back on track. “Some students are in a place where their motivation is right there and they re-enroll fairly quickly, but with others, we work sometimes for two, three years before they even attempt re-enrollment,” Fontana says. Since its partnership with the university began in August 2020, ReUp has successfully reached 9,600 Texas State students and engaged with over 1,700 who are considering a return to college or in various stages of applying to the university. “Of those 1,745, [ReUp Education] has re-enrolled 173 and four have already graduated,” Fontana says. “It's such a quick and meaningful win because some of our students who have dropped out, they’re so close to completion that just the right support and motivation and resources and tools can get them there very fast.” Ray says he understands the power of education and is looking forward to helping students through this unique program. “This spring, we have 147 re-enrolled students that we worked to get back. We are targeting a goal of 350 by fall of 2021,” Ray says. To apply for the Bring Bobcats Back grant, students can visit the Bobcat Online Scholarship System (BOSS).

FROM FRONT VACCINE PROCESS As of now, Texas State does not have a weekly schedule for its vaccine sites but has administered vaccines throughout April. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up as soon as they are sent the registration email. Once submitting a request, applicants are informed on whether a vaccine is available for them, and if so, they are provided their first and second vaccine dosage dates. Lluvia Beltran, a criminal justice junior, says getting vaccinated at the university was a smooth process. "When I got to LBJ to get my vaccination, it was pretty easy. I mean, there was a long line, and I thought I was gonna wait for hours, but it went pretty quick," Beltran says. "The nursing students that [were there] did pretty good too; it wasn't that bad." Beltran received the Pfizer vaccine and says she did not experience any harsh symptoms outside of some fatigue and a headache. After going through the process of submitting a vaccine request, Beltran says the university should implement vaccination walk-ups to allow everyone an opportunity to be vaccinated. "I feel like it is kind of inconvenient for a lot of people. I feel like some people don't even look at their school email, you know. I feel like Texas State should let [the LBJ Student Center] have walkups available for people," Beltran says. "I know [President Denise Trauth] is trying; she just sent an email that we're going back to [full campus capacity], back to [in-person classes] in the fall, and I feel like if she wants all of us to do good, I feel like we should all have the opportunity to get a vaccine if you wanted to." H-E-B on 200 W. Hopkins St. provides both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The sign-up process consists of citizens visiting the H-E-B vaccination site where information on vaccine availability is provided. If vaccines are

available, individuals are provided dates for their first and second doses. The vaccination site fluctuates depending on the number of vaccinations the H-E-B Pharmacy has on hand, meaning people cannot sign up before the store knows the number of vaccinations in stock. Some looking to be vaccinated at the store routinely check to see if vaccinations are available. According to the official H-E-B vaccination site, stores tend to have leftovers, opening availability to those who might not have previously scheduled an appointment. Andrea Bowen, a mass communication sophomore, initially signed up through Texas State to receive her vaccination, but before her vaccination date, she was unexpectedly offered to get vaccinated at H-E-B on 200 W. Hopkins St. while visiting the store with her mother. “The bathrooms are right next to the pharmacy, and this guy came out who's like, ‘Hey have y'all gotten vaccinated yet?' and I was like, 'No, but my mom has,’ and he just said that they happen to have extra leftovers. I guess some people didn’t come in. So, he asked me if I wanted to do it now,” Bowen says. The process of getting the vaccine was easy, Bowen says. She estimates it only took 30-40 minutes. “They asked me to stay 15 to 30 minutes just to make sure there's no symptoms or anything afterward, just [to] keep an eye on me," Bowen says. "Then after that, I just went back, and I checked in with them and they told me I was good to go. Then they said that I would get an email like a week before my second dose so I could get that scheduled. So it was really easy; it was really simple. It was awesome.” Other stores in the area, such as the local CVS and Walgreens, also offer vaccines. Facilities such as the Hays County Local Health Center have provided vaccinations since early this year. At first,

vaccines were only available to healthrisk citizens in 1A and 1B vaccination groups. This allowed the county time to figure out the best methods to administer vaccinations. The county has various distribution sites and private practices offering vaccines. The county also holds first dose vaccination clinics at CommuniCare in Kyle. The clinic location may change depending on the week, and the new locations can be found online, along with vaccination appointments. The Hays County Emergency Services Team has also created a mobile team to distribute vaccinations to people unable to get to vaccination sites due to health concerns or disabilities. Anyone who needs this service can call 833-5212766 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-4 p.m. Lydia Kendrick, 60, was able to sign-up before all adults in Texas were qualified for the vaccine, but the wait time was longer than expected. “I signed up with Hays County, probably a couple of months ago, and I kept wondering why they haven't called. I'm 60; I signed up under 1B,” Kendrick says. “Then, they sent out a survey that asked if you got your vaccine yet...and I said no. Two days later, they gave me a slot for both shots.” Kendrick raves about the staff and volunteers that assisted her as she got her vaccine and says that it was a quick process. “It was the San Marcos EMTs that were administering the shots in the lobby; you had to wear a mask in the lobbies and outside actually. Everybody was wearing a mask," Kendrick says. “People didn't sit right next to each other in the lobby when they were waiting; it was really a great experience." For more information on local COVID-19 vaccine distribution areas, visit https://www.haysinformed.com.


