head

This year marks the 49th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. Held in Boston, the Head of the Charles selectively invites crews from all over the world to compete in a two-day rowing competition. It’s one of the leading two-day rowing events in the world and attracts more than 9,000
rowers competing in 55 different racing events.

In previous years, the women’s rowing team qualified in the races for the four and eight boats. In Texas rowing tradition, only the varsity team competes.

This year, head coach Carrie Graves selected just seven girls to compete, running only a four-man boat. The rowers representing Texas are freshman coxswain Emily Walker, junior Kim Gorcyca, junior Casey Redman, sophomore Jessica Smith and freshman Gia Doonan.

Texas will compete Sunday in the Women’s Collegiate Championship Fours race. By entering a single boat, the Longhorns hope to increase their chances of placing high and earning momentum before conference. Coming off tough results in Oklahoma two weeks ago, the Longhorns look forward to competing against the best teams in the country. 

Mario Sategna, a longtime assistant coach for Texas men’s Track and Field, was named the head of Texas’ newly formed combined track and field program

“Mario is a great fit as we make the transition to combine our men’s and women’s programs” said men's athletics director Deloss Dodds on the decision. “We compiled a comprehensive list of potential candidates and after considering them all, are convinced Mario is the best choice for The University of Texas. He presented a great plan for the program going forward, is clearly very excited about the opportunity and is the right person for the job.”

Satenga quickly announced the program hired a new associate head coach in Tonja Buford-Bailey, who specializes in sprint, hurdles and relays. Sategna spoke highly of Buford-Bailey and asserts that she should be able to help both sprint teams be in position to compete for the top spot late at the NCAA Championships.

“She is a proven winner at the highest level. She is a former Olympic medalist in the hurdles as well as a World Championship team member,” Sategna said. “She is going to come in here and do some wonderful things. It will be great to build upon the strengths of Texas on the men’s and women’s side. I am very excited.”

With Sategna on the coaching staff, the Longhorns have finished in the top 10 in the NCAA indoor or outdoor championships 13 times. In the 2013 Outdoor Championship, two players he helped coach in field events won national titles, bringing his coaching total to 11 NCAA titles between seven athletes since 2003-2004.

The men’s team finished No. 3 in 2008, its highest finish ever, and in 2006 the outdoor team came in at No. 3. Sategna said he realized that after hiring the coach for sprints, continuing Texas’ high reputation in distance runs will be of the utmost importance if the Longhorns are to make a run at a team title.

“My number one thing that I wanted to do is come in and continue to build upon the strengths we’ve had and the distance has been a mainstay,” Sategna said. “We don’t ever want to get away from the things that made us great. We just need to add to those so that we can push for the limit and light the tower.”

Sategna will try to build off of a No. 6 finish at the men’s outdoor NCAA Championship and No. 15 finish at the women’s outdoor NCAA Championships and bounce back from a disappointing finish in the indoor championships with the 2014 NCAA Track and Field season beginning in September. 

Biochemistry freshman Keri Lawrence will be shaving her hair in support of fighting pediatric cancer at Brave the Shave. The event is hosted by S.M.I.L.E. with proceeds going towards St. Baldricks Foundation.  

Photo Credit: Yamel Thompson | Daily Texan Staff

Keri Lawrence never really had a place to call home. She grew up with a mother in the Coast Guard and a father in the Navy. She had to say goodbye to new friends year after year and start fresh in a strange place. It’s hard to imagine home sweet home when you have lived in California, Seattle, Japan and Austin.

As cliche as it sounds, the truth is, her family was the only comfort zone she could rely on, but when cancer hit three of her loved ones, she saw that comfort zone narrow.

Last year, Lawrence’s younger sister, Sian, shocked the family when she decided to shave her head for UT’s first Brave the Shave event, hosted by Students Making Impacts Through Love and Empathy.

One year later, Lawrence, a biochemistry sophomore, has decided to do the same. She will celebrate her birthday Saturday, April 13, by shaving her head to fight pediatric cancer.

“Brave the Shave proves that an illness does not define these children,” S.M.I.L.E. social chair, Nguyen Dinh said. 

Lawrence feels angry that the outward appearance of cancer patients who lose their hair in treatment creates an entirely new identity for them centered around the disease.

Lawrence was wandering aimlessly around the tables of the West Mall when she spotted a sign for S.M.I.L.E., the same organization that inspired her tween sister to sacrifice her hair just before starting high school. She decided to sign up. 

