Season’s End Is A New Beginning For Volleyball Players
The end of one of the most productive volleyball seasons in UTSA history signals the beginning of a new one for two Roadrunners seniors.
UTSA (24-8) was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament last Thursday when Texas A&M swept the Roadrunners in Austin. Now, two prominent members of the Conference USA Regular Season and Tournament Champions, McKenzie Adams and Paige Hamilton, now will embark on new seasons.
Adams, this fall's C-USA Player of the Year, will resume her basketball career after a four-year hiatus. The all-city performer in both volleyball and basketball at Steele High School will join the Roadrunners women’s basketball team for the remainder of the season. Adams spent much of the summer working basketball camps and playing pick-up games with her future UTSA basketball teammates. She has spent much of this basketball season on the UTSA (5-4) bench in street clothes and should be available on Dec. 22 when UTSA travels to I-35 rival Texas State. Her first home appearance could come at UTSA Holiday Classic, which is scheduled for Dec. 28-29 at the Convocation Center.
Meanwhile, Hamilton performed a rare double last year when she started as a walk-on in both volleyball and softball. The volleyball defensive specialist started at shortstop in all 53 games for the Roadrunners last spring. At Smithson Valley High School, Hamilton was a two-time first-team all-state honoree in volleyball and she helped lead the Rangers to the 2009 UIL Class 4A Championship in softball. Hamilton began her collegiate volleyball career at Blinn Junior College where she helped the Buccaneers to a perfect 38-0 record and the 2011 NJCAA Division I Championship. UTSA begins its 2014 softball season on Feb. 8 at home against Lamar.
"Teddy Bear Toss" Month At Basketball Games
UTSA fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals and gently-used children’s books and toys to men’s and women’s home basketball games during the month of December. Each item will be donated to a San Antonio area charity and delivered to local children during the holiday season. Toy and book donors will receive raffle tickets for prizes throughout the month.
Both teams are off this week for final exams. The women return home the weekend of Dec. 28-29 for the annual UTSA Holiday Classic with New Mexico State, North Dakota State and Northwestern State joining the Roadrunners in the tournament field.
Meanwhile, the men, winners of their last two games, begin a three-game home stand next Wednesday, Dec. 18, against CSU Bakersfield (7 p.m.). They complete the calendar year on Dec. 22 against Georgia State (1 p.m.) and New Year's Eve against Cameron (2 p.m.). UTSA knocked off Texas-Pan American, 72-65, last Saturday in Edinburg to avenge a Nov. 21 loss to the Broncos.
This ‘N’ That
Thirty days of prizes for UTSA Football season ticket renewals — UTSA Football season ticket holders who renew for the 2014 season are eligible for 30 valuable prizes, which will be given away during the month of December. Each day, except Christmas, a renewed season ticket holder will be randomly selected. The earlier in the month season tickets are renewed, the better chance there is to win. Renew this week and you will be eligible for daily prizes to be given away throughout the remainder of the month. Daily prizes later in the month include use of a suite at the 2014 Football Fiesta Spring Game, a foursome at the Larry Coker Golf Tournament and an authentic Roadrunners helmet. Call (210) 458-UTSA (8872) today to renew your season tickets.
Thank you for helping fill the Alamodome this season — The Roadrunners will finish the 2013 season ranked 77th in Football Bowl Subdivision average attendance at 29,214 per game. East Carolina (54th/43,985) was the only Conference USA program that outdrew the Roadrunners.
Collier defends crown at Texas A&M Reveille Invitational — Senior Nathan Collier successfully defended his mile crown at last Saturday's Texas A&M Reveille Invitational in College Station. The Pottsboro native clocked a personal-best of 4:14.36 to open the indoor season and crossed the finish line more than three-and-a-half seconds faster than his nearest competitor. UTSA, winners of eight consecutive conference championships (2006-11 Southland/2013 Western Athletic), returns to indoor action on Jan. 11 at the Houston Opener.
Abilene Christian women's basketball game rescheduled — Last Sunday's women's basketball game with Abilene Christian that was postponed due to inclement weather in north Texas has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.
"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope where once there was only despair."
— Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
As I was watching last Thursday's first-round NCAA Tournament match against Texas A&M in Austin, my cell phone dinged. ESPN ScoreCenter delivered the news that former South African President Nelson Mandela had died. The revolutionary politician and philanthropist dismantled apartheid and then brought racial reconciliation to his home country. For his work, he won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 1995, Mandela encouraged black South Africans to attend the Rugby World Cup and support their home country Springboks team in a final match with New Zealand. The all-white Springboks had drawn criticism from more militant blacks. After South Africa upset New Zealand, Mandela wore the jersey of the Springboks captain while presenting the championship trophy. For one of the first times in the history of the country, both blacks and whites joined to celebrate the South Africa victory.
Listening to sports radio coverage of Mandela’s death on Friday, I heard the quote listed above. It resonated with me personally and what I had witnessed in Austin.
The Texas A&M head coach asked the Aggies band, yell leaders and fans to attend Thursday’s match to "turn it into a huge advantage for us," but UTSA fans and cheerleaders dominated the crowd inside Gregory Gym. The Roadrunners outnumbered the Aggies by at least two to one.
This demonstration of support Thursday was followed Sunday by two seemingly insignificant mentions of UTSA in the San Antonio Express-News. In the travel section, staff writer Terry Scott Bertling made suggestions for Christmas gifts to travelers. A suggestion to give logo caps from your favorite school was accompanied by a photo of a Roadrunners cap. Not Texas or Texas A&M, but rather UTSA.
Then, in the editorial section, George L. Schulgen Jr. from Kerrville wrote a letter to the editor admonishing the NCAA for its rules precluding the football team from a postseason bowl appearance. Schulgen closed his letter by writing, "The Runners have become a very good team and the fan support has been incredible. They deserve a bowl bid and this observation comes from a former Rice Owls player. I am proud of the UTSA Roadrunners."
A boisterous NCAA volleyball match against my old employer, a picture of a UTSA hat in the newspaper and praise for the Roadrunners from a former Rice football player. It's not the elimination of apartheid and it's not freedom and the right to vote for millions of South Africans, but these seemingly insignificant demonstrations of UTSA pride rarely occurred a few years ago. To me, they demonstrated the power of sports and Mandela certainly got it right.
Director of Athletics