Cru football clinches conference title
Nov25

Cru football clinches conference title

The Crusader football team finished the regular season off with a statement last Saturday in their matchup against East Texas Baptist in Marshall. Dominating every aspect of the game, the Cru defeated the tigers 83-19.   Offense, defense and special teams were all in sync for the purple and gold. Even though the Tigers opened the game with the first score, the Crusaders quickly answered by a Blake Jackson run for a touchdown. That opened the door for a plethora of Cru touchdowns.   Kamray Runnels scored on multiple punt returns. Although his first one was called back on a penalty, the team showed that they have the depth and skill at every position to make noise in the Division III playoffs that start this weekend.   “I think we played a good game against ETBU, we brought everything together and it makes it better that we played like that the week before playoffs start. We still have work to do, but we are heading down the right track for sure,” senior offensive lineman Riley Holmes said.   Although the Crusaders racked up 476 total yards, penalties diminished a few scoring opportunities for the Cru, as well as allowing ETBU to extend drives.   “We know what we are capable of on both sides of the ball, but one thing that has to improve is the penalties,” senior tight end Ben Keilman said. “We can’t afford to have that many penalties in the playoffs.”   The offense was obviously explosive on Saturday, but the defense was stout as well, scoring multiple times on that side of the ball. Teidrick Smith and Kris Brown both found themselves in the end zone.   But the story of the day for the defensive squad was junior linebacker Trey Thedford, finishing a career day with 16 total tackles that came up one short of the school record for one game.   With the win, the Cru clinched their tenth conference title in a row. It also propelled their regular season winning streak to 54 games.   Even with those outstanding numbers, the team is searching for the accolade that has been eluding the Crusaders in past year.   “We have high expectations for the rest of the season. Since my teammates and I have become a part of this program, we have been playing for that national championship, and I think we have all of the pieces in place to get that done,” Holmes said.   Just like the past couple of years, the first playoff game will be played at Crusader Stadium. UMHB is currently ranked #2 in the national rankings, trailing...

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Fall sports wrap-up
Nov25

Fall sports wrap-up

With the fall semester coming to a conclusion, the season’s sports have wrapped up and the winter sports have begun.   The men and women’s soccer teams finished their year, qualifying for the American Southwest Conference post-season tournament.   The men ended their year with three wins of their last five games, tying the regular season champion, UT-Dallas. The Cru fell in the ASC Championship semifinal round to the champions, though, collecting five individual awards. The Quad-Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year was given to Isaiah Minick along with multiple All-ASC Selections: Case Carnes (1st team), Ben Hammonds and Julio Mar, Minick (2nd Team), and John Williams (3rd team).   Graduate assistant coach Ben Allen reflects on this year’s squad.   “This year was very special. It’s very cool to see how much the program has grown since I’ve played and to see this year’s seniors graduate who helped when I was a student assistant. We finished strong and would have liked to win it all, but gave UT-Dallas a very good game and have no shame of how we played,” he said.   The Lady Cru soccer team also finished their season, winning three of their last five match-ups. The ladies fell in the ASC Championship semifinals to Howard Payne.   Cameron Shivers was awarded the Offensive Freshman of the Year. Seven members were given All-ASC Selections: Charis Brantley, Kathryn Parker made 1st team, along with Shivers. The ASC 2nd team consisted of Nathallie Morales and Courtney Craig, followed by Miranda Aleman on 3rd team.   Senior business management major Ashley Teague will cherish the memories she made.   “It broke my heart knowing I couldn’t be out there on the field leading as a captain, but I knew God had a different plan in mind for me,” she said. “Even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped, I’m thankful for the memories and how far the team has come since my freshman year.”   The Lady Cru volleyball team finished their regular season on a high note by capturing the ASC title and hosted the conference championship. The ladies continued their success by winning the ASC post-season tournament as well. The Cru then travelled to nationals, where the fell in a heartbreaker 3-2 to Claremont-Mudd-Scrippes.   Senior math education major Bianca Patterson enjoyed being a part of the team.   “The trip to nationals was a great experience. We went last year, and it shows the growth of the volleyball program that we made it again this year. Winning conference was such a blessing,” she said.   Junior mathematics major Kendall Pye is excited for next...

