Beyond the Game

Beyond the game: Millie Saroha, sophomore

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In India, women rarely play sports and are expected to do two things—get a good education and help their families around the house.

Millie Saroha, sophomore, follows the strict guidelines for Indian women as well as playing for the Texas State golf team.

“We don’t have a lot of women golfers in India,” Millie said. “I am one of the few, and it has really help me to become better and has given me the opportunities to play golf all around the world.”

India is a family-oriented country with little emphasis on individuality.

Beyond the game: Justin Newby, junior

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Justin Newby, junior, faced a tough decision during his freshman year of high school. 

Newby's choice was between golf and soccer. He began playing soccer at the age of five, taking part in games and tournaments for 10 years. 

Newby’s father introduced him to golf when he was 10 years old. A young Newby rode in his father's golf cart, learning by observing the details of the game. 

“I thought my best chance was golf,” Newby said. “I knew the immediate progression I had in golf, I could use in my advantage and take to the next level.”

Beyond the game: Kelli Baker, junior second baseman

Leadership, consistency and work ethic set Kelli Baker, junior second baseman, apart from the rest as a trailblazer her team can depend on.

Assistant Coach Cat Osterman said Baker is a model athlete mentally and physically. 

“I think the biggest thing about Kelli is that she approaches every day with consistency,” Osterman said. “For us that’s huge because the younger players need to see someone doing that.”

Baker is coming off two consecutive seasons with 56 starts each for the Bobcats.

The outfielder-turned-infielder finished the 2014 season with 57 hits, 39 runs scored and a .328 batting average.

Beyond the game: Danielle Warne, sophomore right fielder

Danielle Warne, sophomore right fielder, grew up in Flower Mound, a suburb of the Dallas metropolitan area. She struggled against dyslexia during her adolescense.

Danielle’s dyslexia forced her to develop a hardworking mentality. 

Leslie, Danielle’s mother, said her daughter has maintained a positive attitude. Danielle views adversity as an opportunity to improve.

Beyond the game: Seth Arnold, junior pole vaulter

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Seth Arnold, junior pole vaulter, wanted to surpass his brother, Zack, who he grew up watching compete in track and field.

"Just a competitive talking back and forth, giving each other a hard time," Zack said. “But we were always there for one another, not like, ‘Oh, come on, you can do better’ kinda thing. It was more like, ‘Pull your head out of your ass and get your shit together.’"  

Zack admits to sibling rivalry during their high school years. The brothers competed against each other at a district meet when Zack was a senior in high school and Seth was a freshman.

Beyond the game: Maty Monzingo, sophomore golfer

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Maty Monzingo, sophomore, looked back, and her father was gone. Life as she knew it had changed.

While Monzingo was on the golf range her father, Lynn, was being rushed to the nearest hospital.

“Something wasn’t the same about my dad,” Monzingo said. “I remember he wasn’t able to balance, and when I would ask him a question, he would slur his words. I knew something was wrong.”

Prior to her third shot of the 18th hole, Maty glanced back and watched as Lynn fell to the ground in a fairway.

Maty went back to the green to start her second round of the Jim West Challenge, trying not to stress herself out.

After the tournament, the doctors informed her Lynn was suffering from a stroke.

Beyond the game: Luke Sherley, freshman shortstop

Luke Sherley, freshman shortstop, entered high school standing 5 feet 2 inches tall.

His height did not hold him down for long.

Sherley knew he was young and still had a chance to grow. That is exactly what he did. Sherley grew 12 inches during the summer between his junior and senior years of high school.

Sherley’s body has gone through more than a rapid growth spurt. Sherley has grown accustomed to the feeling of having a bone broken.

Sherley described himself as that kid in school who was always getting hurt.

“I broke both thumbs, my pinky and my ankle,” Sherley said. “When I was in third grade, I tripped and hit my head on a desk at school. I was bleeding everywhere and suffered a concussion.”

Beyond the game: Raven Burns, junior guard

Raven Burns, junior guard, almost cried tears of joy during a photo shoot with her best friend, Regina Harris.

The feeling subsided when Burns held the camera lens over her eye.

It was time to get to work.

Burns got a new camera last Christmas from her father, Randy. Raven and Randy do not have much experience with photography, but they possess a flair for it.

“She’s always been kind of creative and decorative and all of that, so I think that’s something she would probably be good at,” Randy said.

Raven gets her photography instinct from her father. Randy took a photography class in high school, and his teacher told him he had a knack for it. Randy was not interested at first. He took the class because he thought it would be easy.

Beyond the game: Anicka Newell, senior pole vaulter

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For Anicka Newell, senior pole vaulter, competitive drive was never a question.

Newell’s drive is symbolized by a tattoo on her shoulder, which depicts a dragon and koi fish.

"I got it because of a Japanese saying that when a koi fish swims up the river, it has to go through all the obstacles," Newell said.  "If it doesn't die or get washed all the way back by the time it makes it all the way up the waterfall, it turns into a dragon." 

Her approach involves using past experiences—good or bad—and applying them in order to become better.

"Really it's just the internal drive that I think every athlete has," Newell said. "Either you have it or you don't, and I know that I have it. I know that I'm going to keep working toward the things that I want most." 

Beyond the game: Ariel Ortiz, freshman shortstop

Ariel Ortiz, freshman shortstop, began her softball career on a baseball diamond. 

Richards Field in Waxahachie, named after Major League Baseball manager Paul Richards, was Ortiz’ home away from home.

The future Bobcat spent hours honing her craft at the 100-year-old ballpark each day after her older brother, Chris, was finished with practice. 

Ortiz spent those hours on the field with her father, Eloy, and brother.

“We’re a big baseball family,” said April Ortiz, her mother. “She’s been dragged from field to field since she could walk. When her older brother and his team would finish practicing, my husband would pitch balls to her so she could hit, and her brother and his friends would have to stay around and catch her balls.”

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