<![CDATA[The Rice Thresher]]> Sat, 27 Nov 2021 17:06:42 -0600 Sat, 27 Nov 2021 17:06:42 -0600 SNworks CEO 2021 The Rice Thresher <![CDATA[Women's cross country stumbles at NCAAs]]> The Rice women's cross country team fell short against the stiff competition of the NCAA Cross Country Championships Saturday morning. Racing at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, FL, the Owls placed last out of 31 teams, in the program's seventh overall appearance in the cross country championships.

With 255 runners from 31 college programs around the country, Rice scored 811 points in the 6k race, 43 points behind their nearest competitor. The seven runners for the Owls accumulated a total time of 1:47:17 with an average of 21:27.4.

Comparatively, first-place North Carolina State University scored 84 points with a total time of 1:38:48.3 with with an average of 19:45.66.

Sophomore Grace Forbes led the individual performers for the Owls as they placed No. 45 with a time of 20:01.8. Forbes missed out on being recognized for her second consecutive cross-country All-American award by five spots. Senior Lourdes Vivas de Lorenzi was ranked No. 217, sophomore Caitlin Wosika placed No. 226, and sophomore Taighen Hunter-Galvan placed No. 230. Junior Alyssa Balandran (No. 242), sophomore Rachel Shoemaker (No. 245), and freshman Haley Allen (No. 246) also represented the Owls at the championship tournament.

Although the Owls did not get the result that they wanted, according to head coach Jim Bevan, the team's journey to qualify and get to the competition was a great accomplishment in itself.

"I'm extremely proud of these young ladies for getting here," Bevan said. "From where we started back in September to what we accomplished is a priceless achievement and they'll take away these moments for the rest of their lives. Just making it to nationals is just a huge accomplishment, like winning a first-round game in every other 64-team tournament."

In addition, Bevan also stated that the competition was a great learning opportunity for the young team and will serve as a great experience for the future.

"This was a great learning experience and a lifetime experience," Bevan said. "There's really no way to prepare for such an intense competition like this one other than being here before. We did our best as a young team and gained invaluable experience and can hopefully use that to get back here again. We'll return five of our seven runners next season and utilize this experience to get even better."

The meet brings an end to the Owls' season, during which they earned top-five finishes in five of their six races prior to Saturday. The Owls placed No. 3 at the Conference-USA Championships and No. 2 at the NCAA South Central Regional, while Forbes won the individual title at both competitions.

With five runners returning next season, the Owls hope to build upon their positive results from this season and continue to improve next fall.

Courtesy NCAA

<![CDATA[Déjà vu all over again: Volleyball falls to WKU again in C-USA final]]> The third time wasn't the charm for Rice volleyball on Sunday, as they fell to No. 18 Western Kentucky University in the Conference USA title match for the third consecutive year.

Rice entered the day on a 14 match win streak following their sweep of Middle Tennessee State University in Saturday's semifinal. The Owls carried that momentum into the first set, which they won 25-16 thanks to a .615 hitting percentage. The Hilltoppers flipped the script in the second set, outhitting the Owls .447 to .167 and winning 25-14. The third set was the closest of the match, with WKU leading nearly the whole way, but never by more than four. While a late Owl push closed the gap to just one and brought the score to 23-22, the Hilltoppers took the last two points, giving them a 2-1 lead on the day. Rice's efforts to force a fifth set got off to a promising start, as they took an 8-4 lead in the fourth. But WKU fought back to even the set, before pulling away for a 25-20 win.

The Owls were led by junior setter Carly Graham, who had 48 assists, and senior outside hitter Nicole Lennon, who had team-highs in kills, 17, and digs, 15. After the game, both Graham and Lennon, along with sophomore outside hitter Ellie Bichelmeyer were named to the all-tournament team.

Carried by their strong first set, the Owls ended the game with the same hitting percentage as the Hilltoppers despite the 3-1 loss. The two teams were also even in digs at ten apiece, while WKU outpaced the Owls 62-55 in kills.

With the loss, Rice failed to secure C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which will begin on Dec. 2. However, the Owls, who are currently ranked No. 26 in the country according to the Rankings Percentage Index, can still earn one of the tournament's 32 at-large bids. The 64-team field will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 28th.

If the Owls do make the tournament, they will look to reverse their fortunes from last year, when they were forced to exit the tournament in the first round due to COVID-19 protocols.

Courtesy Conference USA

<![CDATA[Volleyball advances to C-USA final]]> Rice volleyball took down Middle Tennessee State University on Saturday in straight sets to advance to their fourth straight Conference USA championship game, where they will face No. 18 Western Kentucky University. After the win, head coach Genny Volpe said that the team is playing some of their best volleyball right now as they look to clinch a spot in next month's NCAA tournament.

"I think we showed today that we are locked in," Volpe said. "That was an extremely efficient performance today. We are tough to beat when we execute at that level offensively."

The Owls opened the game with a convincing 25-16 win in the first set, behind six kills from senior outside hitter Nicole Lennon and four from junior middle blocker Anota Adekunle. They followed this up in the second set by getting out to a 9-3 lead, and were able to withstand a late Blue Raider push to take the set 25-19. The third set started out with some back and forth, but a 13-3 Rice run took the score from 11-10 to 24-13, and they held on to take the set 25-16 and secure their 14th consecutive victory.

Lennon led the way for Rice with a game-high 19 kills, on a .514 hitting percentage. As a team, the Owls put up a .356 hitting percentage, more than double MTSU's .174. They also won consistently at the net, out-blocking the Blue Raiders 9-1.

The win came the day after the Owls beat the University of North Carolina at Charlotte three sets to one in the first round of the C-USA tournament.

Rice will now turn their attention to 26-1 WKU. The two teams have met in each of the last two C-USA title games, with the Hilltoppers winning both. If the Owls are finally able to get past their conference rivals, they will not only take the conference title, but also earn C-USA's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which starts on Dec. 2. With both teams ranked in the top 25 according to the Rankings Percentage Index, the loser will likely have a shot at one of the tournament's 32 at-large bids. According to Volpe, the Owls have worked hard to get this far in the postseason after a 5-5 start to the year.

"I'm really proud of this group but the work is not over," Volpe said. "We have been really working to be in the position to win the C-USA championship and look forward to tomorrow."

The Owls and Hilltoppers will play for the C-USA title Sunday at 10:00 am in Norfolk, VA.

Courtesy Conference USA

<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Dining]]> Kin Dee

Visit Kin Dee Thai Cuisine for their regular menu options or their "Thanksgiving special" - poached chicken, rice, a dipping sauce made with soy sauce and spices accompanied with chicken soup. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, is a 20-minute drive from campus and an option for when the serveries are closed on Thanksgiving Day.


