University of Central Florida

Marielle Hall’s top-10 all-time performance highlights track and field’s trip to Stanford Invitational

The Longhorn women continued their rampage through the record books this weekend at the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, Calif.

Senior distance runner Marielle Hall led the charge for No. 3 Texas, solidifying her position among the top runners in the nation. The senior completed the 5,000-meter in 15 minutes, 19.26 seconds, good for first in her field of 26 athletes, including 14 professionals. Hall’s time set a UT record and ranks 10th all-time for collegiate 5,000-meter performances. Only three women have topped the time in the past five years.

Senior middle distance runner Katie Hoaldridge rounded out a strong performance for the Texas senior class with an 800-meter time of 2:07.13, less than a half-second away from her personal best. Hoaldridge’s time placed eighth in a field of 77 runners.

Hall and Hoaldridge’s times lie within the range of qualifying for the NCAA West Preliminary Round meet, which serves as the qualifier for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

The No. 18 men also logged some impressive distance performances in Stanford.

Sophomore distance runner David Anamosa won his 800-meter section and was the only Longhorn man to compete on Saturday. His time of 1:51.13 placed him 16th overall in a group of 83 runners.

Redshirt freshman Nate Moore ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:57.20, a time that last year qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Round. The top 48 times and marks in the West Region earn automatic berths to the preliminary round meet, which serves as a qualifier for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Junior distance runner Mark Pinales put himself in qualifying position with his career-best time of 29:23.26 in the 10,000 meters. The time placed him 14th in his section of 35 runners.

The Longhorns will return to competition on Saturday with the single-day Texas Invitational, the second of three home meets this season.

Texas men’s golf falls just short of first in Georgia

Texas left Augusta, Ga., this weekend with its third runner-up finish of the season, led by senior Toni Hakula and junior Kramer Hickok, to complete the 3M Augusta Invitational one stroke behind first-place University of Central Florida.

Hakula and Hickok were the only two Longhorns to break into the top 10, as Hakula secured a fourth-place tie and Hickok tied for eighth place. Hakula ended the final round only three strokes behind individual champion Greg Eason of UCF, who carded an 11-under weekend to bring his team the win. Eason was one of three UCF golfers who accomplished single-digit finishes.

Freshman Beau Hossler nearly joined Hakula and Hickok in the top 10, but fell just two strokes short to finish in a tie for 12th place at 2-under. Freshman Gavin Hall and redshirt sophomore Will Griffin carded 3-over and 9-over to come home with ties for 30th and 60th, respectively.

Texas will compete in its last regular season tournament Friday in Santa Cruz, Calif. 

Women’s golf finishes PING/ASU Invitational in top 10

The Longhorns pulled off another strong showing this weekend at the PING/ASU Invitational, recording their second consecutive top-10 finish. Competing on the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. against 14 teams — 12 of which were nationally ranked — Texas recorded a 19-over-par 883 to finish in ninth place.

Sophomore Natalie Karcher paved the way for the team in Friday’s first round, firing 1-under 71 to tie for 12th place on the individual leaderboard. Karcher’s performance put the team in ninth place overall to finish the day.

Saturday’s second round featured more of a group effort, with the team collectively scoring its best single-round score of the spring season, a 4-over-par 292. Texas maintained its position on the scoreboard at ninth place.

The team remained consistent during the final round Sunday, finishing its final regular season tournament in the top 10. Texas’ next competition will be the Big 12 Championship, which it will host from April 25-27.

Men’s tennis beats TCU on Senior Day

The No. 6 Longhorns completed their final season at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center on Saturday with a 7-0 victory against TCU. The team sent the arena out on a good note, securing an undefeated 9-0 season at the center. Texas’ last undefeated home regular season was in 2010.

“It means a lot to go undefeated at home, especially since it is the final year of this facility,” head coach Michael Center said. “This is one of the more storied tennis facilities in the nation.”

Following the match, the team honored seniors Sudanwa Sitaram and David Holiner in celebration of Senior Day.

“I’m going to miss this group of guys and mostly the family-like atmosphere that UT gives off,” Holiner said.

Saturday marked the team’s second victory of the season against TCU, to tally eight straight against the Horned Frogs. The Longhorns have won 11 of their last 12 matches and are currently riding a six-match winning streak. 

The team will continue conference play against No. 7 Baylor on April 16 in Waco.

Longhorn women’s tennis downs Kansas and Kansas State

The Longhorns continued their dominance over Kansas State and Kansas this weekend to lift their record above .500 for the first time in two months.

