Charlie Moore

Senior Myles Onyegbule recently made the switch from tight end to quarterback. Off the field though, Onyegbule was selected to join the Texas Cowboys. He, along with the rest of the all-male spirit organization, helps maintain and operate Smokey, the cannon fired at football games.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

While student-athletes’ schedules tend to leave little time for activities outside of balancing classes and their respective sports, a few athletes every year join campus spirit and service organizations with the intent of giving back to the community and broadening their own experiences.

Miles Onyegbule, who recently switched from tight end to quarterback, was selected to join Texas Cowboys, an all-male spirit and service organization, by fellow teammates who are already members of the organization. The group also maintains and operates Smokey, the cannon that gets fired off at Longhorn football games.

“It’s kind of a getaway from the limelight of football,” Onyegbule said. “You get to travel around the city and campus doing philanthropy and service events where the pressures are greatly minimized.”

Texas Cowboys is the University-recognized spirit organization

Onyegbule chose to accept his invitation to the Cowboys because he believes the positive impact the organization outweighs the negative connotation it often carries, describing the group members as self-motivated and well-respected.

“Usually, in the beginning, people just think of Cowboys as a party organization, where the [bar] tabs and social events are what we’re all about,” Onyegbule said. “But students quickly realize what we stand for, and that’s giving back in any way we can.”

Charlie Moore, a senior on the men’s swimming and diving team and a Cowboy, recently competed in his last swim meet at Texas as he heads into the fifth year of his degree as part of the McCombs Schools of Business’ MPA program. Moore is excited about the opportunity to mentor the younger members next year.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time talking to the [new members] about moving forward to continue to move our organization in the right direction,” Moore said. “To change that perception of who we are and what we do.”

Moore said he sees similarities in being a member in athletics and in service organizations.

“I think athletics is just as much about contribution to the University as it is [about] self achievement,” Moore said.

M.J. McFarland, a sophomore tight end from El Paso, is the only athlete who is a member of Texas Silver Spurs. McFarland said his experience thus far has been bittersweet, as being an athlete makes it difficult for him to be fully committed and attend all mandatory events, especially with football season approaching.

“Bitter because I couldn’t spend as much time with my fellow Spurs due to my athletic responsibilities,” McFarland said. “Yet sweet because, when I do spend time with them and hangout, it is always a good time.”

Silver Spurs is spirit organization responsible for handling all events involving Bevo, the school mascot.

McFarland said the best part of Spurs is being able to interact with people of all different backgrounds. He said stepping out of his comfort zone and joining as the only athlete has paid off.

“I get the best of both worlds,” McFarland said. “The athlete world and the fraternity world.”

Most of all, as an athlete member of Cowboys and Spurs, you are expected to represent your team by participating in volunteering and philanthropic service events on and off campus.

Men's Swimming

The American Short Course Relays, held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center, kicked off yesterday with a total of 10 events, five each for men and women. The three-day event is a final opportunity for swimmers from colleges across the country to earn points to qualify for the NCAA swimming championships. It also serves as a tune-up for those who have already qualified before they make their runs at national titles.

Members of the No. 2 Texas men’s squad provided strong performances, earning victories in three out of the four events in which the team had entrants. The lone vacancy at the top of the leader board came at the hands of a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a former UT swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale.

Weber-Gale, who trains with the club team Longhorn Aquatics in Austin, posted a blistering time of 19.20 in the 50-yard freestyle. However, a trio of UT sophomores was hot on the Olympian’s trail, and surged ahead to claim the remaining three spots.

Kerrington Hill and Charlie Moore tied with a time of 19.95, with Madison Wenzler close behind finishing at 19.98

Conor Swanson earned a victory for the Horns in the 200-yard individual medley. Swanson, a junior from Tampa, Fla., finished with a time of 1:46.11 and beat out former UT swimmer and four-time Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen.

Hansen, who swam for Texas from 2001-2004, re-joined the Longhorns in practices this week as he prepares for a shot to make the U.S. national team for the third time and compete in the 2012 London Olympics, using this meet as further practice towards completing that goal.

In the 500-yard freestyle, freshman Jake Ritter led the field with a time of 4:18.33, beating out fellow Longhorn Nicolas Munoz, who finished in fourth with a time of 4:29.09.

Texas clinched a final victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The winning squad featured some of UT’s most talented swimmers: senior Jimmy Feigen, sophomore Charlie Moore, freshman Tripp Cooper and Junior Dax Hill. Hill put the race in the bag with a strong anchor leg lap at a time of 19.01, ensuring the Horns a victory by a full second over their nearest competitors, SMU.

The event continues tomorrow with UT swimmers competing in four events. Preliminaries begin at 9:15 a.m., with finals beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.