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Freshman

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Ray Koch
CONTRIBUTOR

Razvan Grigorescu. If you don’t know his name now, you will by the time his tennis career is finished at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

It’s been a rocky season for the UNO men’s tennis team, as they finished the regular season with an overall record of 8-13. But even with an average record, UNO tennis has caught the eye of many local sports fans. That’s because of a particular freshman that is impossible to ignore.

From Constanta, Romania, Razvan Grigorescu stands 6 foot 3 inches tall, and has already made an impact on campus. He’s also ranked 66th nationally. Did I mention he’s just a freshman?

Yes, a 19-year-old from half-way across the world has taken scouts, and the entire Summit League by surprise.

Grigorescu uses his length to get to any ball on the surface. Couple that with tremendous power and precision, and you may start to question if you’re watching Andy Murray playing. Moving effortlessly all over the court, Grigorescu displays footwork and court awareness of a player far beyond his years.

Though tennis in college is a team sport, it’s hard not to get caught up in the individual accomplishments one can achieve. Grigorescu has an opportunity to go deep in the Summit League Conference Tournament and beyond. Even if the team as a whole is not able to progress far into the tournament, Grigorescu can still bring the Mavs success.

That doesn’t constitute, however, that the ultimate determiner of success for UNO’s season doesn’t lie in the racket of Grigorescu. No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Mavs will settle for a different victory–keeping Razvan Grigorescu for three more years. Being the face of the program for the duration of his stay at UNO may seem like it’s asking a lot for someone that is still a teenager. Then again, not many teenagers strike this much attention in their first college season in a foreign country.

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Photo Courtesy of Jenna Hynek’s Instagram

Jessica Wade
OPINION EDITOR

Some people spend years searching for their passion, discovering that one thing that drives them to late nights, early mornings and—in freshman Jenna Hynek’s case—punk rock concerts.

Hynek found her passion while crowded near a stage during a Swingin’ Utters concert. The concert began with 15-20 people in the audience and ended with upwards of 40 peo-ple packed into a small room. Hynek had to battle to keep her spot near the stage.

“Someone’s fist comes flying out of nowhere as I turn to look to my right. I got punched in the face and slammed up against a speaker,” Hynek said. “I looked to see who had just body slammed me, it was a middle-aged man who came flying out of the mosh pit with a mohawk and facial piercings. I ended up losing hearing in my left ear for about four days and at that moment I knew—I had sold my soul to punk rock and music photography.”

Hynek’s love of concert photography evolved from a love of writing. Since a young age she planned to become a writer, and after starting high school, she joined her school’s magazine where she learned to write with a purpose.

“I was around such creative and talented people the last four years of my life that I basically just started trouble shooting pictures at concerts one night just to see how it would work and I fell in love with it,” Hynek said. “Since September I have taken pictures at roughly 16 shows.”

Hynek has always stayed in and around the Omaha area. She stresses how phenomenal the music and arts scene is in Omaha, and that many musicians who got their start in Omaha make it a point to return.

The more recent concerts she’s attended include Jon Bellion and Asking Alexandria, her first metal concert, and her second time getting kicked in the face by a crowd surfer.
“I was in the front row looking in the tiny little viewfinder of my camera when something bumps my back,” Hynek said. “I turn around to look at what it was and it was a crowd surfer right behind me and all of a sudden POP! The surfer’s foot kicks me right in the face and gives me this horrible bloody nose.”

Although she only just discovered her passion for music journalism, and despite occasional hit to the face, Hynek hopes to turn her hobby into a career. She said that music is a big part of her life and no matter how famous the musician or how crazy the crowd, the experience is rewarding.

“I get to be around something that I love and watch other people have the time of their lives on stage while I have mine in the front row with a camera in hand,” Hynek said.

Hynek’s photos can be found on her Instagram @jmhynek.musicphotos.

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coat-drive

Charlotte Reilly
CONTRIBUTOR

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Freshmen Leadership Council is hosting a winter clothing drive. This is in collaboration with Lutheran Family Services and Nathan Hale Middle School and will help refugees and their families.

Lutheran Family Services welcomed and rehomed refugees from all around the world. Many of these refugee families are unprepared for their first Nebraskan winter and do not have coats, hats or gloves.

Emily Bradley, the vice president of UNO’s student government and head of the Freshmen Leadership Council, explained why she believes it’s important to help refugees in the Omaha area.

“I think it really goes back to what UNO’s mission is and what the school stands for. We are a metropolitan university. Omaha is our campus,” Bradley said. “It is really important that we reach out to our community and that we constantly try to improve that and make their lives better.”

Bradley said this is the Freshmen Leadership Council’s first big project. Besides working to help keep refugees warm this winter, the project is also designed to help UNO students and Nathan Hale Middle School students through a two-way mentoring program.

UNO freshmen have an upperclassman mentor and are mentors to Nathan Hale middle schoolers.

The project also teaches UNO freshmen about the timeline of completing a project—how early plans have to be made and who to contact. Next semester the freshmen will be splitting into groups and coming up with their own projects.

Renata Valquier Chavez, a member of the Freshmen Leadership Council, said she joined because she “wanted to be able to have a positive impact on a larger scale on campus.”

“My ultimate goal is to help the people around me, and by being part of the Freshmen Leadership Council, I can give a voice to the voiceless,” Valquier Chavez said.

She said being a member has improved her communication skills and allowed her to demonstrate her leadership abilities because members have to be accountable and self-reliant.

This project has given Valquier Chavez the experience of working with others to improve the lives of community members, which is what Bradley said is her favorite part of the project.

“My favorite part of this project is that it engages these freshmen with the community,” Bradley said. “Part of UNO’s mission is that we come up with creative ways to engage and improve the lives of people in our community, and I think that this gives FLC the experience of doing.”

The Freshmen Leadership Council will be accepting donations until Dec. 3. There are five locations for donation bins, including the Milo Bail Student Center, Mammal Hall, Scott Café, Criss Library and HPER.

The clothing drive started on Nov. 3 and the Freshman Leadership Council has already collected several boxes full of clothing items such as snow pants, hats, gloves, scarves, coats and winter boots.

People who donate will be entered into a prize raffle. The prizes include a $100 visa gift card, UNO décor signs and a $20 outdoor venture center gift card or yoga pass.

For every hat, glove, or scarf one raffle ticket will be entered into the drawing. For every youth, small or medium coat, four raffle tickets will be entered. For a large or extra-large coat, three tickets will be entered.

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