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February 2023

Alumnus finds success in shooting sports

What started as a hobby with her father as a girl has now taken Meghan Smiley around the world. A 2012 graduate of the Plainview campus, Meghan journeyed to Thailand in November 2022 as part of a four-person women’s team competing for the USA at the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) World Shoot, rescheduled from 2020 thanks to the COVID pandemic.

At the end of the competition – which included 30 total stages of shooting – Meghan and her team won gold in the ladies category of the Open Division, which she described as a race gun action shooting. Out of 73 countries competing and more than 2,000 competitors, she placed 8 th overall in

World shoot trophy
Meghan with her team's Gold trophy

the ladies division and 102nd out of the total competitors in the open division.

“The competitive side of me was a little disappointed because I know I could have preformed better, but I have to remind myself that 8th in the world is still an accomplishment” said Meghan, a self-proclaimed competition and adrenaline junkie. Still, it’s a pretty high honor to win gold for her country in a level she never imagined reaching and a competition she never imagined entering.

Change of plans

Though she had dabbled in shooting purely from a proficiency and safety perspective as a girl, Meghan never competed in shooting until she was in college. Her real passion growing up was softball, and that took up most of her time for 10 months of the year. She even played at the junior college level but then got injured her freshman year. It was time to hang up the cleats.

Seeking a Christian university to finish out her schooling, she found Wayland, which was not too far from her hometown of Midland. She was already interested in a Christian counseling career, and she found a fit in Wayland’s religion and psychology studies.

After moving to Plainview, Meghan’s dad suggested she look into competitive practical shooting. He connected her to a nearby friend who competed and she began practicing. Once she graduated in 2012 and moved back to Midland, she started her master’s degree online but eventually opted to finish the Master of Arts in Counseling with Wayland.

It was at a shooting meet in Levelland that Meghan first met Calvin Smiley, then a Texas Tech

Smiley Family
Meghan, Calvin and Finley

student in molecular biology who later transferred to UTPB while he worked for a small independent oil company. They became friends and would see each other at various events. It wasn’t love at first sight, she said, but something that slowly grew into a beautiful relationship.

“It took me a while to go out with him but once I did it just took off. He wasn’t my type, I thought, but he ended up being much better. He's the perfect person for me and I can’t imagine my life without him,” she added. The pair married in 2014 and welcomed their first child, a daughter named Finley Rose, in May 2021. 

Meghan credits Calvin with encouraging her in the shooting competitions once she was done with school and had more freedom to focus on them. They shot together for the first few years until he decided to compete in a different shooting sport, but he continued to push her to achieve her goals in the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association).

“He has been a big part of my success. He pushed me to compete when he got out of shooting and to travel on my own and go to matches,” she said. “He helps me load ammo and keep my guns in working order. He is a great dad and took care of our baby girl a lot this year so I could go compete. He’s amazing and truly supports me in all that I do.”

Shooting for gold

Part of that encouragement led to her to switch to open division competition, and then to really set her sights on making it to the world stage. To qualify, she had to shoot at three of the four national competitions over two years. The top four scorers were chosen to make up the USA team, and Meghan was joined by shooters from California, Mississippi and Georgia. And while most shooting events are individual competitions, Meghan said she enjoyed being part of a team this time.

Calvin got to test those dad skills in depth while Meghan spent two weeks in Thailand at the World

Smiley in action
Meghan during World Shoot action

Shoot. She explained that the competition was intense: six stages per day for five days, with each team member shooting individually in rotation until all stages were complete. The final outcome was determined by taking the top three scores from each round, which gave the team some leeway.

“If you get disqualified for a round – for breaking the 180 or falling with your gun, which are all for safety reasons since you are working with live ammunition – then it would not hurt the team totally,” she explained. “There were 30 stages total – it’s time and points scored each stage. You want to be both fast and accurate. It’s timed from the beeper to your last shot.”

Meghan said each stage included both paper and steel targets, with points scored differently on both. The paper targets have different zones and the points vary per zone, with the best two hits on paper counted. The steel target has to fall to score. It all adds up to some pretty tense moments.

“There’s a lot of adrenaline going on. It can be stressful. But I’m an adrenaline junkie,” she laughs about the sport. “I don’t like things that are slow and boring and I’m not good at sitting still.”

Love of the game

As a practicing licensed professional counselor in Midland and a part-time stay-at-home-mom, shooting meets a variety of needs. For one, it gives her a competitive outlet. And it also keeps her active since there is physicality involved in the events.

