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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

And then there were seven.

Over the course of the season, they have pushed themselves to physical and mental extremes in the pursuit of proving themselves worthy of a shot at performing on a national stage. And on March 9-10, the best of Texas’ women’s track and field team will finally get this opportunity at the Division I NCAA Indoor Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

The Championship will begin on Friday morning, but the first Longhorns will take to Jacksons Indoor Track at 6:15 p.m. to compete in the 400-meter dash prelim. While both senior Stacey-Ann Smith and sophomore Briana Nelson competed in the event at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, they were unable to make it past the preliminary round. This year, they’re back and are determined to finish among the top eight of the 16 runners, the feat required in order to advance to Saturday’s final.

At 7:45 p.m., a pair of Texas sophomores will take on the 200-meter dash. With a second-placing, automatic qualifying time of 23.11 at the Big 12 Championships, No. 3 Allison Peter earned her spot at Nationals. Peter will be joined in the 5-heat 200-meter prelim by her teammate, No. 9 Christy Udoh.

The only Longhorn who was able to take advantage of the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in the quest to qualifying for Nationals, Shanay Briscoe, who is currently tied for seventh in the nation with a 1.83-meter mark after last weekend, will compete in the high jump final at 8 p.m. After taking second place at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championship with a 1.87-meter leap, the sophomore is set on upgrading to a national title.

To conclude Friday’s events for Texas, No. 13 sophomore Sara Sutherland will participate in the 5000-meter run, marking her debut at an NCAA Championship.

On Saturday, Smith, Peter, Nelson and Kendra Chambers will unite to represent UT in the last race of the meet, the 4x400-meter relay final. Like Peter, the Texas team, currently ranked fourth in the nation, qualified for Nationals at the Big 12 Championships where it placed third. With the Longhorns vying for a victory against teams including Texas Tech, Kansas and Texas A&M, the 4x400-meter relay final will be an opportunity for the Longhorns to prove their conference superiority.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Seven Horns head to Idaho to compete for championship

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum shared victories in yesterday's Super Tuesday contests, dueling in Ohio with a virtual tie of 37% each. No Republican has ever won the White House without securing a victory in Ohio. (Courtesy of the Associated Press)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney split six states and dueled in an almost impossibly close race in Ohio on a Super Tuesday that stretched from one end of the country to the other in the most turbulent Republican presidential race in a generation.

A resurgent Santorum broke through in primaries in Oklahoma and Tennessee and in the North Dakota caucuses, raising fresh doubts about Romney’s ability to corral the votes of conservatives in some of the most Republican states in the country.

Romney had a home-state win in Massachusetts to go with victories in Vermont and in Virginia, where neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich qualified for the ballot. He also led in early Idaho caucus returns and padded his lead for delegates to the Republican National Convention.

On the busiest night of the campaign season, Ohio was the marquee matchup, a second industrial state showdown in as many weeks between Romney and Santorum. It drew the most campaigning and television advertisements of all 10 Super Tuesday contests and for good reason— no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the state in the fall.

After trailing for much of the night, Romney forged ahead in a count that stretched toward midnight. With votes tallied in 91 percent of the state’s precincts, he led by about 5,000 votes out of 1.1 million cast.

Gingrich had a victory in his column — his first win in more than six weeks. The former House speaker triumphed at home in Georgia, but a barrage of attack ads by a super PAC supporting Romney helped hold him below 50 percent and forced him to share the delegates.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul pinned his hopes on Idaho and Alaska as he scratched for his first victory of the campaign season. As of print deadline, results in Alaska had not been called.

Whatever the outcome in Ohio, Romney was on track to pad his lead in the hunt for delegates to the Republican National Convention. Not surprisingly, given his mixed night, he focused on the delegate chase.

Yet Santorum’s multiple victories, coupled with Gingrich’s win, provided fresh evidence that Romney’s conservative rivals retain the ability to outpoll him in certain parts of the country despite his huge organizational and financial advantages.

In Ohio, Romney’s campaign purchased about $1.5 million for television advertisements, and Restore Our Future spent $2.3 million. Santorum and Red, White and Blue, a super PAC that supports him, countered with about $1 million combined, a disadvantage of nearly four to one.

While the day boasted more primaries and caucuses than any other in 2012, it was a shadow of Super Tuesday in 2008, when there were 20 Republican contests.

