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March Brings Snow Showers and Good News!

Photo: top left – Thurbil Bile; bottom left – Drew Derrieux; top right – Isabel Rodriguez; middle right – Kenedi Tanks; and bottom right – Rhianna Bortoli

Sunday morning before church I washed my car. It seemed safe to do so since no rain was forecast for the week. But snow on the drive to campus the next morning was completely unexpected. It just didn’t seem cold enough to snow, and besides that, winter already had come and gone in Lea County—in fact, it had done so twice!

Snowflakes Monday morning temporarily dusted the grass and trees but did not accumulate enough to impact travel. So after checking with the coach in Midland, our Softball team loaded up and headed out to play UT-Permian Basin. Unfortunately, the weather worsened in Midland by the time they arrived bringing enough moisture to render the field unplayable. So their road trip was just that, a leisurely drive over and back with no games in between. But despite this temporary interruption, athletics is underway at USW.

Taking full advantage of 70-degree weather late last week Steve Appel and the USW Baseball team played a double-header on Friday and then again on Saturday. Initially scheduled to be played in Lubbock in accordance with New Mexico COVID-19 protocols that prevented in-state competitions, lifting of restrictions for college sports this past week permitted Coach Appel the flexibility to relocate to our home field on very short notice. The hard work to maintain the baseball park was evident and the fans fortunate enough to be in attendance (capacity was limited to 33 percent occupancy) saw the Mustangs split with Ecclesia on both days, bringing our record to 3-3 for the season.

Other sports underway include both golf teams who happen to be playing today at the Tanklogix Green Tree Intercollegiate Tournament in Midland and then later in the week at Schreiner University. Volleyball competition too has commenced with the team travelling to Mid-America Christian University to compete tomorrow and then continuing on later in the week to play Howard Payne University. Three players already have been recognized by the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) for outstanding performances. During the second week of February Alexia Esparza, Sarah Marquez, and Autumn Lopez were identified as Attacker of the Week, Setter of the Week, and Defender of the Week, respectively, for their play against Wayland Baptist University.

The RRAC also acknowledged several Mustangs at the conclusion of basketball season that finished last month. Senior Isabel Rodriguez was named 1st Team All-Conference Guard and Senior teammate Rhianna Bortoli was chosen for the 2nd RRAC Team while Junior Kenedi Tanks was selected to the All-Champions of Character Team. Men’s basketball garnered two notable achievements for individual players. Sophomore Forward Thurbil Bile received Honorable Mention from the RRAC and Junior Guard Drew Derrieux was named to the All-Champions of Character Team.

Not to be outdone by Athletics, Academic Affairs also recently received good news well worthy of sharing. Yesterday the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) informed the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that our M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling had been accredited, making USW one of the very few universities in the nation to receive this level of recognition for an online program in this specialized area of study. This is truly a big deal and more information about this will be shared in an upcoming blog. As always, it is a Great Time to be a Mustang!