The University Star

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | 3

NEWS

Brianna Benitez News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT LUPUS “I was always very interested in social justice activism, and I knew that I wanted to write something about the health care system and how it relates to racism so, with my thesis, I was able to tie in both of my passions.” Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease known for causing pain and inflammation throughout the body. Because lupus is an autoimmune disease, the body system of people diagnosed with the disease attacks healthy tissue rather than fights infections. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, nine out of every 10 people diagnosed with lupus are women. The disease is also three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women; studies show 1 in 250 African American women will develop lupus. The reason why lupus is more common in Black women is unknown. Some scientists suggest hormones, stress and environmental factors play a role in the diagnosis. Marshall’s motivation for completing her thesis stems from her belief that addressing racial disparities in health care could lead to a decline in women of color developing lupus. “The central theme of my thesis is that Black women get diagnosed with lupus way more than white women or any other group because they are the ones who are the most subject to stress and racism in this country,” Marshall says. “What I'm really trying to argue is that racism is causing Black women to be diagnosed with lupus three times more than white women and, unless we fix the issues of racism and the effects it has, we're just going to continue to see staggering health inequalities.” Marshall says the health inequalities become more obvious when looking at the rates at which different subgroups are diagnosed with the disease. She says Black people are diagnosed with the disease the most, followed by Latinx and Asian people. “You're not going to develop lupus until something triggers it, even if you do have a genetic predisposition," Marshall says. "The main trigger for lupus is stress and people of color experience more stress than non-people of color.” Adrienne Kohlenberg, patient services marketing manager for the Lone Star Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America, an organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for all people impacted by lupus through research, education and support, says Marshall’s work sets a great example for lupus advocacy. “Our target population here where we serve is mostly African American women and Hispanic women,”

Najha Marshall smiles for a photo after her graduation ceremony in December 2020. PHOTO COURTESY OF NAJHA MARSHALL

Kohlenberg says. “Advocacy, in general, is important no matter what color you are, but I think that it’s much more important for lupus patients who are women of color to engage in it because it affects them so much more severely.” Access to health care, or lack thereof, is another reason Marshall cites for why lupus disproportionately impacts women of color. It is imperative, she says, to ensure everyone has access to the best health care professionals regardless of their insurance status. Because lupus is a disease that is not universally understood, she says having access to an innovative and attentive medical staff could make all the difference. “At the end of the day, health care deals with people's lives, and whenever you have people being treated differently, it becomes a human rights violation," Marshall says. "If we're saying that everybody should have the right to life and liberty, that includes health care because everyone cannot have equal access to their life when they don't have equal access to the means to take care of their health.” John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, a professor in the Department of History and Marshall’s thesis adviser, supports her research and provided her with historical

perspectives to complement her study. “Najha is deeply driven, incredibly bright and very committed to having her research connect with social justice concerns,” Mckiernan-Gonzalez says. “Honors thesis projects are a learning journey for both the student and the adviser, and as a historian, I felt it was my job to provide her with models of how people have addressed issues like this in the past.” Mckiernan-Gonzalez believes Marshall’s approach to writing about the health care disparities faced by lupus patients of color provides a valuable perspective to the discourse. “It was surprising to see how little research was actually done on lupus, and it was really interesting to see the way that conversations about lupus and the positions of African American women in U.S. society are changing,” Mckiernan-Gonzalez says. “When people hear of a disease, they can sometimes assume there is a direct connection between the disease and the community and don't stop to look at the way that the disease appeared. Najha’s work shows that they're not taking social and emotional triggers seriously enough to understand the prevalence of lupus and diagnostic prevalence of lupus among Black and even Latina women in this country.” Marshall believes addressing the treatment and diagnostic disparities of lupus is a multifaceted issue that must be confronted from multiple angles. The American Medical Association recently recognized racism as a public health concern, which she says can help in the effort to educate doctors on racism in health care. “Chronic pain is one of the main symptoms of lupus, and it’s been shown that doctors are more likely to think that patients of color can handle more pain so they're more likely not to take their pain seriously,” Marshall says. “We have to look at how well we are listening to patients of color and addressing racism in that way as well.” As an alumna who worked heavily with the Pan African Action Committee and the Black Lives Matter movement at Texas State, Marshall feels the racist roots of the health care problem need attention in a way that addresses complexities; a way that also promotes community involvement. “I feel like many people don't really realize that racism has a vast variety of effects,” Marshall says. “It's not just people being shot and killed by the police; it’s multifaceted, so it's important to make yourself aware of these issues and to try to do everything that you can to combat it in your everyday life.”

FROM FRONT MEMORIAL

Community members place flowers on fallen San Marcos Police Department officer Justin Putnam's '442' wreath, a tribute to his badge number, Sunday, April 18, 2021, at Five Mile Dam Parks Complex.

A four-photo collage of fallen San Marcos Police Department officer Justin Putnam sits at a memorial service, Sunday, April 18, 2021, at Five Mile Dam Parks Complex. PHOTO BY JADEN EDISON

Stewart, with tears streaming down his face and the evening sun shining upon him and Mueller, was awarded the Police Medal of Honor. Community members describe Justin Putnam, a Texas State alumnus who worked with SMPD for over five years, as a humorous individual who wore his cap backward at the expense of his supervisor's sanity, loved gangster rap, drank a lot of Bud Light and had a way of connecting with people across the personality spectrum.

