Conversation: Leticia Armstrong
In her middle blocker position Leticia Armstrong has played in important role off of the bench for UT in her first season of action. The 6-2 redshirt freshman from Elkhart, Indiana has given the Longhorns outstanding depth in the front row. The depth that Armstrong adds gives the Longhorns another menacing presence in the middle - now and for the future. She recently sat down to discuss braiding hair, dancing and her desire to be on Fear Factor
This year's squad is obviously having a great season and Texas volleyball has been put back on the map. Talk a little about what it means to you to be a part of such a great team.
Leticia Armstrong: It means a lot because I redshirted last year and the team didn't have a great year, but it had great chemistry. This year that chemistry between the players and coaches has carried over and it is fun to be a part of such a great team. All of us really enjoy playing together and just being around one another.
During your Texas career you have had several injuries and even suffered one on the team's trip to Europe last spring, but this year you are finally healthy. How exciting has it been for you to play through this season injury free?
LA: I have had a lot of injuries. I tore my meniscus last year in practice, had my shoulder tightened up, sprained ankles and tore three tendons in my ankle in Europe. It was very hard to be on crutches in Europe because we walked everywhere that we went. We went to the Spanish Steps in Rome and I wanted to go up them, but I just went up five and sat down. It was really hard not being able to see everything that I wanted to see. As far as this year it is very exciting to be able to get into games and play and not have any injuries. I really want to stay away from that (as she knocks on wood).
You came to Texas from Elkhart, Indiana. Tell us a little about Elkhart and where you come from.
LA: Elkhart is a little place where everyone knows everyone and there really isn't much to the town, but It's home. Elkhart is about three-and-a-half hours north of Indianapolis and there are about 32,000 people there. People are very friendly there and everyone knows my family and me. Elkhart is a lot of fun, but we weren't a town that was well-known for sports.
How did you end up at Texas from so far away?
LA: I came to Texas because I wanted some heat in the weather. Then I came here I fell in love with the team and the coaches. Austin is a really great college town and I enjoy it very much.
The team has spent a fair amount of time on the road this year and many memories have been made. What stands out to you from road trips this year as memorable?
LA: There are a lot of good stories. In the hotel we all like to sit around talking about memories of things like our favorite cartoons. Brandy (Magee) and Jessica (Curtis) know every theme song for every cartoon ever. You might want to ask them about that sometime. Also on the plane Jessica is always really loud, and waking everybody up.
You have been on record claiming that you started the "Whose House, Horns House" cheer last year in Gregory Gym. Did you really start the cheer and how did it come about?
LA: Well, last year we really wanted to get the crowd into the game. It took about five games to really get the cheer going. I would yell to the cheerleaders, "When I say whose house, you say horns house." It took a long time to get it going, but I wanted us to make a statement that we are Texas and that this is our house and that is not going to be easy for anyone to come in here beat us.
Is it exciting for you to hear the whole gym do the cheer now after a big block?
LA: It is thrilling when the crowd yells because I can kick back and say, "I started that." I don't even have to say, "Whose house?" anymore because the Hellraisers have that covered. Now I just yell "Horns house!" when they yell, "Whose house?"
You are known on the team and on many other Texas teams as "the hair braider". How is it that you have become the official team and athletic department hair braider?
LA: It all started with people coming up to me when I had my hair braided and they would want to know who did my hair. I would say, "I did." Then it really picked up when I braided Megan Willis's (sophomore catcher on the softball team) hair last spring. Now I everyone wants me to do their hair. It's ok with me.
How did you develop your talent?
LA: My Mom is a hairdresser so that is how I learned. Just by watching my Mom and watching other stylists in the hair salon.
How long does it take on average to do someone's hair and how does somebody get you to set aside that amount of time to mess with someone else's hair?
LA: For corn rows it takes about an hour and a half or two hours if they know how they want their hair. Regular micro braids take about a day and a half. When I did Megan's hair, it took about nine and a half hours to get her hair done, but her hair is really, really long. I really like doing hair so I don't mind spending the time. I wanted to be a hairdresser, but I play volleyball and don't have time to do hair.
You are very into music and you are earning a minor in dance. Talk about the role that music and dance play in your life.
LA: I like Alicia Keys and songs of other artists that I can relate to. I listen to music to relay my mood and that is why I really like R&B. And I just really like to dance. Dariam (Acevedo) and I love to dance in the locker room before matches to get everybody pumped before the games.
What music do you like to dance to?
LA: I really like the Caribbean feel of Sean Paul.
Fact Attack: Leticia Armstrong
Favorite Place in Austin? Texadelphia
Volleyball: In the sand / On the court: On the court. I hate the sand because it gets in your mouth and it takes too long to get it out of your hair.
If you're not on the court you're ... In my room studying. Nah. I'm in my room listening to music.
Which reality show would you be on? Fear Factor. I eat chitlins so I think I could eat some of that nasty stuff.
You would rather be ... Sleeping
Dinner for four. Who is there, dead or alive? My boyfriend, my Mom and my little sister Mykala.
What did you eat for dinner last night? I had a fish filet, French fries and an M&M /Oreo McFlurry from McDonalds.
What is in your CD player right now? I have a five-disc changer with Ruben Studdard, Alicia Keys, Monica, and two mix CD's of slow jams.
Neat / Messy: I am in between. I am messy when it comes to clothes, but everything else is in its place.
When you think of The University of Texas, you think? What can't you think of when you think of The University of Texas?