Tag: Sports Feature

Pacheco settling into new role as assistant women’s basketball coach

By Victoria De Souza

Julio Pacheco brings plenty of enthusiasm to his new job as assistant women’s basketball coach at South Plains College.

Pacheco was born and raised in the south of Brazil in the state of Florianopolis.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Federal University of Santa Catarina) and a master’s degree in Education Instructional Design and Technology at Arkansa Tech University.

new coach
Coach Julio Pacheco brings a positive attitude and veteran experience
to the Lady Texan coaching staff.
VICTORIA DE SOUZA/PLAINSMAN PRESS

In 2007, Pacheco moved to the United States to serve as a graduate assistant at Arkansas Tech University.

While working at Arkansas Tech, Pacheco met his wife Christine. They are the proud parents of two young girls, Gillyan, 14, and Isabella, 7.

His passion for basketball comes from his childhood.

“I grew up watching basketball,” said Pacheco. “I remember when I was 10 or 11 years-old and saw Michael Jordan playing, and that was just part of my life.”

Coaching came at a very young age. When he was 19, Pacheco became an assistant coach for a private club team in the city of Florianopolis after he had tried out for the team.

“I didn’t make it,” Pacheco recalls, “but they offered me a chance to become a student coach for the team of the town.”

Working for the Club of Florianopolis led Pacheco to have a closer look into coaching. He also found himself a mentor in Gilberto Vaz, who guided him into the coaching world.

“Gilberto and I are very good friends, and he was a good mentor in my first step into my coaching career,” he said.

His job as a student assistant coach in Brazil gave him the opportunity to obtain the experience to go to Kennesaw State University in Georgia through a student exchange program.

“That was my first time in the U.S. and my first contact with the language,” explained Pacheco. “I spent six months with a host family, and also spent some time with the men’s basketball team.”

After moving to the United States, Pacheco had the experience of being an assistant coach at Arkansas Tech, an NCAA Division II member, where he stayed for seven years.

“It was a very solid experience at Arkansas Tech for me,” said Pacheco. “And there I found a big mentor in my career in Coach Dave Wilbers.”

During his successful time at ATU, he was a part of teams that went to the Elite Eight twice and had multiple 20-win seasons.

He later served as the head women’s basketball coach at Southern Arkansas University for three years.

“In my first year coaching at SAU, we broke the school record by winning 19 games,” he mentioned. “And I had the honor to be named the Coach of the Year in the Great American Conference. That was a huge accomplishment for me.” 

Pacheco coached at a high school in the Texarkana area for a year before he had the opportunity to come to South Plains College.

Pacheco was introduced to SPC through Cayla Petree, the head coach of the SPC women’s basketball team.

“Coach Petree and I know each other from a long time on the recruiting trail and the business of recruiting,” he mentioned. “We kept communication, and during the summer I saw the position as available to be her assistant coach.”

Pachecho and his family moved to Lubbock, Texas, during the summer to become part of the SPC community.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here at SPC,” he said.

Pacheco hopes to continue the success the team had in the previous season as the Lady Texans team prepare for the upcoming season. 

“We have high expectations and we should have based on the team of last year,” he said. “And the next step is to build this day-by-day championship mentality that will lead us to achieve our goals as a team.”

Beginning this next step of his life and career, Pacheco is grateful for being part of such a united community that he found at SPC.

“It is a privilege to be part of a great school with a very traditional successful program,” said Pacheco. “And I hope to continue this high level of energy and high level ofknowledge to continue to provide for the SPC basketball program”new coach.jpg

Miller excited for upcoming season as new assistant track coach

By Kendall Rainer

Wesley Miller brings a passion for track and field and an abundance of experience to his new role as an assistant track and field coach at South Plains College. 

Coach Miller spent three years as an associate head track coach at Louisiana Tech University, where he was in charge of all sprint and jump-based events. Prior to that, he spent five years as an assistant coach at Northwestern State University.

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Wesley Miller steps into new role as assistant track
coach at SPC
KENDALL RAINER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

In 2016, Coach Miller had the opportunity to take an athlete to the United States Olympic Trials.

