Athens

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Cat Osterman remains one of the best pitchers the Texas softball program has ever had. She currently coaches softball at Texas State and is preparing to wrap up her professional career.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series looking back at past Texas athletes and examining where they are now. This week features former softball pitcher Cat Osterman, who played for Texas from 2002-2003 and 2005-2006.

By the time Osterman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, she had already won an Olympic gold medal from Athens, notched 20 collegiate no-hitters and appeared twice on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

But even for Osterman, adjusting to life on the 40 Acres wasn’t easy.

“I had to learn real quick how to pitch and how to pitch successfully at that level,” Osterman said. “For me to be able to be thrown in the fire so quick, I think that’s what really made me mature as an athlete and, actually, in the long run, is probably what has allowed me to be so successful.”

Osterman took a year-long hiatus from school after her sophomore year to join the USA Softball Women’s National Team on its quest for Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.  

“It was a little difficult because I was playing with a bunch of older women, a lot of which had graduated from college already,” Osterman said. “But I think it was for the best. It taught me a lot. It made me grow up fast.”

She returned to the University after her Olympic stint to play two more seasons with Texas, and, in 2007, she was selected as the No. 1 pick in the National Pro Fastpitch softball league draft.

She continues to pitch professionally for the USSSA Pride, a fastpitch team in Kissimmee, Florida, while working full-time in the offseason as a softball coach at Texas State. Osterman devotes her time to recruiting in the fall, coaching in the spring and playing professionally in the summer.

“I think the hardest part is I have to work out, and I have to throw,” Osterman said. “I put coaching as a priority, so, if I have to skip a workout or something like that, I’ll do that over being late to practice because my first priority is to Texas State and coaching.”

But all good things come to an end. This summer will most likely be Osterman’s last season playing professionally, she said. Still, she has a clear path for her future in mind. 

“I have wanted to coach since I was in, like, fourth grade, and that was before I specialized in softball,” Osterman said. “Coaching is definitely my future.”

Economics sophomore Cameron Slife (left) and business sophomore Max Tebbe strike a punching bag at Fight Club Austin on Monday evening. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

For the newly opened Fight Club on Rio Grande Street, the first rule doesn’t have anything to do with not talking about fight club — it’s to have fun and be safe while getting a full body workout.

The contact cardio kickboxing facility opened March 24 and hosted a free class Saturday, with a visit from guest instructor Rhuben Williams and free Red Mango smoothies for those who made it to the end of class. With music blaring and participants both inside the building and outside on the sidewalk, it’s difficult to ignore the new workout program that offers classes several times per day. 

According to co-creator Williams, Fight Club has three crucial values: it is safe, effective and fun. Combining resistance training, cardio intervals and core strength, the 60-minute classes boast a full-body workout. 

Williams’ workout program began in Athens, Ga., in 2007 and became so popular that a second location was opened in the college town, followed by a third in Statesboro, Ga. When the licensed program had an opportunity to expand, Austin seemed like the perfect fit. 

“I took it all throughout college, and it kind of became a hobby for my friends and [me],” said Alexis Dacy, University of Georgia alum and club instructor. “Why I wanted to bring it here was to create that hobby and love for working out like we had in Athens.”

Currently, there are seven instructors at the Austin location, including two UT students and several UT alumni. Initially, only two classes were offered per day, but now up to four classes are taught daily. 

The structure of the workout is up to the instructor, so no two classes are exactly alike. 

Though it is a high intensity class, any level is welcome and able to join. Williams has seen at least four people lose more than 100 pounds from taking the class and has helped train all ages from college students to 60-year-old grandmothers. 

“It’s the perfect go-between with most of the existing programs out there,” Williams said. “If you go [to] a basic gym, you’re doing some dancing around, kickboxing, punching in the air, or you got to go to a gym where there’s fighters, martial arts and a really intimidating environment. This is the perfect go-between — you get to punch and hit and kick stuff. You don’t have to come in contact with any other members, so it’s not intimidating.”  

Human development freshman Jenna Hoffend tried Fight Club the first week it opened. 

“[Fight Club] wasn’t that intimidating because I like to work out, and it was fun,” Hoffend said. 

In the future, it will continue to partner with its neighbors and hopefully host an event with Tower Bistro Pizza and Fresh Healthy Cafe. 

Williams, who returned to Athens after teaching several classes at the Austin location this past weekend, sees lasting value beyond just having a fun workout.