“I’m not sure what it is about it that I love so much. Being a woman, I think being proficient with a

Meghan at World Shoot
Meghan in her jersey

handgun is important for the protection of myself, my family, being able to protect other people too in case something happened. But I love competition and can get into anything active,” she notes. “It’s important to keep in shape, and I struggled with a few minor injuries. But the Lord really provided when I went to the world match.”

Meghan would like to get one more World Shoot under her belt, and she’s aiming for the 2025 match in South Africa and already gearing up for the qualifying meets. The exact plans will depend on their family situation down the road. But she doesn’t want to hang it up just yet.

“It’s a great skill to have and a fun thing to do. I get so competitive I forget sometimes that it’s a fun thing to do. I just enjoy the sport and have met some really amazing people,” she said. “Every stage is different and every match is different and I like that. I like the challenge and to push toward my goals.”

 

Distinguished Alumni to be honored at banquet

The 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees will be recognized officially at a banquet during the upcoming Homecoming weekend, set for Feb. 17-18. The Blue & Gold Awards Banquet will feature the main honorees from the Plainview campus as well as the Pioneers of Promise, students honored by academic schools, and the external campus honorees for the year. The banquet will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. with dinner catered by Gilbert's. 

The honorees are as follows:

Donnie Brown

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Donnie Brown, BA’93: After serving in church youth ministry for several years, Donnie returned to his alma mater as BSM director in 2001. In 2017, he took over the mission center, and his role was expanded in 2020 when he was named Director of Spiritual Life, overseeing BSM, missions, Kaleo and church relations.

 

Rick Cooper

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Rick Cooper, BS’81, MEd’85: A standout for the Pioneer Basketball squad, Cooper served as assistant coach for the team, then head coach from 1987-93. He then coached 20 seasons at West Texas A&M University, leading the team to four conference championships. In 2014, Cooper returned to WBU as athletic director, earning conference AD of the Year honors in 2018. He left in 2021 to join former coworker Mark Adams in men’s basketball at Texas Tech as Chief of Staff.

 

Kathie Jackson Distinguished Alumni Award winner Kathie Turner Jackson, BS’74:

The third of four siblings to attend WBU, Kathie spent years as a classroom teacher first in Perth, Australia, and then in the Texas Panhandle. She wrote a book in 2006 featuring 154 of her father’s letters from World War II. She is an active member of First Baptist Church in Canyon and involved in several ministries there. She is married to WBU graduate Mike Jackson and has three children who are also grads.


Richard MillerDistinguished Alumni Award winner Richard Miller, BS’87, MDiv’21: Part of the 1985 Pioneers that competed in the NAIA National Tournament finals, Miller spent 26 years as a probation officer in Hale County. He has also served as senior pastor at Happy Union Baptist Church in Plainview since 2000. He has served on Wayland’s Board of Trustees for several years as well. He was named to Wayland’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2011.

Dr. Hailey Budnick Distinguished Young Alumni Award winner Dr. Hailey Budnick, BS’14:
A participant in the Welch Undergraduate Research program at WBU, Dr. Budnick continued her education at Texas Tech School of Medicine, earning her Doctor of Medicine degree in 2018. She is currently a resident in neurological surgery at Indiana University in Indianapolis. She has received honors, is active in research and publications and holds professional memberships.
Sally EavesDistinguished Benefactor Award winner Sally Dillman Eaves, BS’75: A cheerleader and active coed while a student, Eaves and daughter Cary Catherine are partners in Salt Shop Handmades. A talented artist and a trustee, Eaves has been an active supporter of her alma mater, donating to every campaign, an endowed scholarship, the Annual Fund and the Sally Society women’s giving group, of which she was a founding member and event coordinator for several years.

 

The Alumnus of the Year will also be announced after recognizing the honorees from each external campus. 

To reserve your spot at the Blue & Gold Banquet, visit the Homecoming page here and register to join us. The dinner is $15 per person and the deadline to register is Feb. 13. For more information, contact Jeffrey Vera at (806) 291-3600.

 

Alumnus honored for volunteer work 

The Lubbock Area United Way recently honored Lubbock campus graduate Margarita "Margie" Olivarez with the Rita Harmon Volunteer Service Award for her impact on the city.

A native of Lubbock, Margie "is a constant force in the Lubbock community. She is a conduit and activator for young women and the greater Hispanic community for the South Plains," said the United Way. "She is best known for her passion for volunteerism, with a focus on education. Margie is a walking testament of hope: overcoming obstacles of being a teenage mother, a valiant cancer

Margie Olivarez award
Olivarez accepts her award

survivor and a nontraditional college student. She aspires to encourage anyone she meets that anything is possible; all you need is ganas (desire).