“After the first meeting, I was hooked,” Lawrence said. “I just stumbled upon it, and now I can’t imagine college without S.M.I.L.E.”

So far, Lawrence has raised almost $2,000 for S.M.I.L.E. and Brave the Shave. All of her donations will go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which focuses on promoting research for childhood cancer, and she has urged friends and family to donate to her cause so she can reach her donation goal of $5,000. 

“Shavees put themselves in a patient’s shoes,” S.M.I.L.E President Katie O’Halloran said. 

Lawrence said that by giving up her hair, she will be giving a sense of community to those affected by cancer, especially those singled out for their illness. She has watched her grandfather, her grandmother, her aunt and a young family friend battle not only the physical effects of cancer, but its social impact as well.

One of Lawrence’s main supporters also happens to be her inspiration to fight for this cause. 

Moon Morris, her aunt, was planning to start a family with her husband when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Miraculously, Morris survived and was able to conceive Lawrence’s two cousins.

Morris has given Lawrence support and donations and pushed her to be steadfast in her efforts to end cancer.

Lawrence said her mother and father were not surprised to hear she was shaving her head. Her father, a math teacher, had his head shaved by his school principal in front of the entire student body to support Lawrence’s endeavor. 

Her young brother, Trevor, on the other hand, is not as convinced.

“After Sian shaved her head, Trevor thought [he and Sian] looked exactly alike,” Lawrence said, “He’s concerned I’ll look like a boy too.”

In the past week, Lawrence’s brown wavy locks have become more important to her than ever.

“This week, of all weeks, so many people have complimented me on my hair — random strangers even,” Lawrence said, “I never thought it would be an issue, but now they have me worried.”

The reality that she will be bald in just a few short days has finally hit her. She mentioned that not being able to stroke her hair when she’s bored will be what affects her most.

“Like it or not, hair is so important to girls,” Lawrence said. “Maybe that’s why giving it up makes such an impact.”

Lawrence knows that there is not much she can personally do to stop cancer. But after the disease put her family to the test, she believed she owed it to them to do her part. She and more than 150 others aim to prove that pediatric cancer patients are not alone.

Women's Rowing

Texas was ready to fight as they competed in the world famous Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston Sunday afternoon. The Head of the Charles Regatta is the world’s largest two-day regatta. The event, which began in 1965, features over 9,000 athletes and typically welcomes up to 300,000 spectators over the racing weekend. Texas scored two top-20 finishes at last year’s Head of the Charles. Texas achieved a fourth-place performance in the championship four and took 15th place in the championship eight.

Texas had some key points in mind for this weekend’s race, and after seeing good results in Oklahoma, Texas had a strict mindset for moving the boat well together and executing good combinations. In Sunday’s competition the women’s four, featuring coxswain Rachel Donnelly, finished 12th with a time of 20:10.18, finishing closely behind the University of Notre Dame. The women’s varsity eight, led by coxswain Kassandra Budzik, concluded with a time of 17:49.38, finishing 22nd in the 4,828-meter course. Texas is moving smoothly into a positive season and resumes races immediately as Texas will host the Head of the Colorado Saturday.

Texas was ready to fight as they competed in the world famous Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston Sunday afternoon. The Head of the Charles Regatta is the world’s largest two-day regatta. The event, which began in 1965, features over 9,000 athletes and typically welcomes up to 300,000 spectators over the racing weekend. Texas scored two top-20 finishes at last year’s Head of the Charles. Texas achieved a fourth-place performance in the championship four and took 15th place in the championship eight.

Texas had some key points in mind for this weekend’s race, and after seeing good results in Oklahoma, Texas had a strict mindset for moving the boat well together and executing good combinations. In Sunday’s competition the women’s four, featuring coxswain Rachel Donnelly, finished 12th with a time of 20:10.18, finishing closely behind the University of Notre Dame. The women’s varsity eight, led by coxswain Kassandra Budzik, concluded with a time of 17:49.38, finishing 22nd in the 4,828-meter course. Texas is moving smoothly into a positive season and resumes races immediately as Texas will host the Head of the Colorado Saturday. 

Coming off of a good start only weeks ago, varsity women’s rowing is ready to take on the largest regatta in the world: Head of the Charles, held in Boston every year.