Rosalie Italian Soul is open on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. with a special three-course Thanksgiving meal offered. The restaurant is about a 12-minute drive from campus. Read the Thresher's review of the restaurant online.

Pappa's BBQ

With the added convenience of a drive through, Pappa's Bar-B-Q will offer a Thanksgiving plate with turkey, ham and sides for $17.95 in addition to their typical menu. Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the closest location of this restaurant is around a 10-minute drive from campus.


Cleburne Cafeteria is open on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a special holiday menu available for those dining in in addition to the option to pre-order takeout and catering the day before Thanksgiving although they have reached capacity for online ordering. The restaurant is around a 10-minute drive from campus.

<![CDATA[Thank you, Leebron...]]> <![CDATA[Volleyball looks to reach Conference USA hilltop]]> After going 17-5 during the regular season, and undefeated in conference play, Rice volleyball enters the Conference USA tournament on Friday as the No. 1 seed in the C-USA West on a 12-game win streak. On Friday, the Owls look to build upon their momentum in the first round, when they play the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

According to head coach Genny Volpe, the Owls have set their sights high.

"Our goal for the C-USA tournament is of course to win the championship, but we know that it will take three solid performances, and we cannot look ahead," Volpe said. "We must take each set one at a time, and just continue to focus on one play at a time."

A conference title would guarantee the Owls a return to the NCAA tournament, where they were forced to forfeit their first match last season due to COVID-19 protocols. But Volpe said that the Owls cannot afford to start thinking about a return to the NCAAs just yet.

"Our biggest opponent is our first opponent," Volpe said. "You cannot look too far ahead. So all the focus is on Charlotte at the moment. There are a few teams that can make noise in this tournament, but we will definitely take this one point at a time."

Junior setter Carly Graham, who won her sixth career C-USA Setter of the Week last week, said that she finds the postseason one of the most thrilling parts of playing volleyball.

"We are excited to enter the postseason where everyone's backs are up against the wall," Graham said. "The postseason is always super exciting."

According to Volpe, in order for the team to remain successful and competitive in the C-USA tournament, the Owls will have to stick to the basics and play to their strengths.

"I believe that we can be successful if we continue to play our game the way we know how to," Volpe said. "We need to attack our opponent with balance, serve tough, and continue to out defend our opponents, and we will be in good shape."

The Owls began the season with a 5-5 record in their non-conference schedule, which featured four games against teams ranked in the top 15, before rebounding to go undefeated in conference play. According to Volpe, the Owls regular-season experience against top-ranked teams like the No. 2 University of Texas, Austin, No. 3 University of Pittsburgh, and No. 7 Baylor University will prove important since it gave the team a chance to identify their strengths and improve on their weaknesses.

"Entering the postseason we want to use all of our experiences from the preseason as well as conference play to our advantage," Volpe said. "We have played so many different types of teams that have shown us our strengths, as well as exploited some areas we need to work on."

After finishing as the C-USA runner-up two years in a row, the Owls hope that this year's C-USA tournament will bring them their first conference championship since 2018. Last year, after going 14-4 in the regular season and ranked No. 24 in the nation prior to the postseason, the Owls swept both of their opening matches, before falling to the Western Kentucky University in the C-USA championship game. The Owls also lost to the Hilltoppers, who enter this year's tournament ranked No. 18 in the country and as the No. 1 seed in the C-USA East, in the previous season's conference championship game.

Although revenge is not necessarily on the team's mind this season, according to Volpe, the Owls will want to use their talented roster to finally get past their conference rivals.

"From my perspective, we never focus on revenge," Volpe said. "But we definitely want this championship and know we have what it takes to win it all. This group is really special and I believe we are all on the same page. We want to take things one step at a time and make noise in the NCAA tournament."

To kick off the tournament, the Owls will face off against Charlotte, the 4th seed in the East Division, on Nov. 19 in the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament in Norfolk, VA.

<![CDATA[11-17-21 Crossword: "Tug of War"]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Forbes wins regionals, Women's XC qualifies for NCAAs]]> Sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes followed up her conference title with a first-place finish at the NCAA South-Central Cross Country Regional on Friday in Waco, TX, helping the Rice women's team to a second place finish. The result earned them a spot in this Saturday's NCAA championships for just the seventh time in program history.

According to head coach Jim Bevan, the Owls' top-two finish was especially gratifying since the Owls entered the competition unranked.

"It's incredibly hard to make the NCAA Championships because only 31 teams in the country make it," Bevan said. "This time it was extra special because nobody outside of our group believed we had a chance. But our team believed. In the '80s, Rice had a saying 'yes, Rice can,' and that's what we were yelling pre-race. Rice can and we did."

Forbes finished 16 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, and 52 seconds ahead of fourth place, helping the team edge out the third-place University of Texas, Austin by just five points. The Owls finished with 96 points, 69 behind the University of Arkansas for first place out of the 22 teams at the event. According to Bevan, Forbes set out to take first place with the team in mind.

"Grace asked me before the race, 'If I win, does that give us a chance? My dream would be for the team to make it,'" Bevan said. "That just goes to show you how special a person and teammate she is."

The win is Forbes' fifth of the season in just six races. Forbes said that she took the lead halfway through the race, and never looked back.

"I made my move at 3k and there was no response from the pack," Forbes said. "I led the race from there and was able to come home with the win."

In addition to Forbes' first place finish, Rice placed four runners in the top 25, with sophomore Caitlin Wosika taking 13th, senior Lourdes Vivas di Lorenzi taking 20th, and sophomore Taigen Hunter-Galvan placing 21st. According to Bevan, he was proud of each of their showings.

"Caitlin was unbelievable and Lourdes had her best performance in three years fighting back from injuries and illnesses," Bevan said. "Taigen has put it all together and [sophomore] Rachel [Shoemaker, who took 49th place], was passing people late when it mattered."

The team now heads to Tallahassee, FL on Saturday for the NCAA Championships, which will be broadcast on ESPNU.

On the men's side, meanwhile, the Owls finished in fifth place, one point behind fourth-place Lamar University and 35 points behind third place Arkansas State University. The result brings their season to a close. Senior Hociel Landa led the Owls with a 15th place finish. He was followed by senior Alex Topini in 26th and sophomore Travis Dowd in 37th.

<![CDATA[Rice's athlete-students]]> Varsity athletes aren't the only Rice students who compete in sports at high levels. The Thresher talked to three students who participate in national competitions in sports that Rice doesn't offer, on how they started their sport, their training and what their sport means to them.

