Surgical precision: Appendectomy cuts tryout short but freshman makes team

Rangerette Caroline Bentley
Freshman Rangrette Caroline Bentley of Austin made it through the Rangerettes’ rigorous tryouts despite having an emergency appendectomy two days into the process. Photo by KRISTOPHER DOBBINS/The Flare

TORY VAN BLARCUM
Staff Writer

Imagine being in the middle of making your dream come true — and then being forced to undergo emergency surgery.

Caroline Bentley, Austin freshman, has dreamed of being a Rangerette since she was a freshman in high school.

“I heard about the Rangerettes from my high school director, Holly Lyons. She took our team to Revels that year,” Bentley said. “Right when I saw the opening dance I knew I wanted to be on this team.”

Her dream was nearly cut short after trying out two out of five days when her appendix almost ruptured.

Auditions are a week-long process that start in mid-July with a tea on Sunday to meet the sophomores and directors. Later that evening the hopefuls begin to learn dances. They are graded Monday morning by the directors on plain high kicks and a jazz routine that was taught the night before. After that they learn the 2013 Rangerette high kick and perform solos. Tuesday mornings are filled with more markings and the teaching of various dance combinations.

On the first day of tryouts Bentley became ill after pre-training. Her uncle, Dr. Andrew Bentley, is a physician in Tyler, and she asked him to come by and check on her.

“I had all the symptoms of food poisoning, so he hooked me up to an IV in the middle of the parking lot for fluids and meds,” Bentley said.

She was on the IV for one hour and was given some over-the-counter nausea medicine.

She returned to tryouts on the second day but did not feel any better than the day before.

“I was light-headed and definitely not on my A-game,” Bentley said. Her uncle returned that evening, because

her stomach was beginning to swell.

Once he arrived at Stark Hall, he felt around on her stomach and noticed that her stomach was very firm and that the pain was in the lower right side where the appendix is located.

He immediately told her she needed to go to the emergency room, because he was sure her appendix was infected and needed to come out before it ruptured.

“It was the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life. I knew something was not right at all,” Bentley said. “It was like a stabbing pain in my lower right side at all times, especially when I moved.”

They arrived at the ER and had the doctors do a CT scan, which uses X-rays to create detailed pictures of structures inside of the body, to see if her appendix was infected.

The doctors told Bentley that her appendix would have ruptured that Tuesday night or Wednesday morning at the latest.

“The doctors were very surprised that it hadn’t ruptured yet, because of dancing all day,” Bentley said.

That evening Bentley underwent an emergency appendectomy, which took her out of tryouts for the rest of the week.

“I was devastated. Like everyone, I worked so hard and trained for such a long time and wanted my number to be on that sign more than anything,” Bentley said. “It was heart-breaking to know that I didn’t get to fully finish everything that I had worked so hard for.”

After her surgery, the quiet hospital room allowed her to think about the days ahead that held her future.

She was worried and unsure if her audition was canceled because of missing three days of the tryout. Bentley said the women were not informed of the procedure that would take place if someone had to leave, got sick or in her case, had surgery.

“I didn’t know if the directors, sophomores and judges would take into account what happened,” Bentley said. “I really didn’t think I had a chance.”

She was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon and was cleared later to dance.

With the traditional sign drop on Friday announcing the new members of the team. Bentley was running scenarios through her head.

“Everyone kept telling me that I had shown them what I needed to in the first markings, and they knew I was sick,” Bentley said.

Bentley also had the support from her hometown best friend and fellow hopeful, Haley Martin, also an Austin freshman.

“It was hard seeing her frustrated at the situation, because she couldn’t do anything,” Martin said. “I know how much she wanted this.”

When the sign dropped, Bentley was in disbelief. She couldn’t believe she made it and to make it better, Martin made it as well.

“I kept telling myself ‘Caroline you did it, even after everything, you did it, you’re about to live your dream,’” Bentley said.

She pushed through the pain for two days of tryouts, had to have emergency surgery and the fear of her dream not coming true.

“I am so beyond grateful and blessed to start living this dream and be a part of such an amazing organization known for such class, elegance, respect, talent and tradition,” Bentley said. “I can’t wait to represent the red, white, and blue as a Rangerette.”

Rangers earn national tournament berth with 70-62 victory

JORDAN MOSS
Staff Writer

The No. 19 KC Rangers, (25-4, 15-4 conference), punched their ticket to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament with a 70-62 victory over Tyler Junior College Saturday.

KC locked up the Region XIV regular season championship in a game that included 16 lead changes. The Rangers were out shot from the field by TJC 42.9 percent to 41.5 percent but won the battle on the glass, 33-27.

Points off turnovers were a big factor as KC had 22 to TJC’s six. The Rangers also won the battle for second-effort points, 16-2, and the three-point battle, 21-12. KC shot 79.2 percent from the foul line helping them to hold off TJC.

Quinton Upshur led KC in scoring with 22 while Nardie Bogues added 11, including going 9 of 11 from the foul line.

Head coach Brian Hoberecht spoke highly of his team following the victory.

“I can’t say enough good things about our guys today,” Hoberecht said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to our guys for not getting distracted.”