“That was an unforgettable experience for a very hardworking athlete and as a coach,” Coach Miller added.”The level of competition was amazing to experience as well, watching some of the best athletes in the world lay it all out to make the Olympic team.”

Coach Miller said he was attracted to SPC because of the level of success that the program has sustained and the support from the Athletic Department. He was also impressed by Erik Vance, head track and field coach at SPC.

“The people we met during the interview were so friendly,” Coach Miller continued. “It just felt like home for our family.”

Coach Miller grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He took classes at Texas A&M University, and later graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

After getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from UTSA, he took some graduate-level courses at Northwestern State. 

Coach Miller has been married for eight years and has two children, Adelyn, who is 8 years old, and Colton, who is almost 1 year old. 

Coach Miller also is interested in music. He enjoys playing the drums and has played in cover bands and at church. He also enjoys playing piano, guitar and writing music. 

In his free time, he said he enjoys the outdoors, going backpacking and playing golf.  

Coach Miller said he is looking to help the track team get back to the NJCAA Indoor and Outdoor National Championship in the 2020 season. He said he is excited to help develop sprinters, hurdlers, and relay teams. 

“It’s a very talented group, and I’m looking forward to a lot of hard work,” Coach Miller explained. “I would like to see success across all event areas and a strong showing at the national meet.”

Coach Miller said his favorite thing about coaching is to help athletes achieve their goals, both on and off the track. 

“I also enjoy getting to build relationships with the athletes,” Coach Miller continued. “I enjoy helping them to grow and develop as athletes.”

Coach Miller said he is very passionate about track and the competition involved in the sport. However, he also enjoys the details of the sport.

“I love the combination of individual performances leading to a team goal,” he explained.  

He added that he was very passionate about Kinesiology and studying human movement and the idea of continually pushing the limits of performance. 

“It’s a sport where success depends on the coach’s ability to manipulate the biomechanics, physiology, and psyche of each athlete to enhance performance,” Coach Miller said. “I love how that attention to detail can lead to the overall team’s success.” 

Coach Miller said, “The team is very deep with great athletes and potential, and our goal is to win a National Championship on the men and women’s side.” 

Reyes stepping into new challenges as college trainer

By Abi Hernandez

Andy Reyes recently joined the South Plains College staff as the new trainer.

Reyes grew up in Andrews, Texas. During high school, Reyes did not play any sports, but chose another way to be involved.

“I was a student trainer in high school,” said Reyes.

Prior to SPC, Reyes was a trainer at Monterey High School in Lubbock for four years. He said he enjoyed the high school setting.

“It gave me a chance to be able to influence young people,” Reyes said.

What he didn’t like was that there are more than 700 athletes he and another trainer had to tend to, which was “too much for two people.”

He added, “It got crazy once February came around, because there were sports overlapping and overlapping injuries.”

trainer
Andy Reyes joins SPC after prior experience as a trainer at
Monterey High School in Lubbock, Texas.
KENDALL RAINER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

His most memorable memory at Monterey was that they had a lot of athletes who sustained season-ending injuries who recovered quickly. Also, those who had ACL surgeries were a success, and they came back faster and stronger.

Reyes earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University and got his masters at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Reyes got his start as a trainer for the Texas Tech track team in 2011.

Reyes recalled that he wanted to become a trainer because it allowed him to help people, especially athletes. He came to SPC because he wanted to get back into the college atmosphere.

“I’ve wanted to work around athletes all my life,” said Reyes.

What interests Reyes about being a trainer is that every day there is a new challenge, as well as the opportunity to see seeing people succeed and accomplish goals.

“There’s never a boring day,” said Reyes. “There’s always different situations.”

In his spare time, Reyes loves to go to movies. He also enjoys binge-watching TV shows, reading, and relaxing with his family and friends.

Reyes said that any students interested in being a student athletic trainer can contact him at Areyes@southplainscollege.edu. His office is located in Texan Dome.

Student working toward accomplishing goal of playing in NBA

Ever since he first started playing basketball, Deshawn Corprew knew he wanted to play in the NBA.

