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Opinion: Texas State must support its transgender community SEE PAGE 6

SMCISD Rattlers return to in-person classes SEE PAGE 2

LGBTeachers educates inclusivity, representation in classrooms SEE PAGE 5

Bobcat softball scratches back with Georgia Southern series sweep SEE PAGE 7


Students, local experts worry temporary SNAP benefits are not enough

A self-checkout sign advertises store regulations on Friday, April 16, 2021, at HEB on East Hopkins Street. The sign details what can be bought and payment options at the self-checkout registers. PHOTO BY JEFFREY HALFEN

By Tatiana Torres News Contributor Despite the recent temporary expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)'s eligibility requirements, students and Hays County nutrition experts believe the expansion is overdue and fear it will be short-lived. SNAP's eligibility expansion came after the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed. The act seeks to assist college students impacted by COVID-19 by helping combat food insecurity. SNAP's eligibility extension includes students who are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work-study during the regular academic year or who have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero in the current academic year on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Traditionally, SNAP eligibility is based on monthly income alone. According to Miriam Manboard, a human nutrition graduate student and research assistant for the student-run food pantry Bobcat Bounty, SNAP guidelines were initially established when the majority of college populations consisted of students from well-off, middle-class families. "There's a bit of an assumption that college students don't have to worry about security as much because all college students are obviously from, like, middle-class backgrounds and can afford to have [food security] which really isn't the truth anymore," Manboard says.

Traditional SNAP eligibility guidelines left many low-income students, like Kayla Mckee, a communication design junior, having to bear the burden of an aged legislation. “Although I’m grateful, I think it’s pretty ridiculous that it took this long, and it took a pandemic for [lowincome students] to be able to have this opportunity,” Mckee says. Because of the eligibility extension, Mckee qualifies for SNAP benefits and is undergoing a lengthy application process in hopes of lessening the extra financial responsibilities that come with being a full-time student. “I have rent, I need gas money... if I get SNAP, it would help me finally be able to start saving money. Usually, I have just enough money to do the things I need to do,” Mckee says. “Even though it will probably just be a little bit, I can at least start putting some [money away] for when I graduate next year.” Despite the eligibility expansion, Manboard is concerned this small victory may only provide brief relief for students, as only temporary extensions remain in effect until 30 days after the federal government lifts the nationwide designation of the COVID-19 public health emergency. According to Manboard, the issue of food insecurity among college students has been ignored for too long. She says the temporary expansion of SNAP benefits only scratches the surface of what needs to be done in order to ensure college students are food secure.

"College students, that group can be overlooked by many of these service programs. There's also this theme of a lack of resources for college students," Manboard says. "[Food insecurity is an issue] that's only recently getting attention, [but it's] actually been an issue for a while now. We just recently started paying attention to it." Ttory Capes, client intake lead at the Hays County Food Bank, believes it is essential to identify cases of food insecurity among students to properly utilize assistance resources. “I think we’ve discovered, especially during this pandemic and especially during [Winter Strom Uri], food may not be as reliable to some people as we think,” Capes says. “It’s important to take advantage of this and make sure that [the] food situation is all settled, so, at the very least, you know at the end of the day, you can afford food.” While SNAP provides relief to families and individuals in order to secure food, little is done about the stigma of utilizing government nutritional assistance. “People think if people are taking advantage of this program, you’re somehow lesser than. That’s just not the case,” Capes says. Mckee says the stigma is difficult to overcome, but believes acknowledging the issue is the first step toward creating permanent change. She hopes the extended temporary SNAP eligibility requirements will be here to stay, and that students who need the assistance can receive help in the future. Bobcat Bounty food pantry is available to all qualifying Texas State students. The pantry is open every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the Mitte parking lot. Signup slots to visit the pantry reset each Tuesday at 4 p.m. Hays County Food Bank offers a community partner program to help with SNAP applications. For more information visit https://haysfoodbank. org/snap-assistance.aspx or call (512) 392-8300 ext. 225.

Cans sit on a shelf, Friday, April 16, 2021, at HEB on East Hopkins Street. PHOTO BY JEFFREY HALFEN


Texas State content creators attract views and opportunities through style, creativity By Brooklyn Solis Life & Arts Reporter As viral trends surged across social media amid COVID-19, Texas State content creators take to the web, finding success through their virtual profiles. When joining the hottest app during a global pandemic was all the rage, Texas State students bursting with enterprise found that following Tiktok's trends played a key role in kick-starting their careers as content creators. For volleyball star Janell Fitzgerald, a health science junior with 67,300 followers on TikTok, joining the popular app was a way to escape her daily routine filled with volleyball and schoolwork.




“I couldn’t ask for anything better.” Fitzgerald first gained a considerable following after dancing to the song "Whole Lotta Choppas" in Strahan Arena while wearing her Bobcat training gear. Her sporty location and athletic attire played a role in securing her a specific audience. “I do know that I have a lot of younger volleyball players that follow me,” Fitzgerald says. “I get DMs daily just talking about volleyball or ‘Oh, can’t wait to go to your game,' ‘Can I meet you?’ All types of stuff like that, they kind of correlate volleyball and TikTok.” With TikTok becoming a popular app during quarantine, Don Kennedy, a theater senior, joined the video platform in February 2020 after making the decision to share his Instagram skits on TikTok.


The 'new team' signs off By Editorial Board

We always knew this point in the year would come, but we did not think it would arrive this fast. This is our last regular issue of the school year. On May 1, this Editorial Board as currently constructed will no longer exist, and a new group will officially take over. Our senior staff members will graduate when commencement takes place starting on May 13, and younger staff members will begin to grow into new roles. We've endured quite the year, and you were with us every step of the way. You depended on us for information when COVID-19 ravaged the community during the summer. You read every story when we covered Black Lives Matter protests throughout San Marcos. You

logged on to Zoom to watch our events. You followed our social media threads on Election Night. You utilized our resources every day during the February winter storm to find out what stores and restaurants were open. You told us how much you learned from The 11% Project, our year-long examination of Black students at Texas State. We deemed ourselves the "new team" because we viewed these trying times as opportunities to better connect with you. We truly feel we were able to accomplish that. In this year more than ever, people were able to see the value of student media, and we realized just how much you mean to us. During previous years, some people on campus questioned our purpose. After a year filled with catastrophic events, we hope those

uncertainties answered.