“We’re seeded in the top half due to our finish last year,” head coach Carie Graves said. “There are many teams racing in the Head of the Charles this weekend, but a rower’s biggest rival is always themselves. It isn’t really about anyone else or anything else except getting one’s head around the fact that in order to win or do well that one’s mind has to convince oneself their body is going to have to go through some big-time pain and hurt in order to do well. That has to happen again and again on each stroke.”

Moving the boat efficiently and executing good combinations of rowers for the fastest boat possible will be key with this weekend’s lineups. Only taking a handful of girls to Boston, the team is fired up and ready to compete early Sunday morning in the collegiate races. Not to mention there were a number of primary girls out of the first race of the year.

Report: Anderson apologizes to Gundy [UPDATED]

The head of Big 12 football officials apologized to Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy for the botched call on a Texas touchdown on Saturday, a source told The Oklahoman.

Walt Anderson “apologized profusely” for the call.  Anderson said the officials were too quick to call the go-ahead touchdown.  The replay booth reviewed the call.

Texas running back Joe Bergeron scored the touchdown with less than two minutes to play in the game.  Anderson said the ball was fumbled before he crossed the goal line.

The Big 12 said these reports, however, were inaccurate.

The touchdown gave the Longhorns the lead and made way for their eventual 41-36 win over OSU.

MOSCOW — Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg was in Moscow on Monday, where top officials were pressing him to expand the company’s operations in Russia.

Russia’s communications minister tweeted that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the social media giant’s founder to abandon plans to lure away Russian programmers and instead open a research center in Moscow.

A Facebook spokeswoman, who refused to be named because she wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said the company has no immediate expansion plans for Russia.

Back on the water for only two weeks, women’s varsity rowing gears up for the first race of the season at Head of the Oklahoma Regatta this weekend. Facing schools including Stanford, Clemson, SMU and haughty rivals Oklahoma, the girls are tranquil as they push off of the dock early Wednesday morning for last-minute boat changes and prep for the weekend’s regatta.

Seniors Chelsea Burns and Laurel McCaig, both sitting in the top boat, understand that this season is more than just adding another Big 12 title. After a marginal win over Oklahoma late last spring, Burns and McCaig are in agreement that the next step with this team is the NCAA Championship. However, this year will be different for both the varsity and the first-year novice squads.

“Come spring, we’ll be meshing these two teams together,” assistant coach Melissa Perrone said.

While the varsity team begins its season this weekend, final cuts to the novice team are still being made. Returning novices Lauren Deschner and Christine Young, together leading the young team as coxswains this season, are looking forward to their already recognized “determined and driven” group of girls.

“It’s an entirely different team,” Young said.

This appears to be a trend in both the varsity and novice squads as the varsity team welcomes a number of new members as well. Both squads seemingly have intensive building to do before they accomplish their season’s expectations. As for the weekend, varsity will race Saturday with four boats representing Texas, anticipating not only good results in its first races but also a combatant attitude to set for the entire season.

The event will begin 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the day.

MARIKANA, South Africa (AP) — Lonmin miners celebrated a wage deal Wednesday that ended a deadly and prolonged strike but labor unrest continued with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at strikers at a different platinum mine.

Some warned that the deal struck by Lonmin to give its 28,000 workers up to 22 percent pay raises would incite other miners to similar action. Lonmin also employs 10,000 contract workers not covered by the agreement.

“It sets a dangerous precedent and illegal actions to enforce wage increases could occur at other mines in future,” said Gideon du Plessis, head of the mainly white Solidarity mining union.

The Lonmin agreement reached Tuesday night does not resolve the union rivalry that was at the heart of the violence, nor the class struggle that it exposed between a small, politically connected black elite and the majority of impoverished South Africans who feel the government has failed to keep its promise of a better life for all.

And the political and economic fallout likely will hurt the re-election campaign of South African President Jacob Zuma, whom miners blame for the police shootings of 112 striking miners, which killed 34 on Aug. 16. The total number of those who died during the strike rose to 46 Wednesday when a woman died in hospital after being shot on Saturday when police raided the Wonderkop settlement, according to mediator Bishop Joe Seoka.

At the Lonmin mine at Marikana, the world’s third largest platinum mine, thousands gathered and sang the national anthem in piercing heat, holding up umbrellas to block the sun. Workers cheered and laughed as they walked into the mine stadium. Many hurt by the no-work, no-pay stoppage said they would be happy to return to work Thursday.