Since he was 6 years old, Corprew’s goal in life has been to play basketball and have the opportunity to make money and provide for his family. He is on his way to achieving that goal. The 6-foot-6 forward from Norfolk, Virginia, recently committed to play for Texas Tech University, after an outstanding season with the South Plains College men’s basketball team.

“Being on the basketball team was good,” Corprew said. “I met some new friends, and it was good to meet different teammates. I enjoyed the whole season.”

Corprew played a key role in the Texans winning the NJCAA National Championship with 21 points in the championship game on March 24 in Hutchinson, Kansas.

“Winning the championship was really unreal,” Corprew said. “It was my first championship, and i’m glad I was able to be a part of it.”

IMG_2567Corprew said he feels that competing in the national tournament has prepared him more thoroughly for competing at a higher level, even though he says that he was already capable of competing as a NCAA Division I athlete.

  “I feel like it’s made me a little wiser,” explained Corprew.

His decision to commit to Texas Tech was influenced by their coaching staff and their plan they have for him to achieve his goal of playing in the NBA, according to Corprew.

“I’ve been close with one of the coaches on the staff,” said Corprew.

Corprew says that he has learned a lot from Steve Green, SPC’s head men’s basketball coach, during his time with the team.

“I have learned from Coach Green that coaches are going to push you harder as you move higher,” he explained.

The thing that inspires Corprew to play, and the thing that motivates him the most, are his two little sisters, Janine and Rose. Corprew enjoys listening to music and playing video games in his free time. He also likes taking photos and exercising.

Corprew says that he enjoys basketball in many different ways.

“My favorite part about basketball is being able to be a leader on and off the court,” said Corprew.

He says that he would like to play for the Toronto Raptors or the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, but doesn’t see himself declaring for the NBA early.

IMG_9255“I am pursuing a career in the NBA,” Corprew said, “but I do not see myself declaring for the NBA early and will play all three years of my eligibility.”

One thing that someone might not expect about Corprew just by looking at him is that he is goofy and enjoys making friends, and that anyone can get to know him if they want to.

Hobbs pursues dream of becoming next American Ninja Warrior

In addition to being the assistant track and field coach for South Plains College’s men’s and women’s track teams, Hobbs is always finding new and exciting ways to challenge himself.  His latest venture is sure to be an obstacle in itself, as he recently was accepted as a contestant on the next season of “American Ninja Warrior.”

“American Ninja Warrior” is a television show featuring contestants competing for the best time on a grueling obstacle course that challenges their bodies to the limits.  A series of regional championship rounds lead to a national competition that will be held in Las Vegas. This region’s event was filmed in Dallas on March 24 – March 26. The season will premiere May 30.

Hobbs has been preparing for this opportunity during the past four years. After two unsuccessful attempts to make the show, Hobbs approached head track coach Erik Vance for some assistance.  The two coaches collaborated with Professor Billy Alonzo to prepare a video that led to Hobbs’s selection as a contestant.

  The turnaround from application to competition is fairly quick. Hobbs applied in late November and had four months to mentally prepare for the event. Asked if he was nervous about the entire ordeal, he said “a little bit.”

“I don’t want to say no, but as a coach you understand what the demands are for having success,” said Hobbs.“So I try my best to prepare myself as much as possible.”   

The obstacle course is built to test the participant’s strength and balance.  Hobbs finds himself always looking for new and challenging ways to stay in shape for the show. When at home, he sometimes creates new tools to help train. While at track meets, he will always see if the city has a facility that can help his training for Ninja Warrior.imagejpeg_0 (1)

“I’m not nervous about one specific thing,” Hobbs said. “I’m not sure what to expect. I’m just more anxious.”

Hobbs does have a few obstacles he hopes to avoid this season, “mainly the balance or fingertip obstacles, like the Cliff Hanger.”

Some of the more iconic obstacles seem to be a lesser concern to him.

“The Warped Wall and the Salmon Ladder aren’t easy,” said Hobbs, “but I can do them more confidently now.”

With such an extreme test of endurance on the horizon, Hobbs is persistently shaping his mind and body for the competition.

“I probably train four to six days a week,” Hobbs explained. “The training takes a lot out of you, so you have to do rest and recovering.”