class assignments and operated with inadequate pay because we knew how much you depended on us to do our jobs. The Star is a great resource to this community. Change is about to occur, but we feel there is a strong foundation in place for the organization to keep moving forward. We are so excited about the direction The Star is headed. This year was difficult, but our organization grew because of it. The next crop of leaders will do a remarkable job. We hope you ILLUSTRATION BY ASIA ALCALA continue to support them. The work we do is not easy, but you We take on the role we do because have always kept us going. To that, we of our community. We lived through say thank you. It was an honor. these historic events and were negatively impacted just as some of you were. We sometimes lost out on sleep, missed

The University Star

2 | Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Brianna Benitez News Editor starnews@txstate.edu


Trinity Building 203 Pleasant St. San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 245 - 3487

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Jaden Edison stareditor@txstate.edu Managing Editor: Gabriella Ybarra starmanagingeditor@txstate.edu News Editor: Brianna Benitez starnews@txstate.edu Life & Arts Editor: Cristela Jones starlifeandarts@txstate.edu Opinion Editor: Valeria Torrealba staropinion@txstate.edu Sports Editor: Sumit Nagar starsports@txstate.edu

SMCISD Rattlers return to in-person classes By Timia Cobb Assistant News Editor

As part of its Rattler Reopening Plan, the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) fully opened its campuses allowing students to return to in-person classes on April 12. According to SMCISD Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations Andrew Fernandez, students returned to campus for the district's last six weeks to gain an understanding of what next fall will be like and so SMCISD staff could provide encouragement to students before the summer break. "We know this has been a long year and a tough year for a lot of our students, a lot of our families," Fernandez says. "We wanted to be able to provide resources to students, you know before they headed off to summer, and also just check on them, see how they're doing.” While this is the district's official return from remote learning, it has been operating with in-person classes since early this year.

Design Editor: Molly Gonzales stardesign@txstate.edu Multimedia Editor: Hannah Thompson starmultimedia@txstate.edu Engagement Editor: Eryka Thompson starengagement@txstate.edu Podcast Editor: Kim Davis Jr. starpodcast@txstate.edu

Public & Internal Relations Bianca Landry PIR Director Nadia Gonzales Assistant PIR Director

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz, laurakrantz@txstate.edu Student Publications Coordinator: Mayra Mejia, mm1894@txstate.edu

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 27, 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

San Marcos CISD school buses, Thursday, April 22, 2021, at Owen Goodnight Middle School. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN

“Prior to April 12, we had 65% of our students on campus, district-wide. So, [as] of April 12 we have around 82% of students back on San Marcos CISD campuses," Fernandez says. "The first safety protocol was ensuring our staff was vaccinated; more than 800 of our staff members have received the Moderna vaccination.” With 1,215 staff members and only a little over 800 vaccinated, nearly 415 have yet to receive a vaccine. According to Fernandez, this is due to a staff member's individual choice. He adds some are pregnant or have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain in the 90-day grace period before they are eligible for vaccination.



SMCISD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS Despite the return, not all students are required to return back to campus. Instead, they can be issued an exemption that allows them to continue distance learning. Fernandez says students can Scan the code above to have The Star Roundup delivered to your email every Tuesday and Thursday.

be exempt through a medical exemption

After state lockdowns and being remote

Owen Goodnight Middle School entrance, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in San Marcos. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN

provided by a doctor or because of a parent's medical concerns. Another form of exception is an extenuating circumstance exemption which allows families to fill out a one-page application to justify their students' need for remote learning. The extenuating circumstance exemption requires a meeting between campus officials and parents who discuss to determine the best learning environment for their students. Michelle Villalpando, a mother to an 11-year-old Goodnight Middle School student, has struggled with the transition back to in-person classes as her daughter's medical exemption keeps her at distance learning. Villalpando says with a majority of students back in the classroom, teaching methods are no longer what they used to be when classes were fully remote. "I did meet with her school principal and the Special Education Coordinator for her school, to express more individual concerns with my daughter's situation, and I had told them that, you know, that there should be some type of correspondence from the teacher, even though they're not providing live instruction," Villalpando says. "There should be some type of, you know, direction as to, 'Okay this is what you're supposed to do for this week', what's due this week and so forth, not just uploading assignments to keep them occupied." Villalpando says her daughter has become frustrated with the limited help she's received since her teachers now primarily teach in-person and provide only online assignments for remote students. With this ongoing frustration, Villalpando asked her daughter if she thought a decent education was worth the possible health risk. "I essentially had to tell my daughter, that this was a decision that I needed her to really think about, you know, this decision because if she were to go to campus and if she were to test positive, she would have to be okay with knowing that she would have to prepare for the worst," Villalpando says. Before Villalpando could decide whether to send her daughter to inperson classes, she was informed via text of multiple COVID-19 cases at Goodnight Middle School. According to the SMCISD COVID-19 dashboard, between April 12-18, seven students and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 district-wide — the staff member and two out of the seven students were from Goodnight Middle School. After seeing the growing number of cases at the school, Villalpando and her daughter concluded that her health was the priority. Because of this decision, Villalpando says she understands she and her daughter will have to work harder to ensure her daughter performs well academically and prioritizes her education. Anne Halsey, a SMCISD school board member and a mother of three SMCISD students, says her children transitioned to remote learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her two youngest children returned to school at the beginning of this year while her oldest returned only weeks ago on April 12. “It's just been an incredibly hard year for everybody, and I think most especially for teachers and for kids,” Halsey says. “What we've asked them to do has just been extraordinary, and I think they've done an incredible amount of work and been incredibly successful given the horribleness of the situation.”

for almost a year, Halsey says it's been a hard time, but can already see a difference in her children after returning to school. "They've all hung in there and done the best they can," Halsey says. "I think definitely for my younger two, being back on campus has been good for them. I feel like it's been safe. My high schooler, also, since she went back. She’s been back for a week and a half. It’s a transition, but I think that it's certainly, I'm seeing an uptick in, sort of just attitude.” With public vaccination sites available throughout San Marcos, Halsey feels the risks of COVID-19 for herself and her kids have decreased. She adds the community is in a much safer position compared to when the pandemic first started. "We know more about the virus; we know more about the way that people contract it than we did certainly a year ago. So, we're certainly in a safer place,” Halsey says. “Now, is everything completely safe yet? No, but we're on the road, and I feel like we're at a much better place.” One of Halsey's biggest concerns is the mental health of students and young adults during this time and how much of the emotional toll they have endured this past year. She adds the district's decision to return to in-person curriculum provides students an emotional boost they will need for summer.



SMCISD school board member and a mother of three SMCISD students At the end of the semester, SMCISD's senior class will have the option to participate in a socially distanced, outdoor commencement ceremony and other events such as prom. Fernandez believes allowing students to return to campus is beneficial to their social lives and emotional health, however, their safety is always a priority. “All I can say is, I believe the students are happy to be amongst one another again," Fernandez says. "There's some friends that they haven't seen in over a year, the first time they've seen them outside of a Zoom screen. So, is this a step toward normalcy? Of course. But at the end of the day, what's most important is the safety of our students.”

