State Farm

Fourth grade students at UT Elementary School prune the school’s garden Monday afternoon. The school plans to make a community garden with a $100k grant they recently received.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

UT Elementary School received a $100,000 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board for use toward a community garden.

It was one of 68 schools and nonprofit organizations to receive grants from the board this year for service-learning projects, which supplement classroom instruction with hands-on projects that aim to improve the community. State Farm is an insurance company based primarily in the U.S. The board, composed of 30 members nationwide from the ages of 17-20, distributed $5 million among the grant winners.

UT Elementary principal Kelly Mullin said the community garden will be an extension of what the school already teaches its 304 students through its current campus garden.

“Now we’re educating the kids, there is a little more pressure at home on their parents, so they’re actually going home and teaching their parents healthy eating and healthy lifestyle,” Mullin said. “They’re thinking about how they can take what they have learned and teach other people. That was really the motion behind the garden.”

Students in second through fifth grade are now helping with ideas for the garden’s setup and the kind of produce that will be grown when the garden becomes operational.

State Farm spokesperson Amelia Folkes said the advisory board supports the project because the elementary school allowed its students to contribute many ideas to the proposed garden.

“The elementary school and the teachers will incorporate all aspects of their learning into what they’ll do with the community garden, not just the obvious ones like the health class and nutrition class,” Folkes said. “Other young people saw the value in what they are already doing and rewarded that work and took it to the next level.”

Jake Stewart, director of Austin’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden program, said the program will help the school with its garden. The program, along with Mayor Pro-Tem Sheryl Cole and Capital Metro, which owns the land next to the school, will assist the school in ensuring the safety of the property along a rail line and the land’s soil quality. The school is on East Sixth Street near Pleasant Valley Road.

Stewart said community gardens can come together quickly and be well maintained when groups like the school make the project a priority. The school plans to have the garden ready in time to plant for a fall harvest to use the produce for school meals.

“We want to make sure everything is safe not only for the kids when they are in the garden but in the soil for when it reaches the cafeteria too,” Stewart said.

Printed on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 as: Grant helps little Longorns' garden grow 

Senior second baseman, the third overall pick in this yearÂ’s National Pro Fastpitch League draft, leads Texas with a .408 batting average.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

This weekend marks softball’s final installment of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown and for the century-old rivalry. The Longhorns will travel to College Station Friday afternoon to play the first game of the series on the road against the Aggies. Saturday, both teams will head over to Red and Charline McCombs field to play the rest of the series in Austin.

The highly anticipated game will be aired nationally on ESPN2. The No 5. Longhorns are ranked second in the Big 12 with a conference record of 11-5 and have a one-game advantage over the Aggies who have an 11-6 conference record.

The Aggies are ranked 14th in the country and are 31-14 on the season. They are led by junior Mel Dumezich, who was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week last week.

During their last meeting, the Aggies won 5-1 against the Longhorns in College Station May 2011.

Longhorns take advantage of momentum surges to win games

No matter if they are up, down or tied, the Longhorns have effectively fed off of each other, utilizing momentum at the plate. They have at least 10 innings so far this season in which they have scored at least five runs — a rare feat in softball.
“When one person on our team hits, the energy starts going. It’s a domino effect,” said senior Courtney Craig.

The most ideal inning for these momentum swings is the fifth inning — a time when the Longhorns have warmed up enough in the game but early enough to not put the game in jeopardy. They have scored 55 runs in the fifth inning alone so far this season — most of them as part of comebacks.

“Teams have been scoring before us, and we’ve stayed calm. We don’t let it get to us,” said junior Torie Schmidt.

The most recent momentum surge came in a 13-6 win in Lawrence, Kan. where the Longhorns utilized a seven-run inning to secure the win against the Jayhawks.

Senior trio fulfills expectations

Seniors Lexy Bennett, Nadia Taylor and Craig, who were appointed as team captains earlier this year, have proven themselves to be invaluable to the Longhorns’ success this year.