“When I was in college, I was in premed,” Williams said. “Now that I’m not going to be a doctor, instead of fixing people who are broken and sick, I’m on the front end. It’s preventative medicine. It’s a dance party where you get to beat up stuff.” 

Texas Women's Golf concludes season

The Texas women's golf team concluded their season on Friday at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. Texas finished 21st out of the 24 teams that made it to the field. 

The Longhorns (299, 295, 304, 315) finished at a 61-over 1213, only two strokes off of No. 20 South Carolina. Southern California blew out the field, shooting a 19-under 1133 to capture first place, 21 strokes ahead of second place Duke. 

Bertine Strauss (73, 77, 74, 78), with a 14-over 302, led the Longhorns and finished tied at No. 58 overall.  Madison Pressel (77 72, 77, 780) finished with a 16-over 304 to tie at No. 68. 

Katelyn Sepmoree (77 72, 78, 79) finished at 18-over 306 to finish tied at No 80 and Haley Stephens (74, 77, 76, 80) tied at No. 85 with a 19-over 307. Finally, Desiree Dubreuil (75, 74, 77, 82) shot a 20-over 308 to round out the squad. 

Texas was tied for 15th place, shooting an 11-over 299 following the first round and fell to 21st at the end of round three at 34-over as a team. 

Texas ended their season after finishing sixth in the Big 12 Championship. They entered the NCAA East Regional Championship as an eight seed competitor. 

The Longhorns finished fifth in that event (289, 291, 291) shooting a 7-over 871, allowing them to make the NCAA Championship field. Pressel (70, 71, 73) led the Longhorns at 2-under 214, good for a tie at 11th place in the tournament. 

ATHENS, Greece — Protesters forced their way into a government building in Greece’s latest anti-austerity protests Wednesday, reaching just outside a minister’s office before being expelled and clashing with riot police outside.

Police detained more than 30 protesters, most union heads, sparking clashes with about 200 demonstrators gathered outside the Labor Ministry in central Athens. Police used pepper spray, batons and tear gas to repel them.

The government said the demonstrators caused damage inside the building and threatened the minister — an accusation the protesters adamantly denied.

ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers approved the country’s 2013 austerity budget early Monday, an essential step in Greece’s efforts to persuade its international creditors to unblock a vital rescue loan installment without which the country will go bankrupt.

The budget passed by a 167-128 vote in the 300-member Parliament. It came days after a separate bill of deep spending cuts and tax hikes for the next two years squeaked through with a narrow majority following severe disagreements among the three parties in the governing coalition.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledged that the spending cuts will be the last Greeks have to endure.

Sanya Richards-Ross speaks to the Longhorn Network about her upcoming trip to the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

When it comes to the Olympics, Sanya Richards-Ross knows exactly what to do — after all, her trip to London in two weeks will be her third time competing in the Olympic Games. But with all her accomplishments and hardware, Richards-Ross has yet to fulfill one dream that she has had since the beginning, bringing home an individual Olympic gold medal.

“The individual gold is the reason I’ve stayed in this sport,” Richards-Ross said. “To be able to have an individual gold medal, I don’t know if I will be able to describe it, it will be my longtime dream come true. It will be the ultimate for me for what I’ve been working on for 20 years now since I was seven.”

In London, Richards-Ross will compete individually in the 200-meter and 400-meter events. She also qualified to participate in the 4x400 meter relay.

In 2004, at her first Olympic Games in Athens, Richards-Ross came away with her first Olympic medal — a gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay. She then she came home from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with two medals around her neck – one team gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay and a bronze medal in the 400-meter individual event.

Although she has been the favorite in the 400-meter dash since the 2004 Olympic Games, unfortunate circumstances have prevented her from claiming individual gold.

Richards-Ross failed to qualify for the 400-meter dash in 2004, coming in fourth at the Olympic trials due to illness. In 2008, Richards-Ross went to Beijing as the fastest finals qualifier and once again the favorite, but after coming out of the starting blocks too fast, took third.

“After 2008, I was so disappointed because I thought it was a huge missed opportunity,” Richards-Ross said. “Though I’ve had some tough times with injury and illness, the one thing that kept me going was that I wanted to get back to this point. To be able to have an individual gold medal.”

Now she’s back and is once again the one to watch for in women’s track and field. However, she’s added one more thing to her resume. After qualifying for the 400-meter dash with a first place finish, Richards-Ross decided to attempt the 200-meter dash. After three days of preparation, she qualified for the 200-meter dash with a third place finish.