The University Star

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | 3


Editor’s Note: “-30-” has traditionally been used throughout journalism to indicate the end of a story. Each semester, The University Star encourages its graduating seniors to write a Senior 30 — a farewell piece to its readers — indicating the conclusion of a staff member's time as an active member of the organization.

Getting out of my own head By Ricardo Delgado News and Sports Reporter

Ricardo Delgado (far right), a journalism senior, covering the presidential election night with Star staff on Nov. 3, 2020, in The Star's Trinity office. This marked Delgado's first experience in a newsroom and solidified journalism as his purpose. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICARDO DELGADO

Ideally, I’d be mentioning all of the tangibly exciting experiences of college here — the people I met, the characterchanging experiences I’d carry with me for the rest of my life. But, that would be disingenuous. I stared at a laptop screen for 18 hours a day for the last year or so.The day’s almost here. I have nothing lined up afterward, as the patience-forging wait for DACA is yet to end. The gnawing malaise surrounding the prospect of being an adult is firmly rooted where any relief should be. It seems like I’d call these last two years a wash, but something stops

my pessimism — my time at The University Star. I joined on a whim in the fall of 2020, knowing I’d need some sort of experience and a hobby during the many extra hours COVID-19 graciously gave most of us. I applied for the news and sports section, thinking a cutthroat selection process would let me into one of them if I was lucky. I got into both, which was not my intention, but now I can’t imagine my time here any other way. At The Star, in front of a laptop screen and (sometimes) in print, I think I finally found my place. Journalism was never more than an educated guess for me when I applied to Texas State, but actually doing the work, writing stories people want to read and talking to truly interesting people make my college experience a positive alone. The Star is home to the most talented and dedicated group of individuals I’ve ever worked with and, likely, disappointed. Running one of the largest (if not the largest, then the most far-reaching) news sources for a big college town is no small task, as many of us Star employees discovered during the mind-numbing cold of the winter storm. I’ve never known stress like the stress I’ve felt in this job, but I can’t say it didn’t make me a better journalist and a better person, a personal improvement I’d like to credit to every editor I've had at every level here. My first semester contained wallto-wall new experiences: Covering the sports I love, interviewing former presidential candidates, covering an election and actually socializing with

people my age (!!), all highlights which I can rattle off without negatives. I definitely stretched myself too thin. Forgoing sleep for the sake of a deadline became normal, but I like to think that’s just a taste of the journalism experience. My second semester at The Star I tested the limits altogether, as I took on an internship at the San Antonio Sentinel and attempted to complete my college career with a bang. I cannot say my mental and physical well-being did not tank in the last few months. I blame nothing else but my lack of discipline, the two black coffees a day on four hours sleep and not drinking enough water, which I’m sure accounts for the constant headaches. In the immortal words of John Mulaney, “Do my [editors] hate me or do I just need to go to sleep?” But, I can’t say I’m unhappy doing what I do now. I’ve learned how this school works, had students open up to me about their mental health struggles and documented the (at least) semester-long hijacking of the students’ voice. Although it had its downs, this experience is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my days. It feels wrong to ask for more, but if only this experience could have happened under normal conditions. If only I could have seen my colleagues outside of work and if only an unfeeling global pandemic didn’t take too many of us away from each other, maybe this last semester wouldn't have been such a personal low. The Star dragged me out of my own head, and I can’t be more thankful for it.

Managing editor leaves The Star relatively unscathed, writes one last time By Gabriella Ybarra Managing Editor


To be honest with you, I didn't want this job. But only at first. When I first transferred to Texas State in the fall of 2019, I never thought I would ever step foot in The University Star's Trinity office, least of all become The Star's managing editor. I thought those guys were too good, too smart, and frankly, out of my league (they still are). But one random night in November 2019, I mustered up the courage to apply to be a news reporter. Then, I got the call. Being a reporter for the news section was one of the best experiences of my life. Seeing my stories get published week after week was a satisfaction like no other, and it gave me a sense of purpose that I didn't even know I needed. And despite the long nights of writing and stressing out about deadlines, at least I knew I was doing something I loved — reporting. I remember feeling so confused as the semester was wrapping up, when people from the editorial board began asking me to apply for an editor position. I still felt like a baby at The Star, and it didn't make sense to me why I would be qualified for a position

on the editorial board after only one semester of being there. So, when the words "managing editor" came from Jaden Edison, my immediate thought was simple: No way in hell. Now that I look back, it wasn't that I didn't want the job; I just didn't think I could do it. It wasn't until after I had conversations with my family and friends and a phone call with my predecessor, Sonia Garcia, that I was finally convinced to apply. I knew the opportunity to possibly have this position was too good to pass up, and so I swallowed my fears and took the leap. I'm so glad I did. Being managing editor of The Star this past year has been incredibly pivotal for my personal growth. I learned how to be an editor and a leader, and those are skills I will carry with me forever. Interacting with my fellow editors and our amazing team has been a privilege, and seeing them grow as leaders and powerful writers has been my absolute pleasure. Working alongside like-minded people passionate about storytelling and reporting the truth is one of the best parts of working at The Star. Each of you make The Star so great, and I'm so lucky to say that I've been a part of it. The truth is, student journalism isn't easy. Completing college work while writing weekly for a newspaper and still making time to do the things that 20-year-olds do is a unique challenge. But through it all, we make it work. So, where should I begin with the praise and thanks? Thank you, Chase Rogers, for initially hiring me. Thank you, Sonia Garcia, for convincing me to apply for the managing editor position. Thank you, Kym Fox, for being my mentor. Our 2020-2021 editorial board: Thank you for all of your hard work this past year. Despite the hardships,

we stuck together and did some great things. And on top of that, you guys always made budget meetings and production nights enjoyable. And last but not least, thank you, Jaden Edison. Not just for being our courageous leader, but for asking me at City Hall during our first-ever meeting where I saw my future at The Star and ultimately asking me to be your managing editor. It's been a crazy ride. For those of you sticking around,

Cheers! By Kiana Burks News Contributor

Senior Kiana Burks says goodbye to The Star in April 2021.


