UTRGV Athletics featured in USA Today

By J. Edward Moreno

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – JUNE 8, 2017 – USA Today Sports in its June 8 edition featured two student athletes from UTRGV’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The national publication focused on student athletes Jose Garcia and Leslie Luna, as part of a larger series looking at athletics programs at universities along the United States’ border with Mexico.

Garcia, an outfielder who finished this season with 18 multi-hit games and hopes to be selected for the 2017 MLB draft, began his career in the Mexican border city of San Luis Rio Colorado. Eventually, he would move to the United States, where he had to quickly learn a new language in order to pursue his career. Through a series of obstacles and accomplishments, Garcia found a temporary home-away-from-home in the Rio Grande Valley.

The feature also discusses an epithet, “Taco Tech,” used to malign the majority Hispanic population of the university’s legacy institutions in previous years.

Luna, the UTRGV track runner from Edinburg featured in the article, said if anything, slurs like that inspire her to work harder.

“People from our conference come down and see us … and they don't expect much from us,” Luna told USA Today Sports. “Definitely, we do have to work harder.”

Jonah Goldberg, associate athletic director of communications, said the feature could mean big things for the future of UTRGV athletics.

“I think this is the defining moment for UTRGV athletics, where we take that next step and get national recognition for our student athletes, the program and the region,” he said. “When we talk to our student athletes and tell them, ‘Hey, you’re going to get to talk to USA Today,’ that is a really exciting thing. It reminds them that what they’re doing down here is being seen nationally.”

Read the USA Today article here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2017/06/08/mexico-university-texas-rio-grande-valley-border-wall-donald-trump/102592702/

Here is a direct link to the video: https://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/2017/06/08/sports-border-athletes-try-break-taco-tech-stereotype/102620626/


J. Edward Moreno, UTRGV Student Writer

Marci Caltabiano-Ponce, UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications