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NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Unauthorized jack injures student

Willy Week jacks are typically harmless, humorous and a minor inconvenience. However, an unauthorized jack by Will Rice College --- in which members of the college strung up spiderwebs made of fishing wire across campus -- broke this tradition when two students got caught in them. At about 1 a.m. Thursday morning, Martel College sophomore Jen Pan was riding her bicycle and hit one of Will Rice's spiderwebs strung in the path from Lovett College to Lovett lot. She said the wire twisted around her neck and cut her.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Offensive explosion propels Rice to sweep

As if five wins were not enough to make last week cause for celebration for the baseball team, head coach Wayne Graham also tacked on career victory No. 750 to his resumé. The wins - four of which came against Winthrop University and one against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette - may have coincided with the end of sophomore third baseman Diego Seastrunk's 19-game hitting streak, but freshman shortstop Rick Hague more than made up for it with a .588 batting average over the weekend, including in six RBIs on two homers in a single game.The ninth-ranked Owls (14-6) swept Winthrop (3-10) in a four-game series this past weekend before defeating La.-Lafayette (6-11) by a score of 17-6 on Wednesday evening at Reckling Park.




NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Golf uses strong final round to continue recent success

With a solid first round and an exemplary third round at last week's Border Olympics, the golf team was reminded why golf is a game of endurance and mental toughness. Despite a near free-fall in the middle of tournament play, the Owls rebounded to finish ninth in the 54-hole tournament, which was held at the Laredo Country Club in Laredo, Texas. The team will be back in action on Monday and Tuesday, taking part in the Carter Plantation Intercollegiate in Springfield, La. The 15-team tournament will feature a mixture of colleges from all across the southern part of the country, most notably Southeastern Conference powerhouses University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, who are ranked 29th and 37th in the country, respectively. The toughest competition, however, will come from No. 13 University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, which boasts No. 37 Jonathan Hodge.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Richards-Kortum first woman appointed to National Academy of Engineering

This February, bioengineering chair and professor Rebecca Richards-Kortum received one of the highest professional distinctions in engineering when she was selected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Richards-Kortum is the first woman and the youngest of the 15 faculty members from Rice to be elected to the NAE. The NAE, a private institution with 2,227 U.S. members and 194 foreign associates, serves to aid the government in researching engineering issues. Richards-Kortum said committees within the NAE provide advice to policy makers on scientific and technical issues.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Women's tennis piles on Abilene Christian

With a six-match winning streak under its belt, it would have been easy for the women's tennis team to become complacent. Add to that the distraction of Willy Week, and it would have been really easy for No. 64 Rice to let last week's match with Abilene Christian University slip through its fingers. But the Owls staved off complacency until after executing a perfect 7-0 victory over the Wildcats, choosing to take the rest of the weekend off to relax from their otherwise hectic schedule.Rice will continue welcoming local opponents to Jake Hess Tennis Stadium for the near future, as they take on Texas State University tomorrow at 3 p.m. and the University of Texas-Arlington Sunday at 1 p.m. Just as with recent opponents, the Owls should have little trouble with the Bobcats, who are 5-6 on the year, or the Roadrunners, who have lost their last three matches by a combined score of 16-5.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Commentary:Not only undeserved, Wilson firing sadly mishandled

At long last, it's over. All the pain, agony and suffering that has been piling up over the past couple months - no more. And that whooshing sound you heard the other day? No, that's not the deflation of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign - that's the collective sigh released by Rice men's basketball fans the country over.At long last, the basketball season is finished.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Former Rice president Rupp chosen for commencement

On Tuesday, the Commencement Speaker Committee announced former Rice president George Rupp will be the speaker for commencement 2008. Committee chair Michael Gustin said Rupp, who serves as CEO and president of the International Relief Program, seemed a logical choice for speaker because of his ties to Rice and the larger global community.Gustin said since the committee was formed late last semester, this pushed the process off and led to the late announcement of the commencement speaker.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Publication of Willis firing poorly handled