While working at The University Star, I have gained a deeper understanding of not only myself, but of those around me, as well. Being here has truly changed me for the better. Gaining the opportunity to sit down and have conversations about the lives and stories of the members of my community has been an honor. Although I’ve only been here for about a year, I consider all of the time I have spent with The Star to be priceless. I am so thankful for the amazing, genuine, talented and extremely intelligent people I have met here, and I am excited to take advantage of the opportunities that working here has afforded me. The Star provided me with a platform to share the stories of my community and promote positive change. Very rarely do we acknowledge and pay the appropriate respects to the people, places and events in our lives that take on the role of shaping, teaching and loving us. When I look back at my time at The Star, at all my triumphs and struggles, I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the long hours I stayed awake writing, my amazing teammates, the interesting conversations I got to have, my dedicated editors and the satisfaction of feeling like I am making a difference in the world. Today, as I look toward the future, the only thing that I have left to say is, "Thank you."

A short but sweet goodbye By Andie Mau Life & Arts Reporter

Senior Andie Mau says goodbye to San Marcos and The University Star in April 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDIE MAU

Gabriella Ybarra smiles for her graduation photos on Texas State's campus. PHOTO COURTESY OF GABRIELLA YBARRA

I'm so excited to see what you do next. You will definitely catch me cheering you guys on from the sidelines. It's hard to believe this is my last byline for The Star. To be honest, I teared up while writing that last sentence. I guess I just love this organization so much. One last time, thank you.

Although I was only with The University Star for one semester, my time here has impacted my life positively, both professionally and personally. Entering the Life & Arts section, I wanted to be part of a writing process that challenged me, and that challenge is exactly what I received. With The Star, my writing was pushed farther than it ever has been before. I was able to feel the highs of improvement just as much as the humbleness of failure. More than anything, The Star instilled in me a drive to do better and reach higher for myself. This past semester, my love for San Marcos and the Texas State community also grew, as I became more familiar with the people, organizations and local issues surrounding me. A town I aptly used to call "purgatory" has become a home I will now miss. I will never forget how The Star and the San Marcos community have influenced my writing and outlook on what is possible. The only regret I have is the minimal length of time I spent here.

The University Star

4 | Tuesday, April 27, 2021

SENIOR -30Dear Star: I gave you all I could. Now, A farewell to I'm ready to close this chapter. my friends! By Jaden Edison Editor-in-Chief

Jaden Edison (middle) sits among Star staff members at the 2019 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association event in Corpus Christi.


I spent the last three-and-a-half years reading these “Senior 30” pieces from people who I respected, admired and learned a great deal from. So, you might understand why I find it somewhat peculiar that my time in this organization is now coming to an end — why it is odd to me that younger staff members now look to me as the old, wise editor on his way out. When I interviewed for The University Star in January 2018, I was a kid with a narrow worldview. The terrible practice column I pitched to then-Opinion Editor Carrington J. Tatum before I was officially hired was about how I felt Mo’Nique overreacted to Netflix not paying her what she was worth. After joining, I would attend hours-long opinion section meetings, pitching vague ideas for columns and conversing with the rest of the team about nonsense, until we were all tired and ready to go home. It was my experiences in that section that pushed me to go out and learn more. I loved the people, but I absolutely hated sitting in a room with people who I felt were more intellectually curious than me. I had no other choice but to start reading, listening and watching more. Fast forward years later, I am now graduating after having spent time in nearly every area of The Star, giving each task and person everything I had and more. I sacrificed valuable time to improve who I was as a critical thinker so I could contribute something special to this organization. With every piece I wrote as a columnist, every visual or audio I created, every story I wrote or edited, every social media post I published and every decision I made, I never cheated the process. It was always about our community and actively working to improve the organization for our community.

The Star is flawed. I do not believe it was created for people who look like me. We are severely underpaid. (Most do not get paid at all.) The institution does not provide us enough mental health resources. People who care so much about the organization sometimes end up taking on the tasks of those who do not care enough. We have repeatedly had to explain what journalism is and how journalism works to administrators and faculty members who do not have a clue. Serving as a Black leader in a historically white organization at a historically white institution is extremely challenging. If we do not care, no one else will. The smallest mistakes we make could ruin opportunities for the next group of people who look like us. When we run into a dilemma, there are very few people to go to for the guidance we really need. But I truly believe it is a privilege to work at The Star. We earn the opportunity to meet remarkable people and create life-long relationships — inside and outside of the newsroom. People allow us into their spaces and share their stories with us, for better or worse. We have access that everyday students, faculty and staff do not always have. I am so grateful for my time at The Star — all of the highs and lows — and my hope is that future leaders of the organization will continue to do the work to understand why it is important to do what we do. It is my hope that they use the why as fuel to pay attention to every small detail. People’s lives, especially in communities of color, are negatively impacted when we are reckless throughout our journalism processes. Communities depend on us to offer them this public service, and it is the job of this organization’s members to rise to the occasion. My experience here was so great because of the people I encountered. I am thankful for every person who stopped to have a conversation with me, answered my phone calls/texts or responded to my emails; I learned so much. Thank you to everyone who sent me words of encouragement; you helped get me through some of my toughest moments. I want to thank Tatum, Cameron Hubbard, Jakob Rodriguez, the 20192020 multimedia section members and The Star’s editor-in-chief hiring committee — all of whom gave me opportunities that were much bigger than myself. Thank you to all of the columnists, reporters, editors and advisers I had the privilege to learn from these past few years. I am not sure if my toxic masculinity ever allowed me to say it

enough, so I will say it now: You were integral to my growth, and I appreciate you all so much.

By Molly Gonzales Desgin Editor

Members of the 2019-2020 multimedia section, led by Jaden Edison (not photographed), practice writing cutlines during the group's weekly section meeting.


I want to thank this year's Editorial Board/organization leaders — Gabriella Ybarra, Daniel Weeks, Brianna Benitez, Cristela Jones, Rebecca Harrell, Hannah Thompson, Haley Brand, Eryka Thompson, Laura Nunez, Valeria Torrealba, Aidan Bea, Sumit Nagar, Bianca Landry, Molly Gonzales, Kim Davis Jr., Morgan Byers, Michele DuPont, Timia Cobb, Sarah Hernandez, Nadia Gonzales, Lauren Pricer and Amira Van Leeuwen — and staff. We went through what no other group before us had ever experienced — COVID-19, protests against racism, arguably the most polarized general election in modern history and a historic winter storm — and we made it happen. We had tough internal conversations about how we could rebuild The Star’s infrastructure and transformed them into policy and procedure. We took on The 11% Project, which I hope will have a lasting impact on this campus community for years to come. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me to lead the way. To the next team: You never know what lies ahead, but you should know by now the fundamental things you have to do to get to where you want to go. Trust yourselves and trust one another. I genuinely believe you have a great leader in place; please know you also have an ally in me. The goal is to always leave a place better than you found it and set others up for success along the way. I gave it my maximum effort. I find comfort in knowing that I always did — and that I did it for the right reasons. To finish off this piece as I did when I started in The Star's opinion section:

Molly Gonzales, a digital media innovation senior and Design Editor at The Star, saying goodbye to her four years as a Star staff member. PHOTO COURTESY OF MOLLY GONZALES

My time as design editor at The University Star has been defined by the creation of 43 newspapers, 12hour production days every Monday, countless meetings and all of the people I met along the way. In my first semester at Texas State, I joined the staff as a page designer. I only applied because one of my friends from my high school yearbook class, Sam Tweet, was already working for The Star, and she told me to do it. Everything from August 2018 to now is a blur. If it isn’t already clear by now, I am a designer and far from a writer, so I’m not going to drag this on much longer. But before I go, I have a lot of people to thank. Thank you to Jakob Rodriguez for hiring me as design editor — no questions asked. Thank you to Bella Lopes for being my emotional support human and bringing me coffee every Monday. Thank you to Sonia Garcia for keeping me sane and making sure everyone else met their deadlines. Thank you to Jaden Edison for letting me keep my position for a second year and always pushing me. Thank you to everyone who stood by me during this entire experience. Thank you to everyone who always believed in me. Thank you, University Star.

- Jaden Edison is an electronic media senior

A pandemic-born journalist By Cristela Jones Life & Arts Editor

Cristela Jones, an electronic media senior and Life and Arts Editor, says goodbye to her time at The Star in April 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF CRISTELA JONES

Applying to work at The University Star during the beginning of a pandemic was the best decision I could’ve made in a year full of loss and change. I remember moving out of my dorm and back into my parents' house with one thought pulsating through my mind: "Well, what am I supposed to do now?" Scrolling through emails and Canvas notifications, I found a link to apply for The Star. The life and arts section instantly caught my eye. I was intrigued by the domino effect of events happening around me during the pandemic as businesses closed, fears of COVID-19 transmission spread and the world's new-found reality set in. My desire to get out of the gloomy Zoom routine to share people’s stories was at an all-time high. It was the stories being written across nationwide media platforms, such as the ones surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, that pushed me to apply. At the time, I had minimal experience

reporting and interviewing, but I knew I needed to perfect these skills in order to prepare for a possible journalism career in the future. From the moment I began attending staff meetings, establishing new connections and writing stories, I knew I was in the right place. Since then, although I never thought I’d be promoted to the life and arts editor of The Star, I have had the privilege to tell the stories of those who are unheard and unseen. Being a part of this organization has allowed me to know the city of San Marcos in an entirely new light. Getting to tell the stories of students of color, talking to inspiring professors and forging relationships with local businesses has motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. In doing so, I hope to better myself as a storyteller and continue to amplify as many voices as possible. I strongly believe that journalists, particularly journalists of color, are crucial in this day and age to serve

as mediators of truth. Therefore, establishing trust, building connections and going beyond the color of a person’s skin is what will advance the content of future stories and change the way we view the world around us. I still have a lot to learn, but working at The Star has taught me so much in just a short period of time. From picking up my first paper in Hines Academic Center to working my last production day in the newsroom, it has been an incredible ride. I am extremely grateful to all who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. The editors who gave me the opportunity to fall and get back up again, the interviewees who shared their stories and lives with me and the memories I’ve gained with the most amazing group of strong life and arts women have been unforgetable. To all, I say thank you, thank you, thank you for molding me into the better writer, editor and pandemic-born journalist I am today.

The University Star

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | 5


Cristela Jones Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu


Summer Warren poses for an Instagram photo and shows off clothing items from Fluer du Mal and Peta + Jain, Saturday, April 10, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMER WARREN

Within a few months, through lighthearted original dances, videos and short skits, Kennedy found his "niche" audience, gaining a considerable 271,200 followers eager to stream his content. “The first thing I tell a lot of people is how big [TikTok] is right now,” Kennedy says. “It’s kind of like the Vine era. In this current version of Vine, everybody is on it: Your grandma, young kids, everybody. So, as a content creator, I feel like it’s just the smartest place to be putting your content out, knowing that [TikTok] has the biggest audience to view it.” With a growing audience on TikTok, Summer Rachel Warren, a fashion merchandising alumna and digital influencer who originally created content on Instagram, decided to hop on the TikTok train to expand her audience, career and engagement. With well-planned lighting, fixed angles, aesthetically-pleasing

backgrounds and trendy outfits, Warren has gained a total of 115,000 followers on Instagram and 357,500 followers on TikTok. She also works alongside clothing brands and shops like Princess Polly, where she currently has her own collection called "The @ summerrachelwarrenedit." However, now that she has acquired her dream career and a considerable following, Warren emphasizes that the life of a digital influencer is more work than meets the eye, especially for those working to sell products. “We’re promoting all these brands. We are a personality, we are video editors, we are photographers and managers, we’re basically everything all in one and it’s a lot to handle," Warren says. "I think people think it’s a lot easier than it looks.” To Warren, finding ways to constantly engage with her followers remains equally as important as the posts themselves, whether she connects through Instagram stories, suggests products for her followers or simply asks them what they want to see.

Along with Instagram and TikTok, Warren has also collected considerable views through her vlogs, try-on hauls and Q+A's on YouTube. Loving her creative life, Warren says the best part of her job as a digital influencer is the freedom that comes along with it. “Whoever you want to be that day, that’s what you’re going to do, and you’re going to act upon it,” Warren says. “That’s what I like about fashion. You can really choose whoever you want to be. I love what I do because it never feels like work.” While the road to success proves to be long and challenging, Brooklyn Mendez, a communication disorders junior, works hard to create entertaining content in hopes of turning her love for creating YouTube videos into a career. After creating her YouTube channel to keep a video diary of her time at summer camp, Mendez decided to broaden her content by sharing her college lifestyle and educational time management videos. Through these videos and her 300+ Instagram posts, Mendez has worked to inspire and grow her community. “[ENGAGEMENT] IS Many followers reach out to her in need of advice or a comforting conversation, THE NUMBER ONE which Mendez sees as a highlight to her newfound digital fame. THING THAT ALL "Being able to be a person’s outlet I think is probably my favorite part," INFLUENCERS SHOULD Mendez says. "Getting to talk to people [who] have no one else to turn to.” DO,” Now with more than 1,100 followers, Mendez says the pandemic's influence -SUMMER WARREN, upon keeping everyone indoors has SOCAIL MEDIA INFLUENCER impacted her following for the better. Now, with a list of goals ahead, Mendez “Be active. You’re creating a continues to work on connecting with community, and you can not grow and her viewers and posting content her become better if you don’t have loyal audience can relate to. followers. And you can’t gain loyal "I love doing YouTube," Mendez followers if you don’t speak with them, says. "I know it's taken me a year to hear them out and listen to what they get to 1,100 [followers] but I still post want to see from you,” Warren says. consistently, and it was more so for me

because I just like videography. I like editing, and I think that if you want to do that then you should just go for it

Brooklyn Mendez takes a picture inspired by her Pinterest board aesthetic, Thursday, April 22, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKLYN MENDEZ

because anything is possible." Showcasing their everyday lives to thousands of people, Mendez and Kennedy advise those hoping to become social media influencers or gain a large following to stay true and authentic to who they are, regardless of fear or insecurity. "Don't be afraid to be you," Kennedy says. "I feel like we're all consumed in this society where given social media and everything, every day we're forced to look at how people are living their lives. And there's nothing wrong with the way you're living your life and the things that you're into, the things that you do, it makes you uniquely you."