"I MISS HIS HUGS THE MOST; HE WAS ALWAYS JUST, YOU KNOW, HE EMBRACED YOU...HE MEANT IT. AND HE ALWAYS HUGGED YOU, HELLO AND GOODBYE. I MISS THAT THE MOST." -KELSEA PUTNAM, JUSTIN PUTNAM'S YOUNGER SISTER

"I miss his hugs the most; he was always just, you know, he embraced you...He meant it. And he always hugged you, hello and goodbye. I miss that the most," says Kelsea Putnam, the younger sister of Justin Putnam. "I miss his humor. He always had a way to make me laugh, always had a smile on

his face. And, you know, I miss his love for family too, because him and I were always like, '[We] got to get the family together.' So, this past year, we have had a lot of family time, and we spent a lot of time together, and I know it makes them so happy. And I just feel him with us when we're all together." After Justin Putnam was killed, flags in San Marcos and across Texas were lowered following a letter of support sent from Gov. Greg Abbott to Hughson. Community members left flowers, cards and stuffed animals at Justin Putnam's patrol vehicle memorial at City Hall. People gathered alongside roads from Austin to San Marcos to take part in a procession for the fallen officer. One year later, Assistant Police Chief Bob Klett, who was interim chief at the time of the April 18, 2020, shooting, remembers Justin Putnam as someone who always had "a twinkle in his eye" and uplifted other officers in the department. "I remember after Ken Copeland was killed, we all talked about, you know, it's always the best [who get taken away]," Klett says. "Ken was that special person and then Justin [Putnam] coming up right behind him...Even the people that get arrested will come back to you, man, [and say], '[I] remember him; he treated me so well.' And it's because they're out there working. They're out there doing the job. They're doing the good work. So, in recent years, losing two of those really shining stars, it's just...It's hard." Midway through the service, at 6:18 p.m., Standridge called for an unplanned, minute-long moment of silence in honor of Justin Putnam — a drone from above, wind sifting through the air and sniffles from sobbing loved

PHOTO BY JADEN EDISON

ones the only sounds present — to provide Justin Putnam a chance "to cry down here and just to declare to all of you: Do not give up during the darkest hour." The latter portion of the memorial service would feature more stories about Justin Putnam, having to do with funny group text exchanges with fellow officers and his police academy introductions. During Justin Putnam's time at the academy, instructors would ask the soon-to-be officers to provide a brief background introduction, to which he, in an amusing fashion, would talk about how he worked as a juvenile detention officer for years, only had Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, interned with the Austin homicide department and paid his way through the police academy after graduating college. Kyle Lobo, a SMPD officer and member of Thin Blue Line LEMC, a law enforcement motorcycle club full of active duty, retired or reserve law enforcement officers who support one another, met Justin Putnam dating back to Lobo's time at Texas State's University Police Department. Lobo says he vividly remembers the conversations the two used to have about their jobs. "We met up in a parking lot after a call, and we just talked about, 'Man, this job sucks. Yeah, nobody wants to do this job. How are we going to put up with people? This is, this is complicated. This sucks.' And then the last comments we made to one another was, 'But nobody else would do it except for us, so we have to stay in,'" Lobo says. "Then the second conversation we had a few weeks before his death... He was telling me, 'I'm glad you're here [at SMPD]. It took you a while. But I'm glad we have good people

like you to come over.'" "He was a good guy; he was funny as hell," Lobo adds. "He didn't hold back. He cracked me up every single time. And I wish I had more time to get to know him a lot better, rather than just at work." The event concluded with family members and community members lining up to place flowers on Justin Putnam's blue '442' wreath, a tribute to his badge number. In honor of Justin Putnam's love for soccer, people in attendance were encouraged to kick soccer balls into goals out at the park. "[The memorial was] a solemn occasion," Hughson says. "But it's really good to remember and remember, you know, what a good police officer he was — really, really excellent. And he was a lot of fun, too. I did not personally know him. But I know he was well, well thought of by his colleagues." Kelsea Putnam says it was "amazing" for her and her family to once again witness the community support that has gotten them through the last year. "They have literally picked me off the ground, helped me, [comforted] me," Kelsea Putnam says. "And, you know, seeing random people that I've never met in the community, [them telling me] they're praying for me; they're sending us love. It's amazing to see that." Kelsea Putnam's hope is for the community to continue to see Justin Putnam as the "good person" he was to everyone he encountered. "He never meant harm," Kelsea Putnam says. "He really wanted to be a cop to protect people — whoever in the community and represent well. He was a person too, not just to cop...He was a good person and a good cop."


The University Star

4 | Tuesday, April 20, 2021

LIFE & ARTS

Cristela Jones Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

EDUCATION

Professor flips page in English literacy education through new book By Leanne Castro Life & Arts Reporter Students stereotypically labeled "long-term English learners” are painted in broad strokes as having two main characteristics: Being recent immigrants or children of immigrants and only speaking a nonEnglish language at home. While these characteristics may apply to some students, they are by no means universal. Dr. Maneka Brooks, an associate professor of Reading Education, is on a mission to challenge the assumptions of that stereotype and the subsequent and often reductive teaching methods that come with it. The latest iteration of her effort comes in the form of a textbook she wrote titled "Transforming Literacy Education for Long-Term English Learners: Recognizing Brilliance in the Undervalued." “My book [asks], 'What could literacy instruction that builds on students’ abilities look like?' It looks at providing concrete strategies and ways of going beyond myths about who students are,” Brooks says. “I wrote it for educators, principals and instructional leaders to really think through the label ‘long-term English learner’ and the assumptions about who a student is, what they are and what they can’t do.”