Bennett, who recently was drafted third overall in the National Fast Pitch Pro Draft, has become a Top 25 finalist for National Player of the Year for the Amateur Softball Association. Her .408 batting average and 49 RBIs lead the potent Texas offense and she has 51 hits and 38 runs so far this season. In February, the second baseman was named Player of the Week for the Big 12 Conference for the third time in her career. Bennett is ninth in the country for RBIs and owns the career RBI record at Texas with 147. She also has the highest career batting average at Texas with .379.

As a third baseman, Taylor, along with Bennett, has been an important component in the infield and at the plate for Texas. Taylor has started all but three games in four years at Texas, most of them at third base, although she has contributed as designated player for the Longhorns. Twice this season Taylor has been named Big 12 Player of the week, most recently last week for her performances against Texas Tech and Kansas where she went .800 at the plate.

Despite struggling with injuries last year, designated player Courtney Craig hasn’t let anything stop her this season. Her .352 career batting average ranks third in the Texas record books and she is second on the team this season with 35 RBIs and third with 43 hits. As a freshman in 2009, Craig also dabbled in the circle and pitched 4 and 2/3 innings for the Longhorns, earning a 3.00 ERA.

“These three have earned the trust of their teammates, they’ve walked the walk and they have the ear of their team,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark.

Printed on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 as:Horns set to square off against rival Aggies

Junior Hannah Higgins fights for the ball on Saturday. Texas had seven shots in the second half, but the effort was not enough to get back in the game.

Photo Credit: Kiersten Holms | Daily Texan Staff

With a 3-0 shutout victory at Mike A. Myers Stadium, the visiting Texas A&M Aggies said goodbye to Texas in a convincing way.

The loss gives the Longhorns a final record of 10-7-1 on the season and 3-4-1 in Big 12 Conference regular season play. However, since Texas A&M was ranked second in the Big 12, Texas remained ranked fifth in conference standings and will play in the Big 12 Conference Championship Tournament that starts this week.

Despite several scoring opportunities, the Longhorns could not mount a rally. They had a total of eight shots on goal. The Aggies took 13 shots.

With the win, the Aggies were awarded 1 point and took the league in this year’s edition of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown by a score of 1-0.5. The half-point awarded to the Longhorns was from a volleyball victory earlier in the month.

“A&M played quite well,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. “We’re going to have to rebound and get ready to play next week.”

Texas will take on Texas Tech on Wednesday in San Antonio for the first round of the Big 12 Championship Tournament.

Printed on Monday, October 31, 2011 as: Texas falls to A&M, faces Texas Tech next

Women's Tennis

The Longhorns take on Texas A&M in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown this Saturday.

The event will take place at noon in the Penick-Allison Tennis Center. UT currently has a 6.0–5.0 lead in the season-long standings of the Lone Star Showdown. The Longhorns topped Texas A&M 5-2 in their last meeting on April 20, 2010, in College Station.

“We always look forward to the Texas A&M match,” said head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “It’s a great rivalry between the two schools. They have some new freshmen who are doing great, and we have a couple who have been great for us. We have some seniors who always look forward to the rivalry.”

Texas will look to sustain the energy they acquired last week, in a 4-3 victory against Illinois.

“We’re glad to be outdoors again after playing indoors on the road last weekend,” Fendick-McCain said.

The No. 1 singles match looks to excite, with sophomore Aeriel Ellis, ranked No. 16, versus Texas A&M’s Nazari Urbina, No. 19.

“They’re both ranked in the top 20 right now, and it will be fun to watch,” Fendick-McCain said.

Another well-matched bout should be the duo of senior Amanda Craddock and freshmen Cierra Gaytan-Leach against Texas A&M’s tandem of Christi Liles and Janelle Cuthbertson.

“It’s just a great, competitive, sportsman-like match,” Fendick-McCain said, on the tradition of the Lone Star Showdown.