There was another big difference, a trend away from winner-take-all contests to a system of allocating delegates in rough proportion to a candidate’s share of the popular vote.

Sen. John McCain won eight states on Super Tuesday in 2008 and lost 12 to Romney and Mike Huckabee combined. But six of McCain’s victories were winner-take-all primaries, allowing him to build an insurmountable delegate lead that all but sealed his nomination.

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho man accused of firing an assault rifle at the White House believed he was Jesus and thought President Barack Obama was the Antichrist, according to court documents and those who knew him. At one point, he even suggested to an acquaintance the president was planning to implant computer tracking chips into children.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, was charged Thursday with attempting to assassinate the president or his staff. He is accused of firing nine rounds at the White House last Friday night — one of them cracking a window of the first family’s living quarters — when Obama and the first lady were away. If convicted, Ortega faces up to life in prison.

Ortega was arrested Wednesday at a western Pennsylvania hotel when a desk clerk there recognized him and called police.

Ortega’s public defender, Christopher Brown, declined comment after his first court hearing in Pennsylvania. Ortega’s mother has said he has no history of mental illness, though when authorities were looking for him, they reported he had “mental health issues.”

In Idaho Falls, where Ortega is from, a computer consultant told The Associated Press that the two met July 8 after Ortega asked for help editing a 30-minute infomercial. Monte McCall said that during the meeting at Ortega’s family’s Mexican restaurant, Ortega pulled out worn sheets of yellow paper with handwritten notes and started to talk about his predictions that the world would end in 2012.

“He said, ‘Well, you know the president is getting ready to make an announcement that they’re going to put GPS chips in all the children, so they’re safe,’” McCall said. “... And then he said, ‘That’s just what the Antichrist is going to do to mark everybody.’”

At his first appearance in court in Pennsylvania, Ortega sat quietly, his hands free but his feet shackled. He said only, “Yes, ma’am” when he was asked if he understood that he would be going back to Washington to face the charge.

According to a court document released after the hearing, authorities recovered nine spent shell casings from Ortega’s car, which was found abandoned near the White House shortly after the shooting. An assault rifle with a scope was found inside.

A person who knows him subsequently told investigators that he had become increasingly agitated with the federal government and was convinced it was conspiring against him, the document said. 

Published on Friday, November 18, 2011 as: Idaho man attempts Obama assassination


Boise State's Matt Miller scores a first-half touchdown aginst Air Force. The Broncos may be the next athletic program on the move.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

I had an entire column planned out for this week’s issue about how Texas’ “run-first” identity is an advantange in such a pass-happy conference like the Big 12. I was going to write it until I sat down and read this headline on — “Idaho clears Boise State to join Big East.” Then my jaw proceeded to drop to the floor.
For those of you who are keeping count, Boise, Idaho, is 2,249 miles away from Big East headquarters in Providence, RI.

Whats worse is that Idaho can’t even make an official transition until the Big East repairs itself by adding at least six teams to make up for those it lost in this latest round of conference realignment. Among the teams up for consideration? Southern Methodist University as well as the University of Houston, both of which are on the Third Coast, not the East.

Less than a month ago, I spoke to former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and he made it clear that among the top considerations a conference should have when considering its members is geography. It’s in the best interest of the students and alumni to choose schools that they can easily travel to, he said.

Clearly the Idaho State Board of Education and the Big East don’t have the best interest of their students and alumni in mind.

As is always the case, this has to do with television rights and revenue. You see, in order to pick Boise State up it would have to add other schools to the conference so as to logically add teams to a proposed “Western Conference” of the Big East. Ignore the utter irony of that action, and think about it as a business decision, and its the perfect move for the Big East and Boise State, which is perhaps what makes this whole thing seem so slimy to me.

The Big East would gain a huge fan base and following all across the country. Boise State president Bob Kustra estimates the annual payout to Big East football members at $3.7 million, compared to the $1.9 million projected as the top payout in the Mountain West, Boise State’s current conference. The Big East would also get to renegotiate a new media contract that would definitely pay much higher with an elite football program such as Boise State in the mix. Boise State would finally get to vie for a BCS-championship without strings attached, meaning more money. And the Big East could add a championship game, providing them more television and game revenue. The relationship is symbiotic.