"DR. BROOKS’ BOOK IS VERY CUTTING EDGE AND VERY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER THINGS THAT I’VE SEEN BEFORE. THE SAME LABEL IS GIVEN TO BOTH THE STUDENT WHO COMES IN NINTH GRADE FROM CHINA AND THE YOUNG MAN WHO IS BORN IN THE U.S., RAISED IN A SPANISHSPEAKING FAMILY, AND FOR WHATEVER REASON IS FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS." -PATTY PAYNE,

ESL HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATOR

The book, published less than two years ago, has already found a passionate fanbase of educators around the country who have spent years searching for more effective methods to use with their students. Among that fanbase is Patty Payne, who has taught high school English as a Second Language (ESL) in the suburbs of Chicago for more than 40 years, since the field was in its early days. Payne has seen the field of English language instruction evolve without always necessarily improving. She first heard Brooks speak at an online conference in summer 2020. The influence Brooks had on her was immediate and lasting. “Dr. Brooks’ book is very cutting edge and very different from other things that I’ve seen before. The same label is given to both the student who comes in ninth grade from China and the young man who is born in the U.S., raised in a Spanish-speaking family, and for whatever reason is falling through the cracks,” Payne says. “If they were monolingual speakers of English, we would say, ‘Oh, okay, we need to help them in this way and that way.' But because there is another language involved, they are seen as different. This is something I never thought about until I read her book.” Reading Brooks’ book has helped Payne understand that when a student is struggling with some element of literacy, it is not a deficiency on the student’s part; it is because of a failure in the system. This idea of justice and its absence for some students is a central theme in Brooks’ work. “I try to avoid using terms like ‘achievement gap’, and [instead] talk about opportunity gaps. It’s about resources,” Brooks says. “When you look at things like achievement gaps, it’s very individualistic, and it assumes that certain people are doing better than others. When you think about opportunities and who has access to what and whose abilities are recognized and whose cultures are recognized in school, then the question gets a lot more complicated.” Pasco County English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum Specialist Magda Mackenzie has also noticed the tendency schools have to overlook and underserve the needs of certain populations of students. Mackenzie often sees students either incorrectly classified as English learners or being given support during the initial stages of their English learning, just to later be released into an unsupported classroom environment once they have demonstrated a certain level of English proficiency. Mackenzie is trying to actively improve this process, starting with having all the members of her district’s ESOL team read and discuss Brooks’ book together, one chapter at a time. “We’re trying to figure out what it is in the system

Molly J. Haynes sings and plays a guitar, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in front of The Marc. PHOTO BY DEVON BATES

Dr. Maneka Brooks poses in her living room with her book, "Transforming Literacy Education for LongTerm English Learners: Recognizing Brilliance in the Undervalued", December 2019, in San Marcos. PHOTO COURTESY OF DIANNE WITTER

that’s causing this phenomenon and how we can all contribute to interrupting the pattern,” Mackenzie says. “One of [Brooks’] strongest points is that a lot of times, society is looking at long-term English learners from what they can’t do and going right past what they can do. We want to look at students from an asset point of view instead of from a deficiency point of view.” In Brooks’ experience, a large part of understanding students in terms of what they are capable of and playing to those strengths comes from actually listening to students. Listening is an integral part of education she is focused on promoting in schools. “[I’m] thinking about how we can make schools spaces where children’s voices are heard, and I think for certain demographics of children that does happen more often than others,” Brooks says. “That’s where I’m at right now. It is connected to literacy education because it’s about creating spaces where people can learn.” Brooks' "Transforming Literacy Education for LongTerm English Learners: Recognizing Brilliance in the Undervalued" is available for purchase on Amazon. More information about her research can be found on her website.

Texas State Student Health Center decorates a lawn with red and white flags to indicate the student population that experiences rape and sexual assault in college for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Monday, April 19, 2021, near Commons Dining Hall. Out of all these flags, the red ones signify the 26.4% females who experience rape and sexual assault in college. PHOTO BY RASIKA GASTI

The Riverbed Heads band member Natalie Krupp sings, Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Zelicks Icehouse. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN

The Riverbed Heads band member Taylor Rich plays ukulele and sings, Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Zelicks Icehouse. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN