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Women’s soccer leaves a lasting impact
Nov07

Women’s soccer leaves a lasting impact

The women’s soccer team is currently sitting in second place in the American Southwest Conference standings. But what’s more impressive than their on-field production is the impact the players are having in the community. Inspired by Head Coach Barry Elkins, whose 2-year-old daughter has special needs, sophomore forward Kristen Hoelscher and her teammates have become mentors to special needs children in the area.   Elkins and his wife signed their daughter, Molly Kate, up for the Texas Angels Pagent for special needs children, which led to an opportunity for Hoelscher to serve as well.   “She’s always had a heart for special needs kids, but having a coach with a special needs daughter has given her an avenue,” Elkins said.   The majority of the players volunteered to help with the pageant, assisting in a variety of tasks ranging from registration to doing hair and makeup.   Elkins said working at the pageant gave the players a feeling of what it’s like for parents of special needs children.   “It’s really impacted my girls in that as hard as it was for them to chase after a special needs kid, their parents are doing it every day,” he said. “As much as they were impacted, they impacted the lives of a lot of parents.”   The team also participated in the Downs but Not Out Walk for Down syndrome awareness, which led to an opportunity to help serve food veterans at the American Legion in Temple.   This work in the community gave Hoelscher a desire to make a more meaningful impact, which she is attempting to do by bringing the Best Buddies program to UMHB.   “I had heard of Best Buddies before but couldn’t be a part of it because we didn’t have it at UMHB. So I took the initiative to get it started here because I wanted to be a part of the program,” she said. “Best Buddies is an organization built to create one-to-one friendships between college students and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”   Hoelscher said the work she has done to his point has been rewarding, with blessings constantly coming.   “Working with special needs has made such an amazing impact on me because they have so much heart,” she said. “They are always happy, and no matter how my day went they put me in a great mood.”   Coach Elkins talks to his team about having faith like a child. Through the Best Buddies program, he believes his players will gain a true understanding of what that means.   “Special needs kids probably live out the Bible better than...

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Cowboys balanced offense produces best record in years
Nov07

Cowboys balanced offense produces best record in years

The Dallas Cowboys have managed to get off to their best record since 2007 as well as boasting the best record in the NFC East with a 6-2 record. A simple formula has produced this fast and effective start. Allow their talented running back, Demarco Murray to have 25 or more carries a game behind their young offensive line.   Romo haters have always given the blame to quarterback Tony Romo in past years for debacles late in the season. Everyone thought it was Romo’s fault was because he was being forced to carry the whole team on his back. Not only was he having to make up for the lack of production in the running game, but he was also having to put up 35 points a game to outscore opponents because of the pitiful play by the Dallas defense.   “It’s obvious that Romo hasn’t been the problem over the years. Yes, he has had his mistakes, but now that he has a defense that allows the offense to control the time of possession and a running game to compliment his passing game, it is all falling into place,” senior pre-physical therapy major, Jeremy Corbin said.   The combination of a defense that swarms the ball and a running game that has allowed Murray to rush for more than 100 yards in each of the first eight games has been the balance that the organization has been searching for.   “The difference this year could be the addition of new play-caller Scott Linehan, who also came to town with a pass-first reputation but actually ran the ball more often than the league average,” NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon said.   The Cowboys lost their second game to the Redskins on the Monday night stage. It was a loss that very well could have been a victory for the blue and silver, but for many loyal fans getting a loss was not the scariest thing that came out of the game. Tony Romo was sacked hard in the middle of the third quarter, with a defensive lineman’s knee going right into Romo’s previously injured back.   He did later return to the game to try to propel the Cowboys’ offense to a late fourth quarter game-winning drive. It ended unsuccessfully, but there was still a sigh of relief among cowboy fans, seeing Romo return to the game.   Corbin said, “Dallas has the opportunity to do big things this year, but the one thing that could hold them back is injuries. If we stay healthy we are one of the best teams in the league. The bye...