Rock Climbing

When Brown College freshman Ellie Sepulveda was 12, she fell in love with rock climbing after her first climb with her friend from summer camp. Sepulveda said she has been doing rock climbing for seven years and rock climbing to her is like doing a puzzle.

"It's not just about how strong you are, how powerful you are, a lot of it has to do with how you're able to come up with a creative solution to climbs problems," Sepulveda said. "So you're essentially solving a problem every time you climb. You have to use a mix of technique, balance, strain, flexibility to come up with the way that works best for you to get to the top."

Sepulveda said there are three types of rock climbing: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing, which consists of one long route and a rope with the climber. Sepulveda said she likes lead climbing the most as it is more endurance based and there is a lot more pressure.

"If you make one mistake, you're done," Sepulveda said. "So it's a lot more stressful than bouldering. Because if you mess up on a boulder, you can try it again. I'll leave out if you mess up. That's that. And I like the pressure. I think I do well under that type of pressure."

Sepulveda said she has been to a number of national championships, six world cups and has also climbed for the Puerto Rican national team. As the highlight of her career, Sepulveda said she won the youth Pan American championships in 2019. According to Sepulveda, she got the opportunity to go at the last minute and decided to try to make the most of it.

"I wasn't planning on going and then kind of suddenly, I had this chance to go," Sepulveda said. "I had a pretty relaxed attitude, I didn't really expect much for myself.I think it's why I was able to do really well because I was just focused on climbing to the best of my abilities, instead of focusing on winning the competition."

While at Rice, Sepulveda continues to train when she's not in class, whether with her coach or on her own. Sepulveda said she aims to qualify for the Olympics in 2024 or 2028.

"I work with a remote coach, so she gives me a workout [and] kind of gives me guidance on how to train," Sepulveda said. "And I do my own training, usually on my own or sometimes with other people, like with friends I have in the area or with the climbing club. I think it's really nice to climb with other people because you can learn from their techniques, like how they solve the climb. But for the most part, I'm doing my own thing. When I'm at the gym, I like to just focus on what I'm doing."

Gravel Racing:

Matt Cheung, a grad student from the electrical and computer engineering department, said there are various disciplines of cycling, like road biking, where people ride slim tires on asphalt, and mountain biking, where people ride on trails. Gravel racing is a less common discipline of biking that has been repopularized over the past couple years, according to Cheung.

"Gravel racing combines the endurance testing lengths of road racing, with the technical ability of mountain biking," Cheung said. "In gravel racing, there are no limits to what you can see on the racecourse. So you can come across anything from really smooth and silky roads, loose clay, sand, big rocks, technical single track, and even like river crossings."

Cheung said a highlight of his racing career was the Belgian Waffle Ride this past July in San Diego, with a couple of friends. Cheung said the ride, which was rated as one of the most important in the country by cyclingnews.com, is 132 miles with 11,000 feet of elevation.

"It was the first race I did on a gravel bike," Cheung said. "And it's probably the craziest ride I'll ever do. As I said, it's in the spirit of the race. Everyone runs like skinny road tires. And the idea is to be under-biked, which means you don't have good enough equipment to be able to tackle the technical sections of the course."

Though the race itself was difficult, Cheung said that getting into gravel racing was one of the best decisions he has made, as he gets to see cool places, have fun and self-discover.

"It's a lot of alone time in which you can find out what you're capable of doing, how much you can push yourself," Cheung said. "And just looking at life philosophically, I think there's something profound that you can find within yourself, when you go out on these big gravel rides."


When she was 13, Katherine Wu took up archery after watching The Hunger Games, and now she has been doing archery for eight years now. Wu said she sees archery primarily as a mental sport but is also very physically demanding.

"I see it as requiring a lot of mental toughness, because it requires so much focus and the tournament's are very long," Wu, a McMurtry College junior said. "They go on for multiple hours and over the course of multiple days, and so you need to be able to focus for very long periods of time."

Wu competed in the Olympics trials for archery this past summer. Wu said that Olympic trials is such a long process that she really gets to bond with the people even though they are all competing against each other.

While she didn't make the Tokyo Olympics, Wu said she continues to train and hopes to return to the trials for Paris 2024.

"I'm a junior now, so I'm already starting to prepare for [2024]," Wu said. "I'll probably take a gap year before heading to medical school so that I can train full time. And hopefully that training will continue on to the next Olympics 2028."

Wu said when she goes back home for summer break and winter break, she will train with her coach. While at Rice, Wu said she practices archery in the mornings on the intramural fields behind the Rec Center, before heading to class.

"I met [associate director, programs Elizabeth Slator and assistant director of competitive sports Chris Watkins] after I came to Rice," Wu said. "That was when I was trying to figure out how I can continue to continue to train here. And they were able to get me that locker space and they're able to give me access to fields. Without them, I wouldn't have that field."

Wu said she is more of a whole person when she is growing in archery and her life becomes more colorful.

"My bow is extremely precious to me," Wu said. "I don't even let my parents touch it. It's only me that can touch it and my coach. It really feels like an extension of my hand and my arm and when it's in my hand I feel complete. And I feel like I can do things that I can't without it."

<![CDATA[Edmonds starts with split]]> Rice women's basketball kicked off their season under first-year head coach Lindsay Edmonds last Tuesday night with a win against St. Edward's University, before dropping their second game of the season to University of Louisiana, Lafayette on Saturday. These were the first games in charge of the Owls for Edmonds, who spent her last eight seasons as an assistant at North Carolina State University.

Replacing former head coach Tina Langley, who is now the head coach at the University of Washington, is no easy task. Under Langley's watch, the Owls became a perennial postseason team and Langley left Rice with the highest winning percentage in program history.

The departure of Langley was followed by four starters entering the transfer portal. However, Tuesday night provided an opportunity for both Edmonds and her players to prove that the Owls could still be competitive, even without much of last year's WNIT championship team.

Starting an entirely new five from last year, the Owls got out to an early lead in the first quarter led by freshman forward Malia Fisher. The Owls defense stifled the Hilltoppers, holding them to 2-13 from the field in the opening period. According to Edmonds, Fisher was key to the Owls getting off to their fast start.

"Malia is a very special player," Edmonds said. "She is very athletic and hasn't even truly tapped into her full potential yet, so she is an exciting player that does a lot of things that make you go wow, and that first quarter showed it. I thought she came out with great energy, great effort and really got us off to a great start."

Following a commanding 23-4 lead to end the first quarter for the Owls, their defense paved the way as they continued to give the Hilltoppers fits on offense. The Hilltoppers committed 25 turnovers while shooting only 25.5 percent from the field, which included not making a shot on 11 attempts in the final quarter.

