Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two great golfers join women's program

Sam Houston women’s golf team has signed two great young players in the early signing period. One of them is Christina Stringham out of Pasadena. She is one of the top 10 ranked players in the state.

I have watched Christina on several occasions an am impressed with her short game. She has many years of experience playing in competition and has what many high school players lack, the ability to get the ball in the hole when she gets around the greens. She has a good mind for the game and I believe she will have a great four years here at Sam.

The other player who signed is Abby Corson out of Montgomery, which is a school with a great winning tradition. Learning how to win at an early age will pay off for Abby here at Sam. I watched her play recently at Raven Nest and she won easily with rounds of 74 and 75. Her iron play was very impressive. On the first day, she hit the ball right at the hole on every shot and could have shot much lower except for a couple of unlucky breaks. Her golf game seems to be improving at a rapid pace and she will be another layer to come here and immediately challenge the current players for the top five spots.

Watch for these two young ladies in the spring and then state finals and you will see what I am excited about.

-- Tommy Chain
 SHSU women’s golf coach

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jenny's Journal: There are no goodbyes, only 'see you later's'

Well, here it is. My final blog post. We played Texas State in the first round of the conference tournament, which happened to be held at Texas State. With their home fans cheering them on, they just beat us by a score of 2-1. Tricia scored a great goal with about 3 minutes left to keep us in it, but we couldn’t quite seem to get that equalizer. Like coach said on the bus, “I’m not going to say we lost, I’m going to say we ran out of time.” We played them much better than we did last weekend, but we still fell just short. There are so many things to say in this last blog, and I’m just not quite sure how to start.
We graduated five seniors this year, including me. I have played with Kelley and Nikki since freshman year (for Nikki and I it was freshman year in high school!) and Alex and Adriana came in my junior year. These girls have all been amazing friends and teammates, and I will miss every one of them.
Nichole Watkins, you are by far the toughest player I have ever met. You always put your body on the line to block a shot or a cross, and I knew I could always trust you back there. For anyone that doesn’t know Nikki, she has a metal plate in her face because she broke it going up for a header. How much tougher can you get?? We’ve played together for 8 long years and had our ups and downs, but I really loved playing with you all that time! I have so many memories, like that one time Angie got mad at us and made us do pushups on the field if we gave the ball away... I think you got a yellow card that game! And we laughed the whole time!  And I can’t even begin to count the times you have saved my butt by clearing the ball off the line! I definitely appreciate that J I wish you the best of luck in anything and everything you do.
Adriana Vasquez, you have the most amazing calming presence wherever you go. I will miss seeing you every day, and I will definitely miss your laugh the most! It was always contagious. I always laughed when you came to practice in your hoodie when it was any cooler than like 80 degrees, with the hood pulled over your head, and the strings tied in a bow! Like it was the second Ice Age! Let’s have more dinner/chill nights, mmk? I’m going to miss you. 2 years wasn’t enough time!!
Alex Clifton, my little hood rat!! ;) Alex is from Fresno, California. When we were leaving for the tournament on Wednesday morning, Kelley Sikinger locked her keys in her car, with all of her travel stuff in it. We were kind of freaking out, until Alex pipes up. “Oh, I can break into a car!” ….. ummm, what? Alex says her mom taught her how. Why in the world would her mom teach her that, you ask? “In case I ever got locked out!” Yeah, sure Alex. So here we are, at 9:30 in the morning, with the Huntsville campus police department’s “slim jim”. The cops didn’t know how to get into Kelley’s car (they had the instruction manual out, seriously) but Alex did! She saved the day! Alex didn’t get to play this year because of her stupid ankle. I really missed her on the field, because I think she is super competitive and has an amazing drive to win. Alex, you are amazing. You have the most amazing sense of humor, and I can count on you for a great conversation, or for being a great partner at Pictionary Man (I demand a rematch!). Anyways, I’ll miss you, friend. More game and dinner nights are definitely in order.
Kelley Sikinger. Kelley, Kelley, Kelley. There’s so much to say!  We started out trying to kill each other in warm-ups on the first day of practice freshman year, and somehow became best friends. You have always been that person that would be there for me through anything, and I can’t thank you enough for that. You have always had the most amazing positive attitude on the field, and you have been so strong and determined to finish what you started. We have enough memories on and off the field to last a lifetime! You’re going to be the best second grade teacher that anyone has ever seen! Here’s a quote that’s perfect for you:Nobody trips over mountains.  It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble.  Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain”.  You’ve crossed some pretty big mountains, best friend.
For the rest of the team: you guys have a HUGE amount of potential going forward from here. You guys will be awesome, as long as everyone stays focused and keeps everybody accountable. I’m really, really, REALLY going to miss everyone. I feel like I’ve made some good friends this year, and I hope those friendships last! And like I said earlier this season, make every second count. You never know when it will be your last. Four years goes by in an instant, so don’t ever settle for less that you deserve or less than you can accomplish.  And for heaven’s sake, please beat Texas State!
As for me, I know this isn’t the end of the world. I had some tears after the game, but nothing too bad. As I've gotten older, I’ve realized that soccer really isn’t something to stress about.  Life doesn’t hinge on whether I get scored on or not, or whether we win or lose. I think I had my best season this year, and made some of my best saves, because I wasn’t stressed about it. I actually had fun playing soccer again *gasp!!*. I remember when I was looking at which school I wanted to go to, I had one pretty big requirement: I wanted to be somewhere where I could make a difference. I’m proud to be a part of the transition Sam Houston has made to being one of the top teams in the conference.