LGBTeachers educates inclusivity, representation in classrooms By Sarah Hernadez Assitant Life & Arts Editor As a queer person of color, Jamie Saucedo never had a teacher in school who he felt represented him. Although he had goals of becoming an educator, he found it difficult to picture himself at the front of a classroom, feeling discouraged without a role model he could look to for guidance and encouragement. "I didn't see somebody like me," Saucedo, an elementary education senior, says. "I might have seen, like, a queer person, but they were white. Or like a brown person, but they're straight, but never like, a brown queer person." At Texas State, Saucedo found the support and guidance he has longed for in LGBTeachers, a student-led organization striving to create an inclusive environment for underrepresented groups in educational spaces. "I found the organization and it helped me build a community of support," Saucedo says. "Other people have the same anxieties surrounding being in a classroom as an LGBTQIA+ individual and we just talk about those situations." LGBTeachers was founded by a group of students in 2019 during a US1100 seminar class. Co-founder and president of the club Jordyne McClinton, a political science sophomore, says although the club's name alludes to being exclusive to only LGBTQ+ education majors, the club is open to any student interested in uplifting minority students in education. "It's so essential that we have, you know, more queer educators, more Black educators, to be a voice for students, you know, like us," McClinton says. "Because we didn't have that role model to look up to, we didn't even know what it meant to be LGBTQ." The organization's main goal is to spark change in the classroom by advocating for underrepresented communities in the education field. By doing this, McClinton hopes school curriculum transforms. "It is so important to have more Black educators and more Native American educators and things like that because

we see in classrooms like there's so many silenced, just outright ignored pieces of history and pieces of education that, you know, those things can change if we just have those people in there to represent those issues in the classroom and educational spheres," McClinton says.

Jamie Saucedo heard about LGBTeachers through social media and says the organization gave him a community of support with people who shared his anxieties surrounding being an LGBTQ educator. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMIE SAUCEDO

For the past year, LGBTeachers held meetings via Zoom where the group engaged in resume workshops, group discussions and educational meetings to explore topics like workplace discrimination and rights as an LGBTQ+ educator. Although Career Services offers similar resources to students, McClinton says it's important for students of color who seek career advice to have a mentor they can relate to, which they can receive through peers and community support in LGBTeachers. "[Career Services] on campus is so cool, so awesome, provides so much, but I feel like there's so much more,"

McClinton says. "It's about having organization's resources and realizing people who you can relate to, you know, that she is not alone in her journey is the having other people who are going most fulfilling part of being a member through the same struggles as you, it's about having that backing." Representation is essential for members of LGBTeachers like Saucedo who taught elementary-age kids as a student-teacher last fall. "I want [representation] for my kids. I want to make sure that they see themselves and they can do whatever they want and be in any positions of power that they choose if they work hard enough for it," Saucedo says. Associate Dean of the Honors College and LGBTeachers faculty advisor Peter Tschirhart says it's important to have this type of representation in all levels of education so students can realize their true potential. "The more we can all come out and say, 'This is who I am, and this is my background, and this is what I represent,' the more we're going to be able to encourage people to be their best," Tschirhart says. "Whether it's undocumented students or whether Co-founder and president of it's gay faculty, or whatever it is, having LGBTeachers Jordyne McClinton some sort of representation and some role models that students can look up to poses for a portrait, Monday, April and see, 'This is how you can do it and 26, 2021, at the Taylor-Murphy be successful, and this is what's possible courtyard. for me.' That's important." PHOTO BY LILIANA PEREZ As an educator himself, Tschirhart says he has learned a lot from the new of LBGTeachers. generation of educators in LGBTeachers "It's not just about my identity as an who are sparking new conversations in LGBTQ+ individual, it's about what their classrooms, like the importance I want to do as a career, and how I'm of respecting a person's pronouns and supposed to balance my identity with driving social change. that career because this field is so hard "I learn by finding out what the to navigate, sometimes, as a queer teachers of tomorrow are doing and individual," McClinton says. "Seeing what they care about and where the that people relate, it makes you feel, debate is and what the questions are you know, like, you're not alone. I'm because they're different from when I not the only one struggling with this, was growing up and when I was going I'm not overreacting about this. It feels into teaching," Tschirhart says. "We validating to know that people are also didn't have debates about pronouns feeling this and that, you know, you're back then. It just wasn't, you know, the not in this alone. We're in this together." conversation was in a different place." For more information on LBGTeachers, As someone who has been able to visit https://lgbteacherstxst.weebly.com see the organization grow into what or follow the organization on Twitter @ it is today, McClinton says the hard lgbteachers. work she and members have put into the club's foundation is paying off. For her, watching others benefit from the

The University Star

6 | Tuesday, April 27, 2021


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.


Texas State must support its transgender community


By Valeria Torrealba Opinion Editor Editor's Note: The University Star attempted to reach the Texas State Department of Athletics and the university's media relations for university comment for this column but did not receive a timely response. Texas State is home to just about 38,000 students, all of whom come from different demographics and cultures. Undoubtedly, the LGBTQIA+ community— specifically, the transgender community — feels targeted at the hands of the lawmakers as they invalidate the legitimacy of its existence. A person’s gender should not be tied to their successes, much less be scrutinized under the public eye and excluded under the basis of healthcare. Texas State must acknowledge these discriminatory acts and provide more support — support that surpasses ally training — for its transgender students. Should legislation barring transgender students from competing in their respective sports be passed, transgender student-athletes at Texas State would lose their ability to compete and pursue their sports — in other words, all of their training efforts would be disregarded simply because of their gender. In Texas, due to a bill approved by the Texas Senate, transgender athletes could be barred from competition in their respective sports. This means, for example, that a transgender girl would lose the ability to play soccer — which particularly targets female transgender athletes. With this bill in place,

transgender male athletes would still be able to participate in their sports. Marion Cahill, an anthropology senior and the interim president of Transcend at Texas State, says the majority of the debate regarding transgender athletes comes from the misconception that transgender female athletes have an unfair biological advantage due to being born with male genitalia. “For trans athletes, I think a lot of the discourse surrounding that topic highly depends on a very skewed bioessentialist notion that people born as men are physically more capable than people born as women,” Cahill says. “These trans bills and transphobia in general particularly target trans women.” In addition to concern on the courts, the transgender community also faces another hefty hurdle: Healthcare. Without accessibility to genderaffirming care, the transition process for young transgender people becomes hindered, leading to more dysphoria and difficulties for transgender people as time drags on. Suicide rates are higher among American transgender youth who are not granted the ability to transition. According to a 2019 study conducted by The Trevor Project, 35% of transgender youth admitted to attempting suicide in the last year, while another 44% seriously contemplated taking their lives.





