Sports

Beyond the Game: Lauren Kirch

Incoming freshman blocker Lauren Kirch’s decision process to play at Texas State was unlike most student athletes. Kirch placed her education at an equal, if not higher, priority than her collegiate sports career, and that landed her in San Marcos.

Growing up, Kirch was always the “gentle giant” of the family as her mother, Susan, refers to her. Always being among the tallest students in her class was something Kirch had to adjust to right away. Kirch is 6 feet 2 inches, tied for the third-tallest on the volleyball team. 

“She never really liked being tall,” Susan Kirch said. “From the time she was born she was always taller than everybody else.”

Orakpo, Mayo make preseason award watch lists

Senior linebackers Mike Orakpo and David Mayo were named to preseason award watch lists.
 
Orakpo was named to the 2014 preseason Butkus award watch list. Orakpo is one of 51 linebackers on the list, with 50 players represented from FBS programs. The Butkus award recognizes the nation's top linebacker. Alabama's C.J. Mosley, drafted in the first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft, won the award last year. 
 

Beyond the Game: Taylor Black

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When pitcher Taylor Black’s family first heard from Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner, his father, Harold, was texting Colorado Rockies executives. They were waiting on the final call. 

“We listened to the draft from about 11 a.m. until he was drafted at around 3 in the afternoon,” Harold said. “He had been getting text messages back and forth leading up, and of course there are some emotional highs and lows and getting caught up in the rush when Taylor’s name is finally called.” 

The Rockies selected Taylor with their 26th round selection (773rd overall), making him the fourth Bobcat drafted this year. 

Beyond the Game: Stuart Smallwood

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Stuart Smallwood’s father, Cliff, gave Stuart his first set of golf clubs when he was only three years old. The golfing set came with five balls, a set of clubs and a putter. This play set of plastic golfing toys would eventually spark the interest leading to Stuart’s successful career in the sport.

Stuart’s father played golf at Cameron University, inspiring his son. Cliff mentored his son throughout the beginnings of his career, teaching Stuart how to golf.

“He’s my swing coach,” Stuart said. “He has been there every step of the way and will continue to be in the future. When I was three, he would take me to the putting green and I would just put. I loved it.  That is all I wanted to do. My father and I would have putting competitions for hours.”

Beyond the Game: Sara Rupp

“Mentally disciplined” is how Sara Rupp, Texas State softball signee, is described by her junior softball coach, Mark Tucker. Rupp, a catcher, has played with her twin sister, Randi, her entire life, but she has developed her own identity on the field.

Sara had to make an early decision in high school at Barbers Hill. She played both softball and volleyball until her sophomore year, when she realized softball was more of a year-long commitment.

“The volleyball coach was not too happy about it,” Sara said. “It was mid-season and he wanted me to be committed to that sport. But I thought about it and said, ‘I’m not going to play volleyball in the future,’ so I just focused on softball since that was my future.”

Beyond the Game: Darian Brown

Though this was a season of ups and downs according to Darian Brown, junior thrower, it was definitely something to build on for next year.

His ultimate goal was to reach the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

This season, Brown was one of two Texas State track and field athletes to reach the NCAA Championship Finals. He finished 20th in the discus category with a throw of 54.55 meters, less than 10 feet short of becoming an All-American.

Brown modeled his game after the performances of Olympic athletes Gerd Kanter and John Powell.  Brown researched and practiced Kanter’s technique. Kanter, an Estonian discus thrower, won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Beyond the Game: Allie Saunders

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Four years ago, Allie Saunders wasn’t sure she would continue her track and field career in college. Track was an enjoyable hobby for her but less of an extended career.

Today, Allie, junior jumper, is entering her final year at Texas State. She qualified June 13 to compete in the NCAA Track and Field Championship in Eugene, Oregon. Allie placed 21st in the triple jump with 12.52 meters, her fourth-best distance of the year. She was within seven inches of All-American status.

Allie, a Pearland High School graduate, went to track and field camp in elementary and middle school. She gave up her pursuit before trying out for the high school team.

Beyond the Game: Austen Williams

A new challenge awaits Austen Williams, former Bobcat pitcher, as he enters his first season as a professional baseball player after being selected in the 2014 MLB Draft.