But all the mutual benefits that the would-be move posits are negated by the corporate-like way schools and their conference’s handle their business. College athletics were once the paramount of American tradition. Now they are vessels for multi-million dollar corporations to wiggle their way into and exploit the talents of college athletes. I wish I could have written to my original column topic, but when school leaders such as the Idaho State Board of Education pave the way to commit something so infuriating and blatantly irresponsible, it is important to call them out.
If they should really have the student’s best interest in mind, its time they start acting like it.

This undated photo provided by Andy Benoit shows Katy Benoit.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — A college professor who alternately referred to himself as a “psychopathic killer” and “the beast” committed suicide after killing a graduate student he had recently dated, police said in newly revealed court documents.

Meanwhile, Katy Benoit’s family said Wednesday that the psychology student had become increasingly alarmed about Ernesto A. Bustamante’s behavior and had taken steps to get away from the man police say eventually killed her.

Bustamante’s body was found early Tuesday in a Moscow hotel room after the 31-year-old former University of Idaho professor apparently shot himself in the head with a revolver, police said. Benoit, 22, had been killed on the front porch of her Moscow home a day earlier.

Her two roommates told police they had been baking cookies late Monday when Benoit stepped outside for a cigarette and about two minutes later, they heard gunfire. Benoit had been shot multiple times with a .45-caliber handgun.

A neighbor, Lorne Hetsler, told police he heard the shots and saw a man, whom authorities later identified as Bustamante, leaving the home in a dark trench coat and hat.

A police affidavit filed Tuesday offers details of the relationship between Bustamante and Benoit, including violent encounters that were described by their friends and roommates.

Meghan Walker-Smith and Emma Gregory, Benoit’s roommates, told police that the romance ended in March. Gregory told authorities that Benoit after the breakup had said Bustamante pointed a handgun at her on multiple occasions and at one point had put a gun in her mouth, according to the statement.

Benoit’s roommates told police they had been concerned for her well-being because Bustamante had weapons and multiple personalities.

Rowdy J. Hope, who told police he was a close friend of Bustamante, “confirmed that Bustamante had multiple handguns and multiple personality disorders to include one Bustamante calls a ‘psychopathic killer’ and another Bustamante calls ‘the beast,’” Moscow Police Sgt. Bruce Fager said in the affidavit.

Benoit’s family said Wednesday she had previously shared details with them about her issues with Bustamante and had been deeply worried about his behavior.

“After receiving threats and intimidation from Bustamante, we believed Katy had obtained a restraining order, changed addresses and filed a complaint with the University of Idaho,” the family said in a statement.

The Associated Press was unable to confirm that a restraining had been issued against Bustamante in Latah County, where the university is based.

“Our family had grave concerns when we learned that the University of Idaho had received dozens of complaints from other students about Bustamante, and that, from what we understood, Katy was the only one willing to sign her name to a complaint,” the family said.

“We hope that the University of Idaho will be forthcoming in disclosing everything that went on this past summer in response to Bustamante’s behavior toward Katy and others, including the university’s involvement.”

The university has said Bustamante resigned effective Friday, but declined to comment on any specifics related to his employment, including saying whether Benoit had been one of his students, citing public records laws, school policy and the ongoing investigation.

“At this time, the university cannot provide any further information about either the existence of a relationship or actions the university may have taken with respect to these two individuals,” school officials said in a statement Wednesday.

Benoit’s roommates said she filed a complaint with the university in June over Bustamante’s behavior and he was either fired or forced to resign as a result, according to the police affidavit. Fager said it is unclear how the university handled the complaint because it was treated as a personnel matter and was confidential.

Authorities considered Bustamante as a suspect shortly after Benoit was found dead and served a search warrant at the University Inn Best Western in Moscow, where police found a car Bustamante had rented earlier that day. Prosecutors said Bustamante killed Benoit “with premeditation and with malice,” according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Before working in Idaho, Bustamante earned his bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees in psychology at Old Dominion University in Virginia. He married a fellow Old Dominion graduate, Xiomy Leon, in October 2002 in Venezuela, according to a school newsletter.

The union didn’t last and Leon has since remarried. A phone number listed for her in Chesapeake, Va., was disconnected.

Bustamante took a job at the University of Idaho in August 2007 and he was an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Communication.
Benoit had earned her undergraduate degree from the university in 2010 and just started her graduate studies in the psychology department.

In a statement Tuesday, her parents, Janet and Gary Benoit called her “a beautiful, intelligent and musically talented woman.”

“We are so saddened,” they said, “by her tragic death.”