Margie volunteers for Lubbock Parks & Recreation, Raiders Rojos, HACEMOS, Our Lady of Grace Guadalupanas, Camp Rio Blanco Circle of Friends, Lubbock Latino Chamber of Commerce. She is also involved in the Girl Scouts Advisory Committee and the Lubbock Area United Way Community Impact Committee. She has been a Girl Scout leader for 25 years, a journey that started with her daughter as a Brownie. 

Throughout the years, Margie has been honored by numerous organizations, including YWCA Women of Excellence; Girl Scouts of the Texas Oklahoma Plains Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement; Jefferson Award; LULAC Community Leader of the Year; and Hispana Inspiradora. For the past 15 years, she has received the President's Volunteer Service Award for volunteering 300 or more hours annually.

Margie earned her undergraduate degree at Wayland in 2000 and then her Master of Arts in Management degree in 2013. She has worked at AT&T for more than 20 years and also works part-time at Ramar Communications covering events through the Hispanic Awareness Segment each week, a project she initiated to bring positive awareness to the Hispanic community. She is the co-founder of Training for Life Racing, which puts on the annual Dia De Los Muertos 5K and Fun Run.

She and husband Tony have two grown children and one grandson. 

 

Devotional: Seek crucial unity 

In our impossibly fractured culture, we live with the tension of disunity every waking moment. Hate, dissension, and contempt flood our news feeds daily. Whether we are discussing politics, racism, cultures, parenting, church practices, or sports teams, we set up divisions and demand everyone take a side. We slice and dice our opponents with wit and verbal ingenuity but leave behind a trail of broken relationships. While this may be normative of the culture, as believers this should not be so! Our unity is crucial for the sake of the Gospel.

In Romans 15:5, Paul writes, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a Team unity spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV) One heart? One mouth? How is this even possible?

Spend enough time in church culture and you will quickly realize the issues that drive brothers and sisters in Christ apart are numerous and often trivial. In addition, the family of God is derived from many different races and cultures, all with their own interpretation of how the Gospel should be lived out. Again, I ask, how is unity possible under these conditions?

Jesus answered this question in his prayer for all believers shortly before his crucifixion.  In John 17:20, He prayed, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (NIV)

First and foremost, our unity with other believers depends on our unity with Christ. It is through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that I am made one with the Father just as He was made one with Christ. This holy union is the basis for all other relationships. Once my vertical relationship with Jesus is correctly aligned, I can begin to love those around me deeply and authentically.

Our unity is not based on shared cultures, personal interests, or personal tastes, but on something much deeper and more profound. It is not what we have in common that matters, but WHO we have in common. Sometimes Jesus will be all that connects us, but that connection will last an eternity. There are a thousand ways to splinter a church and only One Way to bring it together again. We don’t have to see eye-to-eye to walk hand-in-hand, but we must be walking the same path and headed in the same direction.

In Romans 14:1, Paul encourages us to “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters.” (NIV) Love one another, stand firm in the essentials, and be charitable in the small things.

A unified church brings glory to Jesus, and when Jesus is glorified, the world will sit up and take notice. 

Question to ponder: How may God be calling you to bring unity to the body of Christ?

Jeffrey Vera, BCM'17, is the Director of Alumni Relations and Career Services at Wayland. 

 

In the Mix

As we approach Homecoming 2023, there are many events that will be provided for all returning alumni to participate in.  With that being said, we at Wayland Baptist University-Plainview are very excited to have the grand opening celebration for the Flying Queens Museum (Saturday, February 18 th, 10:30am).  But did you know that the original team name was the Wayland Lassies? In 1948, a local company Harvest Queen Mill provided uniforms for the team, which then changed the name to the Harvest Queens. 

Before the 1950 season began, the team had a chance to play a game in Mexico City. Claude

Queens 1982 team
1982 Flying Queens team pic

Hutcherson, a Wayland grad, was persuaded to fly the team to Mexico.  Mr. Hutcherson became impressed with the team and eventually became a major sponsor. When Hutcherson Air Service become a full sponsor, then began calling the team the Hutcherson Flying Queens. With the sponsorship came the following: three sets of uniforms, traveling attire, and flying the team about 9,000 miles a year to games.

From club sport basketball games (versus high schools) to playing their first college game (versus Texas Tech) and finally getting “lifted off” to what would be a prestigious history as the Flying Queens, we are very honored to dedicate the Flying Queens Museum and continue the tradition here at Wayland.

If you have a great story about the Flying Queens (former player, staff or student), please feel free to send them to our Alumni Director, Jeffrey Vera at: veraj@wbu.edu.

 

 

 

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