I’ll leave everyone with a quote; I think it’s pretty good:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”-Dr. Seuss

Have a great week Kats, and always remember to smile!

-- Jenny Pence
SHSU Keeper

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Best Sports Cities in America

This is not the most current item in the world, but I have been wanting to hit on it. The Sporting News recently released it's top sports cities in America list and Huntsville ranked fairly decent on the list.

Huntsville was rated at No. 144, just ahead of Missoula, Mont., home of the Montana Grizzlies. Sporting news rated the top 402 cities in America. The formula is based on the 12 months from summer 2009 to summer 2010. Point values are assigned to various categories, including but not limited to won-lost records, postseason appearances applicable power ratings, number of teams and attendance.

I know what you are wondering, where do Nacogdoches and San Marcos rank? Well, Huntsville comes in ahead of the home of SFA (No. 173) and the home of Texas State (No. 209). Only San Antonio, which is home to the NBA Spurs, WNBA Silver Stars, minor league baseball, the Alamo Bowl and last year's Women's Final Four in addition to UTSA is the highest rated Southland city at No. 36.

Here is where the Southland schools ranked on the list:

36. San Antonio
144. Huntsville, Texas
173. Nacogdoches, Texas
180. Corpus Christi - Also home to Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks
188. Hammond, La.
209. San Marcos, Texas
233. Thibodaux, La.
234. Beaumont, Texas
242. Lake Charles, La.
247. Natchitoches, La.
253. Conway, Ark.

Arlington was not mentioned on the list, so we can only assume they are lumped in with Dallas which was No. 5 in the rankings.

Other Notable cities that rank below Huntsville:

145. Missoula, Mont. - Home of Montana Grizzlies
153. Princeton, N.J. - Home of Princeton University
154. Boone, N.C. - Home of Appalachian State
159. Des Moines, Iowa - Home of the AAA Iowa Cubs and the Drake Relays
200. Chattanooga, Tenn. - Site of the 2009 FCS National Championship Game
205. Youngstown, Ohio - Home of Youngstown State
213. Daytona Beach, Fla.
220. Little Rock, Ark.
232. Statesboro, Ga. - Home of Georgia Southern
237. Cheney, Wash. - Site of the greatest Bearkat football comeback (2004 I-AA playoffs)
248. Prairie View, Texas
250. Shreveport, La.
260. Huntsville + Normal, Ala. - The "other" Huntsville
271. Talladega, Ala. - Talladega Motor Speedway
272. Augusta, Ga. - Home of the Masters
315. Kissimmee, Fla. - Spring Training home of the Houston Astros
328. Frisco, Texas - Class AA Rough Riders, MLS FC Dallas, 2011 FCS National Championship host
363. Grambling, La.
376. Williamsport, Pa. - Home of Little League World Series

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jenny's Journal: Two tough losses

This weekend, we had two of our toughest games of the season. We hosted UTSA and Texas State to close out our regular season. We started out the season with a chance (albeit a slim one) of winning the conference title, and a much better chance at getting either of the two top seeds for the tournament, which would have given us a first round bye. The first round bye is HUGE, because the first two rounds of the tournament are played on Thursday and Friday, respectively. None of us are 11 years old anymore, and two games back to back like that are really hard work for our field players.

On Friday, UTSA came into town tied for first place in the conference. We were third, so we knew we had to beat them to have a chance at the higher seed. It was also senior night. All five of us seniors were honored before the game, and I was doing well not getting emotional until I saw my mom’s face. She had tears in her eyes the whole way she was walking me onto the field! I did get a little choked up, but it wasn’t anything too bad, and I was definitely ready for the game. It was such a weird feeling being a senior. I always had the feeling like I had all the time in the world to get my soccer goals accomplished here, and all of a sudden, it was a slap in the face that I had only two more home games left! We didn’t play really well against UTSA, which was a big disappointment. I wanted to win on senior night, and we came just short and lost 1-0. We created tons of opportunities, including some that were on a completely open net, and just couldn’t get any finished.

Saturday, we had our recovery session, which was focused on finishing, specifically the crossing game that we always do. The girls were really focused on it, which was nice to see. They were definitely burying the same shots that were missed only hours before in the game. I just wish it could have happened sooner!

Sunday, we played Texas State. I have always hated Texas State, and Sunday didn’t do anything to help that. I think I got caught up in the fact that it was my last EVER home game: last time to meet in the team meeting room, last time to change in the locker room, last time to swerve through campus all the way to the field. I also think my emotions about Texas State got the best of me, and I didn’t have my best game. We ended up losing 4-1, and I take full credit for one of the goals. Nobody really had a great game, which was another disappointment. I wanted to go into the tournament strong off of two wins!

After our losses, we will go into the tournament this Thursday as the #5 seed, and play none other than Texas State again at their home field (they’re the tournament hosts). Although our loss on Sunday was a tough one to take, I feel like it might give us a little bit of an advantage going into Thursday. Texas State definitely didn’t see the Sam Houston team that we know we can be! I’m excited to get another chance to play them, and I think the second time around will definitely be better than the first! I’m confident that, if we play like we know we can, then we will go deep into this tournament! We play Thursday night at 7 pm, so if anyone can make a trip to San Marcos, we really need your support!

-- Jenny Pence
SHSU Keeper