“When the season started, I was focused on the 400,” Richards-Ross said. “Once that was over, I had about three days to recover … and it turned out to be a phenomenal race. It was really tough to make the team in the 200. I’m still solely focused on the 400, the 200 is icing on the cake.”

With all the knowledge she has gained from her past experiences, Richards-Ross is approaching the trip to London with a sense of calm and increased patience — she plans to enjoy herself. She believes that becoming too tense in the past has limited her accomplishments.

“I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out there and perform at a very high level … This year I worked very hard to stay disciplined,” she said of her shortcomings in Beijing. “I just feel so excited! I feel that I have so many great experiences that I can pull from and so I really hope to go out there an make this my best one ever.”

She has not decided what she will do after London. Thanks to her recent good health and success, a trip to the 2016 games is not unobtainable.

“I am kind of on the fence about it,” Richards-Ross said. “A couple of years ago I probably would have thought [the 2012 Olympics] would be my last … but the way I am feeling now, I feel that I could potentially do another one. It all depends but I am not going in thinking that, it would be too much pressure. We will see where the future takes me.”

ATHENS, Greece — Greek state hospital services faced disruptions Wednesday as staff held work stoppages and protests over government austerity measures and pay delays.

Doctors and staff at public hospitals in the greater Athens area were walking off the job for three hours Wednesday, and planned a demonstration at the health ministry at noon.

Hospital doctors were also holding a go-slow protest, demanding the payment of overtime they say has not been paid for four months.

Health spending was affected by new cuts this year to ensure Greece can continue receiving rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. Facing a mountainous debt and gaping budget deficit resulting from years of fiscal laxity and overspending, the country has been relying on billions in bailout loans since May 2010 to prevent it from defaulting on its mountain of debt.

Printed on Thursday, March 22, 2012 as: Doctors, staff in Greece protest after government pay delays

Protesters pass by a burning cinema in Athens on Sunday. Riots engulfed central Athens as lawmakers voted on austerity measures.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after rioters in central Athens torched buildings, looted shops and clashed with riot police.

The historic vote paves the way for Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its mountain of debt next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets.

Lawmakers voted 199-74 in favor of the cutbacks, despite strong dissent among the two main coalition members. A total 37 lawmakers from the majority Socialists and conservative New Democracy party either voted against the party line, abstained or voted present.

Sunday’s clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.

At least 45 businesses were damaged by fire, including several historic buildings, movie theaters, banks and a cafeteria, in the worst riot damage in Athens in years. Fifty police officers were injured and at least 55 protesters were hospitalized. Forty-five suspected rioters were arrested and a further 40 detained.

As the vote got under way early Monday, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos urged calm, pointing to the country’s dire financial straits.

“Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated,” Papademos told Parliament. “I call on the public to show calm. At these crucial times, we do not have the luxury of this type of protest. I think everyone is aware of how serious the situation is.”

Since May 2010, Greece has survived on a $145 billion bailout from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. When that proved insufficient, the new rescue package was approved. The deal, which has not yet been finalized, will be combined with a massive bond swap deal to write off half the country’s privately held debt.

But for both deals to materialize, Greece had to persuade its deeply skeptical creditors that it has the will to implement spending cuts and public sector reforms that will end years of fiscal profligacy and tame gaping budget deficits.

As protests raged Sunday, demonstrators set bonfires in front of parliament and dozens of riot police formed lines to keep them from making a run on the building. Security forces fired dozens of tear gas volleys at rioters, who attacked them with firebombs and chunks of marble broken off the fronts of luxury hotels, banks and department stores.

Clouds of tear gas drifted across the square, and many in the crowd wore gas masks or had their faces covered, while others carried Greek flags and banners. Masked rioters also attacked a police station with petrol bombs and stones.

A three-story building was completely consumed by flames as firefighters struggled to douse the blaze. Streets were strewn with stones, smashed glass and burnt wreckage, while terrified passers-by sought refuge in hotel lounges and cafeterias.

“I’ve had it! I can’t take it any more. There’s no point in living in this country any more,” said a distraught shop owner walking through his smashed and looted optician store.

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said rioters tried to storm the City Hall building, but were repelled. “Once again, the city is being used as a lever to try to destabilize the country,” he said.

Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said the rioting “hurts the entire country.”

“We are seeing scenes from a future that we must do our utmost to avert,” he said.