The Owls were led by sophomore forward Ashlee Austin, who made her first career start. Austin's stat line of 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals showed her versatility on both ends of the floor.

Redshirt freshman guard Maya Bokunewicz, who missed all of last year with a season-ending knee injury, provided 13 points in her first career start. Austin and Bokunewicz, who shared the court together for the first time during a game, flourished in Edmonds' four out one in system on offense, according to their new head coach.

"I think that Maya and Ashlee had a little run there where they really trusted in that four-out-one-in system, and we got really great looks out of it," Edmonds said. "So hopefully they can see that on film and see that it's been successful and continue to keep buying into what we're looking to instill."

The Owls finished the game shooting 51.6 percent, which came from 20 team assists, six of which were dished out by sophomore guard Destiny Jackson. Edmonds said she was particularly encouraged by the way her team moved the basketball on offense.

"Offensively, we share the basketball really well," Edmonds said. "Thirty-three made baskets and 20 assists, so we are looking for one another, we're passing the ball to the open teammate, we're knocking down shots, so that's definitely encouraging. I think overall, the gel is happening. It's going to continue to happen as we go, I don't expect it to be perfect on the first night, but I thought we looked pretty good out there for the majority of the game."

As the final buzzer sounded, Edmonds had secured a resounding 84-41 win in her debut at the helm of the Owls.

"It's good to get the first one under our belts for sure," Edmonds said. "It's been a long preseason of competing against one another and practicing with really low numbers, so it was nice to be able to go against somebody else and compete against somebody else."

The Owls followed up their home opener when they hosted the Ragin' Cajuns of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette on Saturday night.

However, the Owls built a 33-22 lead at the half as their defense held the Ragin' Cajuns to only eight points on three of 13 shooting from the field in the second period. The Owls maintained their double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter as the Owls led 53-41.

While the Owls led for nearly the entire game, the Ragin' Cajuns mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. The Ragin' Cajuns saved their best for last as they went almost perfect from the field, 10 for 11, in the fourth quarter and put up more points in the final period, 32, than they did in the entire first half.

"I think the number one thing I'm disappointed in is our defense," Edmonds said. "We talk about holding opponents to 30 or less in a half, and we allowed them to score 32 in the fourth quarter alone, so we're not going to win a lot of basketball games if we can't defend better than that."

The Owls could not stave off the Ragin' Cajuns comeback as they lost in their second game 73-69.

The Owls were again led by Austin, who finished the game with a career-high 20 points to go along with her seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Kaitlyn Crosthwait, the lone returning starter from last year, got her first start of the season on Saturday and contributed 19 points and four rebounds.

This was the first close contest of the year for the Owls, one that Edmonds hopes will provide experience down the stretch for her team.

"We lost a lot of players that played in these crucial moments and knew how to navigate through those moments and how to have their poise and finish plays," Edmonds said. "So we're going to get there. We are a very young team experience-wise, so again, I think some of the mistakes we made down the stretch hopefully we're not making them in conference play, and we've learned and grown from that."

The Owls will look to get back on track Wednesday night when they host Texas Southern University at 6 pm.

<![CDATA[Men's Basketball falls in bayou battle]]> On Friday, Rice Men's Basketball traveled down the road to the Fertitta Center to face off against No. 15 University of Houston. In the first battle between the Cougars and the Owls on the court since 2019, Houston emerged victorious 79-46, extending their winning streak against the Owls to seven.

After starting their season with a 19-point win over Pepperdine University last Tuesday, the Owls started the game with a dunk courtesy of graduate transfer guard Carl Pierre. From there, the game went downhill with multiple unanswered runs for the Cougars. The Owls fell behind early and faced a 29-point halftime deficit. They played a closer second half, thanks to 10 second-half points from freshman guard Cameron Scheffield but were unable to close the gap. After the game, head coach Scott Pera said that Houston did all the right things needed to dominate the game.

"I just want to say all the credit goes to Houston," Pera said. "They were well prepared, ready to play and we couldn't dig ourselves out of the hole. Against good teams on the road, that's hard to do. They shot it well, they did what they do defensively. They really pushed us out high on the floor. Our shots were quick. I thought that would be the game plan and that we would handle it better … but we didn't handle it like I hoped."

The Cougars were especially dominant on the defensive end and controlled the flow of the game, according to Pera, where they held the Owl's offense to 28.0 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from three.

"They were able to do whatever they wanted to do all night," Pera said. "We had a lot of resistance and we didn't have a lot of attack on offense to counter it and get what we wanted. When things snowball like that against a good team, it is hard to win. We couldn't answer the punches early and the knockout came early."

Going into the game, the Cougars were ranked No.15 in the AP Top 25 poll after making it to the NCAA Final Four during the 2020-2021 season. According to Pera, the Owls knew they needed to step up to pull off the upset, but were unable to rise to the occasion.

"I have great respect for [their team]," Pera said. "They are very very good. You know what you're gonna get when you play them and you better tighten the shoelaces and be ready for a 40 minute battle. Tonight we were looking forward to playing them and for whatever reason our guys didn't respond when we got hit early and it got out of hand."

Although the score at the end of the game was lopsided, according to Pera, there were still positives to take away from strong performances by Scheffeild and sophomore guard Jake Leippert.

"I'm really proud of Cameron Sheffield," Pera said. "He really competed and did some good things. He didn't worry about the score and played the game the right way. Jake Leippert, now two games in a row, has given us some quality minutes."

Another positive take away from the game was playing in front of a strong crowd, which Pera said will help prepare the team for some of the big games on their schedule.

"For the first time in 2 years we played in front of 7000 fans," Pera said. "We're going to go on the road and play some very good teams like [Texas], and great [Conference USA] teams."

After making just eight of their 31 attempts from behind the arc, the Owls will look to get their three-point shooting back to its level from last season, when they led the conference in made three pointers. After struggling from beyond the arc in the first two games, Pera said he is not worried about the team's shooting struggles.

"We need to get Quincy Olivari healthy," Pera said. "He's one of the top-ten returning three point shooters in the country but his wrist is bothering him and that is evident. Other than that, as long as we get the right guys shooting the right shots, we're going to shoot them and I'm confident that Tuesday night we will be back and try to be who we are."

Going forward, the Owls have a plethora of non-conference games including the Gulf Coast Showcase and an away matchup against the No. 8 University of Texas, Austin. In regards to the loss, Pera said that the Owls will learn from the experience but put it behind them so they can focus on the rest of the season.

"We are an older group now and a more mature group," Pera said. "We need to handle [this loss], come together and be better. We're going to take the good things away from the game but at the end of the day, we're going to flush it and move on and get ready to play Tuesday night."