Before he received the phone call from a Washington Nationals scout to confirm the team’s selection, Austen learned that his dream had become reality in an unceremonious fashion.

“Nobody called me,” Austen said. “I was just watching the draft tracker, my name pops up, my family freaks out, I freak out and then I get a call five minutes from the area scout, Tyler Wilt.”

Every aspiring professional athlete imagines the day that their hard work pays off and is drafted into their respective sport, and it was the same for Austen.

Future Bobcat named Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year

Randi Rupp, committed to Texas State next fall, was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year.  
 
The award weighs athletic excellence, academic achievement and character on and off the field. Rupp is a finalist for Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, announced in June. Past state-award winners include Bobcat pitching coach Cat Osterman, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker and Abby Wambach. 
 
Rupp was also named the All-Baytown Sun Super 25 Player of the Year and the Houston Chronicle's High School Softball Pitcher of the Year. She and her twin sister, Sara, will appear on the Texas Girls Coaching Association's All-Star team this summer.

Texas State coach named head of IAAF World Junior Championship team

Texas State track and field coach Dana Boone was named the head coach for the United States 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships women's team. Boone, finishing her third season at Texas State, will coach sprints, hurdles and relays. Boone's coaching staff includes Lisa Morgan (distance), Tim Cawley (jumps) and Cory Young (throws).
 
The IAAF Championships are July 22-27 in Oregon. 
 

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as head women's coach for the World Championships," Boone said. "It is truly a unique experience that I will carry with me for a long time."

 

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Bobcat News & Notes

Women's basketball adds assistant coach

Women's basketball named Stephanie Stoglin-Reed to the coaching staff. Stoglin-Reed, director of player development for University of North Texas men's basketball last year, will be in charge of development and recruitment.

Future Bobcat named Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year 

Randi Rupp, committed to Texas State next fall, was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year.  

The award weighs athletic excellence, academic achievement and character on and off the field. Rupp is a finalist for Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, announced in June. Past state-award winners include Bobcat pitching coach Cat Osterman, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker and Abby Wambach. 

Rupp finished 27-1 with 303 strikeouts, 27 walks and a 0.45 earned run average last season. Rupp, a three-time district MVP, hit .398, with four home runs, 21 runs batted in and a .636 slugging percentage at the plate. Her Barbara Hills Eagles advanced to the Class 4A semifinals with a 32-1 record. 

Coach Dana Boone named head coach for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships women's team

Boone, finishing her third season at Texas State, will coach sprints, hurdles and relays. Boone's coaching staff includes Lisa Morgan (distance), Tim Cawley (jumps) and Cory Young (throws).

Football adds two ESPN network games

The football team's first two games of the season will be televised on ESPN3 and ESPNews. 

The Bobcats' first game of the season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Aug. 30 will be available on ESPN3. The ensuing week against Navy is available on ESPNews.

Texas State has four games televised on the ESPN networks this season, including conference matchups against Louisiana, televised on ESPN2, and Arkansas State, shown on ESPNU.

Track and field sends two athletes to the NCAA Championships in Oregon

Darian Brown, junior thrower, and Allie Saunders, junior jumper, qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Brown finished 20th in discus throw with a 24.55 meter throw. Brown was less than 10 feet shy of being an All-American. 

Saunders placed 21st in triple jump with a distance of 12.52 meters, her fourth best distance this year. Saunders was within seven inches of All-American status. 

Four Bobcats drafted in MLB draft

Austen Williams, junior pitcher, was selected by the Washington Nationals in the sixth-round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Williams is the highest selected Bobcat since Kyle Kubitza in 2011. 

Garrett Mattlage, junior shortstop, Tyler Pearson, senior catcher, and Taylor Black, junior pitcher, were all selected on the final day of the MLB Draft.

Mattlage, the 12th round selection by the Detroit Tigers (370th overall), led the Bobcats in batting average, runs, hits, walks, total bases and on-base plus slugging percentage last season. Mattlage was drafted out of high school, but committed to Texas State for three years.

The Chicago Cubs selected Pearson with their 25th round selection, 739th overall. Pearson started in 54 of 58 possible games last season. He threw out a conference-high 25 runners on the bases. 

Black, the Colorado Rockies' 26th round selection (773rd overall), pitched a team-high 101 innings, allowing 2.85 runs per nine innings. 

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