Texas State has not made sufficient efforts to be more inclusive. Although the university promotes ally training and other resources for the LGBTQIA+ community, barriers remain in place for these students. In order for students to update their

A Great egret swallows a morsel of food, Monday, April 19, 2021, at Sewell Park. PHOTO BY DOUGLAS SMITH

registration information and change their given name to the name they prefer, they must do so legally. This means that if they do not secure legal documentation for their name change, the student’s hard-earned diploma has their deadname on it. In order to obtain a legal name change, a fee of $150-300 must be paid. Additionally, it must be done through a court order, which can be a process that takes years. “Overall, I feel like Texas State wants to keep an image of being progressive without actually doing anything to materially benefit us,” Cahill says. “For example, while I’ve specified that my preferred name is Marion, they’re going to be using my legal name during commencement, and I couldn’t get that changed unless I actually change my legal name.” The Student Government body has not aided the transgender community, either. The organization initially tabled a bill aiming to adopt “transgenderfriendly naming and pronoun policies,” leaving the transgender Bobcat community frustrated and without resources to rely on. Gender should not be tied to one’s right to healthcare and freedom. By denying the transgender community treatment, validation, healthcare and basic human commodities, like participating in sports, a message of intolerance and transphobia is conveyed throughout our buildings. Texas State must acknowledge its transgender community and offer support through this difficult time when its right to basic human healthcare, happiness and a preferred name is being debated, once again. Although some faculty have undergone ally training to better aid the LGBTQIA+ community at Texas State, more can be done. Diversity and inclusion efforts must be promoted further, and additional resources must be extended to the marginalized group. The transgender community has faced a tumultuous year filled with statewide legislation that invalidates its rights. Training faculty to be allies of the LGBTQIA+ community is a start — but it is not enough. - Valeria Torrealba is a public relations senior

Texas State communication studies senior Kyle Horton (left) pops champagne while Texas State marketing research and analysis graduate Justin Manor takes his graduation photos, Monday, April 19, 2021, at Alkek Library. PHOTO BY JEFFREY HALFEN

Texas State freshman Angel Lopez plays a violin, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, outside Brogdon Hall. Unsure of whether to change his major again, Lopez says college has been rough for him this year. Lopez says his mind often gets loud, but playing the violin, a hobby of his since high school, helps to relieve his stress, and he enjoys feeling the vibration of the strings on his fingers. PHOTO BY LILIANA PEREZ

The Texas State Strutters celebrate after a touchdown during the Spring Football Game, Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Maroon offensive team beat the Gold defensive team 53-40. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

The University Star

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | 7


Sumit Nagar Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu


Bobcat softball scratches back with Georgia Southern series sweep

Bobcat senior pitcher Meagan King (8) pitches to an Eagles batter, Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. Texas State defeated the Georgia Southern University Eagles 1-0. The Bobcats swept the Eagles 3-0 in the weekend series.

Texas State Softball team members line up for the national anthem before a game against Georgia Southern, Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 3-0. PHOTO BY NATALIE RYAN


By Ricardo Delgado Sports Reporter After losing six of its last eight games, Texas State softball (30-9 overall, 12-5 Sun Belt) bounced back with a sweep against the Georgia Southern University Eagles (11-25 overall, 3-14 Sun Belt) in its three-game series April 24-25. The Bobcat scoreboard lit up early on in game one as a ground ball from sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford slipped through the glove of the Eagles' shortstop and rolled into left field. This allowed two Bobcats to score through unearned runs while Vanderford advanced to second. The shortstop's slipup started a series of errors for the rest of the Eagles' game, where the Bobcats stole two bases in run number three alone; senior outfielder ArieAnn Bell managed to steal home while senior outfielder Kylie George stole second during the next at-bat. By the end of the game, the Eagles garnered five more errors, three by sophomore catcher/utility Janai Conklin, leading her to be substituted later in the game. This led the Bobcats to run away with nine stolen bases while Georgia Southern secured just one. The Bobcats' fourth run also came from an error by the Eagles' shortstop, when senior infielder Tara Oltmann secured another unearned run. A single

down the left-field line from junior catcher Cat Crenek led to the game's first RBIs, earning the Bobcats two more points in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins kept her team clean for almost the entire game, with two lone hits from the Eagles in the fourth and seventh innings. Even with a perfect game just outside her grasp, in 6.1 innings pitched, 91 pitches thrown and 25 batters faced, Mullins managed six strikeouts and only two walks, avoiding the multiple-run innings of the last two series. The first game ended through a team effort between Crenek and freshman infielder Baylee Lemons. In a single to center field, Lemons drove Crenek home, securing the Bobcats the final 7-0 winning score. Texas State effectively carried its momentum from a dominant first game into the latter half of the doubleheader, winning 3-0. Unlike in the first game, however, Georgia Southern made only two errors, allowing the Bobcats to earn all three of their game-winning runs. Vanderford opened the scoring with a homer to left field on a 3-2 count in the second inning. It was the first hit of the day after the Bobcats' initial three batters went down in the first. In the top of the second, Georgia Southern managed a promising hit but was the team's only hit of the game.