On his days when he is resting, he can be found “doing a lot of things that work on your mobility, a lot of stretching, and rolling out.”

“American Ninja Warrior” will be in its 10th season when Hobbs goes to compete.

“The obstacles get harder each year, because people get a lot better,” says Hobbs.

With such a grueling history and new obstacles being built, Hobbs does have a secret weapon of sorts.  One of his past athletes, Britney Hanks, has been on the show twice now.

“She has really helped me, helping with the audition tape,” said Hobbs.  “She has really been a coach for me.”

After returning from the competition, Hobbs explained “The entire experience was insane, and I loved every minute of it.  It was fast and different than anything I have ever done, but I enjoyed every second of it.”

While Hobbs’ success on the show is to be revealed when the season premieres later this spring, he had nothing but praise for his experience.

“This program is a blast,” said Hobbs. “I was completely humbled and honored to see all of the support that I received from everyone here at South Plains.  Just like South Plains, ANW is a family environment that I was happy to be a part of, even if it was just for that short time.”

As for advice for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps, Hobbs said, “Start where you are, set goals for yourself, and you’ll be surprised how far you get.”

Dorris takes unexpected path to play basketball at SPC

Maddie Dorris never thought her basketball career would land her in West Texas.

Having attended a 6A high school in Weatherford for four years, Dorris never thought she would be a member of the South Plains College women’s basketball team.

Before attending SPC in the fall of 2016, Dorris thought she would be going to a university instead of a two-year college.

“My junior year of high school,” says Dorris,” “there were some people who talked to me about going to play basketball.”

According to Dorris, when being recruited, your junior summer when you play basketball is when many colleges start talking to you and recruiting you.

“As senior year came around,” explains Dorris,” I wasn’t getting the calls anymore, or the texts, or letters. I was thinking, ‘Man, if I’m not getting the attention anymore, then basketball might be over for me if nobody is offering it to me.’ Junior college never crossed my mind, and we even have a junior college back home. So, it’s not like I didn’t know about them. It was just something I didn’t want to do.”IMG_2795

According to Dorris, her senior year was when she spoke to Cayla Petree, head women’s basketball coach at SPC.

“She was asking me to come up for a visit,” says Dorris. “I thought, ‘Maybe I didn’t want to go JUCO. That wasn’t going to be for me.’ But I came up here, met coach and she had faith in me that I was going to be a good player. Seeing how dedicated Coach Brock Kimball was and everyone being so nice, the decision was easy after that. I ended up loving it here. I said this to everyone, but the people in West Texas are the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”

Dorris has been around sports most of her life. When she was growing up with her two older siblings, her parents tried to keep them out of the house.

“I grew up playing all the sports,” says Dorris. “I played soccer, volleyball, swim team, anything with a ball. But basketball just had this thing for me. It’s always been a thing for me. I think it’s because of the physicality of it. I think it got my aggression out. You know when your brother or sister annoys you? I played three years of varsity volleyball, track, but basketball has always had my attention.”

Dorris always played the post position when playing basketball, and she plays the same position for the Lady Texans.

“It’s like you always get into a little fight whenever you’re playing the position,” says Dorris.

Dorris is the only sophomore playing this season on the women’s basketball team. She explains that it’s different from last year coming in as a freshman.

“Coming into this year as a sophomore,” says Dorris, “I didn’t know how it was going to be. There is a lot of youthful energy in the locker room. Everyone is excited to be there. I tried to take a leadership role and show them the ropes, because I know being a freshman is really taxing. We have to get up and have 6 a.m. practices every morning. It’s exhausting. I try to be there not only on the court, but off the court to just say it’s going to be OK. I’ve stepped up and hopefully been the person I need to be for them.”

Dorris is majoring in kinesiology, which is the study of the human body. She plans to become an occupational therapist.

“It’s like physical therapy, but you teach life skills,” explains Dorris. “So, if someone had a stroke, you would reteach them how to use that side of their body, or kids with special needs and you help them with fine motor skills. And my mom was a special ed teacher. So, I’ve been around kids. I’ve always enjoyed kids. I want to help people. I think that’s something I will really enjoy.”