Lonmin agreed to a gross pay of 11,078 rand ($1,385) for rock drill operators who had been demanding a monthly take-home wage of 12,500 rand ($1,560). They also agreed to give all miners a 2,000 rand ($250) bonus for returning to work. A statement from the company said that miners will receive between 11 and 22 percent wage increases.

“If everyone is happy with the money, I am also happy with them because I am here to work for my children,” said miner Stan Chayisa.

“I am so happy,” said Mvenyeza Luhlaziyao, 48, a painter at the mines. “I try to forget the past and continue to move forward ... We must continue to build the company and management must listen to us in the future. People didn’t care about us, that’s why we decided to go on strike.”

Zolisa Bodlani, one of the strike leaders, said the agreement is noteworthy. “If no people were killed, I’d say this was a great achievement,” he said. “We’ve never in the history of South Africa had such an increase of pay as 22 percent.”

Two wives of winch operators expressed their pleasure that the strike had ended. “The weeks without pay were terrible,” said Plaxedes Matemba, a 39-year-old mother of two.

“It will make life better for us,” she said of the pay raise. “We expect better changes again ... there will be no more provoking, no more noise, no more beatings,” she said.

Still, many expressed anger toward the government, questioning Zuma’s leadership as he prepares for a crucial governing party congress in December that will decide whether he gets another term as leader of Africa’s richest economy.

They “brought the police to shoot us, so I don’t believe the current president of South Africa should be the president again. There must be change,” said miner Michael Maleswa.

Another, Johannes Hlkela, said “I don’t believe he (Zuma) should be president again because of the way he has killed people like animals.”

Strikers had spoken against the huge economic inequality and the government’s failure to address massive unemployment and poverty. Most Lonmin miners live in tin shacks without water or electricity.

The strike has highlighted the country’s widening gap between the majority poor and a small black elite enriched, often corruptly, through shares in mines.

Government plans in the aftermath of the brutal apartheid regime to share the wealth of a country that provides 75 percent of the world’s platinum, a fourth of its chrome and is in the top 10 of gold producers have made a small handful of blacks billionaires, joining a small white elite that continues to control an economy dominated by mineral resources and agriculture.

The exuberant crowd at Lonmin was addressed by Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union that has poached thousands of members from the dominant, government-allied National Union of Mineworkers this year.

“From the 16th of August, you have known who are your proper leaders. Now you know who is the leader of the boardroom and who is the leader of the people,” he said. “The right leader is the one who comes forth to its people without security or bodyguards to talk to its members. The leader who is afraid to come forth to workers or miners, he is afraid because he knows what he has done.”

Many miners said they were angry at Zuma for not visiting the site of the police shootings when he belatedly came to address them.

The National Union of Mineworkers said the Lonmin deal will open the way for new demands from other miners.”

Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the NUM will try to set up a forum with other mining companies.

“Of course this is going to set a precedent,” he said. “We want the companies to come together into bargaining so that we can deal with this thing. The challenge is going to be whether the other companies will be able to do 22 percent.”

At Anglo American Platinum’s Amplats mine near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, some 400 to 500 strikers tried to march Wednesday. The workers at Amplats, the world’s biggest platinum mine, have said that they are better paid than Lonmin strikers and want even more than the Lonmin strikers’ demands for a monthly take-home salary of 12,500 rand ($1,560).

Police ordered the Amplats strikers to lay down their homemade weapons - machetes, spears and clubs. “Police asked them to disperse and when they wouldn’t, police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd,” said police spokesman Dennis Adriao. “We’ve said from the start that we would not tolerate illegal gatherings.”

He said 19 people were arrested.

Zuma gave police the go-ahead for a crackdown on the strikers, further angering miners.

Anglo American Platinum spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said all five mines in Rustenburg had reopened Tuesday. But she refused to say how many miners have returned to work. Anglo released a statement late Wednesday that said legal avenues may be pursued for workers who do not return by Thursday’s night shift.

South Africa Press Association reported that the head of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi, left the group’s conference Wednesday to deal with a strike at Gold Fields’ Driefontein mine in Carletonville. It said that 15,000 workers have been on an illegal strike for 10 days.

Vavi said the mineworkers were also demanding a salary of 12,500 rand, according to SAPA. He said of Lonmin: “If those workers forced the hand of the company in that fashion through an unprotected strike, what stops Driefontein in doing the same,” according to SAPA, which also said that leaders from the National Union of Mineworkers went with Vavi to the mine.