Latest News from Sul Ross February 14, 2014


    by Steve Lang, News and Publications

    Shane Sawyer’s grandmother taught him to dance, his father offered batting tips, and the Sul Ross State University junior has enjoyed success at both endeavors ever since.
    “Dancing expresses a very, very wide variety of emotions,” said Sawyer, who was taught the waltz by his late grandmother at the age of six. He grew up watching his older brother, Daniel, learn virtually every form of dance on his way to becoming a professional dancer. Later, Shane Sawyer danced with his mother while they cleaned house together.
    Still later, he grieved the loss of his brother (2008) and his grandmother (2013) to cancer. His father is a two-time survivor. Dancing and baseball provided outlets for grief.
    “A lot of traumatic things have happened to me in my life,” he said. “Dancing and baseball have helped me keep a positive outlook. Dancing and baseball together make me feel like a kid in a candy store.”
    Sawyer, Midland, hit safely in his first seven games in a Lobo uniform after transferring from Odessa College, helping Sul Ross to a 4-3 won-lost record and himself to a scalding .533 batting average.
    Whenever time and circumstance permit, he and his dance partner, Taylor Roberts, give lessons.
    In between, Sawyer steps to the music he hears, preparing himself for his next at-bat or awaiting a ball to be hit in his direction. He is equally adept at dancing a Texas two-step or drilling a two-base hit. During halftime of a recent men’s basketball game in the Gallego Center, he showed some of his moves, then formed a two-some with East Texas Baptist women’s basketball player Tamara Turner to the entertainment of the crowd.
    In high school, he and a friend re-enacted the final scene of the movie “Footloose” (2011 remake) at the Midland High prom.
    Sawyer hip-hops on the dance floor and hits hard to all fields. He batted .363 as an Odessa College third baseman last season, and thus far in a Lobo uniform, has lashed 16 hits in 30 at-bats, including five doubles, scoring nine times and driving home six runners.
    “My dad taught me to keep a song in my head when I’m at the plate,” he said. “I try to keep a rhythm of the beat with the bat swaying prior to stepping into the batter’s box. Then I feel relaxed and ready for the pitch.”
    Sul Ross coach Bobby Mesker first met Sawyer when the junior third baseman/outfielder was a high school player attending summer camps at Midland College. He actually recruited Sawyer after graduation and convinced him to transfer from OC after his sophomore season.
    “Ever since high school, Shane has put up good numbers. He hit well at Odessa College and he is doing the same thing here. He has good hands, quickness and great bat speed. He can flat-out hit.”
    Mesker is also impressed with Sawyer’s unselfish attitude. “He is a team guy. He is a versatile player and will go wherever I decide to play him to win games and to do what is best for the team.
    “I felt like he would be one of the pieces that would move this team up in the standings and make us a solid playoff contender,” Mesker said. “I have been happy with the results thus far.”
    Sawyer has enjoyed the transition to Sul Ross.
    “What sold me here was the country and the fact that I’m two hours away from my house (in Midland),” he said. “My mom and dad mean everything to me, and by being at Sul Ross, it is easier for them to see me play.”
    He called Sul Ross “an honest environment,” adding, “I really love my teammates.”
    Sawyer’s post-collegiate plans include coaching or working as a nutritionist. In the meantime, playing baseball and staying in rhythm will be his primary focus, often with the strains of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” flowing through his consciousness as he awaits the next pitch.

"Held in Trust"

Artist/actor/historian Bob Snead, El Paso, performed a one-man play, "Held in Trust," Wednesday (Feb. 12) at Sul Ross State University. The performance was part of Sul Ross' celebration of Black History Month. Snead, himself a highly-decorated Army aviator, depicted the life of Lt. Henry Flipper (1856-1940), the first African American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. Flipper, while stationed at Fort Davis in 1881, was accused of embezzling government funds and conduct unbecoming an officer. Although the charges were false, Flipper was dismissed from the military and began an outstanding career as a mining engineer. He spent the rest of his life attempting to clear his name. He obtained an honorable discharge posthumously in 1976 and was granted a full pardon by President Bill Clinton in 1999.  Snead has researched Flipper and the legendary Buffalo Soldiers for over 50 years and has performed "Held in Trust," written by Bea Bragg and Richard Hobbs, for more than a quarter-century. (Photo by Cheryl Zinsmeyer)

    Career Services will host the annual Spring Career Fair Wednesday, March 19 at Sul Ross State University.
    Fair hours are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the Espino Conference Center, Morgan University Center. Representatives of business, agriculture, hospitality, non-profit, community service, criminal justice, park services and other fields will be present to recruit, answer questions, network and provide referral contacts. Registrants may call (432) 837-8178 to reserve space at the fair. Prospective employers are invited to participate.
    Attendees seeking employment are urged to dress appropriately and bring copies of their resumes. The Career Fair is open to Sul Ross students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as high school students and the general public. Refreshments  will be served and electronic door prizes will be awarded. Career Services will also provide information on internships and volunteer opportunities.
    For more information, contact Career Services, (432) 837-8178 or (432) 837-8357. Career Services is located upstairs in the University Center, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.            

Playwright Solis at Sul Ross

Renowned playwright/director Octavio Solis (left) autographs a poster for “Lydia” cast member/Sul Ross State University student Omar Garcia, Horizon City. Solis, author of “Lydia” and more than 20 other plays, visited Theatre professor Greg Schwab’s class Tuesday (Feb. 11) to discuss his work.  Solis is currently a playwright-in-residence in Marfa. The Sul Ross Theatre Department performed “Lydia” this past October. (Photo by Shawna Graves)