The University Star

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | 5

LIFE & ARTS FROM FRONT THEATER “It’s a cool challenge," says Colin Trudell, a musical theater senior and integral cast member. "What do you do with a show about sex and sexuality when you literally can’t be near anybody?” Trudell faced this dilemma headon on March 23 when he tested positive for COVID-19. After yelling aloud in his apartment bedroom, he hesitantly called his director, knowing he was about to place a large COVID-sized dent in the production's progress. "I thought, 'I'm about to blow this show up,'" Trudell says. "'But I have to, and then we'll just move on from there.'" Bobcat Trace, Texas State's COVID-19 case reporting system, immediately notified four cast members that they had been exposed, removing five total cast members from the rehearsal space. To make matters worse, Austin Kelly, a musical theater senior, had been close enough to Trudell to warrant a necessary quarantine, forcing Kelly to Zoom into rehearsals to teach the choreography. "My view of the stage was just kind of from a corner of the theater on a little laptop they had set up," Kelly says. "We got work done; it just wasn’t very optimal." Despite the Zoom frustrations, those back in the theater were able to make it work. With understudies and swings stepping in for the five missing cast members, choreography rehearsals in the theater moved forward as those in quarantine learned from screens. The cast members were also forced to record music from their home studios. Trudell's positive test came just two days into a four-day recording period of the musical, when the cast sat together in the Jowers Center to create the musical backing for the version of the show that can be streamed. When this was cut short, Gregory Bolin, the head of music direction and music theory and the show's music director, moved quickly and efficiently. He dedicated 40-50 hours of his time to create individual GarageBand files for each cast member and designed a program that kept the cast vocally "together" even while they were miles apart. "I made little GarageBand files for each person and then underneath was a little track of me basically conducting with my voice," Bolin says. "Saying 'hold, two, three, four, and off, two, three, four.'" Most of the cast happily took this on. However, there was a sense of dissatisfaction with the cast's separation. They longed to record the show as a whole, motivating Bolin to commit to one final solution. Working with the head chairs of the Department of Theatre and Dance, Bolin carved a time in their overly-full rehearsal schedule to finish the group recordings. Now that the full cast and crew are back in the Patti-Strickel Harrison Theater together, Kelly finally sees the production coming together. "I'm thankful I can be in the room again," Kelly says. "It really made me realize how much I truly miss live theater and just being in the room." Only a handful of rehearsals remain "in the room" before the final recording, and although he thinks the show sounds incredible, Bolin still worries about the possibility of another obstacle coming their way. "The odds sometimes seem a little insurmountable," Bolin says. "But, it’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna be terrific." Defying all odds, this show about sex has survived mask requirements, distancing, a positive COVID-19 test and even a monumental winter storm. Bolin urges students and theater lovers to tune in, buy tickets and enjoy the hard work his students have committed to Texas State's spring production. "I just want to get the word out," Bolin says. "I’m very, very proud of it.” "Spring Awakening" will take place virtually from May 7-10. For more information on how to purchase tickets for the event, visit the txstatepresents website.

Cristela Jones Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

MUSIC

Eli Josef crowd surfs during a gig, February 2020, to hype up the crowd. PHOTO COURTESY OF JONAH BROWN

Up and coming alternative band rocks San Marcos with eclectic indie-inspired music and then, so I would see him and we were tight," Hollar says. "We would joke around and stuff like that, but we Ever since he would sneak a Barbie weren't really like friends; we didn't CD player out of his sister's room to hang in the same circles." listen to his dad's favorite albums from bands like U2, The Police and Talking "WE WOULD JUST Heads, Eli Josef has had a passion for music. JAM ALL THE TIME, "[My dad] is really into music so, through that, I kind of found my own JUST PLAYING MUSIC. likings of different bands and whatnot THAT'S KINDA HOW but really that Barbie CD player," Josef [OUR FRIENDSHIP] says. Originally from Wimberley, Josef, STARTED. WE HAD a local San Marcos artist, started songwriting at the age of 16 and was A PUNK BAND influenced by indie pop artists such as Rex Orange County and Mac Demarco. ORIGINALLY CALLED Today, with the help of his band THE TURKEY BOYS, members, Josef has released two albums WHICH WAS LIKE and eight singles. Josef and his high school friends [REALLY] VIOLENT AND turned bandmates moved their band to San Marcos after frequent visits to the THAT'S KINDA WHERE city convinced them it would be the best JOSEF'S CRAZY fit. Upon obtaining a new guitar, Josef LIVE SHOW STUFF began taking lessons and learned how to play rhythms and basic chords. He STARTED, OUR CRAZY joined the Wimberley High School PUNK THEATRICS AND jazz band where he played alongside good friends like John Ziola, a sound EVERYTHING." engineering junior. Sound mixing began as a hobby for Ziola in middle school, but as he entered -JAMES CATON, high school, it soon became the root ELI JOSEF BASS PLAYER of his future career goals. When Josef needed help mixing his music following the release of his first EP, "Grocery After the two graduated from high Store," he reached out to Ziola who now school, Hollar messaged Josef on Twitter mixes all of the band's music. about collaborating to record Christmas "I just kind of hit people up and music covers. Upon releasing them on offered to help more and more people Soundcloud, Hollar reached out again to sound mix for them," Ziola says. "Eli and told Josef he would love to play live had just been recording his own stuff in shows with him. his room using GarageBand. He's been The newest addition to Josef's band doing that since freshman or sophomore is Jonah Brown, the photographer year of high school, so it got to that point and guitarist for the band. The two where he was actually wanting to release met in middle school through a co-op music. I guess I was 20; he asked me if I homeschool program. Two years ago, could mix for him, and he paid me like knowing Brown played guitar, Josef $50 or something. I was like, 'Sure, I'll asked for his help on a song. do it,' and I've been mixing for him ever "[Josef ] texted me and was like, since." 'Hey, I need you to come play,'" Brown Also in the jazz band was James says. "And, I show up and it's a song Caton, Josef's bass player and a jazz about Aubrey Plaza, the actress. It was performance student at the University of hilarious." Texas at Austin. The two began playing The song, titled "I Love You Aubrey music together in a fake music group Plaza," which began as a creativity they formed in high school. exercise for Josef, is now his most "We would just jam all the time, just streamed song on Spotify and has even playing music. That's kinda how [our received recognition from the actress friendship] started," Caton says. "We herself. had a punk band originally called the On top of playing guitar for Josef's Turkey Boys, which was like [really] band, Brown also takes photos and violent and that's kinda where Josef's edits music videos for the band. Largely crazy live show stuff started, our crazy inspired by King Gizzard and Talking punk theatrics and everything." Heads, Josef and his bandmates are set In the hallways of Wimberley High out to create their own unique sound School, Josef would come across Coy and image. Hollar, the current drummer for Josef ’s Josef often gets his song ideas from band. everyday interactions or traditions "I had a few classes with him now held between his friends. Before the By Sofia Psolka Life & Arts Contributor

