Letter to the Editor — re: sports

October 8, 2003

To the editor,

I have been very disappointed with the Houstonian sports pages so far this semester. I understand that not every student is a fan – or even knows we have – cross country and track and field teams at Sam Houston. However, these athletes have not received any recognition worthy of their recent successes. In case you are in the dark, I will share some information with you.

First of all, the Southland Conference names an “Athlete of the Week” for cross country. There has been five weeks so far in the season (as of the week of Oct 6). Did you know that our men’s team has had THREE athletes receive this honor? Yes, that’s right. Three out of the five men’s awards have gone to Sam Houston athletes – Eli Umanzor, Isai Llanes and Raul Villarreal. Sarah Hershman from the women’s team also received this honor the first week of the season. I have seen no mention of these athletes in recent pages of the Houstonian.

The men’s track and field team also had outstanding news earlier this semester. Hurdler Adrian Ray became the fourth Bearkat to earn the NCAA Division I All American honor. That’s right – only the FOURTH Bearkat to receive All-American status and the FIRST from the men’s track and field program. Again, I would think such a story would garner at least some attention on the sports page.

Now, maybe I am wrong — and I hope I am — but I have not seen any mention of these stories. Maybe I have missed them somehow, but it seems that each day that I open the newspaper to the sports page, I find myself disappointed. Countless stories from football, volleyball, soccer – even the Associated Press — dominate the pages.

I am writing this letter not as an attack on the Houstonian. I myself was a journalism major and worked on the Houstonian for three years. I know how much hard work goes into each issue. However, I feel that adequate time has passed, and something had to be said. I have friends on the cross country and track and field teams who have expressed their disappointment in the lack of coverage – no, the lack of respect – that they receive from the school.

These athletes are probably more than willing to be interviewed and written about, if they only had the opportunity. The men’s cross country team has a good chance at winning the conference meet this year (which by the way, will be held in Huntsville). If not, the team will probably come in second, as it has done several times in the past few years. These athletes have come so close to their goal of winning a conference title, and I hope the university community will support them in their journey again this year. They will run both the pre-conference and the conference meet in Huntsville at the Raven’s Nest Golf Course on Oct. 17 and Nov. 3, respectively. We as a university should at least support them in spirit, if not in attendance.

Thank you for your time. My intent is not necessarily to get a letter published. I only hope to see these athletes get the respect they deserve.


Melissa Vining

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