Since making landfall, Hurricane Harvey has impacted some throughout Texas, including UTA student athletes.

“Like everyone else, we all probably have family or friends down there. It’s a biblical occurrence going on, it affects everybody who lives in the state,” Athletics director Jim Baker said. “Our thoughts and prayers are going out to [those affected], and whatever we can do as a university or individually, I think we’re all ready to help out in any way.”

The catastrophic event has taken an emotional toll on a few athletes who are from or around the Houston area.

“It’s crazy to think that a place I grew up is going to be completely different when I go back, or whenever I get to go back,” volleyball sophomore libero Madelyn St. Germain said.

Aileen Garcia, a sophomore infielder for the softball team, said it’s been hard for her to focus knowing she’s not able to be there with her family.

“The main concern for me is I kind of wanted to be there for them. It’s kind of hard having to see my family over there kind of just go through this without me,” she said. “I think my dad and mom aren’t telling me the truth. I think they’re getting hit harder than they make it seem to try and calm me down. But other than that, everything on Twitter is kind of making me depressed over here.”

Garcia said the support she has received from fellow teammates has helped distract her.

“There’s a couple of us from Houston too, so it’s kind of like we’re all in this together,” she said. “We’ve kind of kept each other calm over the past couple days.”

Kjirstyn Murphy, a freshman utility on the softball team, said her parents took advantage of the minimal flooding to their neighborhood and set out to find people needing shelter.

“At first, I was really, really scared. I was really worried about it, because last time [there was] a hurricane, we had a tree fall on our house,” Murphy said. “I’m kind of more at ease now than I was at the beginning.”

Aside from UTA, the University of Houston’s volleyball team has been unable to return home since arriving for the UTA Invitational last weekend.

“They’re literally living out of a volleyball bag now,” St. Germain said. “That’s just wild to me.”

The UTA volleyball coaching staff has allowed the University of Houston to use its practice facilities during this time to prepare for its next tournament.

The Sun Belt Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee created a GoFundMe page to provide relief to those affected by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

“The best we can hope for is to pray,” Garcia said. “As a whole state of Texas, we need to unite to help Houston get over this disaster.”


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