pandemic, a long-standing tradition for the band was to publicly jeer at movies on Five Dollar Tuesdays at the recently closed Starplex movie theater, a ritual that inspired the song "Five Dollars". "Before the pandemic, every Tuesday we'd go at the latest showing for whatever the worst movie was out, and we'd do this every week," Hollar says. "So, on the 50th anniversary of Five Dollar Tuesday, we had like 55 people show up to this 11:11 p.m. showing of 'The Sun is Also a Star.' We snuck in a cake and these party hats and set up a table on the stage that's below the screen. It was really funny." From writing lyrics in his bedroom to getting sweaty in his garage as he jams out with his band, Josef hopes to create an upbeat eclectic sound that resembles the alternative genre. "That's the nice thing about making all your stuff in your garage, you don't really have to worry about following one sound or not," Josef says. "Indie rock is the easiest way to tell people, I guess." Members of Josef's band love his goofy, creative vision and inclusive nature. Hollar says Josef's a great role model for the band. "He is a great example of someone who is ultra creative and very willing to share with others and [is] very trusting," Hollar says. "He's very open about sharing things that he can create with others, which is rare because a lot of creative people try and keep it all close to their chest and never try to do things with other people." The band hopes to continue making music together for as long as it can and share its music with anyone willing to listen. It also hopes the community will continue to support its work and passions. "I've had a lot of friends that I've been able to collaborate with; it's been tight," Josef says. "I made a lot of very talented friends in San Marcos, so when you're with other people, you kind of work together to kind of change your sound, all fun stuff." Josef released his second album, titled "Doomsday Disco," in January. Brown and the band are currently putting together music videos to promote its release. They are also working on trying to open for a concert at Stubbs Bar-B-Q in Austin. With the support of their fans, they hope to perform on a stage for the Austin City Limits music festival one day. "If we get [to perform at Stubbs], that would be really cool," Josef says. "But ACL is like a milestone for us. We are determined to play...that would be a big one for us. We're a growing band, and we're trying to get our name out there. Opportunities like this are just super cool and we're super grateful." To listen to Josef's music, visit his Spotify or YouTube. To see updates on new releases, visit his Instagram and Twitter @ elijosefonline.


The University Star

6 | Tuesday, April 20, 2021

OPINIONS

Valeria Torrealba Opinion Editor staropinion@txstate.edu

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.

ENVIRONMENT

Young Life members should pressure their organization to be stewards of the environment By Toni Mac Crossan Opinion Columnist Texas State is home to a well-attended chapter of Young Life, a Coloradobased Christian organization comprising mainly high school and college students. Texas State Young Life members spend a lot of time together, including camping together at LoneHollow Ranch in Vanderpool, Texas, where members enjoyed a Spring Break retreat last month. LoneHollow Ranch is a beautiful, newly-acquired camping complex situated on over a thousand acres of land by the Sabinal River — a river that Young Life Texas has recently requested a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for to dump up to 60,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day. While Young Life has claimed it will use much of its wastewater for irrigation — the supply of water to land or crops to help growth — and that any wastewater it does release will be treated to drinking water standards, that does not mean the water is safe for sensitive aquatic environments. Treated wastewater still contains elevated levels of nutrients — like phosphorus and nitrogen — which can contribute to eutrophication, a process that leads to algal blooms that can choke out fish and other aquatic life beneath a river's surface. If Young Life were simply going to use wastewater for irrigation, it would simply need a Texas Land Application Permit — which only allows for effluent disposal by land, not into public rivers, creeks or streams. So far, the Sabinal River — and other

ILLUSTRATION BY MOLLY GONZALES

waterways in the area, like the Nueces River — has avoided any wastewater effluent, making it one of central Texas' last pristine river systems. Any permit granted along the Sabinal only allows for land use (primarily irrigation) of wastewater. This new threat to these clean waters has rallied a large opposition to the granting of Young Life's permit, both

by local elected officials and community organizations. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Bandera Canyonlands Alliance, Friends of Lost Maples and several other groups, have held meetings in Utopia and other area towns to protest the permit, and state Representative Tracy King (D-80) has introduced House Bill 4146 to restrict permits like the one Young Life is

seeking. Now, Texas State Young Life members — many of whom have been lucky enough to see and appreciate the beauty of LoneHollow Ranch and its stretch of the Sabinal River and its tributaries — must join in with local stakeholders to convince Young Life to find a different way to deal with wastewater. Stacey Noll, LoneHollow Ranch's Camp Manager, has stated that environmental stewardship is a "key pillar" of Young Life's management plans for the camp. If this is the case, Young Life should instead seek a zero-discharge land application system to dispose of its wastewater at LoneHollow Ranch. Members of Young Life, as well as any other central Texas resident who values the beauty of the Hill Country and its waterways, can currently file comments with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in opposition to Young Life's permit. Anyone who is concerned about the effects of wastewater dumping on river health should comment on permit WQ0015892001 asking that TCEQ hold a public meeting on the permit and support the denial of the permit due to the consequences it will have on public waterways. Holding a public meeting can help Young Life move forward with environmental stewardship by taking into account the concerns of local stakeholders and taking an honest look at their role in the preservation of the Texas Hill Country. - Toni Mac Crossan is a biology graduate student