Dorris plans to graduate in the spring of 2018, though she doesn’t have any other plans for her future yet.

“We’re going to see how this season goes to see where I’m going after that,” explains Dorris. “Let’s see if I get any offers.”

PHOTO BY: AUTUMN BIPPERT

Romero finds new home with track, cross country teams

Talents are usually discovered by not looking for them. For Leslie Romero, her talent for running was discovered unexpectedly.

A Houston native, Romero went to Memorial High School before making the transition to Levelland to compete for the cross country and track teams at South Plains College.

“I started running in middle school,” Romero recalls, “and actually the reason why I started was because I didn’t make any of the other sports teams. Cross country is a no-cut sport, so that’s how I started. It wasn’t until eighth grade that I started noticing I had a talent for running.”

Romero went to a 6A school, which she says helped her experiences as a runner.

“I’ve always had good competition with competing and stuff,” says Romero. “My coach was also a very good coach, so that was nice to have.”

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Initially, SPC wasn’t Romero’s first choice for attending college. She planned on going to Stephen F. Austin, but her plans changed.

“My high school was academically challenged, so we had some issues getting me eligible for school,” explains Romero. “My high school coach told me she found another home for me. If I was going to go to a junior college, then South Plains College was the best place to go.”

Romero came to Levelland to visit the campus, and she enjoyed it. She moved and enrolled at SPC in the fall of 2016. She is currently majoring in physical therapy.

“I like to help people,” says Romero. “I’m looking toward more sports physical therapy areas, and I still want to be involved in sports because I understand being an athlete and how you get hurt while being an athlete.”

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Leslie Romero, a physical therapy major, finishes running at the cross country meet in Levelland on Oct. 7. DOM PUENTE/PLAINSMAN PRESS

During her time at SPC, Romero is involved with the cross country and track teams. During track season, she runs the 1,600-meter race and the 3k for indoor track. For outdoor running events, she runs the 1,500-meter race and the steeple chase.

“I haven’t tried the 10k because I’ve been running the steeple, and that’s the first time I’ve tried it out,” explains Romero, “so the coaches and myself are trying to get me used to that.”

During the New Mexico Highlands Cross Country Jam in Las Vegas, N.M, Romero received her first collegiate victory the women’s cross country event.

“After that meet, I’ve been placing second,” says Romero. “It feels good to receive first place. It makes me want to go out there and win another meet. It’s nice to have that boost of confidence.”

Romero explains the more experienced she is with running events, her nerves don’t get to her.

“Honestly, I’ve been running for years, and I don’t get nervous anymore,” says Romero. “For cross country, I don’t get nervous at all actually. I just think in my head I’m about to race. A lot of people ask me, though, what I’m thinking about when I’m about to race, and I think about how fast I’m going and the people in front of me. I think about pacing myself and try to control my pace.”

According to Romero, being the number one girl for cross country is different for her, and it’s not something that she’s used to.

“I feel like it’s definitely something to look forward to,” explains Romero. “You’re not always going to be in that one spot, and people hold themselves back mentally, and then it becomes physically. Once you get out of that mindset, you can do greater things.”

The SPC running teams have different sets of workouts when practicing for their meets. Romero explains they have track workouts and long runs.

“When we do long runs, we run out towards where the cotton fields are,” says Romero. “It’s just a straight gravel road, and it’s 23 miles. We don’t go down that far, but that is where we do our long runs and tempo runs. Usually we have long runner minute runs, and then we have our track workouts.”

Romero plans to graduate next spring and wants to continue her running career.

“I’m actually visiting schools right now, and I’m not leaning towards a specific school yet,” says Romero. “I think where the university is located is a big thing for me, because you know how West Texas is a small-town type area and I’m from Houston. I like the bigger city atmosphere.”

Romero says her time at SPC has been enjoyable. When she leaves, she’s going to miss the people she has met during the semesters the most.

“I’m definitely going to miss the team and the coaches,” explains Romero. “I think SPC has a lot of culture, because the team is from everywhere around the world, and it’s nice coming out here and meeting them. You learn how they live and different things that they do. My roommate is from Papua, New Guinea and I love her. She’s so sweet, and her accent and everything is cool to me. I’m going to miss the people here for sure.”