<![CDATA[Review: 'Passing' is a must-see product of its actors' skill and excellent direction]]> Rating: ★★★★

Early in "Passing," the movie's protagonist Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) declares, "I have everything I've ever wanted." This is a pretty good sign that Redfield, in fact, does not have everything she has ever wanted. At first glance, Redfield has a picturesque life: two children, an attractive doctor husband and a maid to tend to their beautiful house. But through a well-constructed slow burn plot, "Passing" reveals that Redfield has merely repressed her discontent.

Based on a 1929 novel of the same name, "Passing" follows Redfield and her reconnection with a childhood friend, Clare Bellew (Ruth Negga). Redfield and Bellew, both Black women, run into each other in the lobby of a white-only hotel. While Redfield identifies as Black, she used her ability to "pass," or be perceived as white, to shop for a gift in a predominantly white area before escaping the heat in the hotel. Bellew, meanwhile, presents as a white woman in her daily life and is married to an openly racist white man. While Redfield is vocally uncomfortable with Bellew's decision, Bellew is confident in her choice, arguing it creates the opportunity for a better life for her and her daughter.

Navigating discussions of racism causes the largest cracks in Redfield's precarious marriage as she and her husband disagree about how and if they should teach their children about the reality of being Black in 1920s America; Redfield wants to preserve her children's innocence by avoiding the topic while her husband advocates that they be more open with their children about race and the impact it has on their lives.

As a movie that relies on subtlety in its storytelling, "Passing" succeeds in large part because of Thompson and Negga's performances, supported by the direction of Rebecca Hall. Thompson and Negga both communicate vast depths of emotions and experiences through a simple stare, and Hall gives them the room to excel with frequent close-up shots and a tight aspect ratio.

Hall chose to shoot this movie in black and white and a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the typical widescreen format. "Passing" is a perfect example of what both of these styles can bring to a movie. The black and white cinematography lets Hall manipulate the lighting in each scene to show the mutability of the actors' skin color, enriching the discussion of racial issues and the idea of passing. Additionally, this aspect ratio eliminates much of the background that the audience would usually see, focusing the camera instead on the central performances of Negga and Thompson.

While "Passing" is mostly a stand-out debut feature from Hall, at times the movie loses some of its polish. So much of "Passing" is a sensory experience, dealing in purposeful ambiguity. At one point, however, Redfield asks, "We are all passing for something or other, aren't we?" To hit the nail so directly on the head here seems at odds with that seemingly intentional ambiguity. Conversely, Hall also leaves some aspects of the film underexplored, particularly the relationship between Redfield and her husband.

Nevertheless, it's clear the care that Hall and her cast put into adapting a book which explores such a relevant and complicated topic. "Passing" is well worth watching, beginning at a deliberate crawl and carefully building to a tense and claustrophobic third act on the back of two excellent performances from Thompson and Negga.

<![CDATA[Budget Bites: Rosalie Italian Soul]]> Rating: ★★★★

Pro tip: Make a reservation on OpenTable in advance.

Budgeting as a college student can be difficult, especially when it comes to finding places to eat. Ordering in can lead to hefty delivery costs and fees, and cheap fast food can become repetitive quickly. Although at first glance, the price of the menu may appear comparatively steep, Rosalie Italian Soul offers a number of finds for both lunch and dinner under $20.

Located in the C. Baldwin Hotel in Downtown about a 15-minute drive from Rice campus, Rosalie is dressed to impress. Upon entering, guests stroll through the hotel's lobby before locating a bright neon pink sign in front of a vine-covered wall. From the modern-tiled floors to the elements of gold decor to the pink napkins, the first word that came to my mind when walking through the restaurant is upscale. Plants and cozy benches with flower embroidery surround the general dining area, creating a fun, warm atmosphere. The restaurant itself is decently crowded and popular, so guests should make a reservation in advance.

The menu offers everything from salads to margarita pizzas to burgers to homemade pastas, all individually priced under $20. Considering it's an Italian restaurant, I felt obligated to try Rosalie's homemade rigatoni for $17. It was made out of a Texas wild boar ragu and was absolutely delicious. The warm rigatoni certainly embodied that fresh, chewy pasta quality and had very strong notes of bolognese from the ragu. The tomato and basil flavors shined through the dish, and the freshly shaved parmesan added a nice garnish. The boar itself was tender and perfectly cooked, and the portion given was quite filling.

If you still manage to have room for dessert, Rosalie's weekend brunch menu also offers doughboys for $9 to share with your friends. Once again, the portion is quite large, so customers definitely get their money's worth. The doughboys resemble something between a New Orleans style beignet and traditional donut, coated in powdered sugar with a denser texture than I expected. They arrived warm with a side of fig jam, which could have offered a more intense, fruity flavor. Other than that, the doughboys were quite tasty without being ladened with a greasy feel.

Overall, Rosalie is a great place to get dressed up for with friends to indulge in a high quality, delicious meal. It's modern Italian, upscale dining for surprisingly good value and not too far from campus. Check out this enjoyably elegant spot for both satisfied wallets and palates.

<![CDATA[Review: 'Red' breaks records, hearts]]> Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite track: All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

We witnessed "Red'' begin again on Nov. 12 as Taylor Swift released "Taylor's Version," her second re-recorded album. Swift started re-releasing her music with "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" in April of this year in an ongoing effort to reclaim the rights to her music. While Swift has publicly expressed disappointment and frustration with the conflict over the ownership rights of her first six albums as an artist, her re-recordings have opened opportunities for milestones in her career and the music industry as a whole.

Despite 20 of the 30 tracks on "Red (Taylor's Version)" already being released on the original 2012 album, the new record debuted with a record-breaking 90.8 million first-day streams on Spotify and her highest ever album rating of 94 out of 100 on Metacritic - and for good reason. With more mature vocals and an breathtaking array of "from the vault" tracks that were not included in the 2014 version, "Red (Taylor's Version)" improves on an impressively heart-wrenching album.

The 2014 "Red" was already a landmark in Swift's discography; she herself referred to it as "musically and lyrically … resemb[ling] a heartbroken person … all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end." As her album with the widest variety of music styles, ranging from the arena rock "State of Grace" as the opening track to the standard country-pop "Stay Stay Stay," that "fractured" aspect of "Red" characterized Swift's progression as an artist.