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Crusaders prove to be too much for HSU
Nov07

Crusaders prove to be too much for HSU

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team faced-off against their conference rival Hardin-Simmons University this past Saturday for the 20th time in school history.   The Cru and Cowboys have a history against each other, with the Crusaders winning 15 of the 20 match-ups. The Cru has won 13 games in a row against the team from Abilene.   This year, the rivalry was played at home for the first time in Crusader Stadium. The Cru and Cowboys battled, and the Cru trailed going into halftime for the first time this season, 14-10.   The home team then responded with a huge third quarter, outscoring HSU 28-0. The Cowboys pushed a late 14-3 run, but finished short as the Cru defeated their rivals 41-28. UMHB is now 8-0 overall and 3-0 in conference play.   Sophomore exercise sport science major Baylor Mullins reflects about the team’s ambitions this season.   “Our main goal this year is to win a national championship, before we do that though, we have to just take it one game at a time and take care of our business each week,” he said.   Senior accounting major Kamray Runnels is a wide receiver for the Cru agrees with his teammates.   “(The) team’s goal is to first and foremost win the national title, (but) first we have to win the conference championship … everyone is hungry for a national title,” he said.   Runnels also serves as one of the team captains. Runnels believes his team’s relationship is key to their success.   “As a captain of the team, I have a great relationship with my teammates. Every week and weekend I’m only hanging out with my teammates in everything we do. We have the ultimate chemistry and bond that no one could break,” he said.   Graduate Assistant Coach Rudy Nerio played for the Cru from 2009 to 2012. He now serves as the assistant offensive line coach. Nerio reflects about the switch.   “I think the transition has been a great one overall, because I think me playing here has allowed me to have a close relationship with the young players. I can relate and know exactly what they are going through because I went through it,” he said.   The Cru will finish their regular season with two games on the road. Next Saturday they will travel to Brownwood to take on Howard Payne University. Kick-off is set to begin at 1 p.m. at Gordon Wood Memorial...

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Cru volleyball throttles through ASC play
Oct23

Cru volleyball throttles through ASC play

The Crusader volleyball team entered the season with lofty expectations. As the regular season draws to a close, those expectations could very well become reality. The team has dominated the competition — 13 of its 18 wins have been sweeps — and now sits atop the American Southwest Conference Standings with less than two weeks to play.   Even though the team is having one of its best seasons ever, Head Coach Rob Frost believes they still haven’t hit their stride.   “We haven’t peaked yet. We will get to where we have a better offensive rhythm and tempo,” he said.   The Cru recently pulled off home sweeps of Sul Ross State University and Howard Payne University. On Oct. 11, the team opened up the match against Sul Ross State with a tough, 29-27 win in the first set before taking the next two sets 25-16 and 25-21 to earn the sweep.   Three nights later, the Cru returned to action and earned a 25-12, 25-23, 25-18 victory against Howard Payne. Sophomore hitter Abby Voskuli led the team with 17 kills on her way to being named player of the game. She said it’s important for the team to keep its momentum going into the postseason.   “We really need to finish strong. We need to keep getting better and challenging ourselves so we can be ready when we move on past conference,” Voskuli said. The Cru hosted Concordia Texas Oct. 19 and dropped the first set 26-24. However, UMHB responded by taking the next three sets to earn its 18th victory of the season.   Last season, the Cru earned its first berth in the national tournament in program history, but fell in the first round to Southwestern University. That team set a UMHB record for wins in a season, but Frost believes his team is in an even better position to succeed this time around.   “We are a lot more stable and mentally strong. Consistency and confidence are there each match,” he said. “We’ve played several top 20 teams this season and have done very well. We believe we can compete with any team and have the ability to win.   By finishing with the best conference record, the Cru would earn home court advantage for the conference tournament, which junior setter Kendall Pye said the players have been thinking about throughout the season.   “Winning conference has been a goal of ours since my freshman year. Every year we have gotten closer and closer, and this year we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in,” she said. “It was one of our preseason...

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