At 6 p.m. last Friday, the athletics department announced to the public that Willis Wilson (Will Rice '82), men's basketball coach for 16 years, would not be retained by the university. (see story, page 1) There were not many people around when the news broke; on campus, people were either gone for the weekend, at Reckling Park watching the baseball game or glued to television screens watching the Houston Rockets going for 21 straight wins. There was no ceremony, no real press conference, no farewell party for the longest tenured coach in Rice history. The news was broken, and then it was gone.We feel this hushed and hurried showing of the door is an insult to one of the most loyal men ever to walk on Rice campus. He was a stellar student athlete and alum, and although he took a great deal of flak for his coaching results, his devotion to his job and players was visible to the entire Rice community. Wilson deserves more than standard treatment for a college coach parting ways with a university. He deserves a chance to be thanked by the students currently attending his alma mater and the fans for whom he loved coaching so much. He deserves more than what he got.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Wilson fired after 16 years with men's basketball

While winning may not constitute the entire purpose of sport, it is certainly one of the more important requirements of coaching a Division I athletic program. Because of this requirement, men's basketball head coach Willis Wilson (Will Rice '82) was fired last Friday, two days after Rice was knocked out of the Conference USA tournament by the University of Southern Mississippi. The final loss dropped the Owls to 3-27 overall, and their 0-16 showing in conference play now stands as the worst men's basketball record in C-USA history.As the face of Rice basketball for the last 16 years, Wilson compiled a 219-246 record to become both the longest tenured and winningest coach in Rice history. However, Wilson's extensive experience could not lead the Owls around the numerous roadblocks they encountered during the course of the 2007-'08 season, and by the time the last whistle blew, the defeats added up to a 20-game losing streak, the third-worst run for men's basketball in school history.


NEWS 3/20/08 7:00pm

Careless jacks have no place in Willy Week

Will Rice Will Sweep . you off your bike, apparently. In a recent unregistered jack attempt, members of Will Rice College strung fishing wire across random paths across campus (see story, page 1). However, the prank turned into a much more serious affair when two students biked into the wires, injuring themselves.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

With spring in swing, we say farewell

The Thresher office is a little bit different come this year's Beer-Bike weekend. It's a little bit quieter, a little more focused and has a little less Hall & Oates blaring from computer speakers. That is because it's changeover week at the Thresher, and as our seniors depart and leave the rest of us legally culpable for everything we print, we must thank them for all of their contributions, past and present.Julia Bursten served as editor in chief for the first part of the year, until she was kidnapped by Descartes' evil demon and dragged away into a philosophy paper. We were sad to see her leave because she was an efficient and encouraging editor whose epic bouts with a certain backpage editor made the office a great place to work.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Top-seeded UTEP ends Rice's hot streak in C-USA quarterfinals

Going into the Conference USA quarterfinal with No. 24 University of Texas-El Paso, the women's basketball team had done everything right. The Owls (14-18, 6-10 C-USA) were peaking when they needed to, having won four in a row. They had handily defeated East Carolina University 69-55 in the opening round of the tournament, holding their opponent to its lowest output since December. And as the contest against the Miners (27-3, 16-0 C-USA) entered the final stretch of the second half, the Owls had not buckled - unlike in the squads' previous meetings - and looked poised to make a run at a fifth-straight conference final.But just when they needed it most, the Owls' luck ran out in the second half when UTEP guard Jareica Hughes, the eventual C-USA Tournament MVP, turned in a performance for the ages: Hughes put in 29 of a career-high 33 points in the second half to lead the Miners to a 80-71 victory that brought Rice's season to an end.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Vapid Penelope provides timeless empowerment

Penelope is not practical. She has the face of a beautiful wood nymph and the voice of a fairy, but also the pronounced nose of a pig. She lives in a modern world of high technology subdued by 1950s clothing and milk trucks that hearken back to the early twentieth century. Like its principal character, the movie Penelope is neither practical nor provocative enough for thrill-seeking audiences but is perfect for a quiet, simple afternoon viewing.Afflicted by an ancient family curse, Penelope (Black Snake Moan's Christina Ricci) follows the demands of her aristocratic parents (Monster House's Catherine O'Hara and Corpse Bride's Richard E. Grant) that she cover her pig's nose and ears to hide her secret from the public. Unfortunately, the only way to break the curse and restore her features is to find the one man who will love Penelope for who she is. To discover him, she depends on the help of a sassy new friend (Rendition's Reese Witherspoon), a sensitive musician (Atonement's James McAvoy), a haughty blue blood (Pride and Prejudice's Simon Woods) and a midget reporter (Underdog's Peter Dinklage).