Not only were tracks such as "22" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" her first experiments in the pop genre ahead of her Grammy-winning pop album "1989," but her mature and candidly sentimental songwriting also encapsulates the turmoil of her transition from teenage country sweetheart to an adult celebrity scrutinized under the public eye. She reflects on her fear of her celebrity status and the transience of fame in "The Lucky One" and "All Too Well," where she narrates a relationship from the "very first week" until after the breakup, is still regarded by fans as one of the best-written songs of her career. Some of the themes and styles introduced in "Red" would become a precursor to her writing on her more recent albums as well. For instance, "The Last Time," a duet featuring Gary Lightbody, portrays opposite perspectives on the end of a relationship with almost conversational overlapping lyrics, a concept that Swift doesn't revisit until "exile," featuring Bon Iver, in her 2020 "folklore." The original "Red" album therefore showcases the best of Swift's songwriting as well as her first ventures outside of her country pop youth.

Now in her 30s, Swift's matured vocals on "Red (Taylor's Version)" are able to convey even more of her lyrics' emotional vulnerability, especially in songs like "Treacherous," "I Almost Do" and "Sad, Beautiful Tragic," where heartbreak is front and center. While the re-recordings were generally improved by Swift's improved singing abilities, some tracks seem a little jarring in her matured voice. "22" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" both hinge on a cheeky frivolity and angst that Swift seems to have grown out of - and, of course, it's difficult to emulate "feeling 22" almost a decade later. Even so, Swift's singing has noticeably improved on these tracks, and the album comes off as a more polished work.

The previously unheard "from the vault" tracks also enhance "Red (Taylor's Version)" by adding more nuance to Swift's feelings and experiences during her early 20s while maintaining the nostalgic, heartfelt writing seen on the rest of the album. In "Nothing New," featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Swift laments "how can a person know everything at eighteen / but nothing at twenty-two? / and will you still want me when I'm nothing new?" Mirroring some of the sentiment from "The Lucky One," Swift delves into her fear of being replaced as an artist in the public psyche but with a simpler music production that allows for her raw lyrics to shine through. Along with Bridgers' soothing vocals, Swift perfectly captures the anxieties associated with growing up. Her relationship with a loved one struggling with mental health is explored in "Forever Winter," where she attempts to reassure them, "If I was standing there in your apartment / I'd take that bomb in your head and disarm it / I'd say I'd love you even at your darkest and / Please don't go." The lyrics, accompanied by deceptively cheerful background instrumentals, are painful and desperate, and the song itself brings a new and crucial perspective to the album.

The original ten-minute version of "All Too Well," accompanied by a short film that premiered the same day as the album release, was one of the most highly anticipated "vault" songs.

"All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" does not disappoint - the already intensely intimate and descriptive lyrics are interspersed with new verses that both fill in the details of her relationship and contribute to a more cohesive story. Swift depicts moments with her lover "tossing [her] the car keys" and charming her father, all the while emphasizing their age difference to a much greater extent than in the original. For instance, she recalls her lover ending the relationship saying, "If we had been closer in age then maybe it would have been fine," and in the final verse she quips "I'll get older but your lovers stay my age." Her scathing criticism of her ex pursuing a relationship with her at such a young age despite their age gap provides more context to the original lines, such as "your sweet disposition and my wide-eyed gaze," as well, re-characterizing her ex as explicitly predatory rather than just "casually cruel." With Swift framing their relationship between the seasons, establishing the first scene as a car ride through "autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place" and concluding "in this city's barren cold / I still remember the first fall of snow," the song has a clear narrative structure that leaves listeners with discomfort over their age difference along with solidarity and empathy over how the relationship unraveled.

"Red (Taylor's Version)" is a masterful recreation of the album that was arguably one of the biggest catalysts for Swift's long-term success. Her improved vocals better spotlight her songwriting prowess, reaching and connecting with a larger audience than ever before. Swift is currently on an unprecedented trajectory in her career, and as she continues to re-record her previous albums and potentially write new ones, only time will tell what will come next for her.

<![CDATA[Shops poppin' up in Houston]]> Pop-up shops seem to be everywhere in Houston in recent years. These temporary installations do everything from highlight local vendors to showcase businesses from out of town. You might have noticed more pop-ups in recent years, as the trend of these temporary shops continues to rise. Everything from food to clothes to art can be explored in the pop-up world. Here are some of the upcoming stores in Houston that are sure to be "poppin'."


Miracle is a Christmas themed pop-up coming to Houston later this month and staying through December. With locations around the world, this cocktail bar serves a variety of holiday themed cocktails in a spirited environment. Its insides are decked out in frosted glass, mini decorated holiday scenes, ornaments hanging from the ceiling and string lights throughout; the result is a cozy nook arriving just in time to destress before finals.

Brunch & Shop

Coming to Houston Nov. 27, Brunch & Shop is a fashion and beauty pop-up that combines shopping with a catered brunch, a best-of-both-worlds experience. Vendors include Sumptuous Lashes, Styles x Ify, JoJo's Childrens Boutique, Salimatu African Fashion Design and many others. Catering is by Kona Kuisine, an Afro-Fusion Restaurant. Free to enter, this shopping area is a great chance to get gifts for the holidays such as cosmetics, candles, clothes for children and adults, and good food while you shop.

Yo! Hip Hop

Yo! Hip Hop pop-up shops are a variety of vendors that meet every third Saturday of the month. With an optional dress code of 80's and 90's wear and a wide range of vendors, this pop-up has a range of local clothing, beauty products, jewelry and food vendors, a one-stop shop for everything you might need. Yo! Hip Hop is run out of a barber shop, meaning you can also get your hair cut while shopping. Admission is free, and there are swag bags for the first 40 guests that come out.


Fantasma is a dance performance pop-up in Houston that commemorates the closing of Fantasma, the corresponding art pop-up. This dance performance is based on poetic lyrics from the art installation, and the performance is presented in three different "moments:" The Fall, Lament and The Awakening. With the show not only inspired by art but also incorporating lyrical singing and visual arts, the free dance show with around a 35-minute run time is sure to provide a multicultural plethora of entertainment.

<![CDATA[Seasonal food to try this autumn]]> November is in full swing, armed with the ten-minute release of "All Too Well (Taylor's Version)" and our fall playlist in your ears, there's only one thing missing: the perfect fall-themed food. Look no further for a comprehensive list of where to find the best autumnal bites to fall back on.

Urban Harvest Farmers Market

Swing by one of Texas' largest farmers markets any Saturday from 8 a.m. through 12 p.m. to support over 100 local Houston farmers and ranchers selling fresh produce, tortillas, rice, dairy products and meat. Use these ingredients to get creative and make a fall cheese platter or apple pie back home. While at the market, enjoy live music while watching cooking demonstrations from their prepared and hot foods section. Make sure to check out Bee2Bee Honey while you're there; in addition to selling local honey, they also offer a hive hosting program and beekeeping classes through their website. Try their Cinnamon Creamed Honey as a dip for apple slices, stir it into your coffee or tea or cook it in a curry or pot roast.