Hoberecht remains focused on the next task at hand despite the joy of going to the national tournament.

“I want to stay focused on the region tournament,” Hoberecht said. “As far as going to Hutch, that’s just icing on the cake right now.”

The Region XIV Tournament begins Wednesday. After securing a first round bye, KC will play 1 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the Herrington Patriot Center on the University of Texas-Tyler campus.  The Rangers’ opponent will be the winner of Tuesday’s Angelina vs. Trinity Valley game.

Rangerettes in D.C.: Day 5

Inauguration preparation
Inauguration preparation
Workers prepare the Capitol grounds Jan. 20 for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.
Photo by JON VASHEY / SPECIAL TO THE FLARE

Editor’s Note: Rangerette and Flare staff writer Dezirae Burnett, Huntington freshman, is in Washington D.C. to perform Jan. 19 in The Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball. The Rangerettes arrived Jan. 16, and are able to tour the capital. THE FLARE will share Burnett’s personal reflections on the trip. Keep up with us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on new entries.

Historic journey fitting end for D.C. experience

 

By DEZIRAE BURNET
Staff Writer 

The day got off to a late start. After a busy evening at the ball, I decided to treat myself to a couple hours of sleep.

Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, I dressed and made my way to the Metro station. For my last day in Washington D.C., I was headed to the Smithsonian.

The first stop was the American History Museum. I was surprised to see so many people there despite it being the off season.

My eyes widen with joy as I spotted Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” I spent five minutes in front that display alone. Next, we saw Archie Bunker’s chair and Kermit the Frog.

As I milled about the museum, it was interesting to see the mix of artifacts arranged in the same exhibit, like the first iPod sitting next to a wedding dress made from a used parachute.

I had a blast looking at all of the inaugural dresses of the first ladies and the on-set kitchen of Julia Child. After three hours exploring our country’s contributions to history, my small group of friends meandered to the Museum of Natural History, where we spent the rest of the afternoon viewing mummies, precious gems and dinosaur fossils.

While it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see all of those artifacts, I was thankful when it was finally time to return to the hotel. Souvenirs in hand, we left the Smithsonian with the light breeze at our backs.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to bring this amazing trip to a close.

Read Day 1 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 2 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 3 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 4 of Burnett’s journal here.

Rangerettes in D.C.: Day 1

 

Members of the Kilgore College Rangettes arrive Jan. 16 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Rangerettes will perform Jan. 19 at The Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball presented by the Texas State Society.
Members of the Kilgore College Rangettes arrive Jan. 16 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Rangerettes will perform Jan. 19 at The Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball presented by the Texas State Society. Photo by JON VASHEY / SPECIAL TO THE FLARE

Editor’s Note: Rangerette and Flare staff writer Dezirae Burnett, Huntington freshman, is in Washington D.C. to perform Jan. 19 in The Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball. The Rangerettes arrived Jan. 16, and are able to tour the capital. THE FLARE will share Burnett’s personal reflections on the trip. Keep up with us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on new entries.

Surrounded by history, a moment of silence

 

DEZIRAE BURNETT
Staff Writer

As our plane made its descent into the Washington D.C. area, clouds enveloped the entire aircraft. It looked as if we were drifting through snow.

When at last the clouds broke, the arial view was breathtaking. I immediately took notice of the Washington Monument and the Captiol building shortly thereafter, looking all powerful sitting atop its hill over looking the town. The scenery passed by me all too quickly as we finally landed.

After navigating through the various terminals and inner networkings of the airport, I claimed my lone suitcase and took my first steps out into our Nation’s Capital, where I was immediately met by a gust of crisp D.C. winter air.

The town is cloaked in gray from overcast skies as we drive to our hotel. It is misting. Everywhere I look, I’m faced by some historic building or monument. I’m completely amazed. It’s interesting to be surrounded by such old buildings nestled right alongside modern architecture.

The streets and sidewalks are narrow and bustling. Everyone seems to be in the biggest hurry.

I love the Metro even through buying the pass for this week was frustrating. Surprisingly, the Metro itself and the station are fairly clean.

Metro riders are very self-absorbed, paying no mind at all to the other riders.

The metro took me to the Holocaust museum. The museum was both dark in lighting and in mood. Before the self-guided tour began, I chose an identification card that represented an actual Holocaust victim. The moment I read her name I got chills, chills that remained throughout the entire exhibit. My tour and my card took me on her journey through the persecution of her people and her time in encampment.

The images, the stories, the artifacts and the possessions of the victims were absolutely haunting. I was overwhelmed by the cruelty of man and how real it all was.

Near the end of the tour, there was a breezeway lined with thousands of shoes of concentration camp victims.

To paraphrase a quote from the wall there, because they were made of fabric and leather and not of blood and flesh, they escaped the flames of the crematorium.

My Holocaust victim was killed in a concentration camp at age 65. I concluded my tour by taking a moment of silence in her memory in the candle-lit, domed-ceiling remembrance room.

Read Day 2 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 3 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 4 of Burnett’s journal here.
Read Day 5 of Burnett’s journal here.