Papademos’ government — an unlikely coalition of the majority Socialists and their main foes, New Democracy — had been expected to carry the austerity vote. Combined, they control 236 of Parliament’s 300 seats.

Still, they faced strong dissent: Besides the 37 lawmakers who voted against the bill or abstained, a further six voted against sections of the proposed measures. After the vote, the coalition government announced those 43 lawmakers had been expelled.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the measures were vital to the country’s very economic survival.

“The question is not whether some salaries and pensions will be curtailed, but whether we will be able to pay even these reduced wages and pensions,” he told lawmakers before the vote. “When you have to choose between bad and worse, you will pick what is bad to avoid what is worse.”

The new cutbacks, which follow two years of harsh income losses and tax hikes amid a deep recession and record high unemployment have been demanded by Greece’s bailout creditors in return for a new batch of vital rescue loans.

Greece’s eurozone partners, meanwhile, kept up the pressure for real reform.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as telling the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday that Greece “cannot be a bottomless pit.”

Highlighting previous pledges he said weren’t kept, Schaeuble said “that is why Greece’s promises aren’t enough for us any more.”

Asked whether Greece has a long-term future in the eurozone, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Philip Roesler said “that is now in the hands of the Greeks alone.”

“It is not enough just to give financial aid — they must tackle the second cause of the crisis, the lack of economic competitiveness,” he told said ARD television. “For that, they need ... massive structural reforms. Otherwise Greece will not get out of the crisis.”

Introducing the legislation Sunday, Socialist lawmaker Sofia Yiannaka said the intense pressure from Greece’s EU partners to pass the measures was the result of delays in implementing already agreed reforms.

“The delays have our imprint. We should not blame foreigners for them,” she said. “We have finally found out that you have to pay back what you have borrowed.”

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s coalition government on Monday caved in to demands to cut civil service jobs, announcing 15,000 positions would go this year, amid mounting international pressure to agree on austerity measures needed to secure major new debt agreements.

The announcement signals a shift in Greece’s policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country’s acute financial crisis, which started about two years ago. Public Sector Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas said the job cuts would be carried out under a new law that allows such firings.

Unions have called a 24-hour general strike for Tuesday, in response to the new austerity measures, while about 4,000 protesters braved torrential rain late Monday to join protest rallies organized in central Athens by left-wing opposition parties.

Riot policemen assist a colleague whose clothing caught fire after being hit by a petrol bomb during rioting in central Athens.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece— Clouds of tear gas choked central Athens as rival demonstrators fought with stones and firebombs outside parliament Thursday, leaving one man dead and dozens injured. Inside, the Socialist government grappled with dissent over the deeply unpopular new cutbacks demanded by creditors to keep the country afloat.

Greece has been kept solvent only by international bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund and other eurozone nations since May of last year. Creditors have demanded that Greece pass the extra austerity measures before they give the country more funds from that $152 billion bailout loan. Greece says it will run out of money in mid-November without the next $11 billion installment.

On the second day of a general strike that has paralyzed the country, demonstrators marched to Syntagma Square before parliament to protest the new measures that include pay and staff cuts in the civil service as well as pension cuts and tax hikes for all Greeks. The draft law calls for 30,000 public servants to be put on reduced pay and for collective bargaining rights to be suspended.

State hospital officials said a 53-year-old man died of heart failure and at least 74 people were injured after hundreds of rioting youths attacked some of the 50,000 peaceful demonstrators with firebombs and stones. Some of the injured were covered in blood from head wounds.

Police said at least six people were arrested and another 24 detained. Six officers were injured.

Youths set mounds of trash on fire in Syntagma Square and across the city. Young men in crash helmets and gas masks used crowbars and clubs to smash marble from building facades and rip up paving stones to throw at riot police.

Parliament approved the new round of austerity cuts in principle late Wednesday and was to vote on individual articles late Thursday. The Socialists have a four-seat majority in parliament.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos issued an impassioned appeal to Socialist and opposition lawmakers alike, warning that not approving the measures would be disastrous.

“The country will be exposed to the danger of a non-rational development, and will once again serve as the scapegoat on which Europe’s historic, political and institutional shortcomings will be dumped,” he said Thursday.

But Greece’s international creditors, meanwhile, warned that the second rescue package may not be enough to save the country from bankruptcy, according to a draft of a debt inspectors’ report obtained by The Associated Press.

Printed on Friday 21, 2011 as: Riots erupt after Greek austerity law