Urban Harvest is also a nonprofit, matching SNAP benefits up to $40 a day at their eight Mobile Markets and hosting gardening and education workshops.

Artisana Bread

If you didn't catch this bakery at Urban Harvest Farmers Market, don't sweat it. You can visit them in-store Wednesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Try their organic breads and pastries made from scratch using ancient grains like spelt, as well as modern organic wheats that are meant to be easier to digest. Fall in loaf with their cranberry walnut bread or orange pecan sourdough for some fruity fall flavors - or try their crowd favorite gingerbread loaf. Alternatively, place a Thanksgiving pre-order to pick up chai-spiced pound cake, pumpkin pie or sweet potato rolls right on time for your Thanksgiving meal.

Trader Joe's

Nobody does fall like Trader Joe's, a cornucopia of all things pumpkin and spice (seriously, try their spiced pumpkin goat cheese). We're especially grateful for their Spiced Cider, an unfiltered apple juice with autumnal spices and a hint of lemon and orange juice for a citrusy kick. Drink it cold or hot with a cinnamon stick or candy cane, for some extra holiday cheer. For something savory, try their Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce, which also doubles as a dip, or heat up their soup-style Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque.

Siphon Coffee

Only a short bus ride from campus on line 56, Siphon offers a unique twist on fall drinks, in addition to carrying a variety of pastries, breakfast and lunch options. Enjoy their spicy maple or gingerbread lattes on their outside patio, or cozy up inside on their couches - outlets and Wi-Fi included. For a frozen treat, try their pumpkin affogato, an Italian dessert made of two shots of espresso with a splash of pumpkin syrup, poured over two scoops of pumpkin ice cream. As a bonus, Siphon supports local vendors by sourcing their eggs, dairy, bread, meat and some coffee roasts from local businesses and small family farms.

<![CDATA[Must-watch Indigenous cinema: Films to check out this November]]> Hollywood has a lengthy history of subjecting Indigenous people to negative portrayals and one-dimensional stereotypes. Fortunately, over the last few decades, Indigenous creators have been able to make their own voices heard by showcasing the unique and diverse complexities of their culture through film. Nov. 1 marked the beginning of Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the unique culture of Indigenous people and the perfect time to explore Indigenous cinema, a thriving film genre and a great way to support Indigenous artists.

"Smoke Signals"

This film is probably one of the more well-known and mainstream pieces of Indigenous cinema, which makes for a great gateway into the genre. Directed by Chris Eyre, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, this movie is a buddy picture, coming-of-age-story and western-inspired adventure story rolled into one.

"Smoke Signals" follows the story of Thomas and Victor, two teenaged residents of an Idaho reservation who spend their time telling stories, playing basketball and arguing about the complexities of being Native American. When trouble calls, the duo set out on a scenic journey across the countryside to find Victor's absentee father and bring him home.

The movie's long, trailing shots combined with a poignant exploration of familial trauma deliver a somber message to its audience. On the flip side, the dialogue's wry humor and the undeniable charm of its soundtrack make for an enjoyable viewing.

This film is available for rental on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

"Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner"

This 2001 film, directed by Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunut, is a three-hour epic that features dazzling landscapes, incredibly immersive cinematography and is written entirely in the Inuktitut language. If viewers are a die-hard fan of the likes of "2001: A Space Odyssey," this might be the film to consider - though the film is so unique that comparing it to other films seems unfair.

This film marks the first-ever big-screen dramatization of Inuit oral tradition. The plot retells the centuries-old legend of Atanarjuat and his tightly knit community which, after suffering from a trust-breaking crime, learns to heal and forgive. A simple plot synopsis doesn't convey the distinctive style of Inuit storytelling to which "Atanarjuat" faithfully adheres. If you're looking for something bold and different to watch, start here.

This movie is available for rental on Apple TV.


"Mekko," despite being a thriller, offers a particularly slow burn that's almost meditative, even when it gets violent. This movie, directed by Seminole filmmaker Sterlin Harjo and released in 2015, follows the film's titular Indigenous protagonist as he is released from a lengthy prison sentence for murder and, having nowhere to go, joins a community of unhoused Native Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Understated, quiet and deeply personal, this movie ambitiously tries to depict some of the present-day problems faced by Native Americans while maintaining a proud, strong and nostalgic connection to spiritual tradition. "Mekko" achieves the perfect balance between gritty realism and dignified experience while providing a uniquely modern context to Indigenous spirituality that viewers won't usually find in box office films.

This film is available for free on Tubi or for rental on Amazon Prime Video.

"Reel Injun"

Anyone who loves a good documentary should check out "Reel Injun." Directed by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond, this film takes a critical look at Hollywood's usual representation of Indigenous people and explores multiple stereotypes audiences may have seen in popular films. This documentary is also particularly good for anyone who loves Westerns and is willing to take a critical look at the underlying injustices behind what made them so iconic.

Interviews with filmmakers and historians, combined with excerpts from some of the most famous films to ever depict Native Americans, paint a nuanced picture of the violent and increasingly complex relationship between Indigenous communities and Hollywood. It also mentions what Diamond refers to as a "Renaissance of Native cinema," and lists multiple movies someone might consider watching if they find themselves craving more Indigenous cinema after finishing this list.

This film is available on Amazon Prime Video.

<![CDATA[11-17-2021 Crossword Solutions]]> <![CDATA[Black at Rice: Ryan Emelle finds community on campus]]> At Rice, Ryan Emelle has found community in different places. Her residential college is one of them: according to Emelle, the residential college system provides a loving and supportive community. When she was applying to college, Rice's residential college system stood out, she said.

"I really liked the residential college system and how it was set up and the community that it [builds]," Emelle, a Jones College senior, said.

Emelle said she has been very involved at Jones since her freshman year. She currently serves as a University Court representative and as one of the college's Beer Bike coordinators.

Emelle said she has been able to explore her interests at Rice both through her coursework and her involvement on campus. A lifelong dancer and music aficionado, Emelle said she is excited to teach a college course for the first time next semester.

"I'm very passionate about music and Spotify playlists," Emelle said. "I will be teaching a college class this spring about albums and music and what makes a really good album."

In high school Emelle discovered that she was interested in the brain, consciousness and human interactions, and she saw herself pursuing careers in user experience or user interface design. Emelle said she has discovered more about herself in courses in her major, cognitive science.

"As my time here at Rice has gone by, my interests have developed a little bit and changed a bit," Emelle said.