ATHLETE SUPPORT

ILLUSTRATION BY MOLLY GONZALES

Athletics should publicly support student-athlete push to brand themselves By Lindsey Salisbury Opinion Columnist On April 29, 2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Directors proposed a change in athlete name, image and likeness rules that would allow athletes to profit off their own image. We are also waiting to see how Alston v. NCAA plays out in the U.S. Supreme Court. Though potential changes would open up many opportunities for student-athletes to profit off their own hard work, Texas State Athletics has not made a public announcement regarding whether or not they support the proposals. Neither have they reached out to each team's athletes about our opinions on the issue. As an athlete at Texas State, I know having such a rule lifted would lift a lot of financial and daily stress. I would finally feel in control of my own image, not constantly worrying about whether or not social media posts or any extracurricular activities will result in consequences. I could partake in other business ventures and create my life beyond Texas State Athletics. Although I love being a Texas State athlete, I do not want to graduate just as an athlete. I am more than that. The current rules for Division I athletes regarding the Right to Publicity consists of two major clauses:

• "In general, to maintain NCAA eligibility, Division I student-athletes may not promote or endorse a commercial product or service, even if they are not paid to participate in the activity." • “Athletes may use their image to continue participating in non-athletically related promotional activities if they were initiated before college enrollment.” The new set of rules — “expected” to be adopted by the 2021-2022 school year — would allow athletes to profit off third-party endorsements, “both related to and separate from athletics.” This enables athletes to create a steady income by pursuing business and profiting off social media. Modes of compensation through the Right of Publicity not allowed before would open to all Texas State athletes. Texas State makes about $5 million a year through athletics, according to Fiscal Year 21 estimates, and the NCAA makes even more. However, these millions upon millions funneling into this enterprise never touches the hands of the young adults who are the backbone of this industry. We are faceless. We forfeited our right to identity to play for this great university and are still constantly blindsided and forgotten about. Whatever the NCAA decides or does not decide affects us the most. Texas

State Athletics, from the administration to staff members, should be standing on the frontline, speaking up for its athletes. College athletes do get scholarships and other resources that regular students do not always have access to, but they are not enough. When in the face of economic deficiencies, such car payments, rent and food, athletes are pretty hopeless. The stipends we receive do not cover the full amount of the responsibilities we have. We are not able to get a job as some other Texas State students do when they run into financial troubles. With 20-40 hour practice weeks and being full-time students, we are pretty limited in our time. Opening the door for us athletes to use our image gives us a professional presence needed for success. We can use something we dedicate so much time, energy and passion to, to make a profit. These potential NCAA changes are pertinent for us athletes to continue doing what we love and get the references and experience we need for post-graduation. Texas State needs to actively participate in the fight for athletes' rights. These new rules will play a pivotal part in creating a better environment for us all. - Lindsey Salisbury is an English sophomore


The University Star

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | 7

SPORTS

Sumit Nagar Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu

SOFTBALL

The Bobcat softball team huddles together before a game against Texas A&M University, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 7-6. PHOTO BY KATE CONNORS

Softball slump continues against Louisiana By Ricardo Delgado Sports Reporter Texas State softball's (27-8 overall, 9-5 Sun Belt) struggles continued from April 17-18 with a 2-1 series loss to the No. 14 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (34-7 overall, 16-2 Sun Belt). A 7-5 victory over Baylor University on April 14 provided a base for a resurgence after suffering a series sweep against the University of South Alabama, which squashed hopes of a program recordbreaking 19th consecutive win. The series started strong for the Bobcats, who won the first game of the April 17 doubleheader 5-1. Louisiana opened the scoring in the fourth with an RBI sacrifice bunt from junior utility player Melissa Mayeux. The Ragin' Cajuns struggled with hitting until the run, registering only two hits. Two innings later, the Bobcats' bats responded with back-to-back singles from senior infielder Tara Oltmann and sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford. A passed ball advanced runners to second and third. Louisiana's decision to intentionally walk Texas State senior infielder Hailey MacKay backfired when next-in-line freshman outfielder Piper Randolph singled to center field on a 3-2 count, driving home two runs for a 2-1 lead. Texas State junior catcher Cat Crenek

homered the very first pitch of the top of the seventh inning to double the lead to 3-1, while senior outfielder Kylie George mounted on the pressure with a single to left field. Oltmann put the punctuation on the Bobcats' reawakened bats by homering to left field for the final 5-1 score. Louisiana could only muster a single from senior outfielder Ciara Bryan, the only Ragin' Cajun batter to total more than one hit, with three. Texas State started the second half of the doubleheader conceding four runs and five hits in eight at-bats. Freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins, who pitched for all seven innings of the first game and grabbed five strikeouts, ended her time on the mound after Louisiana senior catcher/outfielder Julie Rawls homered to right field for a 3-0 lead. Bobcats' senior pitcher Meagan King allowed three hits and an RBI before the inning ended 4-0. The Ragin Cajuns' offensive explosion briefly resumed on the very first pitch in the bottom of the second, when sophomore pitcher/outfielder Karly Heath homered to center field and deepened the Bobcats' hole at 5-0. Texas State managed one hit in the fourth before Heath homered again to left-center on a 3-2 count in the bottom of that very inning for a 6-0 lead. King’s game ended after the sixth run when replaced by senior pitcher Dalilah Barrera, who held the mound for the rest