No. 25 Texas (10-9, 5-1 Big 12) defeated the Wildcats 7-0 on Saturday, which extended its all-time win streak against the team to 23-0. The win marked the team’s third consecutive shutout, the first time it has done that since 2010. The team snapped that streak Sunday but maintained its sweep of the teams from the Sunflower State. A 6-1 victory against Kansas extended the Longhorns’ undefeated history against the Jayhawks to 26-0.

Freshman Pippa Horn and senior Juliana Gajic clinched the doubles point, which set Texas up for singles competition success.

After beginning Big 12 play 0-2, senior Elizabeth Begley has rebounded with four consecutive wins. Begley gave up only four games this weekend, winning 6-0, 6-1 Saturday and 6-1, 6-2 Sunday.

Freshman Ratnika Batra and sophomore Breaunna Addison improved to 6-0 in conference singles play. Addison defeated Kansas State’s No. 56 Petra Niedermayerova 6-3, 6-2 for her second collegiate
win over the Wildcat.

The Longhorns will wrap up the conference season with three home matches.

Last week, in the culmination of a days-old face-off, UT lost to the University of Central Florida in a National Collegiate Showdown. What exactly was said showdown over? It’s hard to say — the desire for free merchandise, partly, but also social media prowess, school spirit and the willingness of students to spread a message. 

The event involved neither athletic nor academic competitions, but rather a series of battles waged on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, all based around who could share the most social media that referenced the competition and its sponsor, Pink, a brand imprint of Victoria’s Secret that produces underwear and clothing marketed to young women. Colleges were progressively eliminated from the showdown based on the number of participants sharing or not sharing brand-referencing material, with the promise of “the ultimate campus party,” to be put on by Victoria’s Secret for the winning school.

In the end, the University of Central Florida killed us in the “tweet race,” despite the many Twitter users who tweeted using the hashtag “#UTexasPINKParty.” Maybe it’s for the best: Off-campus entities are not allowed to put on events with registered student organizations, a rule which extends to faculty and staff organizations as well — and it’s hard to imagine faculty council voting in favor of a 40 Acres-wide party aimed at selling students underwear. So even though this “ultimate campus party” didn’t even have a chance of occurring on campus, the campaign to win it garnered over 500,000 “#UTexas” hashtagged tweets. 

All those tweets raise a question: Why were so many UT students willing to tie up not just their Twitter feeds but also their social media profiles and their school’s reputation with a clothing company that sells candy-colored underwear and sparkly lip gloss? 

The answer, partly, is that Victoria’s Secret is one of many corporations meeting college students where they are: on campus and on social media. Victoria’s Secret Pink has at least two on-campus brand representatives who promote the company’s products and plan off-campus events. Other brands with similar programs include Red Bull, whose “Red Bull University” program aims to get college students hooked on the drink by recruiting student brand managers. Red Bull’s student brand managers get paid, which is often the case with these types of positions. They also receive free merchandise, such as a Red Bull-themed refrigerator and all the Red Bull necessary to fill it, and they get entry-level experience in sales and marketing. 

But corporations are trying to recruit brand managers by promising them more than just money and swag. Red Bull lists one of the perks of being a brand manager as “possibly becoming the most popular person on campus,” the idea being that students who are excited not just about selling the product but also about the idea of the product and the lifestyle it suggests will be better promoters. Disturbingly, marketing professionals often describe campus brand managers as “brand evangelists,” suggesting that students aren’t being hired just to push products but also to push beliefs. 

Admittedly, I don’t like Victoria’s Secret’s products or brand messaging, but my frustration with our almost-win in the Victoria’s Secret Pink Collegiate Showdown is less about the brand and more about the principle. 

Universities all over the nation have Victoria’s Secret marketing representatives, and whether or not we throw a giant party on our campus, that company and others will continue to market to UT students. What we do have at UT are our own social traditions and our set of campus values, defined — without the help of a corporation — by the history of our campus and of our state. When marketers lump us into an age group, putting UT in the same group as Rutgers, University of Central Florida and Purdue (the other “final four” schools involved in the competition), they reduce us to consumers to be marketed to. It’s reasonable for them to do so, but when we willingly participate in their schemes, we round the corners of our regional idiosyncrasies and rob ourselves of the little things that make use worth cheering for over the other team. 

Not to mention, we get roped into buying uncomfortable underwear. 

Wright is a Plan II junior from San Antonio.