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Women's tennis keeps win streak rolling with victory over UCF

Winning streaks are a funny thing. They are both media darlings and fan favorites, but they can find lessened importance if the teams that own them play sloppily and without fire. However, after its sweep of spring break opponents to stretch the winning streak to six matches, no one can accuse the women's tennis team of playing without desire. Over the past two weeks, No. 75 Rice has downed No. 69 California State University-Northridge, the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Central Florida, its first Conference-USA foe of the year.After improving its record to 12-4 on the spring season and 9-1 at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium, the team will host Abilene Christian University this Friday at 3 pm. While Abilene Christian - Rice head coach Roger White's alma mater - may be Division II, they are seventh in the country and have lost only one of the last ten matches. They also feature the doubles tandem of Irene Squillaci and Aina Rafolomanantsiatosika, the second-ranked team in D-II.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Revamped Hello Hamlet! raises theatrical bar

The pressure of high expectations is a powerful motivator. Gleaned from 40 years of tradition and amidst the bustle of Beer-Bike festivities, this year's production of the original Rice play Hello Hamlet! delivers a polished diamond of a show, jam-packed into two hours of comedic pleasure and Monty Python-like humor. Director Caitlin Miller's attention to detail pays off in a show that is not merely a reproduction of the original script written by George Greanias (Wiess '70) in 1967, but a revamped and edited version, with almost a third of the songs modified to keep the jokes relevant and the audience engaged. While some musicals drag with a large load of song and dance numbers, this Wiess Tabletop Theater production does just the opposite. The fast pace of the show flows seamlessly with the good-humored parodies of famous musical numbers, ranging from Les Misérables to Fiddler on the Roof.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Self-proclaimed gadfly: College system strains university bond

Ideally, the college system is a great system. Students leaving their homes, often for the first time, can find a nurturing new community within their colleges. But one cannot live in the nursery forever. However, the Rice housing scheme seems to disagree - Rice does not provide housing for students who wish to leave the confines of the college system.It may seem inconceivable to many students that their peers would want to leave the alma mater they love so dearly, but all it takes is a few minutes in the Rice Memorial Center to find students who want to graduate from their colleges but still attend the university as a whole.


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

Massengale paces swimmers to second place

Since the Conference USA Championships were her last meet as an Owl, Brittany Massengale - the sole healthy senior on the swim team - was anticipating an extra dose of emotion. But as the meet wound down, there was too much excitement surrounding Rice's second-place finish for her to shed a tear for herself. For the second year in a row, Rice finished its dual season with a 10-4 record and took second place behind Southern Methodist University, which scored 926 points to the Owls' 635 and took the title for the third consecutive year."SMU had a better team this year than they did last year . but we definitely separated ourselves from the rest of the conference," head coach Seth Huston said. "We were putting a lot of people in the top eight in the finals right there like SMU always does, but we were doing it more so than in previous years."


NEWS 3/13/08 7:00pm

ASB participants trade beach parties for volunteering

While some students were spending their spring breaks at the beach or on the ski slopes, about 100 others decided to devote their time to volunteering with Alternative Spring Break, a program in which teams of college students in communities do short-term community service projects addressing issues such as racism, homelessness, poverty and the environment. This year, there were 10 ASB trips organized by students appointed to be site leaders and coordinated through the Community Involvement Center.All trips required that participants pay a $250 registration fee. The rest of the money for the trips was raised through individual fundraising by each student group.