of the game. Oltmann would double in the sixth for an RBI and run one in herself off Vanderford’s single for a 6-2 scoreline, but Louisiana added another run in the sixth to end the scoring at 7-2. Texas State managed three runs in the seventh to load the bases, but Oltmann’s ground out to the shortstop ended the game a half-inning early. The final game of the series on April 18 was another one-sided affair. Louisiana routed the Bobcats 8-0 due to a sevenrun sixth inning collapse, deepening the slump since Texas State dropped its win streak. Louisiana senior infielder Kaitlyn Alderink started the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single, but the pitching from both teams remained relatively clean for the majority of the game. Mullins earned five strikeouts in five innings, allowing two hits before the sixth inning. Louisiana senior pitcher Summer Ellyson allowed only one hit, a single down the left-field line from Texas State freshman utility player Hannah Earls, in six innings. The game was a pitching showcase, a stark contrast to the multiple-run doubleheader the day before. Texas State would bottom out in the sixth after Bryan hit a two-run homer for a 3-0 lead. Barrera stepped in for Mullins, who allowed two hits from two batters before coming off for King. The

second relief pitcher of the inning let in a two RBI-single from Rawls on her third pitch, inflating the score to 5-0. Heath hit a two-RBI single two batters later for a 7-0 lead. Heath and Rawls both totaled four RBIs in the last two games of the series. A sacrifice bunt allowed Louisiana sophomore outfielder Kendall Talley to finalize the score at 8-0. The eight-run lead after the fifth inning triggered rule 6.17.1.3 of the NCAA Softball 2020 and 2021 Rules Book — “If a team is ahead by eight or more runs after five innings, or if the home team is at least eight runs ahead after 4 1/2 innings, [the plate umpire shall declare a called game].” Having now lost five of the last seven games, Texas State will travel up north for a one-off game against the No. 6 University of Texas at Austin Longhorns (31-6 overall, 6-3 Big 12). In their last matchup against the Longhorns on Feb. 24, the Bobcats experienced a 1-0 walk-off loss off a fielding error in extra innings. This time around, UT is coming off the wrong end of a series sweep against the No. 1 University of Oklahoma, 112, 10-2 and 9-0, with no games reaching the full seven innings. The Longhorns hold a 22-1 record at home.

BASEBALL

Baseball drops fifth series of season against Washington By Damien Bartonek Sports Reporter Texas State baseball (15-22 overall, 5-7 Sun Belt) suffered its fifth series loss of the season, dropping games from April 16-18 to the University of Washington Huskies (15-16 overall, 3-9 Pac 12). The Bobcats entered the matchup following losses to Troy University and Texas A&M University, respectively. In the first game, the Huskies jumped out to a 4-0 lead within the first three innings of the game, off a solo home run from redshirt freshman infielder Christian Dicochea, an RBI single from freshman infielder Michael Brown and a two-run home run from junior outfielder/infielder Christian Jones. The Bobcats answered in the top of the fourth inning, as senior outfielder Chase Evans hit a two-run home run to bring the Bobcats within two. Evans' home run was the closest the Bobcats would get to tying the ballgame, as the Huskies scored five unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The Huskies held on to a 9-2 lead until the eighth inning, where the Bobcats tried to mount a comeback with back-to-back RBI doubles from senior infielder Cole Coffey and senior infielder Jaxon Williams. They brought the deficit 9-5 but, in the end, it was not enough. Washington won the contest 10-5, leading to the Bobcats' third straight loss. The Bobcats got the upper hand to start game two, as junior infielder Justin Thompson hit a two-RBI double

Texas State sophomore infielder/outfielder Jose Gonzalez (23) fist bumps freshman pitcher/outfielder Rhett McCaffety (43), Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at Bobcat Ballpark. The Bobcats lost 4-8. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

out to right field to grab a 1-0 lead. The Huskies quickly answered with five runs within the next two innings. It started with an RBI double from senior infielder Ramon Bramasco to tie the game up at 1-1 after three innings. Washington put up a five-run inning in the fifth. The Huskies hit two home runs and an RBI single to take a 6-1 lead. The deficit proved to be insurmountable as Texas State ultimately fell by a final score of 6-3. Graduate pitcher Garrett Herrmann dropped his first game of the season as the Bobcats lost their fourth straight. Texas State was dominated on the mound through two

games, with one to go in its three-game series. The final battle on the mound was between Texas State sophomore pitcher Zeke Wood and Washington redshirt freshman pitcher Adam Bloebaum. Neither gave up more than one earned run on the night. The Huskies were first on the board off a solo home run from redshirt freshman outfielder Cole Miller in the second inning. Texas State answered in the fifth with an RBI single off a bunt from Evans to tie the game 1-1. The Huskies went into the bottom of the sixth with only two hits. A single out to second base by Dicochea marked the team's third. Later in the frame, redshirt freshman infielder Will Simpson, with a 3-2 count, hit an RBI single out to right-center field to bring in Dicochea, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead. The Bobcats could not overcome a tough night at the plate and ultimately fell by a final score of 2-1, losing the series in a sweep and dropping their fifth straight game of the season. The Bobcats will now set their sights on the No. 3 University of Texas at Austin Longhorns (30-8 overall, 10-2 Big 12). The Longhorns enter the matchup with a 13-game winning streak. They recently swept Abilene Christian University in a three-game series from April 16-18 and will look to improve their road record to 9-3 when they face Texas State. Texas State will host UT at 6 p.m. on April 20 at Bobcat Ballpark. The game will air on ESPN+.


8 | Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The University Star

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