Junior catcher Caitlyn Rogers doubled down the right-field line for an RBI, moving Lemons to third for a score off a sacrifice bunt from George, securing them the 3-0 lead. For the rest of the game, however, the bats would go quiet as no hits registered on either side. Senior pitcher Dalilah Barrera pitched four innings and earned four strikeouts, walking no batters and allowing the only hit in the 13 batters she faced and 61 pitches she threw. Her replacement, senior pitcher Meagan King, earned a save after pitching three innings with three strikeouts, zero walks, nine batters and 36 pitches. Georgia Southern’s senior pitcher Rylee Waldrep held the mound for the game’s entirety, walking only one batter in 26 faced and 84 pitches. The series closer on April 25 proved a much tighter game with the Eagles leading the Bobcats 3-2 in hits. A 1-0 victory for Texas State showcased pitching on both sides; King pitched all seven innings, struck out 11 batters and ceded no walks in 25 at-bats and 80 pitches. Georgia Southern’s sophomore pitcher Aaliyah Garcia walked only one batter in her time at the plate, earning the only run and two hits in 19 at-bats and 91 pitches thrown. By the series final, Georgia State bounced back from its initial record in the first. The only error of this

final game, coming from the Bobcats' Lemons in the fourth inning, allowed Eagle runners to reach second and third. The Bobcats' final breakthrough came with Bell, the first batter of the bottom of the sixth. Deep into the at-bat at 3-2, she whacked a homer down the leftfield line for the second and final Texas State hit. Georgia Southern’s sophomore second base/shortstop Olivia Creamer signaled to the shortstop to set up a tying pinch-run, ending the game stranded by the last batter, who popped out to end the series. With their winning momentum back intact, the Bobcats will host Houston Baptist University (19-12 overall, 12-9 Southland). Houston Baptist visits San Marcos with four consecutive series wins in tow, the latest sweep of Lamar University, which is a middling 5-7 away from home. However, Lamar lost 6-0 to Texas A&M University, a side that the Bobcats barely beat on April 6, 7-6. Texas State also held two wins against HBU’s SLC rivals Abilene Christian University on Feb. 22, a series HBU lost 2-1 on March 12-13. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. on April 28 at Bobcat Softball Stadium and will air on ESPN+.


Baseball rebounds with series victory over Red Wolves By Sumit Nagar Sports Editor After a six-game skid, Texas State baseball (17-24 overall, 7-8 Sun Belt) won its April 23-25 series 2-1 against the Arkansas State University Red Wolves (11-22 overall, 6-9 Sun Belt). Similar to the Bobcats, the Red Wolves entered the match on a low, having lost six of their last eight games. The team arrived in San Marcos with a 2-1 series loss to the University of Texas at Arlington, followed by a 5-3 defeat to the University of Central Arkansas. Game one started with Arkansas State in the lead off a solo home run from senior outfielder Drew Tipton. The scoreboard remained empty until the top of the fifth, when the Red Wolves grabbed a pair of runs off of two sacrificed fly balls, shooting their score up to 3-0. Texas State went up in the bottom of the fifth but came down soon after, with the Bobcats’ offense unable to catch fire and entering the sixth with only three hits. The Bobcats finally made the scoreboard at the top of the sixth off a solo homer from senior outfielder Chase Evans. Senior outfielder Will Hollis hit an RBI single out to centerfield, cutting the deficit to one. The run that tied the game came after senior infielder Cole Coffey was walked with the bases fully loaded. The Red Wolves' errors continued later in the game, as a balk gave the Bobcats a 4-3 lead. With the bases loaded yet again, Texas State moved even further into the lead when graduate catcher Tucker Redden was hit by a pitch.

Coffey scored after on a wild pitch, and the Bobcats went up 7-3 off a sacrifice fly from sophomore infielder/outfielder Jose Gonzalez.

Texas State junior outfielder John Wuthrich (7) takes off for first base after he makes contact with the ball, Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Bobcat Ballpark. The Bobcats won the series 2-1 against the Arkansas State University Red Wolves. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

Arkansas State finally managed to get two runners on base at the top of the seventh, but could not cut into the deficit. The Bobcats came back in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single from junior infielder Dalton Shuffield. Coffey was next to step up to the plate, and with the count empty, hit a three-run homer bringing the Bobcats up 11-3. The Red Wolves grabbed a final run from an RBI grounder at the top of the ninth, but the game still ended with Bobcats on top, winning them the game 11-4.

Despite the first game's blowout victory, game two was a tighter affair. Texas State was first on the board as Hollis hit a solo homer out to centerfield at the bottom of the second. Senior outfielder Tyler Duncan then hit an RBI double to tie the score at 1-1 at the top of the third. A run off a catcher's interference and an RBI single from junior infielder/catcher Liam Hicks put the Red Wolves up 3-1 in the top of the fourth. A two-RBI double from junior infielder Ben Klutts pushed Arkansas State's led to 5-1. A solo homer from Coffey out to centerfield at the bottom of the fourth gave the Bobcats some hope, but both teams remained scoreless for three and a half innings. At the bottom of the eighth, the Bobcats scored off an RBI double down the left-field line. Shuffield then nabbed an RBI single, putting the Bobcats within striking distance at 5-4. The Red Wolves went up to bat looking to end the Bobcats' comeback hopes, yet the team went down in order. At the bottom of the ninth, junior outfielder Isaiah Ortega-Jones pinch ran for sophomore catcher/utility Peyton Lewis, who was hit by a pitch that walked Ortega-Jones to first base. With a tying run on base, Evans hit a sacrifice bunt moving Ortega-Jones to second. Gonzalez was next in the rotation, and with a 3-2 count, he hit a sacrifice fly to bring Ortega-Jones to third. With the tying run in scoring position and two outs, junior outfielder John Wuthrich went up to bat and hit an RBI single out to centerfield, tying the game 5-5. With the prospect of extra innings looming in the distance, junior infielder

Justin Thompson stepped up to plate with an empty count and hit a double out to right-centerfield, bringing home Wuthrich to win 6-5. The final match of the series mimicked the start of the second game. Hicks hit a sacrifice fly to grab a 1-0 lead at the top of the third, and Coffey came back to hit a solo home run to tie. The homer was the Bobcats' second hit of the game. Neither team was able to gain an edge, with both teams remaining scoreless for three innings. However, in the top of the seventh, as Arkansas State's freshman infielder Jared Toler hit an RBI double, the Red Wolves took the lead. Soon after, Duncan smashed a ball out to right field, for a grand slam to go up 6-1. The Red Wolves didn't stop there, scoring two unearned runs to go up 8-1 in the eighth, then tacking on an RBI single and a three-run homer in the ninth inning to win the contest 12-1. The Bobcats will now travel to College Station to face the Texas A&M University Aggies (23-19 overall, 5-13 SEC). A&M is coming into the matchup off a 2-1 series loss to the No. 6 University of Tennessee. The final game of the series was a 20-7 blowout loss for the Aggies. The Aggies have a 21-7 record versus the Bobcats and have won six of the last seven contests. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season, after the Aggies won the last matchup 8-4 on April 13. The game is set for 6 p.m. on April 27 at Blue Bell Park in College Station and will air on the SEC Network.

8 | Tuesday, April 27, 2021

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