Brangers uses positive college experiences to influences daily life

by DOMINICK PUENTE//Editorial Assistant

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Leading the South Plains College men’s basketball team in offense and helping the top team in the nation get to their goal of a national championship is what Jordan Brangers has on his mind.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore shooting guard has put his mark on the SPC men’s basketball program, leading the Texans offensively along with putting his name in the school record books.  He recently broke Marshall Henderson’s school record of 128 3-point field goals in a season during a sophomore night victory against Western Texas College on March 2.

Currently, Brangers is continuing his season campaign with 136 3’s heading into the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Although SPC is 15 hours away from Brangers’ hometown of Radcliff, Kentucky, he is happy with the decisions he has made to finally see his hard work pay off on the court and in life.

“My family has supported me through all of this and moving away to pursue my dreams,” said Brangers. “My family and I knew that this is all about business, whether I went to play basketball for a major program such as Texas Tech, or just to get a degree to live life the way I want to. Either way, they have supported me.”

Brangers says that he has received endless amounts of support through his career from friends and family. Dropping out before his high school graduation, Brangers explained that it was more than three and a half years before he decided to go back to get his GED.

After acquiring his GED, he took a year off before attending St. Catherine College in Springfield, Kentucky, then transferred to Motlow State Junior College before Steve Green, the men’s basketball coach at SPC, presented the opportunity to play basketball for the Texans.

The sophomore sharpshooter has definitely made a name for himself with the help of coach Coach Green.

“When I first came to SPC, Coach Green was hard on me, but I knew he just wanted the best out of me and for me,” explained Brangers.

The bond between Brangers and Coach Green has grown since he first stepped foot on the Levelland campus. The shooting guard explained how much potential Coach Green saw in Brangers and expectations for success.

“When I first started talking to Coach, I could tell that he cared and wanted the best for both of us,” recalls Brangers. “He has seen things in me that I never imagined I would have accomplished. He has just pushed me to a different level.”

As for his future, Brangers has signed his letter of intent to play for the Texas Tech University men’s basketball team next year.

IMG_5417Brangers explained that playing for Texas Tech is a great opportunity to continue to grow his game and move closer to his overall goals.

“My goal is to be successful at Tech and graduate with some type of degree,” added Brangers, “but everyone’s dream is to play in the NBA, and if I could play well at the next level that first year, I will want to put my name in the NBA draft.”

Brangers says that his choice to attend Texas Tech is because of the coaching staff and players for displaying their level of interest.

“Getting phone calls from coaches, and getting to talk to some of the players really influenced my decision,” he said. “Also, the fans and supporters from Tech who took the time to message me on my social media like Twitter, wishing me the best out of my career and telling me to keep playing at the university was a great feeling.”

Although Brangers has not decided on a specific major when attending Texas Tech, he said he has an interest in coaching and sees that as a strong career option.

As for his tenure at SPC, he is majoring in general studies and has enjoyed his time at the college and in Levelland.

“I love my team and coaches,” Brangers said. “I have met a lot of new people and developed a lot of friendships after spending this year here.”

He said there have been benefits of attending a small and close college.

“I think the campus is beautiful, in my opinion,” Brangers related, “and with Levelland being a small town, it gives me a chance to keep my focus on being successful in the classroom and keeping my attention on the court. The gym is the go-to place here on campus.”

While being on the court and finding ways to help the team tops his list of priorities, Brangers understands that you cannot get far on the court unless you achieve in the classroom as well.

“I have enjoyed my classes throughout this year,” said Brangers, “and my professors know that we are on the same mission. They want the best for me, but want to make sure I leave with the knowledge I need to succeed in life. The professors make sure to hold me accountable for what I need to do, and I appreciate that type of teaching.”

While his time at SPC is nearing an end, Brangers said he will continue to use the things he has learned and will hold on to new friendships he has made.

While the high-octane guard from Kentucky has spent limited time in Levelland, Brangers will be known as a Texan to the people of West Texas.

[Photos by DOMINICK PUENTE/PLAINSMAN PRESS]