According to Emelle, Rice has also helped her discover that she loves working in groups with others. As a dancer and choreographer for Rice Dance Theatre, general manager of The Hoot and a student worker at Willy's Pub, the welcome center and Rice's Office of Information Technology, Emelle spends most of her day interacting with peers.

"[I've discovered that] I'm more interested in working with people in teams specifically, and I'm really interested in product and project management, which is still kind of aligned with my original interests of design and going through the design process," Emelle said.

Hoping to continue working in teams after graduation, she is currently interviewing for jobs in careers that allow her to form relationships, she said.

"I'm interested in human resources as well as projects and product management," Emelle said. "I really like … developing good relationships with people and so those jobs, I think, will allow me to do that."

Emelle didn't experience much of a culture shock when she first moved to Houston, she said, since she attended a diverse high school in Los Angeles, California. Nonetheless, being Black has negatively affected her Rice experience in some ways, according to Emelle. She said she is the only Black student in many of her classes, for instance.

"Half the time, or more than half the time, I am the only Black person in the room, if not the only person of color in the room, and that really can be disheartening sometimes," Emelle said. "It means you have to really have thicker skin when dealing with certain conversations in class or when people make a joke that they think is funny but really isn't."

While she believes that diversity facilitators, Critical Dialogue on Diversity and the choice of Rice's new president are all steps in the right direction, Emelle said the best thing Rice officials can do for the Black community is take down Willy's Statue. A lot of the time it's hard for Black students to feel heard in campus discussions about racism, according to Emelle.

"[This means] having to know when to pick and choose your battles, to fight for something and really start a conversation." Emelle said. "Then other times, you just have to let things slide."

Still, Emelle said she has found a supportive community with other Black women on campus. She said connections she made at the In Living Color retreat during her freshman year have lasted all her four years at Rice.

"I think the Black women community here at Rice is very strong and we're all very connected by the fact that there is such a small number of us here," Emelle said. "I really am appreciative of [this] community that we have here because it's very welcoming, very warm, and … very nurturing and caring because we all know that … [we] have a lot of struggles here."

<![CDATA[Owl to Governor: Looking back at Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin's college years]]> Before Glenn Youngkin (Will Rice College '90) was elected governor of Virginia, he was once a Rice student; double majoring in mechanical engineering and managerial studies, Youngkin also played on the Owls' basketball team.

Former basketball coach Scott Thompson, who coached Youngkin during his junior and senior years, said he remembers Youngkin's enthusiasm during early morning preseason conditioning.

"Glenn was always there with a positive energy, encouraging everyone else on the team," Thompson said. "Even though I knew he had been studying [for] his engineering courses until probably early in the morning [and] I knew he had been up all night, and here he was coming and just being fired up."

Thompson said that when recruiting season came, Youngkin was one of the players he wanted recruits to be around.

"He was very high on being at Rice," Thompson said. "He was always positive and enthusiastic about being at Rice University and being an Owl. He was the type of guy that really helped our program [grow] into a positive program."

Thompson said Youngkin's enthusiasm was driven by desire to be a leader. At the award ceremony at the end of Youngkin's senior season, the other players on the team voted him "most inspirational," according to Thompson.

"He just always wanted to be a good leader for the other guys," Thompson said.

Thompson said balancing academics and athletics at Rice was difficult, especially for the few engineering students on the basketball team like Youngkin.

"It's hard to go through engineering and have time to compete on the basketball court or going to practices and traveling and things like that," Thompson said. "It's not easy because you're competing against the best students around in the classroom ... and you gotta take it seriously or you're not going to make it at Rice."

Thompson said he finds it rewarding to know that one of his players will be a governor. Youngkin in particular had great time management skills and was serious about his education and future, according to Thompson.

"He's the type of young man I felt was going to be successful in whatever he did," Thompson said. "I'm happy for him because he's a very hard worker and he's a good leader and he's given back to Rice. He loved and still loves Rice University."

Youngkin's leadership at Rice extended beyond the basketball court. According to the Sept. 15, 1989 issue of the Thresher, Youngkin co-coordinated Volunteers for Youth, a program involving approximately thirty to forty Rice athletes. The Big Brother/Big Sister-type organization paired Rice athletes with students from Lanier Middle School to serve as role models for underprivileged children.

"The main focus of [Volunteers for Youth] is to sponsor friendships," Youngkin said at the time.

Youngkin also publicly defended Rice's athletic programs in the Jan. 27, 1989 issue of the Thresher. In the issue, Youngkin wrote an opinion piece in rebuttal to a criticism of Rice athletics by former Rice history professor Gale Stokes. After arguing in favor of the competitiveness of Rice athletics, Youngkin replied to Stokes' contention that student-athletes distort the "composition of the student body."

"I'm not sure why Dr. Stokes didn't just come out and say 'dumb jocks,'" Youngkin wrote. "Athletes are not the only group of students whose SAT scores are omitted from university averages. Athletes' overall contribution to the university should be considered just as that of a master violinist or skilled artist. In addition to the identical graduation requirements as every other Rice student, athletes must balance a hectic practice, game and travel schedule."

In the opinion piece, Youngkin said that without basketball, he knew he would not have been able to attend a university like Rice - an opportunity for which he was grateful.

"As a student first and a varsity basketball player second, I am fully aware of the conflicts that exist between athletics and an academic institution like Rice," Youngkin wrote. "I cherish all those aspects that make Rice what it is."

In the piece Youngkin also replied to Stokes' argument that "big-time" athletics are not compatible with Rice's interests as a small university.

"Rice is a small school with a 'bigtime' reputation," Youngkin wrote. "Our graduates do 'big-time' things and Rice is known for excellence around the world. Why should we limit ourselves and not pursue a very attainable goal? Rice can compete and win, as many of our teams have already demonstrated."

Youngkin ended the opinion by highlighting the positive relationship between athletes and nonathletes at Rice.

"The seventy-five percent of the student body that regularly attends home basketball games, painted faces, the MOB at halftime, the social events that surround football games, the drive and spirit to make Rice's teams winners, and the camaraderie that is not divided by a athlete/non-athlete line," Youngkin wrote. "This is Rice and it runs far deeper than a losing streak in football or a low gate receipt."

Youngkin's ties to Rice remain visible on campus. Youngkin donated funds to renovate the Tudor Fieldhouse in 2008, according to the Rice Facilities Engineering and Planning website. During this renovation, the one-story administration area was replaced by the two-story Youngkin Center, which includes an academic center for student-athletes, a training center and offices for the coaching staff.

Youngkin's donation reflects the pride for Rice athletics that he conveyed in his opinion piece.

"Rice athletics will succeed through continued hard work and support," Youngkin wrote. "I'm glad to be a part of it."

Photo courtesy Campanile Archives